When the Dead Come Through

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I’m not a medium, not usually, anyway. But once in a while, when doing a tarot reading, the dead come through. A few of these occasions have been like a small footnote to the whole process and the tarot session itself; but there have been several times that were quite profound and memorable, either to me, or to my client, or both.

Once such case involved the four of pentacles. I was using the Rider/Waite deck, and the imagery on this card is that of a male figure with both feet firmly planted on his gold coins, and his arms wrapped protectively around two more coins. The common interpretation for the four of pentacles is The Miser, that penny-pinching individual who refuses to part with his money.

As some of you know, I read using the intuitive method, which basically means that I simply allow my sub-conscious to run amok and pick up, see, or feel anything that the images on a tarot card might spontaneously trigger. Needless to say, most interpretations brought up this way have absolutely nothing to do with the traditional meaning of a card. These flashes of insight, visions, feelings, and such are often way out in left field, and sometimes the only one who can really make sense of them is my client.

That was the case this day:

As I was staring at the figure on this card, the four of pentacles, the entity of an old man was suddenly very present (in my mind and around us). I kept talking and staring and talking and staring intently at the card: “Oh, my.” I said, overwhelmed by the feelings. “His hands are curled up tight in a fist.” And as I said this I was grimacing and clenching my own fists, drawing my hands up to my chest. “Oooh, it’s icky!” I said, still grimacing, overwhelmed at the emotions and sensations. It was awful.

The woman stopped me, sort of abruptly. I think she was concerned for me.

Wait,” she said, “I have to tell you…”

And then she went on to explain that her father-in-law had recently passed away and had left her and her husband what amounted to a small fortune, a life-changing amount of money. But that wasn’t all. When he died, she told me, he was frightened, and he was in pain, and he was fighting the death process with all his might. It was terrible to watch.

He curled his hands up to his chest, clenching them into tight fists.” she said, staring straight into my eyes, wanting me to understand.

I looked down at the male figure on the four of pentacles tarot card, and I knew that what I was really looking at was this woman’s father-in-law.

Rider Waite 4 of pentacles

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Author’s Corner: Questions & Answers

Where are you from?  I was born in Gardena California on September 24, 1957. My parents went back to Mitchell, South Dakota, three months after I was born, for my grandfather’s funeral. They stayed, and this is where I was raised. I’ve spent the last twenty-two years here in Fremont, Nebraska, about forty miles northwest of Omaha, raising a family of seven children.

Tell us your latest news?  I’ll be at Next Millennium in Omaha, Nebraska, in April, May, and June for book signings. I’ll also be giving tarot readings. I’ll be posting more information on this, including dates/times at my Facebook author page. You can also find this information at my website, The Witch’s Corner: ladyamythyst.webs.com

When and why did you begin writing?  I’ve been writing since I started my first journal when I was 12-years-old. I was inspired by Anne Frank, and I wanted to record my life and times in order to relish everything and to forget nothing.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?  It finally dawned on me that I was a writer when I stood in the middle of my kitchen staring at a check in my hand that I had received for a short story I submitted to a magazine in Colorado. This was in the early/mid 1990s, when I was still in the process of having babies and running a very busy household. The idea that someone would actually pay me for something that I had written was mind-blowing.

What inspired you to write your first book?  I believe that it was the enlightenment and love of my spiritual path that inspired me to write my first book. The path of the pagan is so inspiring and so misunderstood by so many. I decided to write this book after a very dear high school friend, someone I thought I would be friends with the rest of my life, ended our friendship when I finally revealed to her that I collect tarot cards.

There was dead silence on the other end of the phone, and then in a very small voice she said, “That’s very dark.”

Well, no, divination and the tarot are not dark at all. The tarot is such an inspiring tool, not only for divination, but to venture into your psyche through meditation and magick. I wanted people to know this. I wanted people to understand the process of divination, how it works, when it can actually be useful in unexpected ways, and how enlightening life’s journey can be with it.

I realized that the way to do this was through a book.

Do you have a specific writing style?  I’ve been told by readers that my style is very ‘chatty and natural’. Basically, I write pretty much the way I speak– well, for the most part. The formality of style depends on who I’m writing for, what the subject needs in order to be understood; and how entranced, inspired, or magickal I feel.

How did you come up with the title?  For my last book, “Tarot: A Witch’s Journey”, it was really pretty easy…I’m a professional tarot reader, it’s been a long round-a-bout route getting to where I am today, and I’m a witch. There ya’ go!

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?  The experiences in my book are all real events from my life and the people/circumstances that I’ve encountered over years of professionally reading the tarot for the public. You meet all different kinds of people seeking answers to life’s questions, and their expectations of the tarot reader and a psychic reading are very diverse and sometimes unexpected.

In my book I’ve actually included real tarot readings I’ve done for clients, publishing them anonymously of course, to give an idea of exactly how this process works and what the end results will be like.

What books have most influenced your life most?  When I was a teen-ager, the book that most touched me and influenced me was, “The Diary of Anne Frank”. I was twelve years old the first time I read it, and I just naturally assumed it would have a happy ending…it didn’t. I was stunned. I re-read it then without the haze of innocence to shade the harsh reality.

Years later I discovered another ‘Anne’…Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her series of diaries and letters. Again, there was a tragedy included in the author’s life and these books, the kidnapping and murder of her infant son in 1932. But this time I got to read past the tragedy to see how the author learned to live with her sorrow and to rebuild her life. Anne’s books contained very poignant insights on life and how we cope so as to be able to live.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?Definitely Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I lent a friend one of Anne’s books once, and when my friend had finished reading it, her amazed response was, “This lady is pure thought.” I also greatly admire Ann Moura, as well as Ly de Angeles and her beautiful literary style.

What book are you reading now? I’m doing research now for my third book, “The Book of Magick” (working title), so my reading consists of books on topics relating to my research; books on crystals, stones, correspondences, animals, herbs, and such.

What are your current projects? I recently finished my second book, “The Gray Witch’s Grimoire”, and have it under submission with a publisher at this time. This book deals exclusively with magick from the perspective of the gray witch, which might rattle a few chains. I believe the modern witch of today, greatly influenced by a mostly Christian society, has lost site of the true wise-woman of ancient times. This book includes information on not only magick that falls in the shady area of witchcraft, taking advantage of a darker and often misunderstood energy, but it also deals with touchy Wiccan subjects, such as self-initiation.

I intend to write a companion book to “The Gray Witch’s Grimoire” sometime in the very near future, most likely a study guide..

Right now, as I’ve said, I’m working on “The Book of Magick”, which attempts to gather correspondences for all types of magick, from a variety of paths, to make it easier for the magickal practitioner to coordinate their spell work and gather the items they need to make their magick a reality.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. The Mother Goddess…it’s the strength, resolution, and peace I find as a practicing witch and member of my coven that inspires me.

Do you see writing as a career? I have a feeling that very few writers, except those who’s novels are destined for movies, can depend on a writing career as their sole income. As a free-lance writer, with no other source of income, you will also run into issues and concerns such as health insurance and retirement plans.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?  Overall– no. I think my editor, Starr Price, did an amazing job at creating a wonderful book from my piles and piles of manuscript pages, coordinating all the information I presented into a magickal experience. I think an artist or writer would never stop tweaking their work if someone didn’t gently take it from their hands and say, “Okay, it’s done now.”

Who designed the cover?  The cover for “Tarot: A Witch’s Journey” was designed by Starr Price. I had no idea what she was going to do. She phoned me one day, saying that the cover was finished and she wanted me on the line when I looked at it for the first time for feedback– it blew me away! My girls were behind me squealing in delight. I can’t tell you how many comments and compliments I’ve received about the cover to this book. I tell these people I take no credit for this, it was all Starr Price’s artistic talent and magickal muse.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?  I’d tell them to keep writing, keep writing, keep writing. It’s so easy to come up with a million ideas that you never put down on paper. Don’t just dream about being a writer, but actually do it. This requires determination, discipline, and perseverance, but the rewards are worth it in the end.