Tag Archives: Divination

Tarot Readings – the clients’ view

 ‘Exploring the psyche – via the Tarot should have given the reader some idea of the depth from which the Tarot can be approached, of issues raised by its practice, and of how it can be used as a valuable aid to self-development.

Here, the second part presents feedback from two clients, one female – Anya – and one male – Marc. They were chosen for the way in which they brought together, in their respective accounts, elements of most people’s responses to the tarot creatively and responsibly used.

I was also interested to show how Marc wove his experiences of very different symbol systems ie tarot, astrology and the I Ching as well as more conventional psychotherapy, into his long struggle to arrive at a place of reasonable balance in his life again.

Both names are pseudonyms.

The Tarot

The Tarot

 From Anya, a female client in her late thirties:

……This felt like an extremely powerful experience and I could hardly believe the cards which were turned up. A number of the cards made a direct impact on me as I realised their significance. Some of the other cards were more difficult to connect with at the time, but have since shown their relevance. All in all, it was an extremely affirming experience and offered me the support I so badly needed at the time – gave me something positive to hold onto.

Meaning continues to unfold as time has progressed, and I feel (six months on) that I am shifting into another phase, having embraced each of the cards’ messages in turn.

This experience has underlined for me a sense of being part of something much larger and greater than myself. This is awesome! I take faith from this. I found the pictures on the cards most evocative and enjoyed looking around ‘within’ the pictures.

The experience remains with me as an affirmation of my life over the last six months. In many ways I can see that I am at the place of ‘final outcome’ in the reading, certainly having lived through and faced that which I most needed and feared.

Without the reading, I feel that I would have gone through the experience in much the same way. However, holding on to the most positive aspects of the reading offered me vital support and helped me make connection with my inner strength. Furthermore, the element of warning and caution in the reading helped me to be extremely aware of my need to protect myself. This helped sustain me during a most harrowing time. I look forward to my next reading very much!’

The Sun

The Sun

From Marc, a male client in his mid forties, extracted from written feedback he provided:

‘…..The best way I can think of to approach this, is to answer the question ‘why did I go for astrology and tarot readings at all, especially bearing in mind my previous contemptuous rejection of such things?

Well, as you know, only a catastrophe got me there! My previous, very rational, world view having collapsed in some considerable disarray, I had a desperate need for some other source of ‘meaning’ in my life – or rather, some other ‘meaningful’ way of understanding myself and what had been happening to me. I don’t think I was too interested in prediction, only in gaining insight.

I graduated to the tarot reading from several astrology readings and from participation in your astrology classes. Astrology was powerfully attractive for me – after I had crossed the Rubicon of ‘letting go’ of my previous contempt – because within its own terms it is in fact another vast rational system of understanding the universe. What I mean is, even if you think the whole thing is nonsense, it is nevertheless internally consistent, rational nonsense. Hence it rapidly became acceptable to me.

Moving on to the tarot was perhaps my way of travelling further down the road away from rationality, just to see what it was like. By April last year, my worst times were over and I was feeling the green shoots of recovery. Psychologically, I think I had come to terms with what had happened to me and was beginning to look to the future. I had sent the divorce papers to my estranged wife, but she hadn’t yet returned them, and I was experiencing pangs of doubt about what I really wanted.

Before, with astrology, I was looking for insight; now, with the tarot, I was looking for a method of choosing – but one that was different from what I had done before, one that involved some kind of surrender on my part. That’s not clear. What I mean is – all my therapy with you brought home to me how much energy I have always devoted to creating a picture of reality inside which I then lived. But it turned out that my reality wasn’t reality after all. By relying so heavily on my rational powers, I had created a faulty picture of how things really were.

Tarot seemed appealing because it involved allowing the universe to show you what reality was. If you made an initial commitment to the ritual, surrendered control, the turn of the cards would show you where you stood. I see the I Ching in essentially the same light, and the notion has a ‘thrilling’ aspect to it precisely because I have been so controlled in my life so far.

The Lovers

The Lovers

What was the experience of the reading like? Given that I was dipping my toe in previously uncharted waters, it felt slightly unreal. I couldn’t ‘believe’ in the tarot as easily as I could in the more ‘systematic’ or ‘rational’ astrology whose terms of reference, unlike the tarot, arise from physical bodies we can actually see in the night sky. But it was thrilling.

I would have to say that I hadn’t fully committed myself to the outcome, but I was much more open to what was going to happen than I could ever have been in my life before. It was an experiment. It was a valuable experience – it helped me to work out my real feelings about my ongoing divorce and about career choices. But it was the talking stimulated by the cards that did that – they were a mechanism for releasing talk and thus feelings.

My tarot reading suggested that I needed to consolidate choices I had already made in my heart, and move on to new commitments on the basis of the wisdom I had achieved through experience. I did in fact go ahead with my divorce, not without further emotional upset, and have in fact consolidated my relationship with my girlfriend.

My experimentation with both the tarot and astrology has led me to an appreciation that many aspects of our lives are ‘fated’ – but that does not obliterate free will or personal responsibility. On the contrary, it seems that everyone has the responsibility of understanding the purpose of his or her individual life – which will depend on his or her inheritance at the start – and has the freedom to choose to make the effort of understanding, then the freedom to do something with the knowledge – or not.

My response to the pictorial images on the cards? You know, for a Presbyterian Scot, I’ve decided I could go in a surprisingly big way for all kinds of pictorial religious symbolism! The allure of forbidden territory? I got the same reaction recently at the temple at Samye Ling (a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Scottish Borders). My senses were drenched in gold, red, blue, green and in accompanying sounds and smells! Seriously – perhaps a slightly infantile thrill at ‘surrendering’ my destiny to pretty painted pictures with supposedly magical powers.

I am intrigued with the idea of ‘drawing lots’ either via the tarot or the I Ching, and I think it’s something I’ll probably do again. The idea of choosing by ritual is powerfully attractive to me because, if done with full commitment, it could of course represent the placing of trust in something outside myself. But it remains an aspiration, not an accomplishment…

Well, there you are! That’s the best I can do to recall my reactions to the experience….

Tarot Deck

1400 words copyright Anne Whitaker/’Anya’/’Marc’ 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Contemporary Astrology and the Big Picture: Linda’s Challenge

This comment on my last post from Linda Leinen, a faithful and much appreciated supporter, is so interesting that I thought I’d turn it into the next post! Linda blogs at The Task at Hand and her writing is brilliant. Check it out….

From Linda:

This isn’t a criticism, or even a cogent observation, because there’s too much I don’t know about all this. But my sense of things, after my years in Africa, is that some differences in culture and world view are so fundamentally different that a synthesis, a grand, overarching explanation for human behavior, just isn’t possible.

Part of the difficulty may also be an irony. The worldview of many Liberians I knew more closely resembles that of antiquity than of our modern culture. We no longer speak of the gods controlling every aspect of human behavior and worldly events – but some of my friends saw gods everywhere, determining almost mechanistically what was possible.

If I framed it as a question, I suppose it would be – how does modern astrology deal with cultures that haven’t even made it to pre-modern, let alone post-modern? It’s really an interesting thought.


And an interesting question! I have been so busy dealing with the demands of the ‘real’ world this week that I haven’t had time to address your question in the virtual world until now.

Whilst reading the introduction to a new book pulling together the perspectives of a range of modern astrologers on Transpersonal Astrology, I came across this statement which strikes me as relevant in responding to your question:

“The emergence of a transpersonal perspective  (bringing together insights from the fields of psychology, progressive spirituality, the human potential movement, non-reductionist science, and philosophy), is reflected….in....an increased awareness that life is far more complex than can be appreciated by our immediate senses…..There is a palpable eagerness to seek alternative ways to understand the human condition and to expand our experience of life’s great mystery…..

As humans.we are clearly enveloped within a system not of our design but of an intelligence that transcends and includes us, as if we are each nerve cells in a larger brain. Incorporating the transpersonal perspective is an act of yielding to this broader reality instead of choosing to couch the phenomena of astrology in only familiarly personal ways….”

(Transpersonal Astrology Explorations at the Frontier (2013) Produced and Edited by Armand Diaz, Eric Meyers & Andrew Smith, pp 1,2)

This transpersonal perspective can be seen as flowing into the broad category of ‘archetypal cosmology’ which I talked about in the previous post. This mode of seeing proposes that the great archetypal patterns shaping human behaviour both at the individual and collective level, patterns revealed in the inter-relationship between planetary cycles and earthly life, are  in fact fundamental to the cosmos itself.

Viewed in this way, perspective on human culture in the broad sense, and individual life in the tiny sense, changes its locus from the personal to the transpersonal.

Thus the “grand, overarching explanation for human behavior” which you talk about in your question shifts: from the human world with its many, continually evolving viewpoints – depending on geographical location and mores –  to locating all life on tiny planet Earth within the vast teleology of an unfolding and evolving Cosmos.

Thus a truly contemporary astrology  can play its part, as Diaz, Meyers and Smith so eloquently put it, through “….  yielding to this broader reality instead of choosing to couch the phenomena of astrology in only familiarly personal ways….”

To ground this reflection in actual practice: as a contemporary, transpersonal astrologer I find it deeply supportive of my attempts to lead a meaningful life, to see the interweaving of the symbols in my personal horoscope with the ever-changing energies of the solar system in which we are temporally located, as an unfolding pattern charged with meaning, set in the context of a much Bigger Picture.

This challenges me to live out my tiny spark of energy in this vast Cosmos with as much conscious awareness and positive choice as I can manage.

My experience of clients coming to me for help is this: assisting them in seeing that this life’s grapples take place within a context of larger meaning where every positive effort – although we may not see its immediate fruit – helps the Bigger Picture to unfold, is greatly supportive to them.

Having a sense  that our tiny lives are a potentially useful and creative part of …. life’s great mystery….may not remove life’s difficulties, but it certainly empowers both me and my clients in coping with whatever life on planet Earth chooses to throw our way.

Linda, I hope this goes some way toward answering your question! It may be a little longer than you were expecting….



800 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Armand Diaz, Eric Meyers & Andrew Smith 2013

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page


What is Astrology? Part One

This is a question which I am happy to be asked by  open-minded people who genuinely wish to find out more about the wonderful body of knowledge which lies behind the popular mask of  Sun Sign astrology.

It’s been asked  so often of late that I thought I would reply  – in a two-part post. I would be interested to have your responses, whether you are an experienced practising astrologer or an enthusiastic beginner.

How do you as a practitioner answer the question “What is Astrology?”

What do you, an interested beginner, think astrology is?

Here, for what it is worth, is my take . I hope you find it of interest!

“Six thousand years ago, when the human mind  was still half asleep, Chaldean priests were standing on their watchtowers, scanning the stars.”

(Arthur Koestler from The Sleepwalkers)

This wonderful universe

The story of humanity is one of an unending attempt to create some recognisable order from the chaos of our earliest origins. In order to survive and evolve as a species, we have  created contexts for ourselves over many millennia from our interpretations of the world around us.

Modern science has shown us that we are part of an interconnected universe of mind-boggling complexity, in its minutest essence a vast energy field, ever moving and changing to the shifting dance of waves and particles – chaos and order forever interweaving, forever returning to and arising from the Quantum Vacuum, or in Buddhist terminology the Void, or in Western spiritual terminology, the Ground of our being.

The vivid quotation from the philosopher Arthur Koestler illustrates the origins of the ancient art and science of astrology – literally ‘the study of the stars’, whose basic precept “as above, so below” demonstrates that our modern understanding that we live in an interconnected cosmos is not a new idea at all.

It has been around ever since we fragile humans, vulnerable to the vagaries of a tempestuous earth with its storms, earthquakes and floods, began to evolve a context of meaning by plotting with increasing sophistication as time went on, the movements of the heavenly bodies in the starry skies above us.

From observing the regular patterns and cycles followed by those heavenly bodies, and recording with care what links there seemed to be between such movements and the ebbs and flows of human life, the early astrologer/priests began to be able to determine (with varying degrees of accuracy – prediction in any field of endeavour has never to this day become an exact science!) the fate of the king and the nation according to the movements of the planets.

Personal horoscopes plotting the patterns of individual life were unheard of until the first century or so AD.

To be continued….

To read Part Two, click HERE.



450 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Answering a challenge: “Is it true that REAL astrologers do not charge for their services ?”

Horoscope” ‘s Question:

Is it true that REAL astrologers do not charge for their services as it is against the code to take profit out of a gift from God to help people? I read this and saw a medium on tele say it.  In these circles it is donations given based on good work.Is this true at all?


(Readers with some knowledge of astrology will know that the planet Mercury is currently in its retrograde phase, ie it appears from our standpoint on Earth to be travelling backwards in its orbit.They will also know that tricksterish Mercury can cause all kinds of communication disruptions during this time.

The question above, which I have just received, is a case in point! It came in this morning via  an email from the webmaster of the local West End Website here in Glasgow UK where I write an occasional column. Despite being sent the link, I was unable to trace its location or the time it was left….the webmaster may be able to help out!

In the meantime, here is my answer to the anonymous writer’s question – one with which I am sure my fellow astrologers will be quite familiar….)


Dear Ms/Mr/ X (I am assuming ‘horoscope’ is not your real name)

thank you for raising this interesting question. Before getting down to discussing the issue of  payment of fees for any  professional service, whether the professional is for example a highly trained,well qualified and experienced astrologer, lawyer,  or accountant, it is important to clarify a few points for you.

Your question strongly suggests that you associate the practice of astrology in some way with the practice of mediumship. They are two separate activities. Thus a comment on how mediums operate cannot usefully be applied to the practice of astrology.

Popular Astrology

Secondly, it would perhaps help you if I made clear that there are broadly speaking two main types of astrology. The first type, popular star sign or sun sign astrology, is the kind which most people know about. Perhaps that is the type of astrology you have in mind in asking your question?

This astrology functions as popular entertainment, in which the point of reference is the twelve Sun or Star signs under which individuals are born, depending upon the time of year, eg Scorpio, Aries, Leo, etc.

The predictions offered on the basis of this limited focus entertain millions of people across the world on a daily basis. No-one with any real intelligence seriously can believe that one-twelfth of the human race are all doing roughly the same range of things on any given day, month, or year. It’s entertainment!

Popular astrology as found in the media can only give a very general picture of one dimension of the person. It’s simply NOT possible for this astrology to describe in any detail  who you are. It’s like trying to tell the story of a complex play with reference to only one character on the stage.

Using this analogy, you  can only get a view of all the characters on the stage of your life from the map which an astrologer draws of the heavens at the particular TIME and PLACE, as well as DAY, of  your birth.

 Astrology In-Depth

This map or Horoscope or Birth Chart can then be used as a tool to mirror back to you, as lucidly as possible, with great care for your sensitivity and level of awareness, what the different characters are on the stage of your life and how they interact with one another.

Example Horoscope

Example Horoscope

click on image to enlarge

After many years of doing readings professionally – and keeping my hand in by occasional informal readings during my long sabbatical – I think the central thing that an individual gains from an astrology reading is confirmation of who they actually are: what their  strengths and weaknesses are, what their gifts and their difficulties are. It gives them more confidence and courage to be themselves.

It is a very powerful and potentially spiritual experience to have a stranger, who knows nothing of you, describe your essential qualities accurately from a map drawn of the heavens for the moment you entered this world.. This helps you to see that we are all interconnected and part of the One, whatever name you choose to give that vast, indescribable Mystery.

Qualifications and Training

I have a university degree and three post-graduate diplomas, the third of which involved three years’ travel to and from London in order to meet the stringent requirements required to obtain my Diploma in Psychological Astrology in 1998. This included one year of mandatory personal therapy in order to have the experience of being a client myself .

I am not alone in having made considerable efforts and allocated a great deal of time and money to becoming skilled and competent at my profession.Whilst not wishing to speak for my colleagues, all the astrologers I know and with whom I associate are well-educated people of considerable intelligence and integrity who share the same core values as I do regarding the importance of treating our fellow human beings with sensitivity and compassion.

I consider that I owe this to the often vulnerable people who come looking for help and clarifiaction, often at turning points in their lives. Their experience, and mine, is that an astrology reading can be of considerable assistance.

And now, about money….

However, in the process of being useful people in the world, astrologers, like anyone else, need to eat, put a roof over their heads, and bring up their families. We also need to pay for our office rent, professional indemnity insurance and organisational memberships as well as the many other expenses involved in running a professional practice. For example, my work is regularly supervised by a highly skilled and experienced colleague whose fees are £60 per hour. Other astrologers will have similar arrangements.

Ms/Mr X, are you suggesting that we can live in this world and practice our profession with compassion and integrity, without charging realistic fees to cover our living costs?

I do hope this answer has adequately addressed your question, for which I thank you. It has given me an opportunity to offer to non-astrologers a clearer idea of  what it is that professional astrologers actually DO…




1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page



The first three Questions and Answers….

This new blog was birthed in May 2013 on a blog page on  Glasgow, Scotland, UK’s popular West End Website, a brilliant local community resource. However, the response via questions and comments was so positive that I decided to set up a whole blog dedicated to Astrology Questions and Answers.

Below are the first three posts, which appeared on the West End Website. As you will see they elicited a lively discussion. Do have a browse through them.

Then come back,  and leave me a question or two….. Even better, Follow!

Looking forward to sharing ideas and knowledge with you.