Sample Reading with the Forest Folklore Tarot by Kessia Beverley-Smith
Reading by Diane Wilkes

The querent requested advice regarding her job as a freelance writer. She had recently completed a multi-year project and was awaiting the results of that. She wanted input on two new projects, one of which involved exploring a completely new genre. A third option, ghost-writing, was also under consideration.

I decided the best approach would be to pull a card for more information about each project, plus an overarching card that would give insight into the querent's deepest needs and desires regarding her career.

Card One--Project Similar to Previous Successes: The Devil Reversed

Because the Strength card is reflective of the querent's deepest needs and desires, the combination of The Devil Reversed and the Eight of Swords Reversed suggested that this reading centers on issues of power, control, and dominance. It may be that this first project is tempting precisely because it involves something in which the querent has gained success in the past, hence, it seems like the likeliest road to more power and control over her career. But is it? While the querent doesn't wish to be at anyone's mercy, she does love a challenge and fears that this project won't afford her the ability to grow as much as she would with the other choices. There are also more "chains"--more rules the querent must follow with this project than the others and she has been feeling a yearning to move away from restrictions and toward a new freedom. On the other hand, she has made certain connections that would assist her in this new project. If she can find a way not to feel limited by and to this project, and have other creative outlets, this new project could signify an increase in financial and career independence.

Card Two--New Genre Project: Eight of Swords Reversed

Interestingly, we see another Devil in this card--many of the Minor Arcana Swords in this deck contain little red demons. Firstly, this suggests that the querent's past experience and successes make this new genre less of a leap than she fears. Like the man in the Eight of Swords, she is more well-muscled than she gives herself credit for, and she puts herself in an underdog position unnecessarily. The theme of removing limitations and shackles is repeated with this image. Each of these projects offers the querent an opportunity to free herself, but the fact that the querent is a writer and Swords are all about words and communication makes me think that this project is more promising intellectually, if it isn't as momentous as the first. There may be an inclination on the part of the querent to feel less powerful than she really is, and she needs to think about herself and her gifts in a new way. Perhaps this project has more potential than she sees at this time--or she may need to find a way to make it pay off for her in monetary, as well as intellectual, growth.

Card Three--Ghost Writing: Four of Wands

The querent mentioned this option in passing, yet it's the brightest and most joyful of the cards--and the only one in the reading that does not involve dynamic tension. Ghost writing allows the querent the opportunity of cultivating her literary garden on her own terms, at least, far more than the other options do. Note how this particular Four of Wands shows one winged woman, not a part of a couple. This suggests that even though she's ghost writing for someone else, the querent has a great deal of autonomy--and pleasure in the doing. 

There's something transitory about this image of a card, the Four of Wands, a card that is normally more stable and solid. This is not the querent's ultimate career, but it's an appealing, if momentary, time-out. It may well be a necessary foundation for the querent to achieve true happiness and stability on her own terms.

Overarching Needs and Desires--Strength

The querent is an interesting paradox. There is much that is gentle about her, but she has a powerful vitality, as well. Learning to balance and nurture both parts of herself is a skill she needs to acquire before she can truly find "right livelihood." In the past, her emotions may have overwhelmed her and caused her to undervalue herself and make career decisions that she later regretted. The older woman in the card suggests that the querent, too, is now more mature. She is wise enough to tame her demons, yet feed her passions--and recognize which is which.

The cards suggest that the querent not choose either the first or second path at this juncture, but enjoy her present mode of employment. As time passes, her path will become clearer, and possibly open up to another avenue that will suit her even better than the possibilities on the horizon she is presently contemplating.

You can read a review of this deck here.


Illustrations from the Forest Folklore Tarot reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA.  Copyright 2005 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.  Further reproduction prohibited. 
Reading and page 2005 Diane Wilkes