Many, many years ago in a galaxy not too far away, (the lower East Side actually- which can seem like another galaxy) two women put their toddlers down in a pile of fuzzy toys at a Pagan event, and began to talk. They talked about things that most people kept silent about then… about magick, mystery, and mastery. I am proud to say these talks continue today … over two decades later. For those who know Deborah Lipp and myself, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise, we tend not to stay quiet for long. I am very honored to have her featured here on Voodoo Universe.
Lilith Dorsey: You are a prolific and gifted author, tell us about your latest book?
Deborah Lipp: Thank you! My most recent book is Tarot Interactions, which has a really wordy subtitle: Become More Intuitive, Psychic & Skilled at Reading Cards. The book uses the concept of “interactions” to help anyone become a better and deeper card reader. The title says “tarot,” and my expertise is tarot, but the techniques taught in Tarot Interactions are equally useful for any divination system that uses a deck of cards. In fact, some of the chapters are applicable to any kind of divination.
Chapters are broken down by the type of interaction, and I think two chapters in particular, “Interaction with the Psyche” and “Interaction with the Querent”, can be as useful to a palmist or an astrologer as to a tarot reader. Every chapter also has homework and exercises.
It can be used by a beginner, but the reader I had in mind while writing was someone who had, perhaps, tried and failed to read the cards. Someone who keeps laying out readings and coming away from it feeling like nothing happened. It’s also a good book for someone who has a lot of books that keep teaching the same thing—what the cards mean and how to lay them out. This isn’t that book. Tarot Interactions isn’t a system, it’s really just my thirty years of experience organized into topic areas—how I became more psychic, how I began to perceive more and be able to give more—and then sharing and teaching that.
When did you start divining? With what method?
When I was a teenager I studied astrology, up to and including chart drawing, but it never really “took”. I got my first tarot deck at age 21, and I’m not ashamed to admit that was more than thirty years ago!
What method do you use most often now?
Since I first picked up the cards, they have been my primary method. I truly have a love affair with the tarot. I still sometimes use astrology, sometimes do cold readings, and sometimes use laying on of hands, but tarot is my lifelong companion and I trust it completely.
How important is the choice/phrasing of the question?
To me, it’s not at all important for most readings. The exception is yes/no readings and short-answer readings. In those cases, you have to choose your question carefully.
But the vast majority of readings that I have done have been for querent’s life issues; things that can’t be answered instantly or glibly. In this case, questions complicate things in some odd ways. First of all, querents don’t necessarily know what’s important in their life. They usually ask about love or money, right? But maybe they’re asking about love and what’s really going on is drug addiction or domestic violence or a spiritual awakening. It’s important to let the cards redirect the question sometimes.
On the other hand, I do tell a story in the book about a querent who redirected my reading back to her question. This was an interesting case. The querent is a regular of mine, and we usually talk about her career. The first few cards were pretty typical career cards, but after a few minutes she said, “Wait a minute, I booked this reading to ask about my health.” So I went back and reinterpreted the same cards in light of this.
So, even just answering a simple question, I’m talking about interaction. I interacted with my querent appropriate to our long-standing relationship. If I’m reading a stranger, I’m more likely to insist on reading the cards as I see them, because I tend to trust the cards more than the person.
Do you have a yes/no method of divining you recommend?
I do, I have an awesome three-card reading that I learned from Eden Gray, and that I use quite a lot. It’s a six-card reading, which is pretty expansive for a yes/no.
Shuffle the deck and cut into three piles, left to right. Flip over the top card of each pile. Then flip over the entire remaining pile, so that you are reading the bottom card. (I have this reading in the book, and it’s easier to understand with the illustration.) Your yes or no is based 100% on the number of upright versus reversed cards. 50/50 means an answer can’t be found right now.
I love that I’m just counting cards to get my answer. Then I can go ahead and interpret the six cards (two each for past/present/future), but there’s no wiggle room on the answer regardless of the meaning.
The quickest method is just to cut the deck and read the card you cut to. Again, the yes or no is derived from upright=yes, reverse=no. Then you read the card to understand why. I think it’s so incredibly helpful for a yes/no to avoid interpreting the yes or the no, just interpret the reasons.
Is there any advice you have for newcomers when using divination?
Haha, that’s funny. Like it’s even possible that I wouldn’t take the opportunity to tell people what I think they should do!
First of all, learn your system, whatever it is, thoroughly. Memorize card meanings, or rune meanings, or what have you. This is like a music teacher telling you to practice your scales. There’s simply no substitute.
Yes, you can read without this, but I think there’s always a quiet little component of self-doubt, like “What if I’m wrong?” Part of becoming a gifted reader is getting past that self-doubt, and knowing that you’ve done the book-learning part, that you have it down, is incredibly empowering. Plus, there’s about a dozen more reasons to memorize. It’s a first step, you’ll move on from that, but you have to do it.
Second, you have to have a meditation practice. There is just no way to become a skilled psychic without basic mind skills.
Finally, trust yourself. If you know what you’re doing and you work to improve your mind skills, it’s easier to trust yourself. At that point, learn to let go, to keep going past uncertainty, to share your trust and confidence with your querent.
To Learn more about Deborah Lipp please check out her site www.deborahlipp.com
Deborah Lipp’s most recent book is Tarot Interactions. Her earlier works include: The Study of Witchcraft, The Elements of Ritual, The Way of Four, The Way of Four Spellbook, Merry Meet Again, and The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book. One of these things is not like the other.
Deborah became a Gardnerian Witch in 1982 and a High Priestess in 1986, and has been teaching Wicca and running Pagan circles ever since. She’s been published in many Pagan publications, including newWitch, The Llewellyn Magical Almanac, Pangaia, Green Egg, and The Druid’s Progress, as well as Mothering Magazine. She has lectured at numerous Pagan festivals on a variety of topics.
As an active “out of the closet” member of the Pagan community, Deborah has appeared in various media discussing Wicca, most notably on the A&E documentary Ancient Mysteries: Witchcraft in America. She has also appeared on MSNBC, in The New York Times, and in many smaller TV and print sources.
In “real life” Deborah is a Business Analyst. She lives with her spouse Melissa, and an assortment of cats, in Jersey City, NJ, three blocks from a really great view of Freedom Tower. Deborah reads and teaches Tarot, solves and designs puzzles, watches old movies, hand-paints furniture, and dabbles in numerous handcrafts.