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GUEST COLUMN
How do TAROT CARDS work?
by Julie Lewis


During the 25 years or so that I have been reading the Tarot cards, I have been asked many questions by the clients I have helped. By far the most popular, however, is "How do the cards work?". The simple answer to this is - they don't. There is nothing special about the Tarot cards themselves - they have no magical qualities, nothing that sets them apart from a pack of any other kind of cards. So, how do the Tarot cards produce such accurate results?

The answer, of course, is the same as the answer to the previous question - the Tarot cards themselves do not produce any results. I have already illustrated this point to a certain extent in my humorous article detailing how it is possible to tell fortunes from Trivial Pursuit cards, but the principle I used in that article applies equally to the Tarot. It is not the cards that produce the results, but the combined efforts of the person who is having their cards read and the person who is reading them.

If it were the Tarot cards themselves that produced the results, every reading would be the same in that it would produce results with the same level of accuracy, but this doesn't happen. All Tarot readers will agree that some subjects are far easier to read the cards for than others and this has nothing to do with the cards themselves. The reason some subjects are difficult to obtain results for is down to the subject themselves and how easy it is for the reader to 'tune-in' to their thoughts.

The Tarot, like any other psychic medium, works by providing a tool with which to interpret the telepathic messages sent from the subject to the reader. It is because of this simple fact that it is actually possible to use anything to access this information. At my Psychic Club, we have tuned-in to our subconscious minds using everything from flower petals to the patterns produced on a sheet of paper when it is held over the flame of a candle. All these methods have produced equally accurate results. The Tarot is used more often simply because it is more acceptable.

Going back to the article mentioned above, if I were to offer to read Trivial Pursuit cards for my clients instead of Tarot cards, the majority of them would probably not be interested, but the results I would obtain would be exactly the same. I mentioned in that article that one of our club members had jokingly predicted someone's future using a tablecloth and the condiment set upon it. This same member, together with some friends from another club, also managed to give a very accurate reading using a plateful of left-over salad!

Although using tablecloths and plates of salad may seem ridiculous, it isn't if you ignore what is being used to conduct the reading and look solely at how the readings actually work. The messages come from the subconscious mind of the subject to the subconscious mind of the reader via a telepathic, or psychic link and are interpreted in the same way regardless of what items are used to assist in that interpretation. It is rather like saying that it is only possible to take part in a telephone conversation if you use a certain type of telephone - i.e., it isn't the telephone that matters, but the connection between the two people involved in the conversation.

Having said that, it is possible to conduct a reading using no tools whatsoever, simply by tuning in direct to the subconscious of the subject, in much the same way as a medium obtains messages from the spirit world. Most subjects, however, prefer the reader to use some form of tool when giving a reading, it can apparently be quite disconcerting for the subject if the reader simply sits opposite them and starts telling them their life story!

A lot of credence is also given to the 'vibes' on the cards. Some sources say you should not even let the subject cut the cards, let alone shuffle them, but I have never found this to cause any problems and it doesn't seem to affect the accuracy of the reading. Indeed, it is not. It would not be possible to conduct perfectly accurate readings over the telephone or even by e-mail. It is simply that most clients prefer to handle the cards so they feel more personally involved with the reading and this is perfectly understandable.

If you are a Tarot reader, whether experienced or beginner, try using something else to obtain a reading. Invite a friend round and practice using whatever comes to hand. I am not suggesting you use your left-over dinner, but you may like to try the candle flame idea I mentioned earlier. It is very simple, you simply light a candle and hold a sheet of plain white paper over the top of the flame, moving it gently from side to side so that the majority of the paper is charred by the flame. Obviously you need to be careful whilst doing this (one of our club members did set fire to her piece of paper!), but it only takes a couple of minutes.

Once you have the charred paper, sit and study it for a while. Clear your mind and let your imagination wander wherever it wishes to go. Objectivity is the keyword when giving any kind of reading, which is why it is always easier to conduct readings for strangers rather than people you know. When you feel ready, simply begin talking. Look at the pictures formed by the flame of the candle and try to determine what these pictures mean to your subject. What you see doesn't matter too much, it is how you interpret it that matters and once you start speaking, the results will come naturally. You will be amazed at how much you can find out just from a few charred marks on a piece of white paper.

You do not need to be a Tarot reader, or any other kind of reader, to try this experiment. Anyone can do it. We all have the ability to access the information stored in the subconscious mind of any other person on the planet, it is simply a matter of believing that it is possible, although those who do not believe will find it practically impossible to see anything on the sheet of paper other than burn marks, whereas someone with a more open mind will see a lot more.

With just a little imagination you should be able to think of countless other ways to obtain a reading for someone. Enlist the help of your friends to act as guinea-pigs and see how many you can find. Remember, what you use is not important, it is simply a matter of how you interpret the results.

You can read Julie's other articles on Tarot at Tarot Time



STARBURST ONLINE


We have this new project starting - and it involves YOU! Now that the "Pay per View" of Starburst is on the internet, Starburst will be available online for only $8 for 12 issues (1 year) or $5 for bi-monthly issues (6 months). The url will be sent to you each month and you can go to the site, copy it in your word processing file and print it on paper if you choose.

Here is the exciting part! YOU, as a subscriber, will receive $1 for every subscription recommended by you, once I receive their check in the mail. Tell them to be sure and state that you "sent" them! (So, if I receive 8 referrals listing you, it could equal a year's subscription FREE to you - or I would send you a check for the $$ amount!)

Ever-changing new info is also available at Life Now



Life-support for Planet Earth
An interview with ecologist Jim Bell
By Cher Gilmore
for Share International


Jim Bell is an internationally recognized expert on ecologically sustainable development, as well as a lecturer and host of his own weekly radio show, Common Sense. He was Co-Project-Director for Eco-Parque, a prototype wastewater recycling plant in Tijuana, Mexico, and Director of the San Diego Center for Appropriate Technology for seven years. He is author of Achieving Economic Security on Spaceship Earth. In December 1999 Jim declared himself a candidate for Mayor of the City of San Diego; the election will take place in March 2000. Share International co-worker Cher Gilmore interviewed him prior to his formal declaration of candidacy.

Share International: The premise of your book is that we don't yet know how to live on our planet in ways that are economically sustainable, but learning how should be a top priority.

Jim Bell: It's the top priority. If we don't develop a sustainable relationship with our planet's life-support system, any progress we make in the short run will be ultimately lost. But I also believe that it won't be achieved if people are forced to change. Any lasting change will have to come through co-operation.

SI: How would you define economic sustainability?

JB: I define it as the condition in which all economic activities, individually and in concert, are conducted in ways that preserve the social and ecological foundation upon which they ultimately rest. The Greek root of economy means household management, or from a global perspective, life-support management. In the modern world, our blind pursuit of money has largely left the management part out of the picture.

SI: So we're blinded by greed?

JB: People call it greed, but I look at it as being at a certain level of maturation - like little children going through the "mine, mine" stage. If we all stayed at that level, the intricate interplay between one mind and another to create something that would benefit the whole would not be possible. All that's required is for everyone to be just a little more conscious and knowledgeable than they are now.

SI: You say in your book that global trade agreements are not good for the economy. Why?

JB: None of the major economies on our planet are sustainable. They're all dependent on the use of non-renewable fossil fuels and are pretty much ripping up and polluting everything else. This is not sustainable.

When you speed up trade between two non-sustainable economies, it means more environmental damage and more people around the world being forced from their homes with little choice except to compete for too few low-paying jobs in the city. We sometimes forget that people in many countries don't have the right to organize like US citizens do, if they feel they're getting ripped off.

The current economic myth goes something like this: "Oh, we'll make enough money, and then we can fix the environmental damage." It doesn't work that way, because thermodynamically the damage done is so much more immense than the economic gain could ever repair. We're like people who live in a wonderful house. Once in a while it gets a little colder than we like, so instead of looking around to find cracks to plug up or places to add more insulation, we tear down the walls of the house and throw them in the fireplace. That's exactly what's happening with our economy right now. We'll keep nice and cozy until we burn the whole house down, or burn enough of it down that it'll collapse of its own accord.

SI: You say the free-market system doesn't promote ecologically sound products and services because things aren't priced according to the costs they actually incur.

JB: Actually what I'm saying is that we don't have a free market. What we have now is corporate welfare. And I believe that, if we had a real free market, our planet's life-support system would be much better off than it is now. True-cost-pricing and elimination of corporate subsidies are the mechanisms to help us establish a free market. Currently, when we buy a product or service, rarely do we pay for all the environmental and social costs associated with it. These costs, which range from the collapse of fisheries to the air pollution we breathe, get passed on to society as a whole and to future generations. True-cost-pricing would identify these costs and include them in the price of the offending product or service. Then the money would be available to clean up the waste, instead of coming out of our taxes or being paid for in health costs.

But the best thing about true-cost-pricing is that it would level the economic playing field so that new environmentally friendly products and ways of doing things could compete in the free marketplace. Under the current corporate welfare system, new life support sustaining products and processes are stymied and entrepreneurial creativity is stifled.

SI: Do you think the free-market system, even with true-cost-pricing, could resolve the terrible discrepancy between the very rich and the absolutely poor?

JB: True-cost-pricing also has to include social costs. Like environmental costs, social costs are much cheaper to avoid than to undo. If widely adopted, true-cost-pricing could be instrumental in helping poor people benefit more from the fruits of their labors. But ultimately it comes down to consciousness. If enough of the people in charge become sufficiently conscious, most of the unnecessary hurts of the world could be avoided, even without true-cost-pricing.

SI: Why did you decide to run for mayor?

JB: I'm running for mayor for the same reason that I wrote my book. I care about the world's children and future generations. I believe that developing a sustainable relationship with our planet's life-support system is the minimum we should do. Anything less is robbing the future.

A young friend of mine told me he's a member of the "Y" generation. I asked: "What's that?" and he said: "Why have you left us with all this radioactive waste and all these toxic dumps? Why are you cutting down all our forests? Why is our economy pretty much damaging and polluting everything else?" Unfortunately the "Y" generation is participating in the destruction along with the rest of us, and they'll have to work with us to fix it. Step one is to stop making the mess; step two is to clean up the mess we've made until now.

On this level, I'm running for mayor because I know how we can stop making the mess and how to make repairs in ways that will be a win-win for everyone, present and future.

SI: What can individual citizens do to bring about the changes you talk about? These changes are huge, and require societal, or at least community, agreement.

JB: People have to wake up and get involved politically: become candidates, work for candidates, vote for candidates, or campaign for candidates. And if there's nobody any good, you run. If you're the best, then you're the one that should be running. But run from the perspective of encouraging everybody to get involved. We need to use our democracy and constitutional rights to make changes. If something is damaging our planet's life-support system while being subsidized by our tax dollars, that's not the way the game is supposed to go. That's where we have to get involved.

The goal I'm proposing is for the human species to learn how to live and work on our planet in ways that sustain our life-support system, and then teach this knowledge to the children. My book is about how to provide the human family with an abundant supply of clean air, water and energy, healthy food, and material wealth in ways that are completely life-support sustaining. There's a saying: "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink." The book shows where the water is, but it's up to us to decide to drink. If enough do, the future can be a wonderful adventure. If not, it will be a sad place indeed.

But I don't look at the situation negatively. I see the human dilemma as a dynamic, and once you're conscious, you can change. I do what I do because working to create a sustainable economy for our children and future generations is simply the right thing to do in my time and place in history. I also believe it's ultimately the only sane thing to do.



STONES & THE INNER BEING

Aventurine
by John Baumann


Aventurine is a translucent green microcrystalline quartz with white and sparkly inclusions of green mica flakes (fuchsite). These flakes give the mineral a spangled appearance or metallic iridescence known as aventurescence. Aventurine is found most often in India, Brazil, and Russia. The name comes from the Italian a ventura, meaning "by chance", which is fitting since the stone strengthens the ability to take a chance on something. The ancient Tibetans decorated their statues with aventurine, using it most often for the eyes of the statues, to symbolically increase visionary powers.

The vibrations emanating from the crystalline structure of aventurine interact with your personal energy to strengthen the ability to RISK. Risking is taking a chance on something or someone in order to reap a possible benefit. It is daring to venture out on a limb for potential gains. It is giving something a chance to work in order to gain an advantage. In risking there is always something to gain and something to lose, and if you are wise risk taker, you carefully weigh both. Prudent risk taking is essential to operating your life effectively, because the gains you make by taking wise risks can help you accomplish the things you want in life. As a good risk taker you only take advantageous risks, and you avoid risks that are going to cause you loss.

There is usually an emotional component to any risk you take. This is true whether the risk is of a physical nature such as starting a business, or of an emotional nature such as asking someone on a date. This emotional component exists because of the hopes and expectations that are built around risk taking, and the sudden change, either positive or negative, in going from hope to certainty when the outcome is known.

Risking consists of two parts: The first part is the ability to take a risk when necessary without being afraid of taking that risk. The second part is the ability to control your risk taking, that is, to know when to take a risk and when to avoid taking a risk, in order to accomplish what you want. In order to control your risk taking wisely, you need to recognize both good and bad risks when you come across them. If you can recognize which risks are most likely to produce positive results, you also know which risks are worth taking. This knowledge can prevent you from plunging headlong into harmful or dangerous situations. If you can recognize when a risk is a good or relatively safe risk, you have a great advantage because this helps you know whether to take the risk or avoid it and save your energy for other things. If you can distinguish a good risk from a bad risk, you rarely lose what you risk.

If you have trouble with risking, you also tend to have trouble knowing how to use your energy to accomplish what you want. Because you have difficulty telling a good risk from a bad risk, at times you end up in dangerous situations, and at other times you waste your energy by putting it into things that have little chance of success. There are also times when you are afraid to take a chance on something because you don't know if it is a good risk, even though the potential for gain may be substantial. If you are afraid to take a calculated risk, your life tends to be somewhat boring or mundane. You may know that "nothing ventured means nothing gained", but you are too afraid to venture, so you give up the gain. When life forces you into taking a chance on something, you tend to get angry with the world for asking you to take the risk involved. All this can prevent you from accomplishing many things in life, and from living life to the fullest.

EXPANDING THE ABILITY TO RISK: If you would like to learn to take better risks, consider changing your outlook in a couple of areas. Work at becoming more aware of your capabilities and limitations. If you know what you can reliably accomplish, you have a powerful tool to help you determine not only whether a risk is worth taking, but also how dangerous it may be. Improving your ability to accurately judge what you can and can not do, will help protect you from taking unsafe risks.

The ability to take wise risks is also improved by learning where to put your energy so it is used most efficiently. Use your experience and past results to estimate how much energy to put into something in order to be most effective. Only put energy into those things you think will produce results. This will help you take risks that are most likely to succeed, and will keep you from taking the type of risk where you either bite off more than you can chew, or waste your energy by putting it into useless things.

By learning to increase your ability to risk, you not only become better at taking risks when necessary, but you also become better at understanding the difference between a good risk and a bad risk. To help expand your ability to take good risks, carry a piece of aventurine in your pocket or purse.

John Baumann has been exploring the properties of crystals and stones for over ten years. Questions about stones may be sent to P.O. Box 2834, Sedona, AZ 86339. See also home page

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

If you have any questions/comments, email Dusty