Susan’s Journey

TAROT
As a child, I was a sensitive and born with the sight, meaning I seem to be more empathetic or intuitive, and can feel energy. Many people are sensitive souls, with a sense of their own intuition, or have a precognitive dream that came true, or receive a message from a deceased relative. But for some reason, I I know of events before they happen, and visually see what people call ghosts. When I read Witch Amongst Us by Lois Bourne, I felt that someone else understood my intuitive experiences.

If I spoke of my connection to the invisible world, the adults around me didn’t want to hear about it. If I told other kids, they weren’t particularly interested. My experiences just seemed odd. So I kept my observations to myself, and kept my nose in a book.

30+ YEARS OF TAROT

Introduction to Tarot book by Susan Levitt

INTRODUCTION TO TAROT by Susan Levitt

My first tarot card reading was in 1972 at age 17. I spoke with the card reader about my sensitivity, and she encouraged me to read tarot cards. Right away, I liked tarot’s symbolic language. But on a more practical level, tarot provided me with clear and accurate answers to specific questions. It became an insightful problem-solving tool, and provided guidance through pictures.

What started as a serious hobby in my home town of Chicago became my profession after I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1983, and became a professional tarot card reader in 1986. In lovely, picturesque San Francisco, no one thinks it’s odd that I read tarot cards and cast horoscopes!

Tarot is still of interest to because each tarot card reading tells a fascinating short story. I am grateful for and thankful to everyone who shared their life story with me when I read their cards or did their astrology chart. Eventually, people asked how to read tarot cards, so I taught tarot classes in the Bay Area in the ’80s and ’90s. Soon I had so much information that my pile of notes became the book  Introduction to Tarot

THE COMPLETE TAROT KIT by Susan Levitt

The book was packaged with two tarot decks, a spread sheet, and a reference chart as The Complete Tarot Kit published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. in 2002.  Thanks to publisher Stuart Kaplan for making tarot accessible to so many. 

A woman at the publishing house, Lynn Araujo, learned how to read cards by using Introduction to Tarot, so she nominated it for an Iconic Book award. In 2016 Introduction to Tarot was awarded the The People’s Choice award for iconic book from COVR The Coalition of Visionary Resources. I’m proud that Introduction to Tarot is a book of the people; it really does teach you how to understand and read tarot cards. 

ASTROLOGY  
I still have my first astrology book from when I was 11 years old. Now I have over 50 years of experience as an astrologer. Being an intuitive Pisces born in the year of the gentle Sheep, reading tarot cards and discussing horoscopes is the perfect lifelong career for me. I love tarot because the pictures tell a story, and I love astrology for the same reason: the stories and myths that unfold in each astrology chart. 

Being a sensitive child, I had a knack for languages, and heard many languages during my childhood in Chicago. I picked up Latin because my mother’s side of the family is Celtic, and when I was a child the Catholic mass was in Latin. I was taught Hebrew because my father’s side of the family is Jewish. Plus I spoke Yiddish with my paternal grandmother from Lithuania. Our family lived in an Irish and Italian immigrant and first-generation neighborhood in Chicago where most people spoke Italian. I kept hearing how Latin and Italian were similar. Later in life, this ear for Latin helped me understand and speak Spanish when I lived in Mexico and read tarot cards at Rio Caliente every winter from 1996 – 2010.

Latin was my favorite subject at Oak Park/River Forest High School. But I had the opportunity to skip three grades and begin an early-entrance college program at Roosevelt University in downtown Chicago. There I found Professor Takeko Stover, a brilliant and generous woman, who took me under her wing. I completed courses for an Asian Studies major in Chinese and Japanese literature because of Professor Stover. In her Chinese literature class, I read that one book that changed my life: The Yellow Emperor’s Medicine Classic that started me on a lifelong path of studying Chinese medicine.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago offered a Chinese calligraphy class, so I enrolled. I transferred to The Art Institute Of Chicago on full scholarship. I received a B.F.A. in 1980. In that creative environment, it was fine to talk about and make art about spirituality, astrology, or tarot cards. I supported myself mostly by working as an English tutor. And I shared ideas and astrology books with the good people at The Occult Book Shop on Halsted Street in Chicago.

After graduating, I moved to Tucson, Arizona for a climate change. Ever the student, I enrolled in the graduate program at the University of Arizona. In Tucson, I met the lovely and wise people of the Tucson Astrology Guild, including astrologers Susie Cox and Zipporah Dobyns. And I met like-minded women who were feminists, interested in the rituals in Starhawk’s book The Spiral Dance. Our experiences added to my pantheism of languages, world views, religions, and history of philosophy. 

ASTROLOGY EAST WEST
In 1983, I moved to San Francisco. Astrology is well-loved in the Bay Area! In Berkeley in 1993, I received professional certification in AstroCartography from AstroCartography creator Jim Lewis that confirmed I’d relocated to a most fortunate Jupiter line in the Bay Area, leaving Pluto IC and Moon DSC lines in Chicago. (Tucson has a Saturn line.)

And in the Bay Area, people were doing acupuncture and the other healing arts described in The Yellow Emperor’s Medicine Classic. I started getting acupuncture, and attended classical Chinese medicine lectures by Susan Kaplan. One of my first tarot clients was Victoria Lapp, a master Chinese herbalist, who taught me Chinese herbs and face reading.

For relationship compatibility charts when doing astrology consultations, I noted how the influence of the couple’s Chinese animals and elements was more insightful that their Western chart comparisons. But few people knew much about their Chinese astrology sign, even people who were Asian or Asian-American. So I typed up a few pages about the Chinese animal signs, and gave the pages to my astrology clients as part of their astrology consultations. 

I had a clairaudient experience that led me to the publisher Inner Traditions International. With the assistance of a strong and knowledgeable Chinese scholar Jean Tang, my relationship notes became the book Taoist Astrology

One day in 2002, I got a phone call that I was awarded “Best Astrologer” by the San Francisco Weekly. I said I don’t know if I’m the best astrologer, but I am different in that I do both Western and Chinese astrology. Both are great! 

FENG SHUI
Feng shui combines Chinese medicine with my fine arts background. And being a sensitive, I sense things in an environment. In 1997, I became a certified feng shui practitioner and studied Black Hat feng shui under Lin Yun Rinpoche, Teacher Ho Lynn Tu, and Seann Xenja. I studied concepts of landform feng shui, celestial feng shui, and Chinese pole star astrology with Taoist monk Liu Ming of Da Yuan Circle.

Taoist Feng Shui by Susan Levitt

Taoist Feng Shui by Susan Levitt

From Jon Sandifer, a respected colleague in London, I learned about I-Ching astrology and application of compass feng shui. From dear friend Clear Englebert, who lives in Hawaii, I learned about gardening with feng shui. What changed my life the most and turned me into a slow foods chef is that I studied Taoist macrobiotics at Nam Singh’s Academy of Cooking with Chinese Herbs in San Francisco. 

Many of my tarot and astrology clients knew when I became certified in feng shui, and asked me to do feng shui in their homes. I like doing feng shui in the intimacy of a home. Then I was asked to do feng shui consultations for offices and businesses including large corporations like the San Francisco SPCA, EA Electronic Arts, and Club One. The feng shui needs of a home are so different from what is best in an office, and both are interesting challenges.

I’m not the most comfortable with public speaking because I pick up the energy from everyone in the room. But I’ve lectured at Yuan-Yuan, the Worldwide Lin Yun Educational Foundation/Yun Shi Jing She Center in San Mateo, California. And I was a featured speaker on the National Feng Shui Teleconference series. I taught graduate-level feng shui courses in the Asian Studies and East/West Psychology graduate program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. It was the notes from these graduate courses that became my book Taoist Feng Shui

For years, I attended and lectured at the San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium where I met many kind tarot people including Brian Williams. Brian was a tarot scholar, artist, and author of many tarot decks including A Renaissance Tarot. He did the cover art and illustrations for Taoist Feng Shui. 

My publisher Inner Traditions began a series of books for teens. They asked me to write Teen Feng Shui. At first I said no because I thought the concept was not dignified. But Teen Feng Shui is part book and part workbook, and that was successful for teens who like to journal. They feel more involved, and can clearly understand feng shui concepts without the scholarly details in Taoist Feng Shui. 

The publisher represented my books at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany where they sold the foreign rights. Taoist Astrology is now published in English, Czech and Bulgarian. Taoist Feng Shui is published in English, Spanish, Russian and Croat. Teen Feng Shui is published in Bulgarian. 

COMMUNICATION
I’ve come a long way from the child who no one wanted to hear speak, and the idea was to be raised in silence. I enthusiastically spread the word about tarot, astrology, and feng shui. I lecture on Taoist astrology every Chinese New Year at East West Bookshop in Mountain View, California. But I prefer to quietly write, and be behind the scenes.

Since 1995, I’ve written an annual Chinese New Year column for We’Moon lunar calendars. I also write a Chinese New year column for the Taoist journal The Empty Vessel. I’ve written astrology columns for Feng Shui Journal and Sage Woman magazine. My articles and book reviews are published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Gnosis, Magical Blend, Shaman’s Drum, and other spiritual magazines.

I was fortunate to be featured in the San Francisco Chronicle in September 2002, my tarot classes were featured in InStyle magazine in June 2000, and I was profiled in Marin’s Pacific Sun in September 1997, among other publications.

Even though I prefer to write than do public speaking, I’ve lectured at Stanford University sponsored by the Women’s Studies department, and presented at numerous conferences including the Whole Life Expo and the San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium. In July 2008, I was interviewed in my home by CNN  about the future of the United States economy, and was interviewed on the television program Chicagoing in my home town. Things keep falling into place.

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