|Our Lady Of Divination: Barbara Moore|
Welcome to The Divination Nation blog!
We are Pleasant Gehman and Crystal Ravenwolf, a duo of divination divas, “spiritual sisters from another mister”. We’re life-long Tarotistas, obsessed with all things esoteric and paranormal.
Look for our forthcoming book, “Walking The Tarot Path” in April 2016.
We’ve created this blog to share our knowledge and to connect with the vibrant worldwide metaphysical and paranormal community. We hope it’s as fun for you to read as it is for us to write…Enjoy!
Barbara Moore is a divination rock star. She’s a Tarot expert, a shaman, and an extremely magickal woman…but that’s just the very tip of her personal iceberg. She teaches workshops and lectures all over the globe, she is a consultant for metaphysical publishing houses Llewellyn and Lo Scarabeo, and she’s an extremely prolific writer. Just some of her books include Tarot Spreads, Tarot For Beginners, What Tarot Can Do for You, Tarot Spreads: Layouts and Techniques to Empower Your Readings, and many more. Barbara has also had a hand in so many decks that in the worldwide divination community, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t practically worship her on a David Bowie or Mick Jagger level. On the off-chance that you think you aren’t familiar with her work, just go through your card collection; here’s just a few decks she’s had a hand in, by writing the companion books: The Gilded Tarot, Llewellyn’s Classic Tarot, The Pagan Cats Tarot, The Mystic Faerie Tarot, The Steampunk Tarot, Cats Inspirational Oracle Cards, and several others. She’s also had some kits published, such as Witch Crystals: Casting Stones For Divination And Magic an all-inclusive package for divination, and the forthcoming kit for beginners, Tarot Made Easy: Your Tarot, Your Way.
As Barbara’s story famously goes, in the early 1990’s, somebody at a party handed her a Tarot deck…and the rest is history! Her marvelous life has been a crazy quilt of wildly divergent –and quite amazing- experiences. Barbara and her wife Lisa reside in St. Paul, Minnesota with their two dogs, Whiskey and Norman. When she’s not reading for clients, teaching or slaving over a hot computer keyboard, Barbara loves travel, theater, making and viewing art, and a couple of her current obsessions are the Harry Dresden fiction books by Jim Butcher and the television series Orange Is The New Black.
We are literally over the moon to bring you this interview with Barbara!
Divination Nation: Your first Tarot experience was at a party: tell us how you began your journey, and how you learned. What or who were your influences, mentors or teachers?
Barbara Moore: The first deck I ever handled – at a party when I was in college-only had a little booklet with it. Nevertheless, I knew that I was holding something special, something more than a novelty to tell fortune at a party. At the time, interdisciplinary studies were all the rage, so I was steeped in mythology, literature, history, art history, psychology, astronomy, chaos theory and fractals, Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. It seemed to me that the cards I held contained the sum of human knowledge, everything I was studying…it was all there in 78 pieces of cardstock.
After that, my first deck was the Haindl Tarot and the book I used with it was not its companion book(s) by Rachel Pollack but Jung and Tarot by Sallie Nichols, which formed my general understanding of the cards and how to use and understand them. After I moved on from that deck, I read Pollack’s 78 Degrees of Wisdom and that laid the foundation for the more general RWS card interpretations.
The Internet wasn’t what it is today, so I relied on books. That is my preferred method of learning anyhow, so it worked well for me. I read everything I could get my hand on which honestly wasn’t that much back then.
Later, I joined the ATA (American Tarot Association) which was giving certifications at the time. I went through the program and it really helped me to unify all that I had learned, to weed out what didn’t fit my belief system and expand and deepen what did.
Divination Nation: Did you know divination was going to take over your life right away? Did you know this was your “calling”, or did it take a while for you to realize? What were you doing previously?
Barbara Moore: I did not know that it would become my life’s work/career but I did know that it was important and full of wisdom that I would study all my life. I was in college and on track for becoming a history professor. I completed my MA and had a lovely full ride-funding package to participate in a joint doctoral program with Central Michigan University and the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. During my MA, I became friends with some professors and learned the realities of life as a history professor…if you could even get work in that field, so I declined the doctorate offer and went into academic publishing, working for the Michigan Historical Review. Then I moved and worked for Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village…not academic but still history-focused. I came to Minnesota and began work for Llewellyn, neither academic nor history, but it was the place where I was able to craft a career that focused solely on Tarot. I began as a production assistant and worked my way up to Acquisitions Editor and had the honor of helping the company reinvent its acquiring process, creating my own specialized position.
DN: Just for fun, tell us about your first “official” Tarot gig… and also, what deck or decks are your favorite, aside from the ones you’ve helped create?
BM:I actually am not one hundred percent sure on this, but I believe it was at the reception for my first wedding. It was a medieval theme; everyone came in costume. I had a table set up where I did readings with the Old English Tarot for a dollar, instead of doing the Dollar Dance, which may be a Michigan wedding tradition. It was pretty amazing, both in how inexperienced I was and how powerful those readings were. I remember reading for a man who denied everything I said but whose wife sat next to him nodding and gesturing.
DN: Aside from your own, what decks do you like to use?
I like lots of decks and am kind of a serial monogamist when it comes to them. Particularly favorites at the moment include: Tarot Mucha, The Wild Unknown, The Raven’s Prophecy, The Tarot of the Sidhe, and Emily Carding’s Transparent Tarot.
DN: You are crazy prolific writer, with several books, eBooks and decks published…plus many articles, a casting kit, and more… How do you prepare for your work?
BM: How I prepare depends on whether the project is a job. In other words, whether a publisher asks me to do something specific or whether it’s a creation of my own. For a job, I get all the requirements from the publisher in my head; sometimes they are very, very specific. I start thinking about the parts, how they fit together, how they can be combined to achieve the stated goal. Then I start brainstorming on paper or a white boards, sometimes making sketches or prototypes and just playing with them until they start making magic. All of that, for me, is the hard part. Once the vision is complete, writing it all up is more of a joy, much easier for me. If something is my own project, the idea kind of surfaces (or is given to me somehow, like in an offhand comment from a friend) and says, “I want to exist; do you want to manifest me?” If I do, I let it make itself comfortable in my head, invite it to stay, start feeding it and discovering what is pleasing to it. After it feels good and fat …kind of like Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, which is a very sick kind of metaphor… the paper and whiteboard come out and planning begins.
For both, part of the preliminary work (before paper and whiteboard) includes meditation and journeying as well as bouncing around ideas with a few trusted friends.
DN: What metaphysical disciplines do you practice aside from Tarot, Oracle and casting divination?
BM: Meditation. Shamanism, if you call that a metaphysical discipline. I think it is. I sometimes incorporate chakras in my meditation work.
I don’t really study a ton of different systems, although there are many and they are all so fascinating. I’m more apt to use Tarot (the structure of the deck) as a template for organizing ideas and practices I learn from other, completely non-metaphysical stuff, like art, business, fiction, etc. So instead of doing different things, I am always seeing Tarot differently.
DN: Do you consider yourself more an academic reader, or an intuitive reader?
BM: I was more of a symbolic reader (which is probably the same as your “academic”) but I’ve worked very, very hard over the past three years or so to become more of a balanced reader, incorporating both sides of my brain. I find that when I do that, these powerful oracular moments occur and are much more powerful than any purely academic or purely intuitive reading of mine could ever be.
DN: What keeps you inspired?
BM: Everything! Podcasts play a big role in providing inspiration and new ideas. I listen to them when I walk Whiskey each morning, if I take walks later in the day, when I drive, when I do housework. And I listen to lots of different ones covering a wide range of subjects. Almost everything I listen to (or read) seems to have some piece, large or small, that it contributes to this ever-changing kaleidoscope of experience that is my life.
My friends, family, and colleagues inspire me. Through the wonderfulness of Facebook, it is easy for me to stay connected and see all the wonderful things that they are doing!
My students inspire me.
Travel…by travel I pretty much mean going to any place new or rarely visited. This includes things like trips to England or trips to the local ethnic grocery store; we have lots of different kinds of grocery stores in the Twin Cities…it is so fascinating to go and see strange food and have nothing be in English; it’s like a very cheap trip to a foreign land.
Learning new things seems to keep everything in my life feeling fresh and exciting. Currently, I’m obsessed with reconnecting with my creative self in form of art: drawing, watercolor, oil pastels, charcoal. I just finished a drawing class and begin a watercolor class in February. The drawing class was based on the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. That was really fascinating and paralleled the way I teach tarot reading (blending the academic/symbolic with the intuitive).
Taking classes, both in areas that apply directly to my work and in broader areas of interest, is essential for my overall happiness and are always inspiring. Going to art galleries and museums. A lot. Luckily Minneapolis and St. Paul have tons of galleries and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is one of the best in the world.
Attending conferences, both as a presenter and an attendee. Preparing a presentation forces me to get very clear on what I’m teaching.
Fiction, movies, good TV. Humans are built for story. I love stories in all forms.
DN: You teach workshops internationally and also read regularly for clients all over the globe. Have you noticed any cultural differences in the way people approach divination in various countries?
BM: Very interesting question. I seem to have this gift for being able to “translate” information so that people can understand it. This applies to cultural or language differences or just understanding in general. As long as the person speaks English, I seem to be able to understand (intuitively?) what they are trying to say even if they don’t have the vocabulary and I seem to be able to select just the right English words within their vocabulary to help communicate my ideas to them.
Recently, one of my students, who is Turkish, was having trouble with the traditional concept that Swords equal Air. She said that to her Swords meant truth, clarity, and communication, so it was impossible for her to connect that suit with Air. I explained how in Western culture, Air works for those things. She realized her trouble was in Turkey, where Air is associated with a person who is never to be trusted and since she sees Swords as “truth”, it didn’t make sense.
DN: Our readers include everyone from divination professionals to absolute newbies, as well as aspiring writers and deck creators. What are some of your favorite tips?
BM: For Tarot people: Tarot is a tool. It can only be used in service to your own beliefs, so before you even begin, get clear on what your beliefs are. You can’t ask, “Can Tarot predict the future” because it depends on whether or not you believe the future can be predicted. “Where do the answers in tarot come from?” That depends what you believe…are you a channel? Is it synchronicity? Is it random chance and self-fulfilling prophecies? Figure out what you believe first, then reading and understanding the cards will come a lot easier.
For aspiring writers and deck creators: If you are interested in traditional publishing, learn about the industry. Understand your market, the audiences of the various publishers you are thinking of submitting to, and follow the publisher’s submission guidelines. Know that you will likely give up a good amount of creative control.
Traditional publishing is a gamble. No matter how well a publisher knows their stuff and their audience, there is no equation to guarantee success. Things that should, by all accounts, be wildly successful sometimes fail. Things that seem pretty standard can take off in crazy ways. Publishing is risky. You could put in a lot of work for little results.
Independent publishing is now easier than ever and it allows you to retain creative control. And, for those who are good at marketing, it offers great opportunities for success.
For everyone: stay as active as possible, stay as involved as possible. Always grow, always learn. This world is filled with so much that there is little reason to ever be bored.
Visit Barbara’s website and her Facebook page: www.tarotshaman.comhttps://www.facebook.com/barbara.moore.tarot
Barbara has several events coming up for 2016; here are a few you’ll enjoy:
North Star Tarot Conference January 29 – 31, 2016http://www.tctarotcollective.com
One-Year Novice Tarot Program With Barbara starts February 1, 2016 http://www.tarotshaman.com/one-year-novice-tarot-reader-program.html
Barbara presenting at The Readers Studio, April 29 – May 1, 2016 http://tarotschool.com/RS16/index.html
Barbara’s Through The Looking Glass Retreat, September 2016http://www.tarotshaman.com/through-the-looking-glass-retreat.html
Visit our website to book metaphysical and occult workshops, Tarot readings and healings, or to have us come out for a paranormal investigation: www.thedivinationnation.com
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To find out more about Pleasant or request a reading or healing session, click here: http://www.pleasantgehman.com/
For more on Crystal’s background, or request a reading or healing session, click here: http://crystalravenwolf.com