Table of Contents


Tarot Reflections

 December 01, 2003

Gifts from the Heart
Valerie Sim, CTGM

Valerie Sim serves as the VP of Communications for the ATA. She received her first deck of tarot cards 32 years ago and began studying astrology in 1973. Both have continued to be passions for her over the years and have led to the authorship of her own tarot and astrological teaching materials, with which she has been an online teacher for the past year and a half. 

In her position as VP of Communications, Valerie is the Editor of ATA's bi-monthly e-zine, Tarot Reflections, and the members-only tarot magazine, the ATA Quarterly.

 Valerie is the Listowner of a popular tarot email list, Comparative Tarot, a list which is populated by tarot students, readers, teachers, authors and artists. She is currently finishing up her book about the Comparative Tarot method and ways to keep tarot fun and exciting, called Tarot: Out of the Box; has written the pamphlet, or "little white book," for the recently published Lo Scarabeo Comparative Tarot Deck; and is a frequent reviewer for Tarot Passages. On the shamanic path and active in animal rescue, Valerie has many favorite decks including Animal Wise, Vision Quest and Shining Tribe.


Thanksgiving is past us. Anyone still able to look at turkey without turning green? The temperature is dropping while we are hearing Christmas carols and holiday shopping is becoming a fever that is steadily growing hotter. Phew! Are my hot flashes showing?

When it comes to gift-giving, I admit to being terribly opinionated. I abhor the commercialism of Christmas. I have gone through many spiritual changes, but this revulsion has remained constant, no matter my path or its label. Don’t get me wrong: I love to give gifts… when I want to. But I hate gift-giving on demand. I think this is the reason I start my gift ideas before summer is over. I am not exceedingly practical. It is just the only way, within my budget, I can get/make whatever I want for everyone dear to me, rather than just coughing up “something” because the season so dictates and wrapping it in pretty, soon-to-be-shredded paper.

It was musing along these lines that made me realize that most of the gifts I have most cherished have not arrived during the holidays, and for those of you waiting for me to get to the point: These gifts were tarot cards… No, not decks of cards; cards made for me personally or inspired in some way by me and given with love and a smile.

The first time I was gifted with a card, I was utterly shocked, and uncharacteristically, speechless. Ellen Lorenzi-Prince was the first person that ever “gave” me a card… in the sense that she dedicated her 6 of Wands from her Tarot of the Crone to me. When I first looked at this card I got goosebumps. Never before had someone about whom I cared linked me to a creation from their heart! As I “read” this card, I almost cried.

The Tarot of the Crone is about each person’s inner process. This particular card is about living in tune with the beat of your own drummer even when you feel it is a song that others may not hear, or might not like, and knowing that it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you love the song, that it comes genuinely from your own heart, and that you sing it freely from a sense of internal harmony.  Amazingly, when you do this, you often find others singing along with you. It is truly a radiant moment.

This card will always be an inspiration to me and when I pull it when using this deck I always feel that original thrill, and know that no matter what my doubts are, or how heavy my burden seems at the time, all I have to do is to stop, listen for that song so dear to me, and get back on my path… Thank you, Ellen!

The second time I was gifted with a card, it was completely different. Lorena Moore tells me she was already painting the card for her Ironwing Tarot (in-progress) when my energy inserted itself into her consciousness. I know this sounds a bit invasive, but I don’t think Lorena felt it to be that way at all. This was not meant to be “my card,” nor is it actually “mine”! But Lorena told me as she painted, she “felt” me and that connection influenced her art. What emerged on her canvas was indeed an accurate energy picture of my journey at that time and she knew it instantly and intuitively.

I am still staggered that she painted a Phoenix and his fiery flight at the very time I was working to rebirth something very important to me that had almost been consumed. And notice that the body of the great bird is a flute! Even in the heat of the contest it was only my “music” that kept me on track! The truly incredible thing about this story (skip this if you are not a believer in synchronicity) is as I struggled to write down my instantaneous poetic reaction to her image and reply to her email, I heard a strange noise and turned around. Somehow, miraculously, a bird had managed to fly beyond the lethal blades of my whole house fan and emerge live and flapping into my living room. I can’t tell you how I felt as I went on auto-pilot to get my cats out of the room so that I could usher that modern day phoenix outside to freedom. And that bird did fly free… with me watching in complete awe and wonder…lesson not lost… Lorena, you sustained me!

A few months ago, I received a third gift, totally different from the previous two, but every bit as meaningful. My friend Sally Anne Stephen has many talents. Lately she has discovered that those talents extend to tarot art and she conceived of creating a deck of Majors, each inspired by a different tarot friend of hers which she calls A Fool and Her Friends.

When I saw my card, I trembled and thrilled.  Yes! Someone truly understood what it is I feel called to do on this shamanic journey of mine. I am a shamanic deathwalker, who, much like the midwife, helps make a life-passage more comfortable both for those making that journey and for the ones they love. This card while remaining true to the Death archetype captures my personal journey, the timeliness/timelessness, the fact that we are all connected and should always remain so. Sally Anne, you are a genius.

I can’t tell you how much these gifts have meant to me. They were not given as a result of any expectation. None were “necessary.” They were all given from the heart and as per the talents of each soul’s personal creativity. Each is utterly priceless.

So, though I realize not everyone has the artistic urge or inspiration to start creating tarot cards for those whom they love, I encourage you to let this little article inspire you to give of yourself in a truly personal way, no mall necessary. What can you make or do for someone you love that is special? Not all of us are artists. Some write poetry. Some do crafts. Some bake. The possibilities are nearly endless.

This season, to me, is truly about watching one cycle slip into another and about thinking of those people whom you hold dear no matter the season. It is a time for feeling love, peace, connectivity, and the spiral of time within which we all relate… I may hate the commercialism of Christmas, but I obviously reserve the right to wax sentimental as I smell the earthy scent of pine <g>

May the holidays be joyous and meaningful to all of you, no matter your personal spiritual connections, and may all your gifts, both those given and received, be truly from the heart.


Subscribe to Tarot Reflections, and receive notification of each update!

Request to be added to the list by sending email to!



All articles remain the property of their respective authors.
Tarot Reflections is a publication of the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2003
Questions or Comments? Contact Us.