Susan’s Story

I’ve been reading tarot card since 1972, and became a professional tarot card reader in 1986. I still find tarot very interesting because each tarot reading tells a short story. I had my first tarot reading in Chicago when I was 17 years old. I was a serious student and pursued as much learning as I could about tarot, and the history and interpretation of oracles. I moved to California in 1983 and had so many requests for tarot readings that I became a professional tarot card reader at age 31.

30+ Years of Good Fortune

It’s been over 30 years since I became a professional tarot reader in Berkeley, California, and I’m as interested and enthusiastic about tarot as I was when I started. I love tarot cards because their symbolic language guides me along a continuous spiritual path in life. On a more practical level, tarot also provides me with very clear and accurate answers to specific questions.

Tarot Questions and Answers

Tarot is prognostic in nature, but it’s not just fortune telling. It’s an insightful problem-solving tool that offers guidance on many levels. When I do a tarot reading, I ask the person receiving the reading to prepare three questions for the cards. These questions can be on any topic that is important to them– from the most spiritual and esoteric to the most material.

Most Popular Questions

Over the years, I’ve observed that the questions I’m asked about most frequently are about relationships. Relationship questions can be about a lover, spouse, family member or co-worker, and seek details about how and why we interact with others. Is this a karmic relationship? Why are we together? What is our future together?

The second most-asked question is about career choices. This is a serious question because it affects how we spend most of our waking hours. Career questions often answer money questions because a main source of income is often through work.

The third most common question is usually about health, or the best place to live. But people can ask anything to the tarot cards: Where to go on holiday, schools for their children, what to select for a major in college, questions about pets, information about relatives, connection to those who have passed on, spiritual path and teachers or whatever arises to be answered and examined.

Susan’s Background

This is my calling. Being an intuitive Pisces born in the year of the gentle Sheep, this is the perfect lifelong career for me. I still have my first astrology book from when I was 11 years old, and I had my first tarot card reading when I was 17. Now I have over 50 years of experience as an astrologer.

I became a professional tarot reader and astrologer in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1986. My business grew as people contacted me through word of mouth. When I read tarot cards, the interpretation is accurate and insightful to the person I am helping. Thirty years later, I’m still doing work I truly enjoy and find interesting. I am thankful to every person who has shared their life story with me when I read their cards or did their chart.

I grew up in Chicago, which is also a great city, but the cold winters were too severe for me. I appreciate everything about San Francisco, and I love this picturesque city where no one thinks it’s odd that I read tarot cards and horoscopes!

Early in my career I was often asked how to read tarot cards and interpret astrology charts, so I taught tarot and astrology classes in the Bay Area in the ’80s and ’90s. The most popular class was tarot, and I collected so much wonderful information that I felt it’d be a shame if it wasn’t bound into a book to share with the world. Together with U.S. Games Systems, Inc. The Complete Tarot Kit was created in 2002.

The Complete Tarot Kit took off with a life of its own all around the world! I’m still surprised when I receive emails from readers all over the world who use The Complete Tarot Kit, in places as far away as New Zealand and the Philippines. People began requesting the book Introduction to Tarot on it’s own, which was published separately the following year. That too was a big seller, and became the first book that my publisher ever put out as an eBook.

Love of Learning

There is an old saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” I must be very ready because I’ve found many superb teachers in life! My educational opportunities started with languages in childhood. I learned Hebrew because my father’s side of the family is Jewish, and I spoke Yiddish with my paternal grandparents, who were immigrants from Lithuania. I also learned Latin because my mother’s side of the family is Celtic. We also lived in an Italian neighborhood in Chicago where I learned to speak Italian.

I continued learning Latin at Oak Park/River Forest High School (Ernest Hemingway’s alma mater), was able to skip three grades, and began an early-entrance college program at Roosevelt University in Chicago. There I found Professor Takeko Stover— a brilliant and gifted teacher who changed my life. Professor Stover took me under her wing, and I completed courses for an Asian Studies major in Chinese and Japanese literature.

I enrolled in a Chinese calligraphy class at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I then transferred to The Art Institute Of Chicago and completed my studies there on full scholarship, receiving a B.F.A. in 1980 with a major in painting and drawing and minor in fashion and textile design. While in Chicago, I shared ideas and astrology books with the good people at The Occult Book Shop on Halsted Street.

I moved to Tucson, Arizona for a climate change after graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago. Tucson was a magical place, as if I’d stepped back in time, and I enrolled in the graduate program at the University of Arizona. I studied what was strongest in their art history department: pre-Columbian art, and history of photography through The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona Libraries. Also in Tucson I met the lovely and wise people of the Tucson Astrology Guild, including astrologers Susie Cox and Zipporah Dobyns.

I supported myself by working as an English tutor, helping students write their papers. I’d been doing that since I started at Roosevelt University. I didn’t realize that I was a ghost writer; I thought I was like an old-world tutor who took private students. Decades of writing for others that gave me the ability to write five books. Along with Introduction to Tarot and The Complete Tarot Kit, I wrote Taoist Astrology, Taoist Feng Shui, and Teen Feng Shui. I had no plan to be an author, but these three Asian studies book, like the tarot book and kit, just happened. This is an example of the “pathless path” because there was no choice or debate. Writing found me.

Astrology East West

In 1983 I moved to San Francisco and found the mother lode of wise teachers. I’d read a lot of classical Chinese literature when I lived in Chicago. The Yellow Emperor’s Medicine Classic discusses what we now know in the West as traditional Chinese Medicine. I’d read about acupuncture, but in the Bay Area people were actually doing it! I attended classical Chinese medicine lectures by Susan Kaplan. When I became a professional tarot reader and astrologer in 1986, one of my first tarot clients was Victoria Lapp, a master Chinese herbalist who taught me in Chinese herbs and face reading.

Astrology is well-loved in the Bay Area. In Berkeley I received professional certification in AstroCartography from AstroCartography creator Jim Lewis in 1993 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.)

When I did relationship charts, the compatibility of the couple’s Chinese animals and elements was more insightful that their Western chart comparisons along, but few people knew much about their Chinese astrology sign, even people who were Asian or Asian-American. I typed up a few pages about the Chinese animal signs, which I gave to my astrology clients when I did their relationship charts. I thought these notes might make a nice little gift book to introduce people to Chinese astrology. 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.

Feng Shui

I became very interested in feng shui because of my fine arts background. I became a certified feng shui practitioner in 1997 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.

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 now offer feng shui consultations for individual homes, offices and businesses including large corporations like the San Francisco SPCA, EA Electronic Arts, and Club One. I’ve lectured at Yuan-Yuan, the Worldwide Lin Yun Educational Foundation/Yun Shi Jing She Center in San Mateo, California, and was a featured speaker on the National Feng Shui Teleconference series.

I have 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 courses that became the book Taoist Feng Shui.

Then my publisher began a series of books for teens and asked me to write Teen 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, and Teen Feng Shui is published in Bulgarian.

Communication

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. I write an annual Chinese astrology column for the We’Moon lunar calendar and The Empty Vessel. 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.

I was interviewed in my home by CNN in July 2008 about the future of the United States economy, awarded “Best Astrologer” by the San Francisco Weekly in 2002, and was interviewed on the television program Chicagoing in my own home town.

Since 1995 I’ve written an annual Chinese New Year column for We’Moon luncar calendars. 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 many other publications. Things keep falling into place.