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Tarot Reflections

August 2005

It's In the Cards: Adventures in Internet Broadcasting
Toni Gilbert, RN, MA, HNC

Toni Gilbert, RN MA, HNC is a certified holistic nurse and transpersonal counselor. She is the editor of the on-line journal The Alternative Journal of Nursing and the author of her first book Messages from the Archetypes: Using Tarot for Healing and Spiritual Growth. You may e-mail her at


Psychology and the mysteries have been major interests for over thirty years. They have fascinated me since childhood partly because of a grandmother who, in the 50’s, communed with the inner images of her imagination. She told me she was a medium and spoke to people who had crossed over. My grandmother also understood astrology, dream interpretation and practiced Laying on of Hands as a Christian minister. All this seemed “normal” to me and I had a head start at an early age for a lot of things esoteric. However, I didn’t begin to study the system of Tarot until 10 years ago. Needless to say, it continues to be my biggest fascination since I discovered boys in adolescence.

I’ve also been fortunate to find an excellent teacher with whom to study the system of Tarot. Christine Payne Towler, at, has been a mentor for several years and we have expanded our study to include Western esotericism and astrology as we work with the cards. As you can imagine, we have incredible conversations that you just can’t have with everyone. Believe it when I say, that my apprentice time with Tarot cards has been short but quite intense.

When I first began to work with Christine, she and I had big ideas that I would write a book and bring Tarot into the nursing profession. We also wanted to include some of the other mysteries. I think she was rather surprised when I brought her my first three chapters. However, she soon got over her shock and we made plans to design and promote an Archetypal Tarot Counseling certification program (see We were in business, but it didn’t take long to find out that two Queens don’t do well in a single Queendom. And so, we decided that I would go it alone but there would continue to be great cooperation between our two Queendoms.

My book Messages from the Archetypes came out in May 2004 and I hired a publicist. One of the things that publicists do for authors is line up interviews on radio stations. By and by, I was the guest on several radio stations. One of those was Jerry Pippin’s Internet radio show on demand at Jerry’s was the first radio show where I read the cards to a listener. After that, there were a number of radio interviews where I read the cards. If the readings were on regular radio they were not recorded and got lost in the ether never to be heard again. On the other hand, many of the radio on demand Internets stations still have my mini counseling sessions on their web sites.

My initial rapport with Jerry was clear and direct. I expressed an interest in Internet radio and we stayed in touch by e-mail. A year after my first interview, he asked me if I wanted my own show. Jerry knew next to nothing about Tarot cards and, to my chagrin, he kept calling them Terrot cards. However, the rapport continued and we downloaded recording equipment from the Internet to do the shows.

During the first show, I had the caller pick the cards from the fanned out deck across the table and my responses were spontaneous and in the moment. This didn’t work well because I thought of things later that I didn’t think of during the taping. For one thing, I felt crunched because you’re not supposed to have long pauses on the air. Also, I couldn’t counsel with my usual projection technique because the caller couldn’t see the cards. I was forced to do a more traditional “reading” like Christine does.

Then, I decided to shuffle the cards myself while I asked the questioner’s question. I did this just before the show to give myself time to quietly contemplate the intuitive hits I got from working with the cards. I also looked at the deck author’s interpretation for ideas. Basically, this is where I am right now. It seems to be working alright but still doesn’t have that Flow to it that the intimate one on one Tarot sessions have. It is certainly easier to have the questioner in the same room with you. They can see the cards and you can see body language and also have time to decipher your intuition in regards to their issues. However, this is my path and it is an interesting one. And so here I am, a student of Internet radio; still learning. So far, my radio sessions are experimental but also good fun and entertaining (I hope).

The responses from others are mixed. As with anytime you do something that is out of the box, some people are critical of what you are doing and others fully support your efforts at being creative. I also get e-mails from people across the country asking about the short four card radio sessions as well as my on-line hour sessions. Of particular interest is the amount of people who want to question the cards as to what will happen to them in the future. I tell them that I don’t consider Tarot to be a future telling tool and that I use it to help people become more self-aware and to develop maturity. I e-mail back that their question should be more focused upon who they are and what they want for themselves. I briefly explain that by learning to develop their inner resources they will be better able to affect their own future. Interestingly, half the time, I don’t hear from them again.

All and all, the experimental program is going very well and we have a new URL ( Jerry told me that we are going to go to an hour long format where we will have invited guests and do interviews. This sounds like fun, however, our down loaded equipment isn’t the best for phone interviews and we face yet another hurdle. We need to find a regular Oregon radio station that will allow the use of their equipment. When we do, we will send out invitations to many health care and Tarot professionals, inviting them to be our guests on the show. There is much more to come, so tune into my show It’s in the Cards at Jerry Pippin’s Internet radio station, where you can listen on demand at any time.




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