A Self-Love Tarot Spread

Nine of Bottles - The Collective Tarot

The Nine of Bottle – The Collective Tarot. Shower yourself with love and consideration.

Why is self-love so ding dang difficult? Even being a spiritually mindful person, I fall into the self-criticizing, self-disparaging trap more than I like to admit. I know better. You probably know better too. It’s really hard though, right? The “why” is often complex and convoluted, that is one reason why I find tarot to be such a powerful tool. It helps me to get an objective picture, it helps me to bypass my ego and my conditioning enough to see what is really going on.

I was browsing my computer files today when I came across this spread. I originally designed it for Self-Love September last year, but I realized that for some reason I never posted it on my blog. Anyway, here it is, better late than never. I hope you enjoy and that you find it helpful.

Self Love Tarot Reading Spread

Self Love Tarot Spread

Card #1: Area to Focus On: This card will show you where self-love is most needed in your life right now and will give a focus to the reading. You can think of it as the-heart-of-the-matter.

Card #2: Root: This card is the “why.” It represents the reason that self love is lacking in your focus area. it could be a recent trigger that is causing you to struggle right now, or it could represent the event or conditioning in your more distant past that has made self-love so difficult for you in the present. If you feel that it’s important for you to understand the underlying causes behind your current struggles with self-love, then this is a good card to spend some time digging into.

Cards #3 & #4: Advice: Now that you know what you need to focus on and the underlying cause of your current challenges with self-love, cards #3 and #4 will offer you advice on how to address those challenges. Understanding the “why” is important, but it’s also important to follow-up with some actions if you want to see improvement. These cards will give you guidance to address the present and also to heal the root cause that is making self-love so difficult.

Chatting with Ciaran Gaffey, Founder of tarot-tshirts.com

Ciaran Gaffey

Ciaran Gaffey, Founder of Tarot-Tshirts.com

Tarot T-Shirts (tarot-tshirts.com) is a web-based apparel company founded by Ciaran Gaffey and featuring designs by Rosario Salerno.

I first came across these bold, Tarot de Marseille inspired tees when I was browsing Instagram one day. I fell in love with Rosario’s art instantly (I bought The Fool Card Crew Neck T-Shirt the following payday.), so you can imagine how excited I was when Ciaran contacted me about exchanging interviews. Once I finished doing my fan boi happy dance, I said “sure thing.”

Read on to see what he had to say about business, tarot and his plans for Tarot T-Shirts in 2016.


Cameron: When did you launch Tarot T-Shirts and what inspired you to start the business?

Ciaran: I launched Tarot-Tshirts.com in the summer of 2015. It all began when my partner Rosario decided to start creating his own Tarot deck. Both him and I had been interested in Tarot when we were younger but we had fallen away from it. I had all but forgotten everything I knew about Tarot but when he started the deck I couldn’t help be introduced to the world of Tarot again.
I really loved Rosario’s designs and I thought they would look excellent on apparel. I had wanted for a long time to work on a project with Rosario so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Shortly after that I decided to set up the site.

Cameron: Prior to Tarot T-Shirts had you ever considered starting a business before?

Ciaran: Well I’m a freelance web designer by trade so I guess you could call that a business. Apart from that though, no, I never considered starting my own business. For a long time I wanted to have a personal project to work on, something that would be independent of my clients and that I would have total control over. Tarot-Tshirts.com has been a great experience and has really satisfied those desires.

Cameron: What were some unexpected challenges and/or joys that you encountered as a result of launching Tarot T-Shirts?

Ciaran: One of the biggest joys has been seeing people’s reactions to the items and artwork. It’s really gratifying see someone wear an item that we created and to be really excited to wear it.
Another unexpected joy has been becoming introduced to Tarot aficionados. It’s very interesting because I can see that people have very differing relationships with Tarot. There’s a common thread that most people share but the specifics of how they use the cards can be so different. As a somewhat of an outsider to the world of Tarot it’s been very interesting.

Cameron: How would you describe the style of art that you feature on your products? One thing that I love about Rosario’s designs are how unique and stylistic they are.

Ciaran: I think the designs are very modern but with a comic book feel. They’re very faithful to the symbolism and iconography of the Tarot of Marseilles but they’re also a very fresh take on the designs. I loved how colourful and bright and sexy the designs were and I immediately thought they’d look great on apparel when I saw them.

Cameron: By putting tarot images onto something as accessible as a t-shirt, do you feel like you and Rosario are helping bring tarot more into the mainstream?

Ciaran: I think that Tarot is already in the mainstream. I think most people have encountered it at some point in their lives and certainly everyone is aware of it. We want to provide products to people who already have a strong interest in Tarot but also we want them to be accessible to people who may not be as familiar with the specifics of the practise.

Cameron: What type of reactions do you usually encounter when you tell people that you run a tarot themed business? Do you find yourself having a lot of conversations with folks about tarot now that you’ve started the business?

Ciaran: People’s reactions are usually really positive. I would describe it as pleasantly surprised. People will usually think it’s a good idea and they’re even more convinced when they see the items as it becomes clear that the designs are quite modern and fun… I do spend a lot of time explaining what the business is about and actually I’m becoming more and more educated about Tarot through these discussions.

Cameron: Do either you or Rosario read tarot? If not, do you have any aspirations to learn in the future?

Ciaran: I don’t read Tarot personally but Rosario does. I think I need more time to become better acquainted with the cards first.

Cameron: When you’re not working on your business, what do you two enjoy doing?

Ciaran: We live between Italy and Germany so there’s a significant amount of time spent travelling and organising ourselves. After working on Tarot-Tshirts.com and our other jobs there’s not a lot of time for anything else. I’m a web designer also and Rosario is a teacher. There’s a great music scene in Berlin though so we do take advantage of that.

Cameron: What plans do you have for Tarot T-Shirts in 2016?

Ciaran: In 2016 we want to add more designs to the shop. There’s still many cards that are not on the site yet. Also we want to refine what we have, the designs I think can always be improved upon. We see the shop continually as a work in progress. Rosario will be publishing his deck, New Choice Tarot, in 2016 also. First the major arcana and then later the full deck.

Cameron: Thank you Ciaran for chatting with me and letting me feature Tarot T-Shirts on my website. I love your products and I wear my t-shirt all the time. Wishing you and Rosario much success in 2016 and beyond.

If you want to check out what Ciaran and Rosario are up to and see what Tarot T-Shirts has to offer (and trust me, you do, because their stuff is fantastic πŸ™‚ ) you can find them on their Website, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.


Cameron Ayers wearing The Fool Crew Neck T-Shirt by Tarot-TShirts.com

The Five of Cups: Too Much or Not Enough?

Five of Cups

Rider Waite Smith Tarot

Whenever I pull the Five of Cups in a reading, I feel like it’s asking me “are you spending too much time mourning a loss, or not enough?

Often this card is seen as a card that shows stagnation created by focusing too hard on what you’ve lost, while ignoring what you still possess. This is a 100% valid way to interpret this card, but there is another side to that coin which is worth considering.

Sometimes we need to focus on the loss or the disappointment. Ignoring pain can be just as detrimental as wallowing in it. Sometimes we need to intentionally interact with our pain, to mindfully mourn, that way we can process and then move on.

If you’re in a space where you are trying to focus only on the good and not willing to acknowledge what is hurting you, the Five of Cups may be asking you to intentionally set aside some time to ball your eyes out, or punch a pillow, or throw yourself a pity party, or bust out an extra hard workout at the gym (just don’t injure yourself, ok?), or whatever you need to do.

The key to the Five of Cups, whichever way it appears for you, is that once you’re done creating the space to express your hurt and honor your grief, you DO still need to pick up those other two cups and move on…move forward.

The Hanged Man and Surviving Family

The Hanged Man from The Tarot Illuminati

The Tarot Illuminati

The Hanged Man has been my touchstone during my holiday visit with my family-of-origin. Family, especially biological family (as opposed to chosen family), has a knack for triggering…well, everything. Shadow stuff, childhood trauma, if it can be triggered, chances are family will do it, whether intentionally or inadvertently. I imagine that is why there are so many family-at-the-holidays movies made. It happens to most everyone and we can all relate.

The Hanged Man represents inactions. Sometimes it’s forced inaction. Sometimes it’s chosen inactions. Focusing on the Hanged Man has helped me keep from reacting when family pushes my buttons or triggers me. That’s not to say I don’t stand up for myself if something happens that is not ok (or that I don’t still react or get triggered), but it allows me to pause and consider where the behaviour is coming from or what the intention behind it is.

Antiquarian Tarot

Antiquarian Tarot

Standing…or hanging in the Hanged Man energy means observing what is going on and trying to understand it from the other person’s perspective. It allows for more mindful analysis of what is going on around you. It gives you the space to decide how you are going to act in response to others. It doesn’t mean that you are helpless or that things are out of your control. Quite the contrary as a matter of fact. You are taking back control from those who are triggering you or making you behave in ways that aren’t consistent with your core values. The physical situation my be out of your control, but your thoughts about the situation and your responses to it are entirely up to you. That is the power of the Hanged Man.

I hope you are all surviving, perhaps even enjoying your holiday, whichever you celebrate and however you celebrate.

Wishing you a beautiful solstice and a blessed Yule.

A Ramble About Rest, The Four of Swords & The Six of Pentacles

me1Hi Everyone,
I really wanted to write a post, since it’s been over a month, but I didn’t really know what to write about. So I’m going to start typing and we’ll see what happens.

PrintDecember has been such a blessing for me because it’s given me the opportunity to rest. November was insane busy and by the end I was definitely flirting with burnout. I did survive NaNoWriMo though, and my 50121 word novel is now safely tucked away to age like a fine wine…until I start editing it in a couple weeks or months that is. I also finished up the Fall Term at school successfully and good riddance, besides my Managerial Accounting class which was FANTASTIC, it was a pretty lousy term.

4 of Swords URWSI did a personal tarot reading for myself once November wrapped up and basically EVERY CARD was screaming at me to give myself a break and get some rest. Resting isn’t something I do well. I blame genetics and nurture. I come from a family entirely made up of Type-A personalities, also I’m a Leo and that fire energy won’t be denied. So I’ve had to figure out for myself how I can rest in a way that feels restorative to me. My version of rest often doesn’t look at all restful to other people, and that’s fine. The benchmark I use is whether or not what I’m doing is makes me feel more energized or more drained, and then I take it from there.

6 of PentaclesLearning to eliminate as much as I can from my life that falls into the “draining” category has been helpful. Also, choosing not to force myself to do things that I don’t want to do unless it’s important, has been very liberating. There are already things that I have to force myself to do; go to class, do laundry, cook meals, clean, etc, that are essential and it takes up a lot of energy just convincing myself to do them. Why would I want to waste that precious energy on doing non-essential things, like social activities that I feel obligated to attend, but don’t really want to go to, or spending hours on social media when it feels like something I am “suppose to do” instead of something that “I want to do.”

So for me, rest has been looking a lot more like the Six of Pentacles than the Four of Swords. Instead of a lot of literal rest, such as sleep or a lay down, it’s been more about conserving resources and being mindful about where I’m spending my energy, weighing each use of energy against it’s necessity and benefit.

100_0459The other great thing about December has been that without the obligation of school, I’ve had more time to read tarot and to reconnect with my passion for reading tarot. I really love slinging cards. I really love it. I started posting a Card of the Day here on the website because I wanted more opportunities to do readings and I’ve really been enjoying it. I also did a year read for a dear friend last week and it was so gratifying to work with them. I’ve since added the Plan Your 2016 Reading to my shop. I’m waiting to do my own personal year read until December 31, but I’m pretty excited. There are a lot of question marks for me for 2016, so I think a reading will be really helpful in terms of figuring out “where do I go from here?”

I’m going to wrap this up because it’s getting late, but it’s been great “talking” to you all and I hope you are doing well and navigating the holiday hullabaloo successfully, whatever that looks like for you.

Until next time,

PS ~ This is the part where my inner-critic is screaming “OMG, you can’t post this rambly piece of s#@$! No one will want to read it. Also, it’s SUPER un-professional”

Oh yeah? Well piss off inner-critic, I’m gonna hit “publish.” I’m gonna hit “publish” and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Score: Cameron 1, Inner-critic 0