Monday, February 25, 2013


Hiya -- hope you had a great weekend!  Mine wore me out completely -- I am SO tired today!

Wanted to share something with you that made me chuckle.  I just learned this Friday.  (It's a long story, but has a kicky ending)

I'm half Cajun (Lousiana bayou country) and half Sicilian.  My dad (the Cajun part) was very into geneology and was always tickled about one of our ancestors, Joseph Broussard.

The Acadian people (Cajuns) originally came from the Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island area -- even parts of northern Maine (Acadia).  They were French Canadians and considered themselves Frenchmen.

As a result of the Seven Years war in the mid 1700's, the British took ownership of what was French Canada.  This didn't sit very well with the citizens of the area -- especially the Acadians.

To say they resisted the British would be putting it very lightly -- they aggressively resisted the British ... and the British violently retaliated.

During a series of "wars" (really local skirmishes), the British would deport the Acadians they captured.  They also deported Acadians whose land they took.  This forced exodus of the Acadians was the basis for Henry Longfellow's poem "Evangeline" (perhaps the most popular American poem ever -- it's a hard read, but a real tear-jerker of a story).

One of the foremost Acadian leaders was Joseph Broussard -- also known as "Beausoleil" (or "Sunshine").  Think of the Mel Gibson character in "The Patriot" and you'll get an idea of what he was.  Broussard led guerilla battles against the British for several years -- ambushing troops, cutting supply lines, even privateering.  He was pretty much a pain in the rear and was Britain's "Public Enemy #1" in the area -- although the Acadians viewed him as a patriot, hero, and a protector.

Anyway, he was eventually captured -- spent a few years being imprisoned before he was deported to France.

After a few months in France, "Beausoleil" gathered other expelled Acadians and led an immigration to Louisiana where they settled in and around the Atchafalaya Basin area.  Many families in this French region of Louisiana claim Joseph Broussard as a direct ancestor.

Of course, some of these families moved to other parts of America.  In particular, one young lady who was a Broussard descendant with the last name of "Knowles" -- she met a young man, fell in love, they married, and moved to Houston where they had two lovely and talented daughters. 

In fact, one of these daughters became a multi-Grammy winning artist who was the featured half-time performer at the most recent Super Bowl.

Yep -- Beyonce' and I share a common ancestor! (and that's the kicky ending!)

On to the reading!

Sometimes we get involved readings -- but not this time.  This is a very direct and straightforward reading.

We being with "The World" (reversed).
Tarot - The World

The World is the ultimate happy outcome -- it's what everyone strives for.  It suggests that point where you accomplish and gain the things you most want in life.  The reversal suggests we'll have to wait to attain this position.

How to get there?  Our second card is "Temperance".

Tarot - Temperance

Temperance is following the safe and accepted path.  Temperance doesn't look for risky short-cuts -- it takes the long-term view and the long-term path.  It might take longer -- but it'll get you there.

So -- how to best assure yourself of attaining The World?  The safe and secure path is most certain.  Live right, save your money, don't rely on risky ventures -- and you'll gain what you want in the end!  It won't be quick -- but it is pretty certain!  "Slow and Steady Wins the Race!"

More readings later -- have a great week til then!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Maybe It's Time to Take a Stand?

It's "Go Texan" day here in Houston!  Everyone (well, most everyone) dresses up in Western garb (hats and boots especially) as they head off to work and other daily activities.

It's all to celebrate our annual Livestock Show and Rodeo -- which lasts about 3 weeks.  Loads of country music stars and concerts every night, outdoor rides and attractions, big-time rodeo stuff (I challenge you to watch the bull-riding and not be blown away!), shows for the kiddies.  Oh -- and trail riders.

The trail-riders have been coming in from hundreds of miles away -- on horseback, with chuck-wagons, they've been camping out as they come.  The final day (today), many of the highways in Houston are full of horseback trail-riders (which means you've got to plan your driving very carefully!) 

The whole arrangement is a lot of fun -- we used to do the concerts and shows, but never seem to have the time anymore.  Have a four-year old grand-daughter that we're going to try to bring to the animal petting zoos, though. 

She's all decked out in her western finery, too.  Her nursery school is having a "Go Texan" party.

There's something about wearing a hat and boots that just makes you feel ready to "cowboy up" and take on challenges!

So ... how about a reading for the upcoming weekend?

Again, we're pulling two cards.  The first card is some basic message; the second card further explains that message.

Our first card is:

The Seven of Cups

Tarot - Seven of Cups

This card is a "dreaming/thinking" card.  It suggests the time we spend playing "what-if" games in our head.  It's a good card to exercise -- this mental advance-work helps us conceive/envision future paths we may wish to explore -- or paths we may wish to avoid!

Although generally a healthy card -- this card does have a "danger" side!  This danger comes when we spend too much time dreaming "what-if" and not spending enough time making things happen.

And that's kind of what our second card is suggesting:

The Tower
Tarot - The Tower

The Tower suggests an abrupt change -- if you've been dithering/dathering (is dathering a word?  If not, it ought to be!) thinking about options, then maybe this is a good time to take a stand, stop the dreaming, and put things in gear to try and achieve the position you've been thinking about?

Problems at work?  Stop thinking about it -- do something about it.  Issues not working in your personal life?  Stop thinking about it -- take action!  Wondering about personal or phyical improvement -- stop thinking about it -- do something!

The real message is that by taking action, you do advance yourself ... even if you don't achieve your goal.  You learn more in the process of taking action -- which makes you that much more likely to achieve your goal next time you get in gear!

That's the message here -- hope you can spot something useful!

Have a great weekend ...

and "Go Texan"!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Celtic Pyramid

Here's a varient on the Celtic Cross spread I like to use.

Rather than laying out the cards in a cross and upright bar, I lay them in a pyramid (I don't use a signifier card).

First, read cards 1 through 10 just like you would read them in a Celtic Cross spread -- but now comes the difference.

With the new layout, cards are surrounded by other cards that can be influencers.  For instance, card 5 is surrounded by 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 9!  This gives you beaucoup opportunities to investigate dependencies.  You can look at these as weaknesses/strenghts, hold back/pull forward, fears/hopes -- whatever feels appropriate.

Once you've explored these, I like to look at shapes.

There are two "hook" shapes in the pyramid I like to use -- cards 1,2,4,5 form one hook (the pink one); cards 3,6,9,10 form the other (the blue one).

I like to read cards 1,2,4 and 5 as a group suggesting where the querant is coming from.  These cards could be a strong base for him to spring forward from -- or they could suggest problems that could be holding him back.

Cards 3,6,9, and 10 suggest what lies ahead for the querant -- what pulls him forward, his desires and ambitions.

Cards 7 and 8 suggest tools and assets he can use to acheive his forward movement or to resolve issues that may hold him back.

Don't forget about reading diagnonals, too -- especially if you find sequences of Majors in the diagonals.

The drawback of this spread is that the additional interrelationships take more time to explore -- but that's what makes this spread a good one to use for an in-depth, deep-dive reading.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Applying Tarot in a Business Setting

I used to work for a large software company as an "international technical specialist".  Sounds cool -- but all it meant was that I promised not to grumble when they'd tell me late Tuesday afternoon that I needed to be in Canada Wednesday morning!

My job was to go in to problem clients -- places where our software just wasn't working, tech support couldn't figure it out, and all our technical people were stumped.  Didn't mean that I was super-smart -- just meant that I tend to look at problems differently from most folks.

I enjoy the "thinking-outside-the-box" process -- but sometimes it became difficult to find new perspectives to a problem.  Remember, all the ordinary and obvious approaches had already been tried and failed.  Wouldn't do me any good to go there and try the normal stuff!

I had dabbled with Tarot for a while, but began to try and apply Tarot to my professional self.  Tarot helps you look at things in a new way, right?  Well the, that's exactly what I needed to be effective as a technical specialist!

I was surprised at how well Tarot and IT (Information Technology -- or computer stuff, if you prefer!) melded together.  Here's an example of what I mean:

One of my first gigs as a technical "firefighter" was for a client in England.  Their problem was that the software we sold them would crash every few days.  No one knew why and our tech support people were day-time only and in California.  That meant when the software crashed, our tech people were asleep.  When the tech folks were at work, the England customer was asleep.

I was sent to try and trouble-shoot the problem.  I didn't know much about the deep technical details of our product -- but what we wanted was a fresh pair of eyes looking at the problem in a different way.

I wanted to think of different ways of looking at the problem (again, all our tech folks had already approached the problem in the normal way -- and failed), so I drew several cards while on the plane to help me think.  One of them was the Four of Pentacles.

Tarot - Four of Pentacles

The Four of Pentacles (someone made me promise to always call him Mr. Grumpyhead whenever he appears!) suggests someone who has latched tightly onto a resource and keeps it tightly controlled.  He tends not to notice all the additional resources around him because he's focused inwards.

Hmmm -- how to apply this to IT?  Well, at the risk of getting technical, let me tell you about reserved memory.

It's quite common for software applications to reserve a small amount of memory that ONLY they can use.  The idea is that you'll have better performance if you rely on this reserved cache of memory than if you had to go and compete for available memory with all the other programs that are running.

Our application did reserve a small amount of memory -- usually, increasing this amount improved performance; decreasing it reduced performance.

I got to thinking about this reserved memory and the Four of Pentacles.  The Four of Pentacles thinks he's doing right by reserving his resources for himself -- but misses out on the big picture. 

Okay, so the first thing I did when I arrived at the client was to reconfigure the application to not reserve ANY memory at all.  I reduced the memory cache size to zero.

Guess what ... the application began working again -- and didn't fail!

Now, I have no idea why technically this should be the case (although I believe they eventually pinned it to a bug in IBM's operating system software)-- but the techical reasons didn't really matter.  Thinking "outside the box" -- looking at the problem in a new light courtesy of Mr. Grumpyhead -- led to a solution.

There are several books available that discuss using Tarot in professional (non-Tarot) settings -- like accounting, management, engineering, etc.  If you're interested, you might give them a look.

You can always benefit from looking at problems from a different perspective -- and that's something Tarot does very well!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Focus and Move Forward

Hope your weekend went swell! I had a wonderful weekend at Sherwood Forest Renaissance Faire -- good crowds, good shows, good company good food -- well, kind of.

Faire food tends to be your typical fried finger food stuff.  Sherwood actually has several food-vendors with atypical offerings -- problem is, everyone wants to eat there and they often run out of stuff before mid-afternoon.  I have to learn to get away earlier.

I do find good food on the way in, though.  A decent part of the hill country in Texas has a strong czechoslovakian influence (never thought of it before, but the Czech flag even looks a bit like the Texas state flag).  That means wonderful bakeries, pastries, and kolaches. 

A kolache is kind of a yeasty bread roll with a meat filling -- sausage, ham-and-cheese, bacon and eggs, etc, etc.

When I'm driving from Houston to the faire site (near Paige, Texas -- about 40 miles east of Austin), I pass a couple of fantastic bakeries.  There's a very popular one called Hruska's in Ellinger, Texas.  I don't usually stop there because it's so crowded, though.  There's a bakery I like better called Weikel's in LaGrange, Texas (if you're a ZZ Top fan, it IS that LaGrange of "Best Little Whorehouse" fame).  I'll grab a sack of either kolaches or pastries and bring them to share at the faire.  Great breakfast food!

Darn, now I'm hungry.  Oh well, better get on to the reading!

We'll again pull two cards -- we'll use the first to find some positive attribute to ponder on today.  The second card will offer a tip on how we might achieve that positive attribute.

Our first card is -- the Page of Cups.

This Page suggests that fulfilling moment we feel when we find a new emotional attachment -- like a new friendship, a new cause, a new puppy, a sappy commercial or song.  Society often frowns on showing this sort of emotion -- but it's something we all feel and shouldn't be ashamed of.  It DOES tend to make you feel human and good.

The issue with pages is that they don't usually act on their feelings.  They're kind of skittery -- they move from one thought to another and never really spend the time to let that feeling grow and develop.  Not necessarily a problem -- but it does mean they may end out missing something.

Our second card suggests ways we can better this -- Strength. 

Strength is a Trump card (one of the Major Arcana) -- it doesn't suggest physical strength, but inner strength.  Strong character, positive beliefs, good moral basis -- that sort of thing.

This sort of Strength is patient, it believes in the good in all people.  It's also honest, so it knows that there's often some "not so good" in all people, too (there are always was all of us can improve)

In this case, we want to use this Strength to latch onto a special feeling identified by the Page of Cups.  Take time to develop and explore it, to think about it, to investigate it.  Often, by taking time to dig a little deeper, we uncover undiscovered treasures we might ordinally have not seen.

Hope your week goes well -- be sure and check out my Twitter feed at @WoodsongTarot!  I never know quite what I'm going to post there until it happens -- come check it out and we'll find out together!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Yay! A Weekly Reading Again!

Whew!  It's been quite awhile -- and I do apologize for the delay!

Sometimes life kind of gets in the way and you just can't devote the time you want to the things you want to do.  Yep -- it was my turn -- but things now look a little more settled and I think I can start the reading back up again.

Just like we used to, we'll draw two cards from the deck.

The first card will suggest some positive message for the day (or a negative message we want to avoid!).  The second card will suggest ways we might best attain the benefits of the first card.


Our first card is the Seven of Wands (Reversed).  This card suggests struggle and contention -- but doing so with every confidence of success.  This card might actually enjoy the struggle!  If we looked at this in a business setting, it might suggest a hard or prolonged sales negotiation.

The reversal could suggest several things -- it could suggest a lack of confidence that might lead you to avoid conflict ... even if that conflict were necessary for success.  An example might be a phone call you need to make to a difficult customer; the call is necessary to resolve an issue, but you might tend to postpone the call simply because you want to avoid the tussle you know will happen over the phone.

It might also suggest where you actually enjoy the conflict part so much that you continue it was past the point where it's doing you any good.  You might drive a hard (but fair bargain) with a customer -- and then continue to hammer until you get even more concessions.  This might be a good deal for you in the short run -- but may result in a lost customer in the long run.

How to avoid issues with our Seven of Wands -- we'll consider our second card:  The Emperor.

This one is an easy fit -- the Emperor is concerned about the overall long-term good for everyone ... and he's willing to take on temporary inconveniences if they'll lead to that long-term good.

So -- if you go ahead and make that difficult phone call, the pay-off is that you'll have a happier customer and an overall better business situation.  If you stop haggling with a customer when you first arrive at fair terms, you may build good-will that will yield an additional pay-off down the road.

Bottom line -- while you may think of your own considerations at first, also consider the long-term implications for your whole overall infrastructure.  This could be your business, your friends, your family, your home.

Hope to keep these going -- things have settled down a bit for me and I can devote the time necessary for these readings.  Hope you enjoy them!

Friday, February 08, 2013

"Something Not Known" Spread

This is a "surprise" spread -- we'll use one of the cards to introduce something the querant doesn't know, but will learn before too long (that's the surprise).

I lay out the first four cards in kind of a "star" shape -- but leave the fifth spot empty at first.

I then read the four cards in this manner:

1) Where you are now
2) Strengths you have
3) Weaknesses to overcome
4) Strengths others see in you

I then lay a fifth card as "something you don't know yet" -- this is the "surprise" card.

If necessary, I'll then pull a sixth card and lay it in the middle as an "outcome" card.

My first season at the faire, I offered different ranges of readings ($2 quickies, $10 readings, $20 readings), I'd use this spread for the middle range.  I quit using it because it just didn't feel robust enough -- now only offer the high-end more complete readings.  I'll now use it as a "free" or bonus spread when appropriate.

For instance, if one person in a couple purchases a reading, I may offer his/her partner this spread as a freebie if they enjoyed the first reading.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Pages -- or, "Who let the kids play with the power tools!"

Here's the thing about Pages -- they're great on coming up with neat ideas ... but they're not very effective about doing the work to implement those ideas.  Not saying they're lazy; I suggest they get so excited thinking about the potential that they never quite get around to doing anything.

I know someone who is always gushing excitement about learning to speak new languages.  She'll go to the bookstore at least twice a month and come home back with books and audio tapes/disks.  She's been doing this at least 25 years -- and the number of languages she speaks so far is ... one.  Great about getting excited about new potential, but not so great at following through.

I'm not saying Pages are failures -- you NEED that sort of excitement about a project to give you the energy to actually realize the project!  We all need Pages ... to start ... but we need other attributes to follow through.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Relationship Spread

I use this one a lot -- it has two paths leading down to a common intersection.  One path is the querant, the other is the "relationship interest".  Spread offers ample opportunity to pull additional cards to further explore various points.

The Spread:

1  What you're looking for
2  What other is looking for
3  What you want from other
4  What other wants from you
5  Weaknesses you bring
6  Weaknesses other brings
7  Strengths you offer
8  Strengths other offers
9  Result

(optional -- you can draw as many of these as is necessary)
10  What hinders result
11  What helps result

Friday, February 01, 2013

Fill the Cross Spread

Well, it's been about a bazillion years since my last post -- things have been very hectic (screwy economy!), but I think they're about to settle down for me (but am keeping my fingers crossed!)

The fourth season of Sherwood Forest Faire starts up next weekend -- I'll once again be out there in the yellow vardo doing Tarot readings!  If you have a chance to pass by (we're 40 miles from Austin, just off 290), please come and say "Hi"!

Rather than post a reading this time, I wanted to share one of the spreads I like to use.  In fact, I use this spread more than half the time at Sherwood.

It's an original spread -- I call it "Fill the Cross".  When you lay the first eight cards out, they leave a little "plus sign" or "cross" in the middle.  After reading the first eight, I lay the ninth card down on top of this "cross".

The spread lends itself well to "General" and "Career" readings.  I can also draw additional cards (if necessary) and create "spurs" off the cards along the edges to dig further if I need to.

Here's how I read the cards:

Card 1: Where you are right now
Card 2: What holds you back
Card 3: What pulls you forward
Card 4: A weakness to be addressed
Card 5: A strength to be utilized
Card 6: How you might turn the weakness
Card 7: How you might apply the strength
Card 8: What you'll see along the way
- and finally -
Card 9: What you'll see at the end

The Spread: