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I’m a Tarot Reader, and Jesus is cool with it.

This is an open letter to Elyse, the Wild Moon Woman, whom I actually wasn’t really aware of until she deleted everything and denounced her past work as “evil” and “demonic”, when it clearly had brought so much Light and Inspiration to others and had done nothing but uplift the vibe up until that point… I guess I’ll never know, because she deleted everything.

I understand struggling with depression and wanting to find comfort in a connection with God, with The Divine, however one may choose to call it. My connection with Jesus and my Guardian Angel are very strong, I felt their loving presence growing up in the church: My grandmother is a devout Catholic, my father is a 7th Day Adventist, sometimes Pentecostal, and most of my family members are varying degrees of Catholic, Methodist, Episcopalian, etc…

In essence, I knew the Padrenuestro (Lord’s Prayer), Ave Maria, and Prayer to my guardian angel by the time I was 2 years old, went to church pretty regularly, attended Catholic and Menonite Schools, went to Christian Summer Camp and was even named Camper of the year for my contributions during worship assembly. I loved Jesus and he comforted me in my dreams, and I felt his presence when I sang to him with my heart, and knew that He is Real, knew it in my bones, without a doubt, because I had experienced Him.

I was so into Jesus, that I wanted to be a nun and be married to Him and let him work through me to help others and help heal the world. Then, puberty hit and I realized that celibacy wasn’t really gonna be an option for me, ha! I felt really bad and prayed every time I indulged, and I promised I wouldn’t do it again, and I longed to find the man I’d marry so that I wouldn’t feel bad about making my body feel good. With my Leo Sun, Leo Moon, Scorpio rising, Lilith in Aquarius trine my True Node in Gemini in my 8th House, I didn’t stand a chance of keeping that promise, with the teenage hormones doing what they do. If you know anything about astrology, you know what I’m talking about, but I digress.

Anyhow, I was very much into Jesus. Although I didn’t attend church regularly, I prayed and sang to God and Jesus in my backyard, up in the mountains in Puerto Rico, I lived by the 10 commandments and read the gospels for fun, because Jesus was most definitely my favorite part of the Bible (Esther and Ruth and Daniel were pretty cool, too… BTW, Daniel was a seer and magician, a man of letters and interpreter of dreams, able to withstand fire and walk among hungry lions because God was with him).

I ignored the old Law, because Jesus had come with a New Commandment: That we Love each other as we love ourselves. He welcomed everyone with compassion, recommended not being selfish and judgmental, said that God is Love and that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, and that all felt TRUE TRUE TRUE. I still feel that in my bones, and when I sing, it sings through me.

And when I read, it reads through me.

When my Aunt first read the cards for me, she opened her prayer asking for Jesus, the Angels, Mother Mary and the Holy Spirit to help us see the Truth in the cards and lead us with Grace. I still open up every reading session with a variation on that prayer.

I had a terrible crisis of faith in my early 20’s, I went hard into science and completely neglected my creativity and spirituality. Didn’t touch my cards or sing for about 6 years. I was achieving my goals and paying my bills, but I felt miserable, depressed, and, yes, suicidal thoughts visited my mind as they do every now and again.

Then, when I turned 26, right as I was separating from my now ex-husband, I got diagnosed with Thyroid cancer, such was the throat chakra block I had going on! My mother was very scared and turned to God, and encouraged me to do the same, and that was the beginning of my spiritual reawakening.

Believing that the Divine can speak to us through the cards, I picked up my trusty ol’ Rider Waite Smith, the only deck I owned at the time, and started reading for myself again, and after much urging, I finally gave in to the insistance of Spirit that I open my business as a Tarot Reader and take my music more seriously, to really try to realize my dreams, and slowly but surely, things have been progressing, amazing opportunities and synchronicities have come my way, and I’m on my 2nd year of Self-Employment now, 5 years after starting my business. I’m not living in luxury, but that’s not what I got into this for. I got into this to help others see more clearly, because that is my way of doing Jesus’ work in this world. Bear with me.

Although I still struggle with depression and sadness, I see them as part of the human experience, part of the illusion of separation from the Divine, and recognize the trauma that has caused the pain that triggered the responses, some of it happened within my lifetime, some of it I inherited from my ancestors. When it rears its head, I work my way through it the best that I can and call on Jesus and Mother Mary and Archangel Raphael to help me heal and to ease my pain, and to help me do the things I need to do to make myself feel better. I’m still healing, but I’m okay with that process, and learning to Love myself through it.

Here’s what I believe: When Jesus said that God is Love… I feel like he meant that Love is God. Love is what drives the spark of Creation and so, when we create from a place of Love, we channel God.

Somewhere in the Bible it says that God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. If God is present in every space, has the power to do every thing, and sees everything and knows everything… How could that be if God wasn’t, in fact, Every Thing, every rock, and tree and creature, every space where the potential for creation and action exists, every single subatomic particle zipping around?

I’m not the first to say that It is All One Thing. That Everything is Sacred. The magnitude of the Divine Creator’s true nature is so limitless that it is ineffable, it is beyond the capacity for us to comprehend while our Consciousness is embodied in our brains, limited by three dimensions and the boundedness of matter as it is.

In her book Working with Spirit Guides, Ruth White shares one of the teachings that her Spirit Guide, Gildas, shared with her, ‘The Many Faceted Jewel of Truth’. The Absolute Truth of Everything is a like a jewel, with many facets. “The whole Jewel is only complete with all its facets, but at any given moment you can see into the center of the jewel through only a few of the facets.” (R. White, Piatkus, 2004). Our perception of the True Nature of God is limited by the facet of the Cultural Mindset we bring with us, shaped by our experiences, and the experiences of our Ancestors, carried within us in our DNA. The Divine Creative Consciousness presents itself to us, through us, in archetypal images, the essential Truths of the Totality of Experience. Tarot is just a nice catalog of all these symbols, arranged in a scramble-your-own-adventure story board building kit format, Wisdom that came to us as a simple game first, until we realized what we had created, and found its meaning within us, and taught each other how to read it.

The ability to connect to the Divine through Prayer and Meditation is Universal. Words have the power to invoke reality. They can build, and they can wound. It is the intention behind the words that gives them Power. Tarot gives the Divine the chance to speak back, and it is merely a tool.

Can it be used for evil? To conjure up messages from lower vibrational entities trapped in Anger and Greed and Fear? You betcha. That’s why we have to be very careful when we start to read, I always open calling on the Protection of Archangel St. Michael, and the Guidance of Jesus and Mother Mary… as well as Merlin and Kwan Yin, And all the Enlightened and Wise Dead. Not everyone reads the cards like this, but this is what I believe. And I believe They protect me and help me, because I am doing Their Work bringing healing and peace and clarity and understanding into this messy classroom we call Life.

My favorite chapter of the Bible is Corinthians I, Chapter 13. Let’s remember what Jesus said: God is Love. Then flip our thought around to think that Love is God, and let’s read it again. It does say that you can have the Gift of Prophecy and not have Love in your heart, so, if Love is the Creative Divine Consciousness, there are other ways to get Prophecy. There are, in the spirit World, those entities of Darkness and Pain and Evil, which get fed by Darkness and Pain and Fear and Evil, call them Demons if you like. Tarot can be used to contact them, too, if that’s how someone wants to use it.

The cards are just a tool. The Connection to the Spirit world is within us. Jesus himself said so in that much-debated verse of Luke 17, when he said the Kingdom of Heaven is within us/in our midst. (Luke 17:20-21) No one can tell you, you will know in your Heart of Hearts when you are there. And Jesus also said “No one goes through the Father except through me”.

So, who is Jesus? Who is the Father?

Let’s think of the Father in Archetypal terms as the “Masculine”/Active/Yang energy of the Divine Creative Consciousness. The Pillar of Severity in the Kabbalah. I’m sure there are other ways of describing it that different traditions have figured out, but those should suffice, right? So, in order to achieve Divine Manifestation, or Miracles, by the Grace of the Divine, we must connect with the Love within us, and from that loving, caring, grateful state, Grace is granted and the Divine Power flows through us, and Miracles manifest. Some call it Magic.

Now, I don’t know if there is enough scientific evidence for the Historical, Embodied Yeshua of Nazareth, I haven’t seen enough to convince me that he did, in fact Exist, considering the Gospels are all written about 100 years after he was supposed to have walked among us. But I STILL BELIEVE JESUS IS 100% REAL, even if he didn’t walk among us.

Jesus is the Archetype of Love as the Divine Creator, Love in Action, what some call the “Christ Consciousness”, the Ability to Manifest Miracles and Embody our Divinity, which is within us, if we can find that middle way in the Tree of Life, between the Pillar of Severity (The Father) and the Pillar of Mercy (The Mother). Jesus was not all fluff and rainbows, He was also a badass who wasn’t afraid to flip some tables and literally crack a whip if people were being disrespectful. But he was kind and compassionate to everyone, to the foreigners and the women, even those whom others saw as “unclean”. No One is unclean. Everyone is worthy of the Grace of God’s Love.

But why does the Bible warn us against fortune-telling and the like? Because the Bible was curated by the Church, a powerful institution of men of their time. Because the Male God of the Bible had a really lousy PR team, who were in it for politics and power and money, and they wanted to supress and subsume the Divinely Creative Potential within all of us. By reducing the access to Divine Inspiration, they keep us from evolving into the next phase, the one where we are all “woke” and realize that once there’s no need to hoard wealth and resources because there REALLY is enough for all of us. The way they have divorced us from our Divine potential was by blinding us to it, by demonizing and suppressing the power of the “Feminine”/Receptive/Yin aspect of the Divine Creative Consciousness, establishing the gd Patriarchy. If we look at the symbolism of the Lovers card in the Tarot, when the Feminine and Masculine energies within us are in harmony, The Masculine looks to the Feminine, while the Feminine looks up to the Divine, which rains Their Grace down upon us.

During my Level I Reiki class and attunement, my teacher Darcy Mason shared a theory that one of her teachers had shared with her, and it resonated very strongly with me, and it goes something like this: Humanity as a whole is evolving through the chakras, starting at the Base, when we were in our Hunter-Gatherer, Cave-Dwelling phase. And then we started getting smarter and craftier, figured out Iron, and Bronze, and Steel, and Agriculture, and that was our progression through the Sacral chakra.

And then we started going up into the Solar Plexus, the potential for lower entities to entice us with greed and sparkle, and stir up violence within us to fight for whatever limited resources there were. And some powerful, greedy entities latched on to some strong, greedy men, and increased their power.

This is where you can say I go a little kooky and into conspiracy theory territory, and well, I admit it’s all speculation, but this is where the so-called Powers That Be began to gather resources, and they’re not ready to give them up, they are stuck in the “ME-ME-ME” of the Solar Plexus, fear has prevented them from opening up to their Heart. That’s why they decided to control access to education and knowledge, distract us with war and petty entertainment, so that we couldn’t realize the limitless potential within us if only we learn to truly LOVE and care for each other, once we move up into our Hearts.

And that’s what we’re going through right now, the so called Dawning of the Age of Aquarius. More and more people are starting to wake up and to move into their heart space, despite the System that the Powers That Be have set up to maintain their chokehold on humanity and their resources, to feed their own greed. And that’s all I’m going to say about them, because I believe words have power, so I purposefully seek to simply not feed them any of my energy by speaking of them. Let them do what they do. They can’t stop the Evolution of the Embodiment of the Divine Creative Consciousness, which is what I believe Humanity is.

You see, the Loving Divine Creative Consciousness wanted to know what it felt like to be its own creation, and so it breathed its own Life into Matter, making us in its own Image. Our Creative potential is what sets us apart from the rest of the creatures on this planet, the capacity for self-reflection and advanced abstract thought. I mean, we figured out how to fly up in the air by the hundreds, how to talk to each other in real time across the globe and see each other with only a few seconds delay. That’s some miraculous stuff right there; in olden days, it would’ve been called “Magic” because we didn’t have the knowledge to understand it yet.

Jesus is the Embodiment of Love as God, guiding us to the next step of our evolution.

Tarot is just a tool, then, like a hammer, it is absolutely neutral, neither good nor evil. A hammer can build a house to shelter us, hang a picture to bring us beauty, or it can crack a skull wide open, or smash a thumb into oblivion. It all depends on the intention and care of the wielder. I wield my tools with Care, and always under the loving influence of Jesus and the Divine Creative Consciousness, and a few months ago, Jesus graced me with a clear sign that we’re cool.

I was having a discussion with my boyfriend, a skeptic, Devil’s Advocate type, we were discussing Jesus, whether he was Real or not, and I told him that Jesus was 100% real, and that I was doing his work, what I explained a few paragraphs ago.

And I got the urge to give some evidence. I felt in my heart “Go get your Ascended Master’s deck, and ask.”

So I told him “Wait a second”, and grabbed my copy of Doreen Virtue’s Ascended Masters deck, and a piece of rose quartz.

“In this deck, there is a card corresponding to Jesus. I’m going to pray and connect with Jesus and ask him to help me show you he’s real by randomly drawing his card from the deck.”

I was so sure it would work, as I placed the rose quartz over my heart chakra and thanked him for all his help and loving assistance throughout my whole life, and to please, let me show this man the truth of His power. Then when I felt ready, I shuffled the cards, cut into three, fanned them out in front of me, used my right hand to hold the rose quartz to my heart again, and hovered my left hand back and forth over the cards, waiting for that “tingle” I feel sometimes. I went over the whole deck from left to right and right to left and felt a moment of hesitation, of wondering if this was hubris or ego, and then I felt a clear buzz on my fingers, dropped my hands onto a card that felt hotter than the other ones and flipped it…

Of course it was the Jesus card, because Jesus is awesome and when you ask with Faith, if it’s possible and good for us, He will Grace us with his Power.

My boyfriend’s jaw dropped, and he accused me of rigging it, of playing card tricks, but that isn’t something that I would even know how to do, and I didn’t care. The confirmation was so strong for me, and I felt surrounded in the loving warmth of His presence, I felt his hand on my back, and the perma-knot between my shoulder blades eased up for a moment. Thank you, Jesus!

My boyfriend, a true skeptic, wanted to do it again, shuffling the cards himself. I told him “Why was once not enough? God doesn’t like to be tested, this is not a game… I’ll try again, but I don’t know if it’ll work a second time.”

So he shuffled, and fanned the cards, and I held the rose quartz to my heart and asked again. I felt the “buzz” a bit fainter that time, and I didn’t pull the Jesus card. I pulled this one:

Definitely not Jesus, but it makes sense, and White Tara reminds me of Kwan Yin, Mother of Mercy. I wasn’t as certain it would work a second time, and so, it didn’t, because Faith matters. But my boyfriend looked at the cards adjacent to it… and one of them was the Jesus card. It was enough for him to say “… well, maybe.” His eyes told another story.

Looking at the card, though, the predominant colors are light green and pink, associated with the heart chakra. Love in action, bringing purification and ascendance into the next stage of our evolution.

Anyhow, this is just my testimony, for whatever it’s worth. If you’ve made it all the way down here, you’re a champ, and thank you for your time!

I hope this helps you find some peace and reconciliation if you love Jesus, like I do, and feel conflicted about reading Tarot or working with crystals or anything like that.

Remember that God is Love, and Love is God, and as long as you are working from a place of Love, compassion and care, you can’t go wrong.

Good luck, and Many Blessings to you!


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On Racism and Passing Privilege

I’m a light skinned Puerto Rican, and I used to be racist.

I didn’t know I was a racist, I never really thought I was.  But when I called a relative out for saying that a friend’s dark-skinned, beautiful daughter should get a nose job and lip reduction to make her “prettier”, I was told that when I  was about 3 years old, I saw Tracy Chapman singing “Fast Car” on our little TV, and reportedly I said: “Mami, pero que fea!

Mommy, she’s so ugly.

Although African blood runs through my veins, Eurocentric standards of beauty had already been taught to me, and little sponge that I was, I had already absorbed them. But to grow up in Puerto Rico is to be surrounded by people of all colors. Going to school and making friends, all of us mixed in the playground, black, white and every shade of brown, olive, red and yellow in between. In school, we were taught that Puerto Ricans come from the mix of the Taíno Natives, the white colonizers, and the African slaves they brought with them. I later learned that Chinese laborers had also come to the Island, and that that kid we called “Chino” probably actually did have some Chinese genes.

I also learned, on my own, that the color of someone’s skin nothing to do with their character.

I was forced to confront my racism when I went to college, and started to develop a crush on Vince. He was smart, kind, played violin – or was it guitar? There was music, I know this much. He also spoke Spanish, and was the quarterback of the football team, and he looked a bit like Taye Diggs. But I stopped myself from pursuing him or showing any interest because I was concerned about how my family would react. When I had showed pictures of my first college boyfriend to my family, a white boy with dark blonde hair and blue eyes, they said “¡Qué bien, mejorando la raza!

That’s great, you’re bettering the race!

What would they say if I showed them his picture? Now I know they probably would’ve said nothing, or “¡Qué negrito tan guapo!“, and they would’ve welcomed him. But there’d probably be no mention of “bettering the race”.

Most of my family is light skinned, though the sun’s kiss brings out the brown in us easily enough.  You can see it in my paternal grandmother’s hair, texture 4B, kinky and crimpy, and soft like lamb’s wool. In the gene lottery that results from the mix of 3 races, I ended up with 2B, a soft wave that coils up into curls if the humidity is high enough, fine and thin. And fair skin, with a slight olive tinge to it, and a propensity to rosacea.

Since moving to the Midwest, the most common guess as to my ethnicity has been Italian or French, but I’ve also been asked if I was Russian, or Indian. Most people don’t even want to guess where my accent might be from, if they even hear it. Not once have I been pegged for a Puerto Rican, except by fellow Puerto Ricans, though they usually assume I’m white upon first spotting me and are startled when my Puerto Rican Spanish bubbles out.

I look white. I talk white, for the most part.

I pass.

I’ve been accepted in spaces where I have seen my darker brothers and sisters be treated with suspicion. I heard some pretty racist stuff come out of some people’s mouth, and kept my mouth shut for fear of being ostracized. And it used to be that when I walked past black men in the street, I could feel the rush of adrenaline released by the fearful conditioning I was bombarded with since before I called Tracy Chapman “ugly”, ready to fly (fighting has never been my first choice).

I feel like I’ve come very far from where I was, though. The first step was to accept and confront the ugly truth that racist cultural conditioning actually had an effect on me. Not society, the amorphous, anonymous masses. Me. 

The next step was to become very aware of the thoughts that come up because of this conditioning, and actively rationalize my way out of them. Those thoughts are not my own. They were planted there, and fed a steady diet of fear and misinformation. I resolved to feed them love and truth.

It’s amazing what this kind of conscious cognitive shift has done for me. Those Eurocentric standards of beauty I upheld as a 3 year old have gone out the window: I can see the beauty of black bodies in their natural state. Since discarding those ridiculous standards, I’ve noticed that there are a LOT of beautiful people in this world who can’t see the beauty in themselves, which is such a sad thing! I greet black folks as we walk past each other in the street, a neighborly “Good morning!” or “Good evening!”, and have found that the response of holding my purse tighter or crossing the street isn’t an automatic one anymore. I check any assumptions that might come up against what I know to be true, and try to get to know each person I encounter as an individual, not as a representative of any group of people at all, and treat everyone I encounter with respect and dignity.

This is my next step, the hardest: speaking out.

I no longer stay silent when ignorance and fear come out of anyone’s mouth. Now I try to broaden others’ perspectives as kindly and respectfully as I can. Tensions are high right now, but unfortunately that’s the only way this unjust system will be dismantled. We have to speak up.

To my light-skinned brothers and sisters: we are flying under the radar and spared the brunt of the pain and injustice that our darker kin are brutalized with. But we also know that there but for the grace of genetics go we.  We must become visible, and not be complicit in our own erasure. Speak up. We all need to stand together, to remind everyone who doesn’t remember it that #blacklivesmatter.

Maybe Vince wouldn’t have been interested in my nerdy ass anyway, I found him on Facebook the other day, and saw he has a beautiful wife and children, so the missed opportunity was definitely on my end. Maybe he would’ve been the Love of my Life and I missed out BIG TIME, just because I was afraid. How dumb was that?

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Hell is other people


“L’enfer, c’est les autres.”

– Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos


I’m not sure how or where I first heard the phrase “Hell is other people”, but it popped into my head a few times over the past few weeks, along with other thoughts which I’ll try to make coherent momentarily.

It’s generally attributed to Jean Paul Sartre, a line from his one-act play “No Exit”. For those unfamiliar, and I’ll admit I was one of them until yesterday,  the play is about 3 people who are in hell, and their own flavor of hell is to be locked in a room, just the three of them, for the rest of eternity.

When researching the origin of the phrase for this post, I came across the original French quoted above, and I find the translation “Hell is other people” to be a bit too direct. A truer translation would be “Hell, it is the others”.  Here is what Sartre himself had to say about it:

. . .“hell is other people” has always been misunderstood. It has been thought that what I meant by that was that our relations with other people are always poisoned, that they are invariably hellish relations. But what I really mean is something totally different. I mean that if relations with someone else are twisted, vitiated, then that other person can only be hell. Why? Because. . . when we think about ourselves, when we try to know ourselves, . . . we use the knowledge of us which other people already have. We judge ourselves with the means other people have and have given us for judging ourselves. Into whatever I say about myself someone else’s judgment always enters. Into whatever I feel within myself someone else’s judgment enters. . . . But that does not at all mean that one cannot have relations with other people. It simply brings out the capital importance of all other people for each one of us.

He didn’t mean it as a statement of universal truth, but most definitely as something that someone sentenced to hell for being selfish, manipulative, and shallow (like the characters in the play) would say.

But here’s what I’ve figured out: Hell is The Other. It’s separation from The Divine, which is Everything.

The illusion that there IS an Other, that we are somehow separate from this whole divine cosmic Creation, the terrible illusion that we are somehow separate from everything else around us.

The degree to which we consider other people to be Others, which breeds fear and mistrust and feelings of “No, gimme! This is mine!” instead of realizing that when we help others, we also help ourselves, and when we hurt or deprive others, we also hurt ourselves.

Each one of us is simply a thread, or more like a single loop of a thread, in the Great Tapestry of Creation. Our soul, or Higher Self, is the thread, our spirit as it manifests individually in this lifetime is the loop.

We are more than our bodies, and our thoughts, what we have or how we present ourselves. Our souls, emanating directly from the Divine Consciousness, connect us with Everything Else There Is, and we are simply a point of perception, and co-creation.

What we see is a narrow view of reality, through an infinitesimally limited window of time and space.

Realizing the seeming insignificance of our existence can be a gigantic blow to the Ego, scary and painful. The Ego is exactly the construct that maintains this illusion of separation.

But after that scared part of the Ego dies, the feeling of liberation is exhilarating. That is Heaven.

But we’re on Earth. We can’t just float in the ether, connected to the universal energy,  and let our bodies whither away. We’re here to create. And when we are able to detach enough from our ego to connect with All, we can channel this energy to create and manifest our purpose in this plane.

This is how we avoid Hell. Even if those around us try to create a hell around us, if we can truly see our divine essence and how small their transgressions against us are in the Grand Scheme Of Things, our connectedness to this Divinity will carry us above it.



Other interesting thoughts on the subject:

  3. –> This, SO MUCH!


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Sharing Wisdom with Barbara Nova

Most of you are probably familiar with Theresa Reed, the Tarot Lady, who started out reading in bars in Milwaukee, has always been her own boss, and has been so generous with her advice and knowledge! The Emperor meets The Hierophant.

As a member of her Tarot Brainery (a one-time-only year-long group mentoring program), I had the assignment to interview someone for my blog, and thought you all should meet this other GREAT lady I had a chance to connect with during this year’s Readers Studio Tarot Conference. She’s one of the many AMAZING readers and wise people who were present that weekend, some of whom have been making tarot their living since before it was as widely accepted as it is now.

Her name is Barbara Nova, but you may have known her as Barbara Emrys before she decided to switch gears in her career (which is happening as we speak!). She kindly agreed to sit down for a conversation with us, so, here she is!

Jen: I wanted to interview you because you’ve been  working as a tarot reader for your full time job  your whole adult life, correct?

B: Since 1991, yes.

J: Oh, so that’s 25 years now? That’s so awesome and wonderful! Did you try other jobs before saying “You know what, these other lives are not for me, I am a reader and this is what I’m going to do”?  Or was it more like something you floated into? How was it at the beginning for you?

B: Well, I started reading back when I was 13, and Stuart Kaplan is actually responsible for that, so it was a real thrill to meet him [during Reader’s Studio 2016]! My paternal grandmother actually read playing cards until my grandfather forbade her from doing that anymore, and I was always interested in astrology and numerology, but I never saw a deck of tarot cards until I was 12 in 1973 when the James Bond movie “Live and Let Die” came out. I saw Jane Seymour as Solitaire in that gorgeous outfit and once I saw those cards I said “that’s it! that’s it!”. I knew that was the thing for me.


Jane Seymour as Solitaire

But then FINDING a deck was another story entirely, until US Games put out the 007 James Bond Tarot kit. I asked for it for Christmas that year, and my parents didn’t know what it was so they got it for me. And so I studied that book, I must’ve worn its pages thin. I actually still have that original deck from 1973, it’s in San Diego right now.


I moved from my native New York to California, started to go to college, worked in retail, and as an answering service operator, I did billing and collections for a company.   Then I got married to a Baptist from Texas, believe it or not, and had a child, so all that metaphysical stuff went on hold until I decided in 1989-88 that it was time to get divorced.

So, I was 27 in 1988 when I started studying it again, I felt an urge to go back to it. During that time, before I started reading professionally, I actually worked in retail again, and in a supermarket and then I saw an ad on the newspaper in San Diego, they were looking for readers and I said “Why not?” I went and applied and they hired me! And the rest, as they say, is history!

J: I think it’s so funny, and I couldn’t help smiling, when you said you were 27 years old when you went back to it, ’cause this was during your Saturn return!

B: Right?!

J: I also started reading the cards again during my own Saturn return, after having put them away for so long. I wonder how many of us find that we put them away an then when Saturn comes back around and it’s like *screeching tires noise* “Hang on! This is what you’re here to do!”

B: It’s amazing! You know, when I was 16 I had my first psychic reading by this woman who had to be about a thousand years old, her name was Rhonda. I actually wasn’t even supposed to be there, my mother was going to a reading party, and when I found out where she was going I asked if I could go and so she took me, and this woman told me, she told me when I was 16, that this would be my main career, and even if I tried to get away from it, it would just keep pulling me back. She said I would end up teaching and writing and creating art around metaphysics and the occult, and damn if she wasn’t right! Right now I’m developing a deck.

J: That is awesome! I want to ask you more about that later… but first I wanted to ask you, that ad that you found when you first started, was it for reading out of a store, or a phone line service, or… what?

B: It was a phone line service called Psychic Marketing Group, they actually had an office that we had to go to in San Diego every day, it was not done from home like they do now, we had to actually go into the office, and there was pretty strict quality control, so, that was my first exposure, which I think was really great, because I got to meet and hear a lot of other readers that had been reading professionally longer than I had. Since I had just started, it was a very good experience for me.

J: That is great, so, in that environment you were able to get instantly connected with a community of readers, so you had that right from the beginning. So, did you also start going to tarot conventions around the same time, too?

B: No, back then we had what we would call “Psychic Fairs” and they would last just a day or two, and it was mostly people doing readings, and selling things, so, we would go to those and meet other readers between clients. But actually my first full blown Tarot conference was Kim Arnold’s UK Tarot Conference in London, in 2013.

J: So, had you been connected with the Internet tarot community beforehand, though, before you went to the conference in 2013?

B: I was but not to the degree that I am now.  Mostly, I’d go meet other readers in person when we’d go take a class, or in the San Diego Astrological Society, things like that.


J: Gotcha. How do you think the business has changed in the past 25 years?

I think it’s changed TREMENDOUSLY. Back in the day when I first started reading professionally it was still kind of like “Oh. You do that?!” Even back in the early 70’s when I first saw that deck, I mean, I grew up in New York, not in some rural area. It was suburban but only an hour east of the City, in Long Island, so it was a pretty cosmopolitan atmosphere, and even there it was really really hard to find any other materials. You’d have to go to the library and get them to request old books for you that had to be tracked down, because, remember, there was no internet back in 1973, well, not the way the Internet is now!

To me, it’s really gratifying to see how much more accepted it is now, and the community that’s so readily available, and all of the resources that are out there. I love seeing new readers or up and coming stars such as yourself, there’s this sense of community  that you get to have that we really didn’t have back then. Also, all of the products coming out, and that even mainstream people understand that we’re NOT doing “The Devil’s Work”, for example, I don’t believe in the Judeo-Christian Satan, so being told “Oh, you’re doing the devil’s work”,  I have to laugh, because I don’t believe in the devil!

J: Yes! I’m so thankful that it is the way it is, because if it wasn’t, I don’t know that I would be doing it! Not with the fearful ways that I was raised, where I didn’t even see a Tarot deck until I found that one of my aunt’s had a deck and she gave me a reading at age 15 which was REALLY accurate and I was like “Whoa! How did you know ALL THAT?” Right? But now, it’s really wonderful how the Divine can channel its messages through so many people so that, somehow, if you are looking for guidance, you can find it.

B: While I love the Rider-Waite-Smith, I really like that there are so many non-Rider-Waite-Smith decks out there, with different styles of art, different colors, it’s fantastic!

J: Yes, people can find whichever deck resonates with their own aesthetic sense, and that way they can connect a bit better with it, and read with it. I believe anybody who really wants to can learn, because it’s all about learning to understand yourself.

B: Yes, and back when I started there were the traditional meanings of upright and reversed that everybody had to memorize, and you went strictly by the book. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties and was working much more with the cards that they really started speaking to me. I don’t mean that I literally hear voices, I mean that they tell me what they want the meaning to be, even if it’s not the traditional meaning for the card, so, I love that too, that I’ve had the opportunity to evolve as a reader and form such a connection.

J: Yeah, that is really nice how after you’ve been reading for a while, you do, I mean, you have all the traditional meanings, I started with the little white book that came with my Rider-Waite-Smith deck, and that was my one and only resource for the first 8 years I was reading the cards! For every reading, I’d pull out my little book and read what the traditional key words were for it, and from there, I would build the reading within the context of the question, but when you can go beyond those little rote meanings and remember, that’s when you feel like a true reader, like “I got it now”.

B: Yes! I was fortunate that the book that came with the 007 kit that US Games had put out wasn’t just a little white book, it was an actual BOOK, with descriptions and everything, so I had little more to go on, and then I started bugging my librarian to find me ANYTHING.

J: That’s so cool, that from the beginning you were so into going deeper and studying deeper, for me, it took a few years before I really started looking for more resources. Actually, what it took was me deciding that I wanted to do this as a business, and so, I should get serious about it. That’s when I bought 78 degrees of wisdom and started keeping a tarot journal, and with those two things, within 3 months I was off-book, because I already had the 8 years of practical experience reading with “training wheels” on, ha!  How long would you say it took you to go “off-book” with the Tarot?

B: The first time was when I was about 13 or 14, but then I put it away for so long, so let’s start from the second time, when I was in my late 20’s. I’m gonna say it took a few months, but I also went and took some classes in San Diego, from Alexandra, who has a place who is STILL THERE called The Alexandra Institute, and I took her beginning, intermediate and advanced tarot classes, which took a couple of months all together. By the time I was done with her, I really knew my stuff.

J: So there you go, you had a good teacher! A good teacher was something that helped it click for you… and that’s really what we need! If you have a physical teacher, that’s so much better because you can really interact with them and they can answer your questions, but, in the absence of a teacher, a good book can be a great “starter teacher” like Rachel Pollack with her 78 Degrees of Wisdom was for me, or Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot could be. What do you think was the most helpful book for you? What are some of your favorite tarot books?

B: Wow, I have to really think back! It would’ve been early on, and I’ve read so many since then… David Palladini’s Aquarian Tarot was on the cover… In more recent times, I just started working with the Lenormand cards, and I just bought Rana George’s “Essential Lenormand” (Llewellyn), so that’s what I’ve been really into! I also love Rachel Pollack and Mary Greer’s work, I know they’re not new, but there’s something to be said for things that stand the test of time! I really dig The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals (Greer, Llewellyn), and Understanding the Tarot Court (Greer & Little, Llewellyn) is also a fantastic resource, she really clarifies a lot of the mystique around the court cards, which can be so challenging.

J: What’s your favorite deck that you’ve recently acquired?

B: I’m a big fan of Ciro Marchetti’s work, and Ginnie Jester’s City Mystic New York Tarot deck (Independent), I love the imagery in that.  Oh, and I just got this one at Reader’s Studio 2016, it’s called Tarot Leaves by Beth Seilonen (Schiffer Publishing).  They’re different, they don’t have the typical imagery and that’s kinda what I like about them. I find that when I’m reading I prefer muted colors and clean lines, that’s why I’m also a bit fan of the Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini (US Games)… oh, and I also LOVE, LOVE Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot (Schiffer Publishing). I love that deck! The muted colors and clean design are really appealing to me.

J: Yeah, I find that they can help us tap into a different part of our intuition, like it allows more abstract thought forms to be evoked… So, do you still do most of your reading work out of a calling service?

B: I do, for a number of years I also had a private practice, where I would see people in my home, or speak to clients over the phone, and that was great, but I found I was spending so much time handling the business end of it, because you know, you have to do your own advertising, and even if you have a clientele that comes to you through word of mouth, you still have to advertise, you don’t want to the same people coming every day or every week!

Remember, I wasn’t doing this just to make some extra money, this was how I was making my living, so having to do the advertising, booking the appointments, running the credit cards, if someone’s card charged back you had to handle that, there was so much more to do, that it was taking away from my pleasure at reading professionally. So I actually prefer contracting with one of the companies, because they do everything! I feel that with the company I’m with, I’m very fairly paid, the compensation is fair considering the services they provide, and all I have to do is answer my phone!

J: Do they also take the taxes out of your check?

B: No, I’m an independent contractor, so that’s a part of my business that I still have to manage. But I don’t have to maintain a website, or all of this and that, so, it’s worth it for me.

J: And they bring you enough clientele that you’re able to, you know, take care of yourself, and go to conferences, and do your thing!

B: It’s been the best job ever! It has allowed me to live in NY, CA, Germany, Scotland, Wales, Italy, and England. As long as I have access to my phone, I can work!

J: What has been the most important self-care practice for you in doing this work?

B: That’s an excellent question. When I first started reading, at 13, I didn’t know enough to sometimes just shut it off, so you can take on a lot of stuff. So that’s been it, knowing when to shut yourself off, and also knowing when you’re a little burnt out and need to take a little break from reading, even if it’s just for a couple of days. Especially if you’re working a phone line, hopefully you’re going to get a lot of volume, and in one respect it’s really exhilarating, but in another it can be kind of exhausting. Psychic rest, is what I call it!

J: Do you have any sort of end-of-day ritual that you do to clear yourself, or anything like that?

B: I do, I actually do, I have a little mantra that I say prior to starting work, I ask The Goddess and The God and The Bright and Shining Ones to bring to me that day the people that I can genuinely help, and to put the right words in my mouth that are going to get through to them. That’s how I start my day, in the Spirit of Service and wanting to benefit the people I speak to. At the end, it might sound kinda silly, but I like to physically move and just kind of, shake it off! Because you do pick up people’s stuff, so it’s important to make sure that you don’t end up carrying it around with you.


J: That’s so cool! So, you have been doing readings and that has been pretty much it for you for the past 25 years, but now you’re working on something new, tell us a little bit about it.

B: I decided that I would like to actually use my artistic and writing abilities, because back when I was younger, as my daughter can attest, I had ideas for so many different products, but as a single parent supporting a child as a reader, money was tight and it had to go towards the day-to-day essentials, first. So I had this long list of different product ideas I had come up with but never had the resources to do anything with them, of course, we didn’t have crowdfunding back then, and I knew that I really didn’t like the traditional publishing world even back at that time, so I thought “one day I’m going to become a publisher, a small press publisher”, and that’s what I’m in the process of doing. Initially it was intended just to showcase products that I developed, ’cause I’m a little bit of a control freak, so I get to keep control over them! And this first project I’m working on is actually a collaboration with an artist friend of mine, she had an idea of something she wanted to do and she asked me if I wanted to be the author, because she only wants to do the art, I’ll share some of the images we have so far because I feel they’re really special.





Take The Flame


The Scholar

J: Oh, these are so wonderful, thanks for letting us have a sneak peek! Is there an underlying theme for this deck?

B: What’s interesting is that we did have an initial idea, which I’m not going to talk about yet because I DO plan on doing that later! But as the illustrations started to take life, we realized that this deck had a mind of its own as far as what it wanted to be, it did not want to be what we initially were going to do with it, so it’s actually going to be more of an oracle deck, with 48 cards. It’s kind of unfortunate for us that Angelo Nasios is calling his BRILLIANT new deck the Inner Journey Tarot, because this was going to be the Inner Journey Oracle deck! I don’t know if we’re going to change the name or not because that’s been its working name for a few months already, I don’t want people to get confused though… But that’s really what it’s all about, to help people look inward and see what they might need to identify, what’s holding them back, where they could improve,though it can also be used as a predictive tool. I might call it the Journey to Grace, we’ll see!

J: What piece of advice would you have for somebody who is just starting in the business?

B: Something that’s really important for new readers to know is that to remember that a lot of times the people that you’re speaking to are in pain or in denial.

If they’re in pain, be kind, but be honest.

If they’re in denial, you can present the truth to them, but don’t take it personally if they’re not ready to accept it. Because a lot of times people will say “no, no, no!” and you can see in the cards that the answer is “yes, yes, yes! This is what’s happening!” but they’re just not ready and sometimes you’re just planting a seed for somebody, and seeds take time to germinate and sprout and grow, and you may be the first person that’s saying something to them. They may need to hear it from a hundred different people, so don’t take it personally.

I also think that trusting your intuition is really important, don’t doubt yourself!

Thank you, SO MUCH, Barbara for taking the time to talk with us!  And for sharing the gorgeousness that you and Victoria Vale are cooking up! As soon as the deck is available, I’ll update you guys with a link where you can get it 🙂

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Why I believe

There will always be an excuse for not taking a risk. And keeping the kind of blog I feel called to keep feels like a risk to me: exposing how far into the “woo” end of the pool I have gone will probably come as a big shock to a few people.

What holds me back is the same thing that holds us all back, a story as old as time: fear of what others might think of me. Fear that they’ll think I’ve lost my marbles and turned my back on reason, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

But why should I fear this, when I feel the scales have fallen from my eyes and I finally have caught a glimpse of joy and peace for me in this lifetime, and decided to pursue it, and believe in it?

The difficult thing is putting a name to “it” a definition for this exhilaration and lightheartedness. But the joyful thing is that I don’t feel the need to explain it, I take it as it comes and let it fill my heart with love.


For years I told myself that I must have dreamed them so vividly I thought they were real, but I have decided to accept and believe that the “mystical” experiences I had as a child had a level of truth to them.

The first experience: I was probably around 4 years old. The chickens at my grandma’s house had just hatched some eggs, and I managed to separate a baby chick from its mama to keep as a pet. How I took care of it is very fuzzy in my memory… which is a good indication that I had no idea what I was doing, and that’s probably why the poor thing was dead within a couple of days.

I was heartbroken, and my dad took the opportunity to impart upon me a couple of important lessons. The first was that baby chicks need their mama to be well, and I shouldn’t separate them, and I should be happy enough to just pet the dog.  The second lesson was that heaven and hell existed. He said that life is like a road, and at the end of the road, if we have been good, we go to Heaven, but bad people go to a very bad place called Hell. He assured me that I shouldn’t be sad, because the baby chick was absolutely innocent, therefore it went straight to Heaven.

“Where’s Heaven?” I asked, and he replied,

“Heaven is where God and Jesus live with all the angels, and it’s the best place anywhere. There’s no pain, sickness or suffering, and lots of singing to the Lord all day long!”

Having been a singer since before I could speak, all that singing made heaven sound like my kind of place! Dad’s word that Hell was a very bad place was enough for me and I didn’t ask any more.

After our nightly prayers I started to worry. How would I get into heaven? I started to understand that I had done a very bad thing when I took the baby chick from its mama, and it had died because of my carelessness. I was no longer absolutely innocent. How could I get into heaven? These thoughts lingered in my mind as I went to sleep.

The next thing I know, a sweet feminine voice is calling my name. The curtains are billowing, but I don’t feel a breeze. I feel static in the air, and the hair on my arms and at the back of my neck stands up.

This memory is indelibly etched into my brain. I remember the bedspread on the bed, turquoise blue, with two red and black and yellow and white peacocks and paisleys. My sister slept beside me and didn’t stir.

Suddenly, a flash of light and small treasure chest appears to glow, floating at the foot of the bed, vividly blue, with gold hardware.

It kinda looked like this...

It kinda looked like this…

Jenniffer”, she said, “la llave del cielo está en las buenas acciones.

The key to heaven is in good deeds.

Then, the treasure chest opened, and out of it floated a large golden key, radiating light.

At this point, I got scared. I knew this wasn’t an everyday occurrence, and I called for my grandma. The key and treasure chest disappeared when she turned on the bedroom light, and she didn’t see anything…


Fast forward a few years, to the beginning of the 1990 Gulf War. When I saw it in the news, I became very very afraid. I remembered stories of young men from the neighborhood, in my grandparents’ generation, whose lives were cut short by the Vietnam War.

The draft didn’t discriminate, and Puerto Rican draftees were disproportionately killed in combat, probably in part to a language barrier preventing proper training. My dad was 27 years old, but looked much younger and was very fit, and I was so afraid he would be drafted. He is a peaceful and compassionate man, not compatible with war.

That night, I prayed so hard, for so long, I never said “Amen” before falling asleep.

Again, I awoke to a voice calling my name, but this time it was a deep, masculine voice, so powerful I felt it in my bones, but also full of love. I felt a stirring in my heart and a lump in my throat as I sat on the bed. Again, the curtains were billowing although the wind was calm that night.

Jenniffer, no tengas miedo. El Espíritu Santo está contigo.”

Have no fear. The Holy Spirit is with you.

This may have been the first time in my life I wept tears of joy.

The draft never happened, so I never needed to be afraid in the first place, but the Divine had spoken to me, and taken my fear away.

The memory of these experiences sustained my faith, even though I rarely went to church. They carried me through difficult times in my adolescence, when my struggles with depression first surfaced.

I always felt connected to the divine energy when I was in nature, and when I was singing, but never more than when singing in nature. So that’s what I did whenever I needed comfort. I went outside and sang, and I felt the Holy Spirit within me.

Next time, I’ll tell you the story of how I stopped singing for a long, long time.

Until then, Namaste!

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Yes! Things are still happening!

Since I decided to offer my services as a tarot reader to the public, I have been gripped by a kind of a fever. I feel like there’s a creative fire that’s been lit under my butt, and like I have finally tapped into the energy within myself that I needed to start living the life I am meant to be living.

I have such high hopes for my future, and see things falling into place, but I also see a LOT of work that I need to do before I get there. That’s why this blog and website have been a little on the quiet side of things, I’m working behind the scenes to get all of the mundane work of starting a business, while navigating the Holiday season, and end of year business in my day job, which is decidedly a big priority for me still, as it is still my main source of income.  Also, I’m still very dedicated to music and singing, so of course that takes up a significant amount of time.

Slowly, but surely, things are coming together for this little venture of mine. I have a logo (website overhaul coming soon!). I still need to get some technicalities, like a separate phone line for my business, but it’s in the works. I have received much support and positive feedback from friends and acquaintances, especially those that I had previously read the cards for. I did encounter a bit of resistance from the passionately skeptical, but ultimately they came to see the purity of my intention and even conceded that my clients would probably benefit from our interactions, and that’s good enough for me, coming from them! 🙂

The wonderful Molly Snyder from wrote a nice article after we had a nice meeting last week, check it out here!

I’m so excited to see how this project will grow over the course of the next year. We can help each other grow, schedule your reading (or order your email reading) today!

Namaste 🙂

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Hello world!

I am so excited to get this site up and running! While the blog gets built and the rest of the content gets added, please check out my About Jen page and get to know me a little better.

If you like what you read, and you could use a fresh perspective on a situation in your life, please drop me a line at [email protected] and let us work together. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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