Tarot Kaizen – book review

Tarot Kaizen – By Alison Cross. If you don’t know Alison Cross let me introduce you – Alison is/was the chair of TABI – Tarot Association of the British Isles She has written two books – A Year in the Wildwood – about the Wildwood Tarot deck, and Tarot Kaizen. What the heck is a Kaizen you say? Kaizen, as Alison explains in the book, pretty much means ‘change for the better’ in Japanese. The Tarot Kaizen book contains over 100 small daily exercises you can use with your tarot deck to make help you get to know it, and to make working with it better. Alison also hosts a Facebook Kaizen – a couple of times a year, where a group follow the exercises together, in a secret group. Everyone sharing their experiences of working through the exercises. The aim is to improve your working relationship with a specific deck by doing these small exercises daily to build a foundation of knowledge and practise.

In my opinion it is worth the few pound cost, you can work at your own pace and redo the Kaizen for different decks. Tho working it for one deck at time is definitely the way to avoid burn out and boredom.

Tarot Kaizen is available on Kindle to download from Amazon and I recommend it. Below is my day 3 Kaizen exercise to interview the deck.

I am using the Deviant Moon in this example:

Card 1 – Tell me about yourself – what adjectives describe you?

King of Wands – energetic, dynamic, enthusiastic. This is a more male energy deck than some others I have known (maybe) and is keen to lead the way.

Card 2 – What gifts do you bring into my life?

2 of Coins – Balance, to bring a more balanced view of tarot back, from the academic world of Thoth immersion to something a little less, bookish. The 2 of coins looks like she’s shaking it up.

Card 3-What challenges shall I face with you?

8 of wands I am going to have to work for this to work properly. Which I guess is the same for all of us. To get the best from the deck you have to give your best.

Card 4 –  What energies will sustain me during this Kaizen quest?

7 of CupsThe variety of challenges and cards, the images that I will see and the landscape of the Deviant moon will entice me to be more creative (the image shows a figure drawing) .

Card 5 – What is your message for me as we begin this quest?

Ace of Cups – this is a new friendship/relationship, yes it’s cardboard but it has a personality and it’s a new exciting dynamic, that will grow given the right tending and ingredients.IMG_0227

Meditation is a thing i do

Meditation is a thing

Meditation can be a bit boring when you think about, just sitting there just doing nothing, thinking nothing, relaxing.  I think that is what puts the vast majority of people off, we just don’t have time to stop for a nothing break, there’s so much that needs to be done.  Also we are caught up in the superficial world of social media. If I spent as much time writing as I did FBing and using Instagram, well I guess those best-selling novels would have been written by now.

IMG_4513Most of the things we need to do should have been done yesterday if the truth was told, we all live in a catch-up mode at times, relentlessly chasing our tails, round and round. That Hamster-wheeling is also the main reason why we should stop to give our minds a rest once a day at the very least because they deserve it. Your brain really does deserve a vacation. I actually love the times I am able to disconnect from the world of FB and forget it for a while. It’s perfectly blissful to have nothing on your mind. There is no other way to describe it.

The body gets to sit about and relax, but the mind very very rarely gets a chance to escape the relentless processes of remembering, planning and worrying. How is that fair? It’s just not really, is it?  Equality for body and mind! Equal rights to long lazy days!IMG_8619

I have recently tried to work on making my meditation more mindful, focusing on the breath and staying in the body. I have found this, along with giving my body the early night and long sleep it craves, gives me an increased desire to write. Which is what I feel I want to be doing with my time, rather than feeling I’m wasting time on unproductive scrolling. I want to be here, this is enjoyable and I have more ideas – how magic is that? Respect your mind, give it exercise but give it deep relaxation also.

A good way to start with meditation and slowing your mind down is to buy an app for your phone, something like headspace or calm would do nicely, but there are others out there. They each have some free content that will give you 3-5 minutes of guided meditation a day. 3-5 minutes is great. It sounds so minor but when you sit to do it, sometimes getting yourself to the seat is the hardest thing you can do, it will be worthwhile. Try to set an alarm on your phone at a set time each day – for me its 6.15 as that’s when I can get away to myself the easiest. But pick a daily time that suits. Turn up to the mat, it’s two minutes, you won’t miss anything on Facebook in two minutes. How many days have you spent scrolling the same old updates? Get that time back in your hands!

Passive and aggressive selling in TarotLand

So I have taken a couple of online Tarot courses in the past, notably from two of the bigger providers of online certificates – these being Biddy Tarot, and Tarot Professionals.

I’ll put this out there from the start – I am a member of Tarosophy Tarot association/Tarot Professionals, and I think membership for me is a worthwhile investment ($65 a year).

What I’ve noticed recently is the intense marketing and selling on of pre-recorded tarot training course for a price tag of £000s. Firstly I am not saying these are not good investments in yourself and if you feel this kind of certificate gives you legitimacy, then you fire in there. To most of us, $300-400 is a considered purchase.  Has to be said, most people who are working – can afford to pick up a new £15 tarot book from time to time, and a notebook to make your own course.

And that’s what it boils down to for me….  most of these video lessons are they anything that you cannot pick up from a book or a free youtube video if you put the time and effort in. I like Biddy site don’t get me wrong and her Podcasts are really great, but she’s into milking her passive income streams, that’s you and me btw 🙂

And yet there must be a market for them, as Biddy has been busy selling her courses for a number of years, I should know I did shell out that cash a few years back.

Was it worth it? It’s really hard to say, at the time it was an eye-opener for me, but longer term?  Probably reading a couple of good tarot books – Benebell Wen’s Holistic tarot for example – is a longer-term solution… and therein lies the problem. Humans tend to want a quick magic cure for everything, and when you want to learn something like tarot, there are not many shortcuts, sure you don’t have to learn every card 7 which ways, but you do have to do your homework and pay the piper. You have to work the cards.

Tarot Association /Professionals/ Tarosophy also offers a few courses, the one I started but didn’t complete was a 2-year degree style program, this is definitely aimed at the more serious student ($685 a year in instalments, monthly payments available). I haven’t done it all and I cannot comment but it appears at face value much better value all round with 100s of hours of videos and support. I have seen some of the organisation’s other courses and they are well paced, informative, and comprehensive. If a degree style presentation is your bag this could be in – tho it should be stated – no actual formal qualification is offered.

To me, having learnt tarot the hard way before the internet. It all seems a bit unnecessary if you are willing an able to put a little more effort into your learning. Reading books, pulling cards daily, and recording your thoughts/ideas, will help hone your skills as well 🙂

Having a LouLou rant

I have worked with the Thoth deck for a few years now, I wouldn’t call myself an expert on it but I am quite knowledgable – ok, I’m slightly obsessed with it. It’s amazing, so why the hell not.


Lots of people object to the deck without even seeing it on the basis of its creator. Aleister Crowley is a man that puts the fear into many people, he’s often written about as a bogie man. The worst of the worst, a child murderer, not a very nice man. Consequently, I think a lot of people feel that the Thoth deck is cursed, evil, or will cause them bad luck. Well, I’ll be honest, you are just the kind of person Mr Crowley wanted to test. He didn’t want people who would take the word of the tabloid newspaper or gossip, to be interested in his deck, he wanted free-thinking minds that could look beyond. His reputation was something that he enjoyed, if you were going to be afraid of him, he would play the part. But you should know he was a seeker of truth, his very core principle of belief was that humans should be free, free to do their own wills, while not interfering with others wills. (that means no murdering/rape/sacrificing babies, in case there’s any doubt. Crowley made a bad joke about human sacrifice, a tabloid printed it, and 70 years later they still haven’t got over it) He taught that if we all got on with the business of developing ourselves, and left others to do the same, the world would be a better, freer place. I, for one, agree with that sentiment. If you are not hurting another or violating another’s will, then what the hell is the problem with people being promiscuous, or what sexual preferences they have, or if they wish to realign their gender, or if they don’t feel like they need a ‘gender’.. I mean, really, it’s all so medieval.


Let’s keep evolving as a species and leave all this daft nonsense about how humans should behave according to what’s between their legs. Yeh, there have to be rules, but why regulate things that are none of our business.  He wasn’t a perfect man, don’t get me wrong, he could be perfectly horrible to even his friends.

Anyway, I don’t expect everyone will agree with me on this subject, in fact, I reckon lots will probably disagree. But let me ask you this, have you read any Crowley? Or have you read other opinions of him, a post-Victorian tabloid press for example? A press that believed that homosexuality was the worst of sins? Cos that’s what the problem boils down to, the press at the time – pre ww2 – didn’t like homosexual activity or any sexual activity being ‘ok’d’ – so are you of the modern age or do you wish to sit in the shadow of prehistoric religious rules for the rest of your life?

General ramblings of a would-be blogger

IMG_4513.jpgI’m an avid collector of Tarot decks, if I see a deck and I like it, I will buy it. It’s not a cheap hobby by any stretch of the imagination, and some of the older decks I take a fancy to can be quite considered purchases. That being said I am thinking about liquidating the decks that I don’t use or do not relate to so well, there are quite a few of those, purchases that didn’t quite turn out the way that I had hoped they would. Even though they don’t work sometimes I have problems letting go of decks, It makes me possessive and collectors greed is not a pretty thing. I have sold decks before only to repurchase a copy a while down the road. Crazy.

The reason for this is to provide some funding to update this site which is turning out to be a creative focus for me right now, I’d like to upgrade to the professional version so I can get some content protection, I am very wary that some folks are quite happy to ‘borrow’ other peoples ideas, and reuse their pictures. I’m not precious but these are mine. The pictures are of my life, local views, and loves, they aren’t really for anyone but me. I know they are on a public website, but I feel you are in here you are in my domain, quite literally. Maybe this is just something I am worrying about for no reason. I think for me to upgrade this would be costing in the region of £200, this isn’t cheap really. But it does bring other services with it, and higher levels of content. Much as I hate to admit it, I might let my other site regress back to a basic level as I hardly use any of the functions provided by the high-level membership, will this turn out to be the same.

I do wonder though if I will ever use the full functionality of this site lol, do I have enough ideas to keep on writing regularly? Or will I shortly pull one of my destruction stints and remove everything? My inner censor/critic often comes out and decides that nothing I write is worthy of publication. I hate that guy, he’s such a dick, (pardon my french) he takes it upon himself to decide what I have to say is unimportant. And while it may not be important, these are my words and my thoughts, and I’m allowed to have them. I am allowed to record them here for anyone to read. IMG_5038.jpg

I’m going to try to resist this destruction happening again, wish me luck. Let me know if you have a similar critic that makes you wish to remove writing or destroy your own journal? Maybe it’s just me but somehow I think now. And I think it’s understandable, I am fearful of people judging me but at the same time, I also don’t really care what people think, which is very odd sounding but it is the way it is.

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