There have been quite a few interviews here on Voodoo Universe, but this is the first time I can say I have interviewed both a parent, and a child. I have known Arthur Lipp-Bonewits since he was little, and it has been amazing to watch him grown up into the powerful adult he has become. You can find the interview I did with his mother at Divination Space Station : Deborah Lipp. The forward to my first book Voodoo and Afro-Caribbean Paganism was even written by Arthur’s Father Isaac Bonewits. I clearly have a serious fondness and great respect for this family. But enough about history, let’s move on to the future. Specifically telling the future, and my interview with Arthur Lipp-Bonewits.
When did you start divining? With what method?
I grew up watching my parents read tarot at Pagan festivals and psychic fairs. My dad in particular would read tarot outside a little new age shop in upstate New York and I’d watch him and learn from him. When I was 12 years old I scrawled some symbols related to astrology onto index cards and used that as my divination deck until I was 17, when I switched to tarot, which is still my primary method of divination along with astrology.
How important is the choice/phrasing of the question?
For me, I don’t often read tarot with a carefully-phrased question in mind. When I’m reading for clients, I’ll say to them, “So tell me a little bit about what’s been on your mind lately” while I shuffle. Then whatever comes up in the cards is what comes up in the cards. Most human beings are generally pretty bad at knowing exactly what we want, and what we want to ask, and the answers I get tend to go sideways or diagonally from how specific questions get asked when reading tarot. With horary astrology, which is divination by casting a chart for the moment the question is asked, it’s much more important to have a specific, carefully phrased question. But that’s largely to do with how many rules there are for horary charts. Unless I’m using that system, I’ll usually just phrase my question as “Tell me more about X situation.”
Three-card tarot reading. All upright = strong yes. Majority upright = yes. Majority reversed = no. All reversed = strong no. The nature of the individual cards gives you more information as to the “why.”
Is there any advice you have for newcomers when using divination?
The best way to become a reader to do a bunch of readings. Start by reading for yourself, and then once you’ve got a bunch of stuff memorized, read for close friends and family members, even if you have to check the reference book partway through. The more readings you do, the better you get, especially if you’re reading for someone else. If you’re reading for yourself, talk to yourself out loud. And if you’re reading tarot, get Rachel Pollack’s book 78 Degrees of Wisdom. You don’t have to force yourself to try to figure out Waite’s Pictoral Key if you’re struggling with it like almost everyone does. Don’t feel married to the first deck you got, especially if it was a gift. It’s perfectly fine to pick a deck for yourself based on liking the artwork. And finally, be prepared for difficult emotions to come up in readings. Sometimes the person you’re reading for will start to cry and you’ll need to be ready to hold space for that. Good counseling skills are as much or more of being a good reader than knowing what the cards, planets, etc. mean.
Are there any new projects you are developing?
Nothing I can share publicly right now : )
Arthur Lipp-Bonewits is a tarot reader, astrologer, angel medium, and psychic living in Brooklyn, New York with a cactus named Greg and about a dozen archangels. You can find him online at arthurlippbonewits.com, on Instagram at @readingsbyarthur, and on Twitter at @simplyarthur.
As always if you have enjoyed what you read here please remember to share !