Announcing 1-card Mini-Readings!

$5 Mini-Readings

I’ve recently added a new service you can select from the menu of services I offer. I’m happy to announce the arrival of 1-Card Mini-Readings. At the time of writing, they are $5, and so are my most economical offering.

They’re a little different from my regular tarot card readings, so I thought I’d spend a little time describing them and their history.

First a bit of background. At some events I did readings at, children were attending. Sometimes, a parent would ask me whether I could do a reading for their child. Unfortunately, the tarot deck I usually use is by no means suitable for children, with its adult themes and bawdy images. Not only that, but I’m not really sure that Tarot is suitable for children, whatever the actual cards used. I think it’s too difficult to frame a reading in terms a child can relate to. Sometimes, I felt bad the children could not be included, so I decided that I would keep an eye open for a suitable oracle deck that would work for kids.

Oracle decks differ from Tarot decks as they are more freeform, and can contain anything the deck creator wants to include, depending on the theme of the deck. There are many such decks available, covering a wide range of themes.

One day, I was on Instagram, where people often post readings together with photos of the cards drawn. I was attracted by the artwork of one deck, The Roots & Wings Oracle Deck, created by artist Kat Ryalls, and decided to find out more. I found more images of the cards from the deck and like them. I also found that the artist was actually on Instagram, so I reached out to her to ask her whether she thought the deck would be appropriate for children. She was very willing to share her thoughts. I came to the conclusion that I should give the deck a try and ordered it.

Once it arrived, I ran through all the cards in the deck and was convinced I’d made a good decision. But I’d never read an oracle deck before, so I needed to spend some time familiarizing myself with it. One thing I decided to do to help with the learning process was to start posting a “card of the day” feature on social media. Each day, I’d ask the cards “What do we need to know today?” Then I’d shuffle them, deal a card, then interpret it, posting a photo and the interpretation.

Those little collective readings were very well received, and the more I used this deck, the more I found it useful. I started giving some friends of mine on Facebook a little personalized reading on their birthday. I also offered some free mini-readings elsewhere on social media. Again, people seemed to like them. So I started offering them as an option on social media.

So the time has come to officially add them as an option on my Order Page. They work very well virtually. I prefer to have a recent photo of the client as a focus tool, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Unlike my other readings, you don’t ask a specific question; I simply ask the cards what it is that the client needs to know right now. These readings are very good for a quick piece of guidance and can be done as frequently as you wish. They are quite spontaneous and can be completed quite quickly. They can easily be done in an email or in an online chat, so that’s how I’m offering them for now.

As for whether I’ll get a chance to use them for children post-Covid, who knows? Also, I may eventually try some other oracle decks, if they resonate with me.

Try one now.

Zoom Readings Are Live

Here’s the TL; DR version: I’ve officially launched live video readings via Zoom!

Zoom screen

For those who want a little bit of background, here’s the story: I’ve been procrastinating. I should have launched live video readings a long time ago, even before Covid struck. But I didn’t. There was always something preventing me like my Internet service wasn’t good enough, I didn’t have a decent camera, and so on.

Then, when the Coronavirus struck, forcing us all into lockdown, I had to face the reality that I wouldn’t be doing face-to-face readings for a long time. Although I started years ago just doing virtual readings, I’d all but abandoned them when I started doing events, parties, and regular sessions at local venues. So, as soon as we went into lockdown, I should have started video readings then. But I didn’t. 

I wanted to get it right. I did some tests using Zoom (my initial platform of choice, because lots of people have been using it for work or school) with my daughter. I learned its ins and outs. I did some tests with some valued friends. I even did a couple of readings for clients (I told them I had not officially launched the service but would offer it to them as an option). Then I started looking into the possibilities of getting a better webcam, instead of having to use my phone (that debacle is described in my recent blog post). 

No more excuses. Yesterday, I added the code to the Order page here to enable live video readings via Zoom to be selected. I’ll be adding other video chat platforms soon, once I test them out. I’ll be using my laptop’s webcam pointed at me, so you can see me when I talk with you, and my phone will be in a holder, pointing down at the cards on the table, so you can see those too. I’ll also soon be adding some helpful information about using the Zoom application, but for now, the service is up and working. Except for the odd glitch from the software and internet connection, the experience is close to what you would experience from getting a reading from me in person. Give it a try!

Webcam Woes

webcam

COVID-19 has forced a lot of us to change the way we do business. Until the virus hit, I was doing most of my readings in a face-to-face setting, either in private appointments or at events and parties. For the foreseeable future, that side of my business is no more. All my services at the moment are virtual.

When I first started, I only offered emailed written readings with a photo of the cards I drew. Then I added recorded video readings. But I have never offered live video readings before. 

When giving in-person readings, I’ve always made a point of showing people exactly what I saw in the images on the cards. I had people sit right next to me, as opposed to sitting opposite me at a table, so they had a better view of what I saw, and so it would be easier to point things out to them. I’ve even found that sometimes, the person I’m reading for saw something they believed to be relevant in the images on the cards – and I love when that happens! 

I applied the same principle to my recorded video readings. I bought an adjustable gooseneck phone holder so my phone could be positioned over my desk so I could easily show the cards in the video.

When thinking about live video readings, my ideal setup is to use two cameras – one to show me, and one to show the cards on the desk. Recently when testing live readings on Zoom, I used the webcam on my laptop pointing at me, and my phone in the gooseneck phone holder pointing at the cards. This was not ideal, as I often had to access my phone’s screen, and that was inconvenient when it was in the clamp of the holder.

I started looking for a separate webcam to use pointing down at the cards. I follow a few deal-spotters online, and one offer caught my attention. It looked like it had impressive specifications at a really good price. The product listing also stated that it came with a tabletop tripod, which I thought might be handy. It was a new listing on Amazon, so it didn’t have any reviews yet. I took a chance and ordered it.

It arrived pretty quickly, but when I opened it, there was no tripod. I contacted the seller via Amazon, and they responded, saying that they would send out the tripod within about two weeks. But when I connected the webcam to my laptop, I was horrified with the results. There was a massive “fisheye” effect. When I put some cards out in a row, the two cards in the middle looked great, but beyond that, the cards appeared to drop off out of sight. I tried to correct the effect with software, but it didn’t improve things. Not only that, but after a day or two, the joint between the bracket (made to hook over a laptop or monitor screen) and the webcam, which was supposed to allow a degree of positioning, went floppy, and there was no way to tighten it up. When I went back to the listing on Amazon, I noticed that it had been amended to omit mention of the tripod. Then I saw that there were recent reviews, which all mentioned the same things that I experienced. I contacted Amazon immediately, and they quickly refunded my money.

Once I started looking again, I realized that webcams are in short supply post-Covid, presumably because so many people are using them for work or school. Lots of cams with good reviews are out of stock, and there seems to have been a lot of cheap, poorly specified cams that have been dumped on the market to fill the gap. 

So for the time being, as I prepare to announce the official launch of my live video readings service via Zoom, I’ll have to start by using my phone as my second camera, while I keep an eye out for the return of a decent webcam at a good price.

Gift Certificates Are Back!

Are you looking for a last minute email-able gift for Mothers’ Day? Do you want to send a gift that’s a little different to someone on lockdown? I have officially relaunched e-gift cards on my website. Payment is via PayPal (you don’t need to have a PayPal account though). Available for any value you wish, they are good for my online readings (the only kind I’m offering right now, because of COVID-19, of course), but if the recipient is local to the Central New Jersey area, they will be good for my in-person readings and tarot sessions too, once I return to doing those. I can email them directly to the recipient, or I can email you so you can print out the gift card. They don’t expire.

Get more details here.

Changes due to Coronavirus/COVID-19

Due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak and the measures we are all being advised to take, all my regular public tarot sessions (at Cai’s Café in Metuchen, NJ, The Coffee House in Edison, NJ and Holiday Inn Clark-Newark Area) are canceled until further notice. I’ll post an update when that situation changes.

In addition, and again until further notice, I’ll no longer be giving face-to-face readings.

I will be available for written and video readings via email, as usual. I’m also considering the logistics of giving live video readings.

If you have any questions, please let me know via my contact page.

Please be safe and well – this too shall pass.

Tarot Readings for Pets – It’s Happening!

In my previous post here,  Tarot Readings for Animals, I described what started me looking into the possibilities of doing tarot readings for pets. In the conclusion of that post, I described how I would be looking into some opportunities to read for some pets and their owners in order to build on my initial limited experience.

Dog having tarot card reading

A happy client at my recent invitation-only tarot session.

With the help of Sue at The Scottish Dog, a specialist pet supply store in Metuchen, NJ (more about the store later), we set up a special invitation-only session. Sue arranged for a small but varied selection of dogs, together with their owners, to come to the store and get a reading from me. Firstly, it was a lot of fun, both for me and I think the owners. The dogs seemed to have fun too, although that might have been more because they were surrounded by tempting treats and toys. Secondly, the readings seemed to work very well, and I was happy with the way they went; more importantly, I think the owners found the experience to be useful.

We covered quite a lot of different situations in the readings. Again, I think Sue chose the recipients very well, which is a credit to her experience with animal behavior and how well she knows her customers and their pets. More than anything else, people wanted to find out whether their dogs were happy, and that piece of information was quite easy to ascertain from the readings. There was certainly lots of information coming to me in the readings about the relationship between the dog and the owner. Information I gleaned included describing the “pecking order” in the household, and whether that was healthy. I asked every person bringing their pet for a reading whether there were any problems or concerns, and I could often see that in the reading too.

The session went so well, that upon its conclusion, Sue and I were both happy about scheduling a full-blown session. So it is my great pleasure to announce that on Wednesday, July 10th, from 5pm-8pm, I will be at The Scottish Dog in Metuchen, NJ, giving tarot readings for pets. 

There is already quite a bit of interest in this event, so I recommend going to my Event Page to see more details and let me know you’re coming. I also have an online signup sheet so you can reserve a specific timeslot, which I recommend so you can be assured of me being available to give your pet a reading at a time convenient to you. Otherwise, I’ll have a physical sign up sheet and see people on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you’re not familiar with The Scottish Dog, you should be! it’s a specialist pet supply store that carries everyday and more unusual supplies, with an emphasis on being healthy and environmentally friendly. Sue, the owner, has a long history with animals and really knows her stuff. She often finds that dogs take their owners right to her front door – I’ve seen that with my own eyes too!

So what’s next for me in this interesting journey, this unexpected but thoroughly welcome detour? I would like to do some more sessions for pets, perhaps at some different venues. Any venue would have to be a good fit. I will probably also add private readings for pets to my roster of services. 

In the meantime, I hope to be able to see you and your pet on Wednesday, July 10th!

Online Readings Available Once Again

Screenshot of Order PageAfter a short period of unavailability due to other commitments, I’m pleased to announce that online readings are available once again. Go to the Order a Reading page to see the available options.

 

 

Reboot – And a Special Offer!

system-reboot-mdI want to skip the explanation and go right to the offer!

It has been a long time since I posted here or made any changes to this site. The reason for this was largely because my business changed dramatically. Previously, almost all my business was conducted online, and was really a part-time venture.

In early 2017 I started to explore ways to contribute more financially towards my family. I asked on my personal Facebook page if any of my friends had any ideas. Among many suggestions was one from a friend who had recently opened a venue that was a cross between a coffee shop, co-working space and a place for events. She asked if I was interested in coming there to give readings some time. I had never given readings in public at an event like this, and I wasn’t sure if I felt comfortable doing so. After giving it some thought, I decided to give it a try, especially as the venue was being run by a friend. The event went well, and what’s more, I really enjoyed doing it.

After a series of similar events, at this venue and at others, I started looking for a venue where I could give readings on a regular basis. Due to a couple of fortunate connections, I found three. At the time of writing this, I give readings at Cai’s Café in Metuchen, NJ every first Friday of the month, The Coffee House in Edison, NJ the second Thursday of each month and at Holiday Inn, Clark, NJ the last Wednesday of each month.

So my business changed very quickly from an almost all online-based business to an almost all local, in-person one. Most of the work I have done promoting my events has been on Facebook, and this site fell by the wayside.

Now, as I seek to grow my business, albeit in a fairly organic way, I realize I need to devote more time to my website. After all, not everyone uses Facebook. That’s the purpose of this post. You’re likely to see some changes on the site too, although that’s likely to be bit by bit, as I fit it in between other activities.

One of the changes has to be revising the prices of my online services, to bring them more in line with what I charge for my in-person readings.

And that leads me on nicely to this special offer! I will be unavailable for online readings during the period Thursday April 18th, 2019 through Sunday April 28th, 2019, due to prior commitments. After Wednesday, April 17th, my “Order” page will be temporarily suspended. On Monday, April 29th, it will be reinstated with the new higher prices. That means that if you order a reading between now and Wednesday, April 17th at Midnight (EDT), you’ll get it at the old price. Remember, once the page is suspended, you will no longer have access to the lower prices.

Yes, it’s before Thursday, April 18th, 2019 and I want to order a reading at the old price!

Video Readings Now Available

Screenshot from video tarot readingAs I wrote in an earlier post here, I recently experimented with video readings. The reaction was fantastic; the people who received them all gave me positive feedback, referring to things like the “personal nature” of the readings, and how they enjoyed seeing the process of me actually doing the reading. So I’m very pleased to announce that video readings are now available to everyone! You’ll find them listed on the Order a Reading page.

So, what are the differences between the two types of readings I’m now offering, and which should you choose? It’s largely down to personal preference; but I wanted to describe some key features of each, to help you make a decision:

Written Readings:

  • are easy to refer back to.
  • are searchable.
  • can easily be compared with subsequent or past readings.
  • are organized versions of my thought process.

Video Readings:

  • are a record of your reading as I did it live.
  • are very personal – like a conversation between the two of us.
  • allow me to point to areas of cards to illustrate a point.

In addition, I’ve found that, simply put, some people find the written format easier to follow, whereas some find the video format easier to follow.

Finally, for those wanting a really comprehensive reading, I’ve also provided a combination written/video reading option, which gives you the best of both worlds at a discount price.

 

Order Your Reading Here