WF Theresa Reed AKA Tarot Lady: Wreck Your Deck

We'll do the work, we'll get the bones, we'll get the foundation, we'll wreck the deck, but also recognize: there's a live wire that's part of you.

Risa Dickens
Aug 3, 2023
44 min read
Witches FoundDivinationAstrologyNeuroqueer Magic

In this episode, Risa settles into the incomparably delightful and utterly comforting, no-BS vibes of The Theresa Reed aka The Tarot Lady. In this joyful conversation with the coven, Theresa shares her understanding of the cycles in astrology that give her hope even in these often dark times. She offers tips for picking up messages from the songs in the air, and practical means of adapting your learning of Tarot to different kinds of brains and memories. In her frank, unfiltered, and loving way, she offers exceptional advice for folks learning divination, and for anyone trying to balance life against burnout.

"As a Catholic schoolgirl with a superstitious mother and a grandma who felt omens like other folks feel arthritis, it’s not too surprising that Tarot, astrology & other intuitive arts would become my driving fascination — and my life’s work.

I picked up my first Tarot deck at age 15, and kick-started my career by performing readings on my little sister (most of her questions were about the cute boys in class. Some things never change.) Thirty years later, I’ve done readings on thousands of clients — from police officers to recovering addicts to new mothers to angst-ridden teens. I’m fascinated by the complexity of individual cause-and-effect, and I’m devoted to helping people make better decisions — and lead happier lives.

I believe that nothing is fated, that everything is fluid — and that the cards have the power to inspire courageous, life-affirming action. But only if you honor your emotional & intuitive reactions for what they really are — a quiet, guiding intelligence."

img descrip: On the left side of the image white text on black reads: "We're doing the best we can and we're gonna hit the wall once in a while. Just be kind to yourself. And be extra kind to yourself when you're burning up." On the right side, a white woman with long blonde grey hair and red lipstick smiles knowingly. 


Theresa Reed

The Missing Witches Project is entirely listener supported, and listen. We want you to join us. Do you wanna be part of a community that helps make public research into marginalized ideas? Do you wanna join in interviews with all these magical people and meet other anti-racist, trans-inclusive, neuroqueer feminist practitioners of different kinds from all over the world in our monthly circles? Are, are you maybe just down to send a little money magic towards these stories and ideas and the causes we support? Anyway. Either way, check out missing witches.com to learn more about us, and please know we've been missing you.  

And one last thing before we start. The stories we tell require a general content warning.

It's just a fact of this terrain of interrogating what is missing. We promise to hold those moments with care.  

[Be A Witch song]


Welcome, witches. Welcome listeners. Welcome friends. Welcome tastes of summer . Welcome to whatever state your body and brain is in today. And welcome to our super fucking badass guest. It's the Theresa Reed. It's the Tara lady. We had the opportunity, Amy and I, to meet Theresa and I think about 10 minutes in we were like, we need you on our show.

We need like more doses of you. We need to hang out more with you. And so today is the day that I get to have that experience. I feel really lucky and excited to get to hang out. Welcome.  


Thank you so much, Risa. It is such a joy to connect again and I love talking the little Montreal talk and cookie talk, so that's what we were talking about before we got live y'all.

So just happy to be here. Thank you.

Yeah, thanks for being here. How are you like, let's be honest. I mean as honest as you feel comfortable with like how are you, you are, you're a person in America, how are you doing?


Well, the politics here have been bananas. If anybody's been paying attention, it has been pretty rough.

Here in the United States. There's a lot of people who are trying to go backwards. And to take us back to a time when women in LGBTQ plus and bipo people were, you know, under some sort of thumb. I mean, we've never totally gotten out from under the thumb, but they are trying to push it down harder than ever.

So it's draining. We've had some winds recently. We've had some other stunning losses like what they're doing with robi Wade and reproductive rights. It's been hard. You know, I tend to be one of those people though that always likes to remind everybody that nothing is permanent. Not even these laws. And those can be overturned too.

We just have to come together and push back. But it is hard not to feel depleted some days. And some days you gotta turn the news off, you gotta unplug from it because it can get so toxic and negative. And it really seems like in the last couple years, there's a certain, there's a certain part of the population that's gotten emboldened.

To really be despicable. And when you're somebody who tends to be polite and easygoing, it's really also hard not to be impacted by that. So in my own personal life, my personal life is fine, but when I peek my head out the window and look at the state of the world, I'm like, you know, I think I'm gonna go back inside a little bit here.

Mm-hmm. Just a little bit. Even with the wins, I still feel sometimes like I have to go back a little bit.  


Yeah. I've seen some glimpses of the way you approach taro is really like empowering, really. Like, you know, we have free will changes coming, whether you like it or not.

We aren't looking at things that are written. Does tarot give you a sense of control over destiny at all? Or, or a sense of optimism?  


I think tarot and astrology give you a sense of understanding. And when you have an understanding of what's going on around you, then you have a much better chance that you're gonna find ways to deal.

When we don't understand or when we don't stop to really think about what's going on. Well, oftentimes that causes us to be reactionary and to make decisions and that are not gonna be for our highest good. So what I mean by that, I mean, here's how I tend to approach astrology and tarot. I always look at astrology as this is our map, this is our map, what's going on?

And when we look at our natal charts, our natal charts give us a really good idea of how you know what kind of vehicle we are and how we operate in this world. For good or for ill. You also have a choice. For good or for ill. By the way, there's no such thing as a bad chart and the current transits in the sky, they can give us an idea of the traffic that's operating or we can figure out, okay, well now we know how things are operating.

We know what kind of traffic we're dealing with. We can figure out how to drive through this. And if we also look at astrology, we can see cycles, historical cycles, and we can look at where we were in the past, what the past history was, how did that shape us, how did that teach us how to drive as the collective?

And how can we all now get on this freeway and start driving in a direction that's gonna be good for everybody? And then when you feel like the traffic isn't good, or you're not operating on full speed, or maybe the world around you isn't, tarot helps to show the detours. Here's how we get off the ramp.

Here's how we can drive better. So I love to use that analogy because I do believe nothing is set in stone. I believe things do go in cycles. Nothing is ever permanent, and we have to think about our choices and how we show up in the world, because ultimately that's what matters. What matters is that you become a good person.

What matters is that no matter what's going on in the world or what your history, you become a good person. That is what you are here to do, is to become a good person. And terror astrology can help you in that realm. And we have to really think about that, that again, no matter what's going on, am I being a good person?

Am I showing up as the best version of me? Or am I looking for an astro excuse or a terror excuse or an excuse by the state of the world, or excused by what's happened in the past to absolve me of any poor behavior? You know? So I am always thinking, how can I be a better human? How can I be out there making someone's stay?

How can I inspire, how can I use what's working against me and turn it to my advantage? Hmm. I'm not one of those people that ever sits around saying, well, this is it. I'm gonna give up. It's like, no, no, no, no, no. Let's make this work. Let's figure a way out. Let's work together. Let's do this.  


And when you're doing, if that is your sort of primary focus, your primary goal, how do I be a good person?

Mm-hmm. How do you avoid just total burnout? You know what I mean? Like, cuz I can just like give and give and give until I collapse. And then there's nothing, there's no, there's no further, there's no further giving. Reese's completely gone. She's depleted. You know? How do you keep that balance?


You can't.

And you've gotta admit that sometimes you're gonna burn out. Mm-hmm. You're gonna be so sick of the state of the world. There are other people are trying to take the high road that you just again, wanna crawl under a little rock and stay there. And so you are gonna burn out. I think when we, I mean, so often you hear people talk about self care and this and that and all the things you should do or could do or whatever to stay balanced.

And you can do all those things. You can do everything. And I do all the spiritual practices. I like to say I'm nice to all the gods just in case. Right? But there are gonna be times when you just, you just have to call it quits for a minute. And you know, when that happens, when you hit a wall, I don't look at that either.

It's like, oh my God, how negative. It's like, okay, the universe now is trying to tell me you've been giving too much. You have not set boundaries. Now you're gonna go and sit and you're gonna think about this and you're gonna think about, well, how do we get ourselves back on track, pick ourselves up, and then maybe assert some new.

Boundaries or whatever you need to do, depending on the situation. So I think the, the myth of a balanced perfect life really is a myth. And the myth that we can do all these things and we're just gonna somehow magically achieve this state where we're never perturbed is a myth. Right? And it's okay. It is okay.

You know, I was even like talking to my daughter last week and this is a food conversation. We're always hearing all this advice about what you should eat shouldn't eat. You do this, do that. And my daughter says, God, you never count calories. I said, no, I'm gonna eat the things I love. I'm only here for X amount of years.

I don't know how long I've God, if I'm gonna have a glass of wine, I'm gonna have a glass of wine. I'll go walk. Maybe I won't, you know, I'm not gonna beat myself up. Just do the best you can. And sometimes you're gonna, you're gonna eat all the wrong foods. You're not gonna sleep. You're gonna stay up too late.

You're gonna lose your balance. And you know what, that's okay. Tomorrow's another day. Yeah. So there's no such thing. That's real balance. It's a lie. And by the way, I think women, we are under so much pressure to have this Instagram worthy life where we always look great and we live on green smoothies and we never let anything bother us.

And we're doing all the spiritual stuff. And I'm like, that's not true though. That's for the privileged few. Yeah. Most of us. Most of us. We're winging it and we're doing the best we can and we're gonna hit the wall every once in a while. Just be kind to yourself and be extra kind yourself. When you find yourself burning up, that's all you can do.

Can I ask, I know now, you know, your, your website and your kind of presentation in that world is the tarot lady. Mm-hmm. But you know, you've taken on so much astrology, work and, and storytelling was that a change that came over time and also, Has your relationship with tarot changed over time?

All of it's changed and it's still changing. Everything's always evolving because you don't just learn these things and then boom, you're set and forget it. There's always gonna be a new idea, a new way of looking at things, which is why I read all the books.

I take classes. I've been doing this for 40 years. I'm still learning. I still get epiphanies. And by the way, I came to astrology before I came to tarot. Okay. Yeah. So for, did you ever consider being like the astrology lady? No. No, no. Because here's the thing with astrology in me, I use astrology every single day of my life.

As soon as I started working with astrology, I was in. Mm-hmm. And that was a long time ago. You know, that's over 40 years ago. So I started studying astrology first, and I love everything about it. But when I came to tarot shortly after tarot for me, It's more, it gives you more down and dirty answers.

Right. I like that with astrology, I feel that, yeah, with astrology. Astrology is great when I wanna get really analytical and go down a bunch of rabbit holes. Yeah. And make my brain work really hard with math. Yeah. My brain loves that. And so I do dig that. And I know living by the rhythms of the moon and all of that is so great.

That's, I mean, I grew up with farmers. That's what farmers do. Right. So I mean, all of that I love, my taro is down and dirty. I know when I got a burning question, will I look at astrology or maybe, but I always will look at tarot. Yeah. It's like, okay, what do these cards have to say? What's going on here?

Reveal all to me. Let me know what, what's the best path. So I, I think of it like a Swiss army knife. I mean, it really gives you the down and the dirty. So when I started working professionally, there was always a little bit of astrology, but I'm mainly focused on. Taro because I can be efficient with the way I deliver information.

And I'm not like fiddling around for a million hours just to produce 15 minutes of content. Whereas with tarot, it takes me no effort to boom. Here it is. So it's like, okay, do I wanna fiddle or do I wanna get right down to brass tack? Right? And tarot is good for that. I speak both fluently, but that's always what I go for.

Now that being said, when it comes to business, cause I love business, I always look at what the plans they're doing. Right? Plans can tell you a lot about how to operate your business. So I'm all about that.


Hmm. That's interesting. Do you picture somebody on the other side of the. Like, do you picture somebody in the spirit world or an ancestor or somebody who's like, here's the card for the answer you're looking for?

Like how do you imagine that that side of the exchange?


Well that's really interesting because, you know, you, part of the question before this was about how my relationship with taro has evolved, right? And when I was beginning to do tarot and astrology, I did feel that I felt very much like there was some kind of energy around me that was like giving me the information or coming through me in some way.

And sometimes I did have experiences that really felt like that, but I found that the more I worked with it, I really started feeling like it was just something more within. Mm-hmm. And so that may sound kind of strange, but it's like, no, no, no. This is something that's always there within you. Maybe it's your spirit that's talking, not some other thing.

But I did really feel that you know, that again, that there was some kind of a magical thing coming into me. And now I am like, no, it's always been there, but they never came into you. It's, it's been there all along. And I think the magic is really within us and ter astrology. I think ultimately that's where it leads you, is to realize that if you're looking for all the answers outside of yourself, ultimately what you're gonna find is, gee, you know it's kind of within yourself.

You know what's going on, so don't assume you don't. We all have that wisdom that has been passed down to us through various incarnations and through the, the life lessons and our life experiences. It's there.  


Do you feel like there was a part of you that spent a bunch of time memorizing interpretations for cards to be able to speak the language, to give an answer that you kind of already knew?


Well, first of all, I think when people are first learning tarot, you do kind of have to memorize you have to memorize something with those cards. You have to build a foundation. Yeah. You can't just like wing it and say whatever the hell is off your head. Right? I mean, because first of all, that doesn't honor the traditions of tarot.

And I think that's Lazy as hell. And I think if you're just making up things off the top of your head, would I feel then like I could go to a tarot conference and go up to Mary Kay Greer and start just, you know, flapping my gums and saying, oh, this is what I think it means.

Who cares what you think it means? So let's go ahead and start getting the bones down. Because when you understand the history, the foundation, what the foundational meanings, the numbers, the symbols, when you understand those basics, now your interpretation will. Beautifully because you've got bones and you will find your own words start to flow and your intuition starts working.

So if I had to like create an analogy, you know, learning the foundation, it's like you're building a house. So we wanna build a solid house on solid foundation, but then your intuition, that is the interior designer that's coming along and giving it that flare. So definitely learn the foundation. And I know there are a few people that are out there telling people, oh, just say whatever comes to your mind.

I'm like, that really feels like you're not honoring the whole, you know everything that's there for you. It is a structure, by the way. It is a system. Hmm. And so it seemed like with astrology, you don't just like read one book and all of a sudden you're an astrologer. There's a lot that goes into it. And once you have the foundationals down, well of course you're gonna find your intuition, helps you to make some interpretations and correlations.

But you gotta have foundations. I have it in anything. Foundational knowledge is really important.  


How did you start to have that relationship with tarot, with the cards?  


Well, the first deck I got was the Marsailles. Hmm. Because that's all that was available back then at the bookstore. Right. I, I grew up in a rural area.

Like I said, I grew up at farm folks. There was, there was nothing. And so I got my hands on the me size tarot, and it's a very, very hard tarot to start with. And I was 15 and I was determined. And so, you know, I just began reading the little white book that came with it. And I had to memorize those things because the, the Pips were not illustrated, right?

I mean, you're just looking at Seven Swords. What the hell does that mean? Well, let me look up that little book. Oh, okay. Now we're seeing how this goes together. So when I first began, I really had to rely on that book because the pictures were so, you know, vague. And then it was a couple months later, I got a right away Smith deck.

Now the right of way Smith Deck, the brilliance is, is that all the Pips are illustrated. So now you kind of have an idea. But I already had the Marsai Foundation, so I already knew, you know, like for example, the Seven Swords was some kind of treachery or skullduggery going on. And then when I saw the card I'm like, oh, well this illustrates that perfectly.

So it really actually helped with my interpretations because I'm a visual person, but it really was sitting down, reading the book, practicing with whoever the hell would let me practice with them. And the Marsai again, is a hard, hard deck, but you know, if you're really hungry to learn this stuff and that's all you got, you're gonna do what you gotta do.


How old were you when, when you had that first encounter with the deck?


15. 15. 15 is when I got my intro to astrology and my intro to. Same. Everything happened at 15. Hmm. It's funny, eh, we're kind of magical beings. I think in our teens. Teenagers. I think teenagers are the most magical. You know what's really funny?

I'm a parent, I've got two grown children. I have a new grandbaby. Oh, congrats. Yeah, thank you. The grandbaby's adorable. But I, I gotta say, when my kids became teenagers, I enjoyed them so much more than when they were little. And that sounds weird because everyone says, oh my God, teenagers tell, I'm like, what?

You're nuts. They're so interesting. They're so weird. They're so terrible. They're funny. They're, you see who they're becoming and they're interested and you see them pulling away. And I just loved that face. And I think also, you know, I remember so well being a teenager, it was such an important time in my life.

Not because I was one of those people into proms or any of that crap. I wasn't one of those, but I was a seeker. I was a secret, and I liked everything that was dark. And scary. And I remember my art teacher used to say, you're very adult. Your art is too adult. Everything you're doing is too adult. I'm like, you know what?

I wanna be when I grow up, I wanna be an adult. I wanna get the hell out of here, and I wanna do adult things. So as a teenager I remember just really being so aware of all that stuff. And of course, that's what drew me then to wanting to learn astrology and terror. I wanna figure out who the hell I am and how to get outta this place I'm living in.

How do I get outta this one horse town? You know?

Right. So I, I, I sympathize with teenagers. I love teenagers.


Yeah, me too. And I, I, I agree with you. I have such strong memories of. Like, especially now, the work I do now and getting to talk to people like yourself, that brings me back and I'm being in the room that I was a teenager in right now.

The room brings me back. It's all painted over now. It's all nice and mossy green in here now. But there was a lot of anger in here and a lot of like pretty Clear connection to my intuition and Yeah. Sense of magic and, and to a sense that the world could change and that it must, and the world is always changing.


It's so much more different now. And I mean, I know there's some things going on that are bad. Okay. So let's not be, I don't wanna be like Pollyanna, but there are also some things that are so much better. Mm. So, Better. I, one of the things I always say, listen, back in the day when you wanted to learn TA astrology, you were screwed If you didn't have a teacher, there weren't as many books as there are now.

The tarot decks, there were, there were plenty, I guess, but it was not always accessible. Now you got the internet, one click, boom. You can find this book, that book, this vintage book, that deck. Oh my God. There's a deck with cats. Oh my God. There's a deck with baseball players. I look at nowadays I'm like, all right, there's, yeah, there's some crappy things going on, but oh my God, the technology, oh my God, how we can connect.  


It sounds like you're kind of an optimist. I wonder when you look at the stars and you look at where the world is now, does it make you feel. Hopeful.


Well, there's two things that make me feel hopeful. One, I look at the historical cycles of astrology and I'm like, oh, we've been here before and we got through it and we'll get through this.

And also, the young people of today blow me away. I, again, let me get back to those teenagers, those young adults, oh my God, they are so smart and compassionate and tolerant and wise, and they're doing some great things. Right now, the US is in their Pluto return.  

And a Pluto return happens once every once every 200 something years. And so we as individuals don't have political returns, but countries and cities, and maybe companies have them. And it tends to be a time that's very volatile. And the last time, or the first time, this is the United States first Pluto return.

When this country was quote unquote founded a k a stolen what happened was we broke away from England. We decided, Hey, you know, screw, you we're doing our own thing here. We're we're gonna be signing this Declaration of Independence. And so that was when the country was founded. And now our first Pluto return is here.

And it's been here operating since 2008. And during a Pluto return, it's a time to tear down the old institutions and rebuild them. And the old institutions, if we think about this country being, and I'm using air quotes, founded was by a bunch of white dudes. Our country doesn't look like that anymore.

And so what's happening now is they're trying to push us down, kind of like England was trying to not allow us to be independent. And it isn't gonna work. It didn't work that time. It ain't gonna work if they think that all the things they're doing right now are gonna work. It's like you forget history.

I look at what's going on, I'm like, oh, we're gonna be fine.

We'll be fine. We got the young people, these beautiful young people, they blow me away. They humble me and I'm like, this generation's better than mine.  


You mentioned the, the right away Smith, is that still the, your deck of choice?


The Rider Waite Smith is my workhorse deck. Right. That's what I'll use. Or I use a version called The Wiser Taro, which is a modernized version of the right of way Smith. It's got watercolors and it also has representation, which is really important because everybody needs to see themselves in the cards.

Mm-hmm. So that's my workhorse deck. But my favorite deck of all time is the baro Bohemian Cats. Taro. It is adorable. It's cat and Victorian clothes. I love that deck. No one ever gets to touch that one. No one gets to touch that deck.  


So why do you think the, the Rider Waite Smith is still like the workhorse deck for so many people?

Why do you think that that one deck still connects? So it's cause it's a classic. I love Pixie so much. That's the first episode I wrote for missing witches was digging into her story. Sometimes I see her when I'm pulling cards for myself. That's why I asked about if you see somebody, you know. So, and I know it's my aversion of myself, but I feel her, I fill out presence of like a, a feminine and also kind of queer and playful storyteller presence when I'm playing with her deck.

Those were my vibes about it. What are yours?


I think it's a classic, you know, it's like it's like a striped t-shirt. It's a classic, it always wears well and so I think it, you know, that's, first of all, it's classic. I think also because it is classic, so many people are familiar with the images, so when you pulled that out in front of people, they know what you're talking about.

They know which card. When you mentioned the Emperor, most people will think of the emperor from the right or white Smith deck. You know, it is easy for people to connect with that because tarot is so, so connected with that deck and because it is the first deck that I really started to read from, even though liver size is deck number one, the writer, white Smith Deck is when those readings start to sing.

So for me it's like, it's always the go-to deck. I've got drawers filled with decks, but the workhorse deck will always be the writer, white Smith, or again, the Wiser, which is the modern interpretation.  


Are there cards that you think maybe the common interpretation is lacking? Like are there sometimes cards where you're like, people are missing this piece of the hi event?

Cheryl and I were talking, who's here now? In the, in the audience, we're talking about the hierophant today. They have a picture of it behind them on their walls. Mm-hmm. Are there cards like that where you're like, ah, there's this subtlety to this that I don't think gets picked up on?


I think you can find lots of different little subtle interpretations.

Yeah. In every one of those cards, there's always gonna be something you miss. There's always gonna be something you haven't thought about. And you know, there are so many quote unquote standard interpretations Yeah. That are really actually dry and tarots so, so richer than that. Yeah. And as we work with different people in different scenarios and read for these various situations, they take on so many other meanings.

So like for the hierophant for example, what do we always think about obedience conformity, you know, religious rights and rules. We think of an uptight dude telling people what to do, you know? But when you look at the card and I mean, let me go grab my higher fin outta here. What about those keys between his feet?

What about those communion slippers? They look like communion wafers to me. I mean, I also thought that was really weird that nobody ever said that about it, but I'm like, what the hell has he got these? Communion wafers on his shoes. You know, look at the, look at the way he's holding his hand. It's a benediction.

Maybe instead of him laying down the law, maybe this dude is actually giving a blessing and telling people, you know, go out and do your own thing. We can get so hung up on those quote unquote standard interpretations that we can miss all kinds of various ways of looking at it. So again, if you look closely at his feet, there's little, they look like communion wafers on his shoes.

And I just always thought that was fascinating because I grew up Catholic. I'm not a practicing Catholic any longer. I like the art though. But what did we know about communion wafers? Well, when you took the communion waiver, you're putting the body of Christ. And now that's got a lot of meaning. What?

I mean, you can look at those slippers then and you can start thinking all kinds of different types of things. What are we putting in ourselves? What are we ingesting? You can ask these questions. I mean, there's so much tact in that higher fin, but I don't think the higher fin is uptight as uptide as people think it is.

I really don't. Those fingers say everything to me. It's like, no, he's telling, yeah, go on and do your.  


That's a great example of exactly what I, I was thinking about and you, you said it better than I did, but I find so often when I'm like pulling cards and I, I don't have the right kind of memory to memorize the definitions.

Like that's never really gonna be a possibility for me. I, I always will have to pull and then pull everything together and then drop it all. That's how my brain works. Mm-hmm. You know, I'll have to pull it all together and make something out of it, and then drop it all and, and pull it all together again.

But every time I go to pull those definitions for a card, it's like nine times outta 10 that just doesn't feel as rich and that mm-hmm. A nuanced and as weird as I think it really mm-hmm. Could be.


Yeah. And I mean, you never know. What's this higher fent? I mean, first of all, what I remember when I started Lor Tarell, the higher f what the hell does that mean?

What does that mean? I remember just being fascinated. How do I pronounce it? What does it mean? So I looked at that card as being really super mysterious, actually. Why do you call it the higher fit? What is that? You know, what is it? I didn't get it. And I think that that's why people also maybe come up with these more uptight interpretations.

Plus also, if you did grow up Catholic like I did, you know, those priests were certainly for most people a really negative, uptight experience. I was actually very fortunate because the priests that I grew up with was progressive and really kind and super nice. So I did not have a terrible experience.

I didn't experience that weird stuff. I mean, my parents were like religious hypocrites, but the dude who was like running the show was actually pretty cool. And so I only had good experiences with him, but I knew from a very young age I was never gonna be one who went to church as soon as I was an adult.


Yeah, I find it so interesting to think about what, what Pixie was drawing on. Like what Yeah, what, what did wait, give her, you know, he said he decided he could trust her and he would show her these, these mystery books. What did he give her? What were the notes like? And then he also says, you know, he gave her basically no instruction for anything outside.

So that's just like her own reading.  


Well, you know what, do you know what I think is really fascinating about the right of way Smith Deck? And if you look at all of the figures, almost every single one, the expression on the face is neutral. And I just think that is so fascinating. Why did she do that?

Well, she did this so we could. You know, come up with many different interpretations, not just one. There's very few that have a certain expression, like the five swords, the due to smirking. But for the most part, when you look at the higher fin, he's very neutral. That's why, again, is this guy really like trying to tell us off, or is he just saying, go do your thing.

What are we projecting on this? Right. You know? So in a way, the cards are kind of like a mirror where you can see whatever you want to see in it. Yeah. Most of 'em are neutral. That's really fascinating to me.


Me too. Do you, maybe this is such a beginner question, and forgive me if it is. Do you believe in interpreting them differently if they come up in verse like right side up, upper right side down?

I know some people do, some people don't. But I don't know much about the debate around that.


Well, if you wanna get TA people mad, start talking about reversals. Okay. Oh my God, so many people have strong opinions about them. Now I work with reversals, and the reason why I work with reversals is simply because when I started working with tarot, you know, it's said in the book reversals.

So I assumed you had to learn reversals. I mean, I was like, what did I know? And I did not know that people did not read with reversals until I was an adult on the internet. I mean, it took me that long. And I'm like, oh my God, am I the only one reading reversals? What the hell? And people would tell me, oh, you don't need them.

Oh, they're too negative. And I'm like, but it gives you 78 other ways of looking at the card. So you're getting a new perspective, why wouldn't you want more, more than one perspective? So for me, reversals means that I get to look at the card in every single direction and try to figure some stuff out here.

And does it change the meaning? Yeah, absolutely. Sometimes subtly, sometimes more in your face. I also have a few round decks, and I've got this one by Martha E. Miller. It's the Natural tarot, the Natural Ink tarot. And I really recommend this deck. It's a round deck, and she created it by making ink from all kinds of things in nature, like trees and leaves and all of that.

And so the deck is made with this handmade ink. And the cool thing about the round deck is sometimes the deck is turned on. Its. Now I've got more interpretations. Now, maybe I'm just a greedy Gemini, but I love that. So sometimes I'm like, I need more interpretations and I'll pull out that little round deck.

There's other round decks, but that's the one I like for the round decks. Martha Miller's deck. You can find it on Etsy if people are looking for it. And again, it's called the natural taro. It reads brilliantly. It's based on the writer way Smith, but it's round. And let me tell you something, it really works well and you get now more interpret.


Oh, I, I, I feel really drawn to that cuz what I don't like about reading the inversions is I always feel like, well maybe I should have shuffled differently. Like I should have prepared the deck differently cuz I, you know, maybe I started with most of them right? Way up, and then I put just some of them in back in wrong.

And so it's not, you know what I mean? Like, I can, I can doubt myself like that, but I love the idea with the round, they're just kind of spinning on their own.


Yeah. I mean, that is so cool. And I, I love, like I said, the more the merrier for interpretations. Mm-hmm. And you know, this is why again when you're learning taro, you wanna learn those meanings, but then what you wanna do is you wanna read for as many different types of people in many different types of situations as you can.

Because suddenly now that card, okay, let's look at the hire front, for example, since he's in my face. Let's say you just pull it for random guidance and maybe the guidance you might get is like, oh. You need to take your issues to a wise counselor, they'll help you sort it out. That's your guidance.

But let's say you're asking a specific question, now you're asking about your work. This might say, okay, the boss is gonna be really acting like a dictator today. Mm-hmm. Or maybe you ask about your relationship and this card. Then you might look at and say, oh, I see a wedding. Now let's say it's reversed and you're asking about your kids.

They're gonna be on a full-on rebellion. Or maybe it's reversed. And now you're asking about work. And this could be, you're getting let go. I mean, there's so many ways you can look at these cards, and the only way you're gonna learn that is by reading for every type of situation and every type of person that you can imagine from every age group, from 13 all the way up to 95, open your mind.

And boy, let me tell you, those cards are gonna open. They're gonna open up in ways you have never imagined. I've had all kinds of bizarre readings because, you know, I've read for the public and I was a high volume reader for many years, and I would've situations that were so weird and interpretations that I would be laying on, Leah, what the hell am I about to say?

And it would be like, so spot on and just so off the wall and not maybe what you would think of when it came to that particular card, but that you're only gonna experience that if you read for many, many people.


Do you feel like taro is a, it's funny to use the word medium, but taro is a medium that you use and it could have been something else that allowed you to have the perceptions that you, that were inside of you, that you were maybe going to be able to have anyway.


I think Kara was a. It's a tool. And I grew up, and now remember I said I grew up with farm folks. Well, here's the thing with farm folks, they're very superstitious, at least the ones I grew up with. Mm-hmm. My parents were both eighth grade educated. That's it. They stopped at eighth grade and oftentimes they would wonder how the hell did these two make it in the world.

Right. You know, they were very, very simple, very, you know, undereducated. But my mother was very, very psychic. My dad was pretty perceptive too. And a lot of times what I found being around farm folks, they tend to really go with their gut and the cycles of the moon and all that stuff. They're kind of witchy, even if they don't think they're totally, and because our family was really super Catholic, there was all the superstition.

My grandmother would like candles at every storm. There'd be prayers you'd pray to this saint, that saint. So I grew up in his household where maybe nobody read books. But there was all kinds of like belief and dreams or intuition. And my mother would have these psychic things happening, this weird phenomena, and we just took it for granted.

Hmm. So I was always really attuned to energy like that, just because I grew up in a household that didn't squash that like, it was weird. That was like, oh yeah, you had that sign. That's what that means. And so be it. You know? My mother had this one that was really super dramatic. I always loved telling this.

One of her big signs, the doorbell would ring and only her and the dog would hear it, and she'd go running to the door, she'd open it up, there'd be nobody there. She'd slam the door shut and turn around really dramatic. And she had a mood of Leo. So my mother was very dramatic and she said, there's gonna be a funeral in a few days, and there would always be a funeral within a few days.

Now was that psychic or was it just the fact that we had a gigantic family? So the odds were in her favor? Who knows? But growing up with that, there's something about that that's very. Magical. Yeah. And so I was always very attuned to things like intuition and the idea of magical things. Mm-hmm. None of that was weird to me.

So as far as Tarot being a, a medium, again, it's a tool. Do I need it? No. Sometimes I get on my own weird things and prophecies, which my husband thinks are very witchy, and I'm like, okay, listen, I had a dream. This is what's gonna happen. And stuff goes down and we believe.


Yeah. It's funny, a lot of that stuff I would keep to myself, or I would frame it in a way that was like non-threatening to people, you know, just like, and increasingly being in the woods and being surrounded by people where it's a little bit easier, it's a little bit easier to be like, I know that this is going to happen.

Like I know that you will own this, you will own this house. And that, like, I just, I don't know, don't know what to tell you about that, but.


You know, I gotta tell there's some people who really freak out about that. Yeah. There's people who wanna prove psychics to be wrong. They, they think like, oh, you can't talk to the dead dreams are, you know, whatever.

But, If you are approaching things from that perspective, well, you will never know magic. Mm-hmm. If that's the way you're gonna learn it, you're never gonna know what it feels like to experience a miracle. You're never gonna, and so believe it's not true. And that's okay. You know? Yeah. And that's, that's totally fine if you don't believe in anything.

One of the things I, I always say I'm not here to convert anybody if you're not into it, I don't care. Yeah. I'm not interested in converting you. And I always say, I'm not into sports. Don't try to convert me. It will never happen. Yeah. You're wasting your time. You're never gonna see me at a basketball game, so don't even bother.

It's the same thing. Yeah. Yeah. We don't, y'all need to like the same things and Yeah. Maybe I'm missing out on something, you know, maybe I need to get into it, but I don't want to.


I would love if it's okay with you to open it up to see if the folks listening have a question or just a response.  

But before we get into anything like that I like to kind of make sure the episode feels like spiraled into a tidy place for myself in my brain before I open it up to other people. And so that would one mean thanking you so much. It's so fun to get to spend more time with you.

I want to come visit you and hang out with you. And two I like to ask. If there is a practice, a ritual mm-hmm. A song, a habit, a spell. Is there something that is like working for you now that you don't mind sharing with our listeners, kind of as a way that they can be closer to you and to the ways that you've learned or practiced?

Well, I am very musically inclined, although I have no musical talent. Mm-hmm. And I believe that everything and everyone has a soundtrack, and so I have soundtracks for everything. I have soundtracks for every person in my life in the back of my head, and I have soundtracks for every single tarot card in the deck.

Mm-hmm. I think if you create a song that you can that will remind you of each additional card, that can really be a way, first of all, to help learn. But also I call this musical Oracles. Okay. So not only do I have a soundtrack for everything, but I always pay attention to music. And like for example, if I'm doing a reading and I don't read for the public anymore, but when I would do readings, sometimes I would get lyrics that would come through me and I'm like, okay, well hey, I got this lyric from this Bowie song.

Does this mean anything to you? And it would blow people away. But I look for musical oracles all the time. I will be doing something, a song comes on, and I'll be kind of like half listening to the lyrics and all of a sudden will be like, I got the message. Thank you. So music is very important to me. I've always lived with musicians all my entire adult life.

I've always hung out with musicians. I've only dated musicians. I say, I don't know what it's like to date a normal person. I've always been around musicians, musicians, musicians, by the time I was old enough to date. And music is also really a big, big part of my intuition. Hmm. And so one thing that people can do, pay attention to the music that plays around you randomly.

It's probably not random. Listen for the message there. Connect a song for every card in your deck. That will help you to form your own special relationship with that card. And also connect songs to people. I definitely do that. I don't tell people what their song is, it's just for my own personal reference.

And sometimes if it's someone who's passed on, I'll hear the song and I look at that. Like, if it comes on randomly, that is a message from so-and-so. Mm-hmm. So music really plays a big part of my intuitive processing.


Wow. That is so interesting. I think especially when you think about, you know, we're trying to, I feel like culturally wrap our heads around the implications of neurodiversity and how narrow our understanding of that has been and how joyful it can be to kind of bust that open.

But also there's some mourning involved in that. Like, geez, we were really stuck in this tiny little thing in this way. In addition to all these other ways, we were kind of stuck. But it's tricky to kind of adapt magical practices, spiritual practices, divinatory practices, religious practices to our different neuro diversities.

Mm-hmm. So I think that that approach of tying it to music could be really useful for, it's helpful.


Music is everything. Music is life. Musicians blow me away. Because of the way their minds work. They fascinate me. I was watching a documentary on the Bee Gees. Now I'm not a big disco person, but once in a while I'll get my disco on.

And in this documentary, Barry Gibb was talking about the time they were driving and he heard this the, like the tire had some kind of like something wrong with it so it would hit and it would make this noise. And he said he was sitting in the back of the car just listening to that and he got home and it was in his head.

And from that he wrote Jive talking. Wow, that blew me away. Musicians minds work very much. Musicians and artists work very much like TA readers very, very, very much. They're also looking for inspiration and signs and all that stuff. How do you pull a th a song out of thin air, right? How do you do that?

How do you make a prophecy about the future? How do we do this? How do we make magic happen? I mean, it really is pretty fascinating. Those are questions that I never get sick of asking, ever. No, we never, ever, ever, ever. But music is tied very, very strongly to my life. Incredibly. I think next lifetime I'll be a musician.


Hmm. It sounds like you've probably inspired some songs in your life. I don't know if I've inspired that. I mean, you date a lot of musicians for sure. There are songs out there about you, Teresa. There might be something out there. Who knows. Who knows? Would you be willing to tell us a song for you for the hire fan?


Ooh, the song for the higher f we're really in a higher front mood. Okay. The Authority Song by John Mellencamp.

Okay. I don't know. That's what I put for the Higher F Authority song. Yeah. Because, you know, we look at the higher fin, like again, like they're trying to lay down the law, but that song has actually got quite a bit about rebellion. Mm-hmm. And about getting your ass kicked by authority. It's a really, a really kind of a fun song.

Huh. Cool. Yeah, we reverse that card for the Higher Fent. If I had to pick a song, it would of course be Rebel. Rebel by David Bowie. It would have to be Of course. Of course.  


I don't really have, I don't have much of a question. I'm, I'm a newbie to this whole oh, thing kind of 50 year old, new newbie. I kind of wanted to play with it when I was a teenager and I did something wrong and I hurt people and I ran away really fast.

But my heart kind of always kept calling me back and Terra was one of those things that is, has always seemed so extremely daunting in my brain. Cuz I, I, I, I'm a lot like Risa, where I'm not gonna ever memorize it. I have a brain disease that, so I have actual physical damage in my brain and sometimes just working.

I'm working today just working is enough for me to just go, I'm so done by the end of the day to try to learn anything. No, I just can't. Mm-hmm. But I want to learn this. I just, I'm gonna have to find ways to do cheat sheets.


I just know what, you know what? Let me tell you when I work with my students who are very new, one of the things I tell 'em, get a tarot deck.

Get anyone properly a writer, weight smith, get a black marker and write the meaning on the damn card. I said, don't worry about wrecking the deck. You can buy a new one. But really that, that works like magic because suddenly you're, it's like giving your tarot card some training wheels and it will help you.

Like, just pick some keywords that help, that help you get the essence of the card. Write it in marker, and then turn the card reversal. Write the reversal on the upside down. Let me tell you, it will work, it will help you. And you might, oh my God, thank you. Find that you prefer that. Maybe you'll stick with your deck like that forever.

There is no shame in that. I mean, key words are helpful and why not write on those cards? So just paper, who cares? Perfect. Wreck Your Deck.


That is, You just gave me the best thank you. I, I attended you know, yesterday we had Jasper's class tarot class. And I, I attended that and it was, it was sweet and it was nice.

But now I'm gonna have to just dive on my own and that. Thank you. You just gave me such peace knowing that me doing that isn't gonna be like wrong. And I did give myself a, I got a, I got a deck on Amazon. I know we really shouldn't be dealing with that, but it was so freaking cheap. I couldn't, I couldn't resist.


I'm gonna say something controversial about Amazon and Walmart. There are a lot of people who say, you should only do indie. You gotta support all the local bookstores, blah, blah, blah. And for some people, okay, you may live in an area where that's not possible. I know plenty of folks who live in rural areas.

The only way they're gonna get their hands on a tarot deck or book is through Amazon or Walmart. And I never judge somebody if they have to get it from that. Source because if that's it. Listen, again, I grew up in a rural area. How I would've given my IT to have Amazon, I had to wait until we went to the mall, which was a rare thing and had to save up the money to get it.

And everything was more expensive because we didn't have the money. So there's no shame in Amazon, there's no shame in Walmart. And also like for example too you know, there are people also who are physically, they have issues. And to have somebody deliver things to your house is a blessing. So I'm all about if it's Amazon, if there is Walmart, don't let anyone shame you.

If it works for you, it's nobody's business. Thank you. Nobody's business.


You've just done. Thank you, Theresa. Seriously, I sincerely. I have to. I'm gonna cry. I'm very emotional, so thank you. I'm gonna shut up now cause I will cry. Thank you.


Okay, no problem. And I will also add that when people get mad at folks for shopping at Walmart or.

Amazon, there's something about that that's very puritanical and classist and it's like, you don't understand it. You, you, maybe you didn't grow up poor. Maybe you are someone who can be able bodied to go to the store, to go to your local indie bookstore. You know? So I, I just think we have to be very, very careful about passing judgment on folks.

For that, all I care about is that you got a tarot deck in your hands. I don't care how you got it. I don't care where you got it from. I'm just happy you have a tarot deck.


Theresa, by any chance, did you have a, I had a big feeling when Hope said I did something wrong and I hurt somebody. When she talked about mm-hmm.

Her first encounter with Tara, like, I just wanted to wrap hope in my arms and tell her that, that, that that wasn't her somehow, or like...


She didn't hurt anybody. She didn't hurt anybody.


Did you, did you wanna respond to that at all? I don't know.


Here's the thing. You know, sometimes, especially when you first begin, You might use words carelessly and say something that later you think, ah, I could have probably said that differently.

Or maybe you'll interpret something based on the book that says like, oh, the devil's negative. And maybe the devil's not really meaning anything negative. So there are gonna be times where your words, or the way you put things together, you may assume it causes harm. But that's how we learn to become good readers.

You're gonna make mistakes. You're some guy who's gonna open your mouth. And don't get me wrong, if anybody ever thought I was the smoothest, taro reader right from the get-go, hell no. I did some readings that were like, oh my God, what did I just say? And you know, and I was doing it when I was a teenager.

So of course everyone expects you to be a jerk when you're a teenager. So, I mean, it didn't do maybe too, who knows? But that's how you. You're gonna make mistakes. You're probably gonna say something really super negative. Maybe someone's gonna freak out. They don't like the reading. Those things will happen.

That's how you become a good reader. That is how you become a good reader. Sitting with that and saying, okay, let me take the data. What went wrong here? Why did this feel like this was a negative thing? What's going on? What do I need to process? So look at it as an opportunity for inquiry, not condemnation, because you're gonna make mistakes.

Now, here's the thing for taro readers and I've been around lots of taro readers in my life too. The taro readers. Who do the most harm are the ones that tell folks, you gotta curse on you. Give me X amount of dollars to take that curse off of you. Now that's doing harm. Saying a careless word or sometimes giving a wrong prediction, that's human.

We're gonna make mistakes, you're going to do that. That's part of learning to be a good reader. That's not causing harm. What's causing harm are the people who are trying to rip folks off. That's where the problem is. So I have a feeling you probably didn't do anything as terrible as you thought, that you're probably being way too hard on yourself and you were also not being forgiving.

When you're in the learning cycle, in the learning cycle, you were gonna open your mouth and you're gonna say all the thing. And believe me again, I've said some things . Well, I was a teenager and I mean that's like give it a teenager, a a car, and a six pack of beer.

That's what tarots like when you're a teenager. Lots of bad things could happen, but that's how we learn. So don't beat yourself up. You ain't gonna learn if every reading is like gumdrops and sugar bears and all that stuff, that's not the way it is. You're going to make mistakes. And not every reading is right.

Not every reading's gonna be positive, but then we learn from that and then we learn how to empower people. Takes time to get there. It takes time. And by the way there's a lot of people, and I'm gonna say this is a controversial opinion, who are in such a hurry to monetize their tarot habit, or hobby or habit, whatever you wanna call it.

They're in such a hurry. And they'll like read a book. They'll do tarot for six months, and now they're a professional tarot reader. I read tarot for 10 years, unpaid before I became pro, 10 years under my belt, high volume reading, reading at bars, reading wherever anybody would let me. Lots and lots and lots of readings.

And so I had a lot of experience under my belt and made a lot of mistakes . 10 years. And that is really important. And I think people also, they hear a myth because there's some of these TA teachers that say, oh, take this class, and in six weeks you get a certification and now you're a professional and say you're doing damage because here's the thing a good tarot reader is gonna do.

You're gonna take time, you're gonna do many different readings, but you also have to learn how to deliver information. And a good teacher's gonna teach you that. They're also gonna teach you, what do you do if you have a client? How do you talk them off the wall if they're on the ledge? How do you deal with somebody who's got a really complicated situation?

What do you do if somebody's coming to you and they confess a crime? What do you do if you're going to a tarot party and you walk in? True story, by the way, I walked in, it was a gang that I got hired to do readings for, and I'm reading for these people, the head gang guy, and he goes, so can I trust this person?

Can I trust this? Now, let me tell you something. During those readings, I'm sweating the entire time, turning over the cards and praying, please don't let me turn over something negative. And I get somebody killed tonight. I mean, nobody prepares you for this. And that's why you do need time and you need to work with good teachers who are gonna prepare you for every possible scenario.

What do you do if you have someone breaking down in front of you? What do you do if somebody presents you with a moral dilemma and you don't wanna be a judgey bitch? I mean, there's so much that goes into reading professionally and I, when I see these people that come straight out of the gate reading one book, taking one class, and they're doing professionalism, I'm like, number one, you're not gonna last.

Those people never last long. And number two, now we're gonna create problems because you're pro before you're ready. So I probably would guess that you weren't trying to be a pro back then. Hope you did a couple readings, you got freaked out. And that's okay. That's part of the learning process. But you weren't out there trying to charge a bunch of money.

Those are the people who are more dangerous. That's dangerous stuff. You need time. Develop your voice. Learn how to be a responsible reader. Learn to be responsible with your words.


Thank you so much. Thank you. All of you. So nice to see her faces. Remember that? We're called to this work, we're drawn to this tool, Tarot, or, or whatever it is.

Because I think, as you said, Theresa, there's already something in you that is offering those insights. So we'll do the work, we'll get the bones, we'll get the foundation. We'll wreck the deck, but also recognize yeah, there's, there's a live wire that's, that's part of you.


Well said.


And bless a fucking be, I guess.


Mm-hmm. Right on.  


The Missing Witches Podcast is created by Rea Dickens and Amy to rock with insight and support from the Covin. Amy and Rea are the co-authors of missing witches, reclaiming true histories of feminist magic, which is available now wherever you get your books or audio books and of New Moon Magic 13 anti-capitalist tools for resistance and reamp.

Coming fall 2023.

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