What’s This “No-Nonsense” Stuff All About?

No NonsenseI was recently approached by someone inquiring about a tarot card reading who said “I saw your tarot link on [Facebook] and I became curious about your nonsense answer”.

At first I felt a bit insulted, because I thought they were implying that I didn’t take tarot reading seriously; it took me a while to realize that English was not this person’s first language, and that they were referring to the “No-Nonsense” byline I use when describing my readings. Fortunately, I was able to explain what I meant.

I thought, however, that it was worth explaining a little about why I use that term, and what it means in terms of my readings. To me, especially when considered together with the concept of empowering the person being read for, it really sums up my entire approach.

Firstly, I always endeavor to demystify tarot. I don’t believe it’s anything magical, although the results often make it seem like it is. I don’t couch my readings in any pseudo-mystical, airy-fairy terms. I don’t wear special robes, burn incense or do anything remotely new-agey…although I do like to read with new-agey ambient music playing, as it seems to enhance my concentration (but more about that in future post).

My tarot cards of choice are the Jean Noblet Tarot de Marseille, which was originally created in 1650, and recently restored. Without the layers of occultist symbolism that have been added to tarot decks over the years, I consider it especially “no-nonsense.” The deck is not magical. I consider it to be the equivalent of a tool-belt, purely functional. I have no need for many different decks, unlike some tarot readers. This one does the job, and it does it well.

Like many European tarot readers, but unlike many American readers, I read using only the major arcana, the tarot “trump” cards. This is because I believe that the major arcana is like a scalpel that gets to the heart of any matter very efficiently, and that’s what my approach is all about. Similarly, I basically use one type of spread or layout of cards, because the way I lay out the cards also helps me get to the essence of the question.

In conclusion, you know what you’re getting when you ask me for a reading: No BS. No smoke and mirrors. Just some advice on the best path to take for you to achieve your goals. No-nonsense!

I would like to think that people would find that approach to be refreshing. What do you think? Please let me know in the comments below.

(Photo Credit: J Mark Dodds)

Why I Am Blogging

Because I want to be completely transparent to you, my audience, I’m going to share a few of my goals and motives for writing this blog part of my website.

Of course, I want to raise awareness of my new venture, Tarot Readings by Graham and attract people who might want to use my services. I am doing this as a business, not a hobby, even though I love helping people with tarot. I’m hoping to build this business so I can contribute financially towards my family. But there are other things I want to do here.

ManifestoI want to demystify tarot. I think I can best do that by describing a little bit about how I work. I believe tarot to be something that is completely natural, not supernatural. You don’t have to be psychic to read tarot. I certainly make no claims about any psychic abilities. I’m hoping that by revealing some of my process, my audience will see that it makes sense, logically.

Tarot readers are not all weirdos, witches or new-agey. I’m just a regular guy, who happens to have learned a way to help people choose the right paths in their lives. I’m hoping that I demonstrate that in my posts here.

As someone who believes that tarot can help anyone, I want to talk about the things that tarot readings are good for, what they’re not good for, and how to ask the right questions. I believe that knowing the best path to take can be enormously empowering.

If you have a desire to learn how to read tarot, I hope I can share some hints and tips about doing so. I am planning to write a slim volume about learning my approach, and to offer mentoring while you’re learning.

Along the way, I will share posts about books, websites and other resources and stories about tarot. I may write about some other related topics, such as readings using other methods.

I will write about the business of tarot reading and I welcome other tarot readers, whether professional or amateur, to follow the blog too.

And that really is what I have in mind right now. If there’s something you’d like to see in this blog, or a question you’d like to ask me, please post a comment.

My Tarot Story

As promised in an earlier post, I thought I would share a bit about my background in tarot.

Like many people, I became curious about tarot, along with other esoteric stuff, in my teens. I think I found my first deck in a junk shop back in the 1980s. It came with a very slim booklet listing so-called “meanings” of what are called the “Major Arcana,” the picture or trump cards. I did quite a few readings for friends and family, writing the results in a journal. I actually still have the journal, and it’s quite interesting reading it now.

I remember buying a book about the famous tarot deck created by A.E. Waite, often known as the “Rider-Waite” deck. I bought the Rider-Waite deck a little later. Like many people interested in tarot, I bought several different decks as well. My problem was always that I had difficulty memorizing someone else’s predefined “meanings” for the cards. That restricted me to consulting the books when I did readings. Those “meanings” didn’t always make sense to me when I looked at the images on the cards themselves, either. My frustration eventually led to me gradually drifting away from tarot.

Looking at the Marseilles TarotFast forward to 2007. I once again became interested in tarot, after digging out my old cards and books. This time, however, I found a tarot website with an online discussion forum. I started from scratch, trying to learn the card meanings again. Again, I had problems. Fortunately, I stumbled across a little e-book that had been recently written by Enrique Enriquez called Looking at the Marseilles Tarot. It talked about how memorizing someone else’s “meanings” could be counter-productive; its central theme was using the images on the cards themselves¬†and the relationships between them. That was the key that would unlock the mysteries of the tarot for me. I found the language a bit academic and difficult to understand at times, but I knew that I had found what I was looking for, so I contacted Enrique to ask him for a little help. What followed was a wonderful journey of discovery. He taught me, bit by bit, how he read tarot. More than that, he encouraged me to adapt his methods to develop my own reading style.

What emerged was my “no-nonsense” approach to reading tarot cards. In a very short space of time, I was doing readings for others; readings that were getting a great reaction. I also discovered that I could give effective readings via e-mail. Soon, I set up a website to offer my services. At the time, I was also working as a teacher. As I was not using tarot as my sole means of support, I had a “pay what you will” policy that worked well at the time. A couple of years ago, however, I was laid-off from my job, and since then I’ve been a full-time stay-at-home Dad. I also took a hiatus from tarot reading.

My daughter is now quite independent, and so I recently started looking for my next challenge. I also felt it was about time to contribute financially to the family again. Finding the Fiverr platform was the final piece in the puzzle. And so, Tarot Readings by Graham was born.

Do you read tarot? Have you ever tried? Whether or not you’ve been successful, please share your tarot story in the comments section below.

Making the Connection

Connections - http://www.flickr.com/photos/moonty/4072715092/in/photolist-7cTJiJ-7iufmC-7iBHdj-7myGLY-7n3rc4-7n7jnY-7wDyHT-7wQJHD-7wQKUz-ghxMUw-9zXxgM-8nUJMp-dANTW2-dAUncU-at5vcs-8RhBsT-dAUn4N-7WYeCw-aB5s7V-aB5sCz-afSnsf-aB7CKo-aB4WXv-aB7CsS-aB7DuS-87RRpL-a465GC-bpcrAM-fxtUDt-fxJqqm-8bedS1-8zgsmZ-c2S7wJ-7MzKFE-83wHSp-amNgNf-i5ifd9-bEzx7i-ajLR2U-815rr3-aaZ3U9-8yHq9y-8367Sm-8kAyRc-agGcvE-fHFY5i-aB89BA-aB7D4u-aB7CgU-c2S8ky-aafmEv/I know that in my last post I said that next time, I’d share a little about my tarot background, but it occurred to me that I haven’t really talked about the different ways you can connect with me. There are several right now, and they each have some different content. Fiverr, which I am currently using exclusively for my readings, doesn’t like users communicating outside of their system, because they make their money in the form of a percentage of each transaction, and they worry that people will cut them out of the equation. Personally, I prefer to make the connection outside of Fiverr, then send people into Fiverr to purchase a reading.

Firstly, there is, of course, this website. Make sure you Follow it, so you can be informed of any new content. If you have a WordPress account, you can simply click on the “Follow” button in the WordPress toolbar.

I have an email list that you can sign up for in order to get my newsletter. I’m using that to share a little bit of background and news about my services and some news and stories from the tarot world that I think may be of interest. I’ll also run the occasional special offer or freebie.

I have a Facebook page. I send my “Graham’s Tarot Musings” blog posts there in addition to this site, but it’s a little more interactive, so it should be useful, even if you follow ¬†blog itself.

I’m on Twitter. I don’t have a separate Twitter account yet for my tarot reading services, so expect to get a bit of everything there.

I’m on Google Plus, again with just a personal account, but if you prefer that platform, it’s there if you want it.

Please do feel free to recommend any of these connections to your friends and family.

Getting To Know Me

Welcome to a brand new website for a brand new venture! Tarot Readings by Graham is the new home for my tarot readings. And to continue with this obvious theme, my name is Graham.

Before we get too bogged down with tarot-themed items, I thought it would be fun and useful to tell you a bit about myself. I’m a tarot reader now, but I have been, and continue to be, many things. As my About page states, I consider myself to be a teacher, a seeker and a no-nonsense tarot card reader. I’m also an expat Brit (now living in New Jersey) and a stay-at-home Dad.

In the past, I did a lot of computer-y stuff. I was an Analyst/Programmer for ages, I spent a while in data recovery and conversion, and I taught for an online education company. At one point, before teaching, I decided to leave computing, and helped run a hotel for a while. Before I got into computers, I was interested in teaching music. In fact, the new (at the time) application of computers in music is what got me into computing in the first place. Music is still something I love, both creating it and listening to it.

I love the community I live in, and do as much as I can to help it. Currently, I serve as President of our township’s Friends of the Library organization. I also created and maintain their website. I’m passionate about literacy, and I love reading. Other things I enjoy are cooking, good beer, wine and spirits, and movies.

Next time, I’ll focus on my background in tarot. In the meantime, I’d love to get to know you too, so please feel free to post a reply and introduce yourself.