Fear of the Death Card #13

May 12, 2017 § Leave a comment

Introduction to Tarot by Susan Levitt

Introduction to Tarot by Susan Levitt

This morning I received a phone call from a woman who was interested in a tarot card reading about a relationship with her friend. They’ve known each other for many years, but the friend was jealous, becoming more and more difficult, and was more of a frenemy than a true friend.

I told her to prepare three questions, or topics, for the cards. Her first question can be about the friendship. Then she told me that she was reluctant because she feared the Death card. I told here that if she did get the Death card, then clearly time to end the friendship! Death. It’s over.

She was surprised it was that easy, and was relieved. Getting the Death card does not mean you will die, but that the situation or circumstance should die.

I told her of my experience with the Death card: during one of the dot.com booms here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was approached to write content for new web sites. I was to interview the CIO to create a flattering profile in support of their company culture and on-line identity. Payment at that time was $10,000 per job because so much money was available.

The Complete Tarot Kit by Susan Levitt

The Complete Tarot Kit by Susan Levitt

Should I do this? I have the skill set, and the money was insane. So I shuffled my tarot cards, laid out a half Moon circle (see page 180 of Introduction To Tarot), and selected one card. I got the Death card! So I thanked the start-ups who contacted me, but told them no.

About six months later, the tech bubble burst and most of the tech companies disappeared. Fortunately, I stayed with my tarot and astrology services instead of becoming a pen for hire. So the Death card is not always a bad card. Sometimes Death is the right answer.

Keep reading your tarot cards,


Capricorn New Moon begins Ox Month

December 26, 2016 § Leave a comment


December 28 2016 is a new Moon in Capricorn. The new Moon, Sun, Mercury, and Pluto are all in Earth sign Capricorn, making this lunar month the time to focus on earthly matters such as health and finances.

Fortunately, the new Moon, Sun, and Mercury make harmonious sextiles with Mars and Neptune in Pisces. The Mars sextiles bring good creative focus, courage, and energy to accomplish tasks. The Neptune sextiles bring increased empathy, and interest in spirituality.

Yet there can be tension due to a cardinal T-square that lasts all of January of Jupiter in Libra opposite Uranus in Aries, with both Jupiter and Uranus squaring Pluto. This could bring a variety of challenges including suddenly breaking up a relationship, being overly ambitious without preparation, or gambling on the unknown especially during the tail of this risky Fire Money year.


This new Moon begins the month of the Metal Ox. Ox month is the final month of the Chinese lunar year before the next new Moon on January 27, 2017 begins the year of the Fire Phoenix (Rooster).

So apply Ox energy of creating stability, completing projects, and paying attention to
finances. Clean up all clutter, and make your home inviting, to have good feng shui for Chinese New Year.


Please join me on Saturday February 11 2017 for my annual Chinese New Year talk about The Year of the Fire Phoenix (Rooster) from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm at East West Books, 324 Castro Street in Mountain View CA. Fire Phoenix year is a time for healing, rebirth, and transformation. Phoenix
can be brilliant, inspirational, and a fearless visionary, while the element Fire brings strength, passion, and bravery. Learn about Fire Phoenix, and how Phoenix year energy influences you, your family, community, and the world. To reserve tickets, please call East West Books at 650-988-9800 or 800.909.6161. This event sells out every year so reservations are recommended.

To schedule your 2017 Phoenix Year forecast, contact me by phone at 415.642.8019 or email susan@susanlevitt.com. Luck is strongest for the Earth signs Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo plus
the Water signs Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces and those born in Ox, Phoenix, Snake, and Rat years.

Happy new Moon,



#astrology #astronomy #ChineseNewYear, #NewMoon

Lost Crystals

November 12, 2016 § Leave a comment


A tarot student asked my advice about crystals. He purchased two amethyst crystals and a clear quartz. He lost one of the amethysts while out with a friend on Halloween weekend. Then during the first week of November, he misplaced the other two crystals. So he did a one-card reading about this, and pulled the Death card. He very rarely gets the Death card so was challenged about how to interpret this.

Because of the Death card, the crystals are gone and are not coming back. He won’t find them. But to let go and be respectful, he can psychically tell the crystals to be found by someone who appreciates them, or that they can be content where they landed. The Death card could also mean that he is just not a crystal guy. He can be supportive of just leaving crystals in the ground, not making them one more object of beauty we humans take from the earth because they benefit us.

If he gets another crystal, he can have an intuitive chat before he purchases it to see if the crystal wants to be with him, and be of service during tarot readings. Then take very good care of it! Maybe it’s not the best idea to take it out when socializing, or his next crystal can be in a ring or necklace so it’s worn on the body to enhance connection, and is easier to keep track of.

Introduction to Tarot by Susan Levitt

Crystals are highly evolved minerals and are very sensitive. Their sensitivity sets them apart from other rocks. Clear quartz brings clarity, and correlates to the 7th chakra also called the crown chakra. Amethyst crystal aids in opening the third eye to develop psychic vision, and correlates to the 6th chakra. Information about tarot and crystals is in my book Introduction To Tarot on pages 219, 220, and 221.

I understand why a student would want these tools for his tarot readings. But in this instance, the Death card prevailed and the crystals went their own way!

Keep reading your cards,


Lift Your Spirit!

September 25, 2016 § Leave a comment

good dogOne of my tarot students had a sudden accident and hurt her back when she tripped over her dog (a lovely lab) who always follows her around. This Fire Monkey year is the time of accidents and injuries, not lingering illness like in Snake or Rabbit years. Plus her accident occurred during the recent Mercury retrograde.

She selected 3 tarot cards, one each for Body, Mind, and Spirit. Body and Mind were good cards for her, but not Spirit. (This tarot spread for health is on page 164 of Introduction To Tarot.)

So her spirit was waning, she was becoming discouraged, and she asked if I have any recommendations to lift her spirits. Options for her to feel better are:

1. Watch comedies and stand-up comedian specials on netflix, or whatever you have to get streaming media. Avoid getting too involved with other media such as heavy dramas, too much news, or other negative influences.

2. Eat what you want! When you get better you can exercise or eat less caloric foods. But for now, enjoy a few treats.

3. Read inspirational books and magazines. I just finished reading The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino. You will probably enjoy that.

4. Feng Shui! Make sure your bedroom or recovery room is nice, no piles of clutter, have fresh flowers nearby, fresh sheets on the bed, and get comfy. Maybe hire a housekeeper to spruce up the place.

5. Encourage visitors. If you have friends or family who live nearby, invite them over. They can watch a comedy with you, eat good food that you just ordered, you loan them your copy of The Baron in the Trees when you are done reading it, and they visit you in your nice flower-scented room.

6. Most of the pain will be managed with drugs, so stay with and follow what the doctors recommend as you wean off the medicines. That’s also why you feel lousy, and the drugs can make you constipated. You’ll feel better when most of the drugs are out of your system. So eat prunes or drink Smooth Move tea to keep bowels regular. That strongly influences mood.

7. And your doggie! Snuggle up and take comfort from your companion animal. You’ve taken good care of your dog, so now your dog can return the favor and be extra attentive to you during your healing.

Try any of the above tips when you feel like your spirits can use a lift, or if you have a challenging card in the Spirit position of your tarot spread.

Good luck,


The Structure of Tarot: Major, Minor, or Court

September 11, 2016 § 2 Comments

Do you sometimes get lost when reading the 78 tarot cards?  When I teach tarot and a student can’t interpret a card, I ask if the card is major, minor, or court. If you can place the card in one of those three categories, then you can determine meaning by following the structure of tarot.

There are 22 major arcana cards, 40 minor arcana cards, and 16 court cards. (Arcana means secret, or arcane.) Each tarot card is either major, minor, or court.

0foolThe 22 cards of the major arcana tell the story of The Fool’s journey. They are a richly symbolic pattern of a very old mystery. They are The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, and The World.

The 40 cards of the minor arcana are numbered ace through 10. They represent the four elements of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. The structure is similar to playing cards, also four suits numbered ace through 10.

cupsking16 cards are court cards, or royal figures, which are divided into 4 court cards for each of the 4 elements Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Court cards are depicted as a King, Queen, Knight, and Page in most tarot decks. The King and Queen represent mastery, power, and strength. A Knight denotes action, quest, and movement. The Page represents exploration, learning, and being of service.

Karmic cards of destiny are the 22 major arcana, the 4 aces, and the 16 court cards. Cards of choice are 2 through 10 of the minor arcana.

When you are doing a tarot reading, observe if a card is major, minor, or court. The major arcana cards are somewhere on The Fool’s journey. The court cards show mastery of the King and Queen, or development of the Knight and Page. The minor arcana cards are 1 through 10 and represent the suits Fire, Water, Air, or Earth.

The Four Elements

In tarot, the four elements of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth are symbolized by a wand, cup, sword, and pentacle. The four elements also correspond to four directions and colors: south red, west black, east yellow, and north white. The four colors also represent the races of humanity.

The four elements of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth are found in many magical and spiritual systems such as the Native American medicine wheel, the four corners of European pre-Christian ritual, the four elements of alchemical schools of medieval Europe, and the four elements of astrology. Alchemy is to change our bases selves into gold — radiant and rare. By combining the elements we can transform reality.

tarot-fireThe exciting, masculine element Fire represents will, drive, destiny, creativity, and spirit in action. In tarot, the symbol for Fire is a wand, a blazing wand of power. The suit of clubs in a regular playing deck represents Fire. Fire is the phallus ejaculating the seeds of creativity. In Chinese medicine the element Fire is associated with the heart. Fire myths are Prometheus bound, Satan and his flames, and the Phoenix that rises from its own ashes. The Fire signs of astrology are Sagittarius, Aries, and Leo.

water-tarotThe element Water is the nurturing, feminine element that represents emotions, intuition, spiritual belief, faith, and love. In tarot, the symbol for Water is a cup, a round cup that holds water. The suit of hearts in a regular playing deck represents Water. Water is the essence of life, the sea of fertility, the amniotic fluid of the womb, and the womb of the Ocean Mother from whom all life emerged. According to the ancient Chinese, Water is the most powerful element for it can flow around any obstacle in its path without changing essence. Water myths in the Western  tradition are the quest for the fountain of youth, Jonah in the belly of the whale, Noah and the ark, the waters of St. John the Baptist, and the waters of the holy grail. The Water signs of astrology are Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio.


The masculine element Air represents the mind, mental activity, communication, intellect, thoughts, and ideas. In tarot, the symbol for Air is a sword that can cut through matter with clarity and swiftness. The suit of spades in a regular playing deck represents Air. The Tower of Babel, the wing-footed messenger god Mercury, the Excalibur sword, and the smoke of the peace pipe are air myths and symbols. The Air signs of astrology are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.


The stable, feminine element Earth represents the material world, health, wealth, tangible goods, and the concrete reality of Mother Earth upon whom we walk. In tarot, the symbol for Earth is a pentacle, disk, or coin. The suit of diamonds in a regular playing deck represents Earth. Earth myths and stories are the minotaur of ancient Crete, the golden calf, Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders, Persephone in the Underworld, and the goose that laid golden eggs. The Earth signs of astrology are Virgo, Capricorn, and Taurus.

Reading Tarot Cards

Many tarot cards you know at first glance, but others are not as easy to understand. If you feel like you’re getting lost, ask yourself major, minor, or court to figure out where the card fits into the larger structure of tarot.

If a card is one of the 22 major arcana, find out where it is on The Fool’s journey. Court cards rule their element so be aware that wands royals are active and exciting, cups royals are sensitive and intuitive, air royals are thinking and love learning, and earth royals are practical yet sensual.

swords6People tend to get lost in the minor arcana. So figure out the suit! Sometimes people confuse wands with swords so look closely. And 6 swords is often confused with a cup card because water is depicted on the card.

cups3Do not get discouraged! Keep reading your cards! When in doubt, discern major, minor, or court to have clarity. And the best part of tarot is that each card tells a story. For example, if you had no idea that 3 cups was a minor card of the element Water, just by looking at the picture you have an idea of the meaning. So blend the information from the picture with your knowledge of major, minor, or court. Good luck!

Preface from Introduction to Tarot

August 12, 2016 § Leave a comment

Intro to Tarot book coverPeople keep asking me how I got into reading tarot cards. I had a card reading, it came true, so I was interested! My story is in the Preface from my book INTRODUCTION TO TAROT:

I was 17 years old when I first sought answers from the tarot. I inquired about working as a florist to support myself while I studied painting at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The final outcome card was the 8 of cups. It showed a dissatisfied person walking away, wearing a heavy cloak. Because I had already paid a deposit for classes, I ignored the tarot’s prognosis and attended floral arts school for the summer, received certification, and got a job at the Bismarck Hotel that autumn.

cups8My experience working as a florist did not fulfill my expectation of working with the beauty of nature. All bouquets were copied from a floral delivery book. Creativity and sculpture with flowers (or Japanese ikibana) was discouraged. After handling hundreds of roses, I learned to watch for thorns instead of admiring the blossoms, which had no scent because they were hothouse buds. Adding to my dissatisfaction was my irritable boss. When I tried to talk to him about his bitter disposition, he screamed at me for the last time and I quit. I left the hotel as the cold Chicago wind blew down the street. I headed to the subway station, and was putting up the collar of my heavy winter coat when it hit me – I was reenacting the exact picture on the 8 of Cups! I was actually living the tarot.

Because the reading came true, I had to have my own tarot deck and learn to read the cards. I went to the only place I knew of that sold tarot cards in Chicago, the Occult Bookshop located on North State Street. I entered the store, which I can only describe as witchy. It was stocked from floor to ceiling with every imaginable occult item, from pure and healing to negative and creepy. There were astrology maps, candles, oils, brews and elixirs, costumes, capes, and what appeared to be stuffed and mounted animals. I asked to see the tarot decks, and the large Thoth deck intrigued me. Its shamanic imagery perfectly mirrored the energy of the Occult Bookstore.

I purchased the Thoth deck and Aleister Crowley’s BOOK OF THOTH. I read the book cover to cover that night. I understood it because of my childhood interest in fairy tales, mythology, Egyptian archeology, and my hobby (bordering on obsession) foreign languages. I had attended Hebrew school as a child, studied Latin in high school, and was reading Ezra Pound’s translations from the Chinese when I was a teen. But, for me, Crowley resonated more than Pound, for he used symbols in a practical manner. Although I enjoyed reading about tarot, I discovered that one could understand what the cards meant simply by looking at the pictures.

10wheeloffortuneMy newfound interest in tarot was not well received. I was told that tarot was “the work of the devil”. People actually said to me “You will burn in hell!” and “Get thee behind me, Satan!” I felt like a pioneer keeping alive the ancient mysteries. I didn’t mind the “you will burn in hell” curses because hell was the accuser’s personal vision, not mine. But the unsolicited and unwelcome attempts to cast out my demons really did upset me.

cups1In 1980, I moved to Tucson, Arizona to attend graduate school. People were even more anti-tarot there than in Chicago. I finished my studies and then pulled tarot cards to determine a better place for me to live where my soul would be content. My choices were either New York City or San Francisco. New York was the Wheel of Fortune. San Francisco was the Ace of Cups. Both are excellent cards. But I chose the Ace of Cups because I am a Pisces with a grand water trine in my birth chart (Sun in Pisces trine Jupiter and Uranus in Cancer trine Saturn in Scorpio). I realized that in New York I would make more money, but I followed my heart.

On New Year’s day 1983, I moved to San Francisco. The reaction to my interest in tarot cards was the opposite of what I experienced in Chicago and Tucson. Many people asked me to read tarot for them. In 1986, I resigned from my job as an artist and became a professional tarot card reader. (I’ve found it more fulfilling to read tarot than to paint.) Soon my clients asked me to teach them how to read tarot cards. I typed up a few notes and passed them out in my classes. Eventually the notes grew and ended up as this book.

I invite you to join me and share the mystery.

People’s Choice Book Winner

July 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

Tarot book image


Thank you to all who voted for my book Introduction To Tarot.

It won the “People’s Choice” Award, Iconic Books, 2016 Nineteenth Annual COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) Visionary Book Awards.

Click here for the complete list of award winners.

I’m proud that it’s a book of the people! Many people tell that Intro to Tarot is their “Tarot Bible” and even send me pictures of their old, well-used and loved book:

Tarot Bible

Thank you again for your support! I am very grateful.




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