Julianna Day - Gentle, caring, honest insights

Only when a reading is delivered with honesty and respect, without judgment, can it truly help the client make the best possible choices.

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Learning to Read the Tarot

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I bought my Tarot deck when I was 23. I tore open the shiny black box with the cellophane window (ominously and enticingly displaying the Death card, no less). I upended my new deck onto my dining room table. Of course, I sped right past the introduction in the accompanying, “Reading the Tarot” manual. I thought to myself "How hard could this be?" Seriously! And, I flipped through the pages straight to the chapter titled, “Meanings.” Yay! Now we are cooking with gas!

I shuffled the cards. Threw a Celtic Cross spread (go big or go home!). Finally, I was going to have the answer to why my mother-in-law despised me so. Here it was! Only, well, there it decidedly wasn’t. What I had before me may as well have been a commentary on flavored cream cheeses.

So I did what any true reader of the oracle would do in a case like this: I threw it again. And again. And even again. Over and over until I determined that they were stupid cards that didn’t carry with them any insight at all. Cards with no mystical connection and, worse, a waste of $16.00 or – loosely translated – two pair of Evan-Picone pantyhose (Right now, Susan Speaks with Spirit is no doubt totally nodding in commiseration).

Swishing them off of the table back into their box – as one may sweep a pile of garlic bread crumbs from the table cloth into one’s palm – I thought I remembered something about storing these things. Oh, yes -- more Tarot rules. Seems these high-maintenance, spiritually-mute cardboard rectangles had to be wrapped in something that would be used only for them(sounded like the box they came in to me). Then I remembered this long, narrow, cotton-plaid scarf I had tucked in the back of the drawer. With zero mystical fanfare, I wrapped them and – with their useless too-chubby book – placed them, ironically, into my pantyhose drawer.

Over the years, I would occasionally remove the cards from their little pastel-checked nest and shuffle them around. Throw a spread. Read a bit of the instruction manual. I never salted them, sprayed them, smudged them or lit candles around them. Those of you for whom I’ve had the privilege of reading; those who have read my blogs; and certainly my colleagues know I’m not exactly a paint-my-body-blue-and-dance-in-the-moonlight type of mystic.

Eventually, I read the instruction book. I sort of memorized the general card meanings. I visited readers who used the tarot some exclusively; some as a tool to enhance their gifts. I read a book blending the philosophies of Carl Jung with the imagery of the Tarot. It was perhaps the latter that finally, decades after the Death card caught my eye on that bookshelf, provided me with the stepping stone on which I’ve built my personal style of interpreting the Tarot.

While each card has a meaning to me dependent on its placement in the spread, spread style, the way the question is phrased and all of the traditional Tarot rules and regulations ~ I learned that the Tarot is far more personal than just that. I learned that rather than stepping –in- to a reading, focusing closely on the pedantic wording, I was much better served to step out.

I’ve found that focusing on the imagery, colors, numbers and symbolism of the cards in addition to the general meaning has proven an invaluable way to interpret. I admire (more than words can say!) those readers who throw a card and deliver that knowing – and I do mean knowing – nod of understanding. For me, stepping back from the hard-fast interpretation provided in the accompanying instruction manual has relieved me of “Tarot anxiety” and opened a world of insight.

Using this technique, making them my own by relaxing and letting the cards speak to me rather than the other way around, I can now truly enjoy their mystical and artistic beauty and the clarity they can add to a reading (and they definitely outlived my pantyhose.

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While I would love to tap out a story recounting a life filled with mystical, magical prose … well, the truth is I was a pretty ordinary kid from the suburbs. Only I knew things. I knew that Mr. James was mean in a way that could hurt you. I knew that Grandma Testa sometimes wished that the angels would come for her. I knew that some days the woods were an okay place to play and other times not at all; that Alison was only pretending to like Jenny; that my first grade teacher, Mrs. Posty, really, really (really) wanted to have a baby, but didn’t. (Although I couldn’t imagine why she didn’t just … get one like other people did.) I knew that I talked about what I felt – and my friends didn’t.


I think we all know where this is going: I was dangerously close to being stamped Weird and we all know Weird never gets you chosen in gym (the ages-old litmus test for popularity). In the interest of kick-ball, I kept my feelings to myself, for decades. As I grew and gathered more life experience, I came to realize that we are all blessed with the gift of insight and with a wisdom that we bring with us from the Other Side when we choose our Life Path. Still, the stresses and worries and confusion of everyday life can wear us down and we forget and lose the ability and energy to tap into that Knowing (Sort of like trying to find your car keys when you’re running late!).


Slowly, I dipped my toe into the waters of professional readings and found that helping others, listening and guiding and, most importantly, helping my client to see more clearly and understand more deeply what are happening around them – it was then, and in pretty short order, that I was shown this is my Path. Borne to a long-line of decidedly normal Irish mystics and mediums, I, too, am an empathic, clairvoyant, clairsentient and medium. My readings are the combined efforts of my gifts, the insights of my spirit guide, Betta (a feisty, once-African Tribal Queen) and the energy that you bring to the room.


I come to this page today with the reminder that I have been given the most wonderful gift; and the appreciation that to whom much is given, much is expected. I know that those early, early difficult years helped me to go within, to study, to question, to find gentle ways to guide rather than proclaiming a singular Right Way (By the way if you would like to chat with me here is my link).


I embrace the differences we have and celebrate the similarities we share – yet neither stands in the way of absolute honesty in what I see and in what I am being shown. Today, the most wonderful part of this gift is being able to use it to help others learn about their own lives, their own relationships. My work is most rewarding when a client leaves me knowing that we are all in this together. That each of us will stumble on our Path. That it’s okay to hold hands and squint while another reads the not-so-good news so that we don’t have to look alone. I’ve heard it said that God seldom lights the Path, but always lights the next step. It is such a privilege to be there with you when that step is revealed; an honor to help you see it more clearly. With respect, gentleness and honesty I welcome you, dear client. It won’t be scary, I promise! (And it’s way much more fun than kick-ball!) JD

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Guest Sunday, 18 April 2021