Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Welcome friends.  Once again, I am on the hop, this one for Lammas.  We last left our intrepid writer/claims adjuster/Tarot reader/friendly neurotic, things looked rather bleak.  Luckily, I have had a very good month, reintegrated some of my healthier life habits of old, and am feeling much better.

This is one of my favorite disk cards from my first and still favorite deck, the Tarot of Transformation.  I think this one best embodies (pun intended) this last turn of the wheel for me. 

I know the usual Five of Disks pictures two people left out in the cold outside a church.  The card to the left was actually my first introduction to the Five of Disks - that of joyful release and celebration of form.

Ironically, it was my refusal to seek help, which I clearly needed - a need exemplified in a traditional Five of Pentacles card - that kept me stuck.  I learned from Nancy Antenucci that there are two religions - Love and Fear, and that you cannot serve both.  It's one of those concepts that's easy on paper but surprisingly hard in practice.  How do you know when you are serving Fear?  When does self-preservation turn into self-sabotage?  Can you even pinpoint the moment you lost your balance?  And is finding something to blame for it really that important, or is it possible to just accept you've stumbled and move on?

In all, I have reaped much wisdom these last months.  My hope is that your Lammas is offering an equally bountiful harvest to all of you.

If you did not come from there, please visit the blog before mine:

Christiana Gaudet -

Otherwise, next on the hop is:

Sandie Worthy -

If there is a break in the chain, the Master List can be found at:

(And do drop a special thanks to Kareena Narwani for herding the cats this time around.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celebrate the Sunrise

Hi all!  Welcome back to the Tarot Blog Hop arranged, this time, by Chloë McCracken (  This month's topic is "Celebrate the Sunrise" and centered around Litha, the longest day of the year. 

This is also probably the shortest blog I've ever done.  I thought of doing a spread or waxing poetic about the many sunrises and sunsets I've seen, but then this has found me at least five times over the last month, and considering I'd never seen it before, I've decided the Litha message that wishes to speak through me is simply this:

Keep looking

at the bandaged place.

That's where

the Light enters you.

-- Rumi

Be grateful for your wounds, my friends.

If the chain is broken, please visit:

For the master list.

Hopefully, you arrived here via Donna L. Faber:

To continue the hop, please visit Teresa Deak:

Until next time, be strong, and embrace the light that comes in through your cracks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Piracy is the Highest Form of Flattery?

The other day Nance e-mailed me to let me know something disturbing had happened with regard to Psychic Tarot.  Apparently, we've been pirated!

As the author of nine other books (all of them nonfiction educational books for children), this is definitely a first for me.  On  the one hand, I am very hopeful that our wonderful publisher, Llewellyn, grabs these people by the throat and shakes them until their necks snap.  Or perhaps something less violent, more in line with the spirit of the Rule of Three, but nonetheless equally effective.

On the other hand, that the book is popular enough to have drawn pirates is no small matter.  I don't encourage, endorse, or otherwise condone someone going out now and posting .PDF versions of Black Mambas all over the internet, but I am continually proud and grateful to have involved with the Psychic Tarot book and am inspired by the comments we receive back about it.  So far, the book has done more than reach that one poor soul in Montana without access to other Tarot resources that we hoped it would help.

That said, if you're thinking it doesn't hurt us to pirate the book, let me draw you a picture.  I currently work 50 hours a week as a claims adjuster, produce 3-4 other books a year, and still can't afford my own apartment.  Going in, I've always known that for the vast majority of authors, it will always be a labor of love.  The percentage of writers who actually make a living from the trade is very small.  So yes, it does hurt very much when your book gets pirated.  Though, I have to say, it was a rite of authorship passage I'd never expected.

Thank you all for your continued support.  We love that you love Psychic Tarot.  Keep the comments coming, but please, do buy the book (new, used, electronic, Christmas wish list).

We never tire of hearing from you, and wish you great success with your Psychic Tarot journey.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Fire Tends to All

From the moment this topic was posted on the Tarot Blog Hop to this past Sunday, I have been trying to puzzle out my aversion to it.  As always, I watched the trend of my life, asked for guidance, sought synchronicity, and still my brain resisted "The Fire Tends to All."

It's a beautiful sentiment, and desperately I wanted to feel the quiet joy its messenger Andrew McGregor ( found in it when he chose it for our topic.  (Do go along and thank him for herding the cats this time!)

I stopped at the Facebook page at least three times a week, gritting my teeth and wracking my brain every time I saw it.  The more I saw it, the more by back went up and my teeth gnashed together.  If you can believe it, over this same time, I managed to miss a few important parallels that would have explained my frustration if I hadn't had my nose pressed right up against the tree.  I'd go to work, where it turns out I am so good at my job I will be "laterally" moving into a position with ten times the responsibility and stress.  I'm excited, but I'm sure most of you understand the definition of "lateral" on the pay scale.  Then I'd come home and look at this topic, scowl, and go to bed.

Upon waking, I would return the texts from my cousin wondering if I knew if I had any book deals in the pipeline, as this will basically define whether or not we can move out together, as I will be absorbing 80-90% of the rent and utilities responsibilities.  Then I would fire up ye olde laptop, surf Craigslist for a part-time job I might be able to take on to get me closer to "our" goal, go to Facebook, glower at the blog topic, and wander off to work.

After returning from work, I would listen patiently as my mother tried to convince me the cure for all my ills is a trip with her to Spain.  For which I would not have to pay a cent.  Except that there must be something I can contribute.  And while I tried to tune out the roar in my ears, I went to Facebook, played Bubble Witch, and skated through the Blog Hop topic again, rolling my eyes and kicking myself for it being so difficult for me to figure out.

Lather, rinse, repeat.  For over a month.  And still, the lightbulb did not so much as flicker.

Then Sunday came, and I went out for coffee with a friend I haven't really spoken to for a decade.  She was talking about how she was between jobs, but had used the time to rekindle old passions.

"What are you reading?" she asked, knowing of old that I'd always been an avid reader.

I blinked at her.  "I'm... between genres at the moment.  I don't think I've read anything in...."  I shrugged.  It's been months.

"Oh," she said.  "Well, I'm also getting back into music.  I remember you did music."

When she knew me, I sang and played piano.  "No," I reluctantly admitted.  "I haven't done anything with music in... well...."  It's been over a year since I've touched the piano and I rarely sing, even for my own enjoyment, anymore.

"I'm also biking... and playing pool... and dancing...."  To my abject horror, the list went on and on.

I said the only thing I could.  "Wow."

"What are you doing?" she finally asked, truly curious.

"Uh," I said, "basically I eat, sleep, and work."

It was a stomach-wrenching moment of truth.  The lightbulb in my head fairly exploded, and I could vividly recall several conversations over the past month where I couldn't figure out how people could get so caught up in tending to other people that they completely neglected the basic necessities of self care.

I hated this topic because I knew I'd been tending everyone's fires - except my own.

And I know I'm not the only one.  So if you're reading this and you can feel the niggle of your own "aha" moment, for the love of God go get a massage.  Walk through a park, hug a dog, dance in your livingroom or go have a fancy dinner for absolutely no reason at all.  You deserve it, you're worth it, and above all else, you need it.

Tend the flame, my friends.


If you didn't come from there, the blog before mine is:

To continue the hop, please go ahead to:

If the chain has been broken, the list in order can be found at:

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I'm back on the hop! And just in time for an Easter-themed post.

This time the theme for the Tarot Blog Hop is Ostara: Paint a Journey with New Life.

As I am mostly a Tower girl and a Tower reader (I rarely get people who are curious about a career change or home improvement. As Kali's sometimes willing minion, I mostly read for people who are one more bit of bad news shy of coming undone). So first I had to have a little giggle over the theme.

However, undaunted by current life circumstance, the Tarot reader rides forth to meet the challenge of Paint a Journey with a New Life. This time, I have chosen to do a spread.

I'm calling this the Ostara spread and am adding it to the Little Golden Book of Spreads. For those of you new to this blog, I'm a bit of a create-your-own-spread nut. Today is no different.

Also, I'm a bit of an organic reader. I let the vision dictate the spread, then work out the message later. (I just heard the screams of a hard core traditionalist in the background. Please refer to the "Psychic Tarot" book in the upper lefthand corner and make a hasty exit at this time if you were hoping I was going to solemnly intone the Rider-Waite meanings or even read out the Tarot of Transformation meanings of any of these cards. Love you all, bow to your superior accumulated knowledge, am actually in awe of it. But we don't serve that here.)

The intent of the above spread was Painting a Journey with New Life.

Lay the above spread starting at the lower left (the cards should slightly overlap). When you've laid three cards up the left side, continue back down (cards 3 & 4 are touching each other, 5 & 6 continue down the other side to mirror cards 1 & 2 opposite). Card 7 is drawn last and placed at the top.

Cards 1 & 6 (and 2 & 5) represent needs (1 & 2) and resulting actions (5 & 6) that were attempted in the past to bring about life change that did not pan out. In the second attempt (2 & 5), you can see you were brought closer to your goal, even if the action itself did not result in the life journey you were looking for.

Cards 3 & 4 represent an open path that would get you onto the life path you wish to be on. Card 3 is the need (as Cards 1 & 2 were past needs) and Card 4 is the action (as Cards 5 & 6 were actions taken based on past needs).

Card 7 is a message from the Divine regarding your life path.

I like this spread because it honors past actions as necessary in having gotten one to this point (even though they didn't pan out at the time), as well as offers advice on which of the many paths open to you on this point you should concentrate on. We all have a multitude of spokes that keep our wheel balanced and rolling. From the big issues: Do I need to concentrate on my career? My love life? My family? My health? To the more precise issues: Should I get a hobby? If I take on another hobby, how will that affect my social life? My time with my husband? My time to make healthy food that nourishes my body rather than running through the nearest drive-thru to conserve my time and energy?

It's often difficult to decide, or sometimes even notice, in the hectic whirr of it all which spoke might have weakened and needs the most immediate attention.

In order to create new life, move forward, and strengthen your path, this spread or any healthy dose of Tarot will help you see what needs doing and envision a healthy, balanced road ahead.


If you haven't already, please visit Kareena who came before me:

Or continue the hop by visiting October:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What Would You Attempt to Do if You Knew You Could Not Fail?

One of these days, I am going to look up the astrology of this year (Tarot reader = yes. Astrologer = no.) and figure out why it has been systematically kicking my behind. I feel like I'm getting completely re-organized from the inside-out, and as a person who's already done that a time or two over the last 30 years (heck, over the last decade!) I would kindly like to ask the universe to knock it the heck off!

When I headed off to college in the last waning months of the year 2000 (little suspecting what a terrible, terrible choice in colleges I had made), my mother gave me a very solid, rectangular, metal paperweight engraved with the saying, "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"

My mother and I both thought the answer was obvious. She said, "Everything!"

I said, "Nothing."

Which, to this day, perplexes my mother. I understood her answer - knowing you could always succeed, what wouldn't you try? Trapeze artist, hula dancer, astronaut, hot air balloon guide. Guaranteed success, why not?

I, on the other hand, could not imagine what was to be gained without risk. If I knew everything I undertook was going to be successful, why expend the effort? Knowing the outcome robs life of its mystery and guaranteed success removes that refinement that only comes from failure.

By far the most worthwhile undertakings of my life have had in them the most risk. Tarot was a risk of faith. Guatemala was a risk of safety. Writing was a risk of security. The Center was a risk of community. Spain was a risk of sanity. Finance was a risk of purpose. I have learned more in attempting these than simple success could give me.

I have been blessed with the ability to succeed at many things, but not at everything, and I have to say I'm rather grateful for that. Without failure, why would we strive? Without risk, how would we value gain?

Here's an exercise. Draw a card with the intent of exploring how failure has enriched your life. It can be a specific failure or failure in general. You may just find what you see as failure was simply risk taken in pursuit of greater gain.

Keep striving, my friends!

Monday, January 30, 2012

How Can I Be the Best Candle?

Welcome new friends. Hello to the old. I decided to participate in a Tarot blog round robin around Imbolc. The theme you see above is "How Can I Be the Best Candle?"

I gave it a good month's worth of thought. I tossed around several ideas, such as how fascinated I am that a candle represents all four elements in one form (fire on the wick, earth in the wax, water in the melted wax, air consumed by the flame). How strongly I feel that the challenge of the Hermit (the light for one) is to become the Star (the light for many). I even thought of several tenets of being a good Tarot reader. All of them were fine ideas. None of them spoke to the heart of what I felt it was to be the Best Candle.

So, I asked for clarity. And once again, I walked into another one of those "be careful what you wish for" situations.

As most of my loyal followers know (hi, Mom!), I don't support myself by Tarot or writing. When I do mention the day job, I refer to it only as my "Clark Kent" job. I tend to mention it as little as possible.

For who would suspect, despite ten books, the best possible Tarot mentor, and some very stout encouragement from every English teacher I had from fifth grade up, that I, Melanie A. Howard, would ever spend 40 hours a week...

As a claims adjuster!

Ladies and gentleman, the secret is out. I spend the vast majority of my time making money for money's sake. I work for a finance institution that hires out to other finance institutions and handle five times as much money in one day than I make in a year.

In my list of jobs, it is by far the one I have been best at. I was a fine children's book editor. I was a good teacher. I am an excellent writer and a sincere Tarot reader.

But I am remarkable at finance.

As the months after my return from Guatemala turned into years, I wasn't sure whether I was more surprised or horrified by this glaring reality. After all, what was I building? Who was I serving? How could I possibly be enriching the world?

It's easy to forget sometimes, in the world of "good" and "evil," that not all of us get to be the candle planted righteously at the head of a nonprofit organization serving widows and orphans. Someone is the candle on the other side of the phone line explaining how to reboot your internet, how to work your steering wheel touch controls, how to return the dress that was so cute in the catalog but hideous in person. Someone is the candle who arranges a payment plan for you when your life takes a turn, reverses the overdraft oopsie you didn't mean to make....

... and reviews the settlements received on an auto account in the event of an accident to make sure all parties paid correctly.

The Best Candle lights the Best Candle in others and illuminates the dark places. Whether your candle is in the Sistine Chapel or at the register at a gas station during a power outage, the purpose is the same. Shine a light wherever you are planted.


For those of you following the Imbolc post cycle, I invite you to click on to Michael Banuelos:

If you did not just come from there, the blog before mine was: