Dear Tarot (May 2014)


Have a question for the cards?  Just submit it in the contact form at, and every so often I will select a few to respond to.  Or visit my Coaching & Tarot Card Readings page for more information about my email and phone services (which currently start at $15). 

Dear Tarot,

I’ve been struggling with my weight for a few months (seems like always!), but lately I’ve put on some added pounds that are even harder to get off than usual.  I’ve started to drop a little weight, and am feeling good.  I’m concerned that on the weekends, when drinking alcohol and eating not so healthy food comes into play, I might derail my hard work.  I still want to reward myself, and have a good time with friends/family without sabotaging my healthy week.  What can I do to stay on track and keep motivated to reach my desired weight?

Thank you,

Wanting to Stay on Track in Tahoe


Dear On Track,

Thank you for your question!  Here are the cards I dealt for you:


The Hanged Man suggests that you’ve felt stuck with this issue, but are willing to now see things differently or try a new approach to meet your goals.  This is further supported by the Ace of Wands, a card which signifies the beginning of an exciting new phase, concerning lots of energy, creativity, excitement and even passion.

These cards are moving towards the Queen of Cups, which represents someone who is comfortable in herself, at home in the world, and open to the love and beauty around her.

The message I see is that you need to integrate this new phase (a new approach or viewpoint, along with all the energy represented by the Ace of Wands) with your more relaxed, intuitive and emotional side (the Queen of Cups).  There is a way to be both passionate about your goals and also at home in the moment; ready to move forward while appreciating what you already have.

Part of that includes emotional balance—being in tune with yourself and your emotions enough to know what it is you really desire and how to get there.  In the Vanessa Tarot deck, the Queen of Cups is pictured standing on a ship deck, with a glass of champagne close at hand, able to enjoy the evening, the moonlight and most of all, herself, without having to immediately down every drop of champagne!  She knows how to savor the experience, whatever it is, and so is able to enjoy herself without working against her other goals and plans.

I hope this is helpful for you—remember that a tarot reading is a tool to access your own wisdom, so pay attention to what resonates with you and feels both helpful and true.  Those are the threads to follow.

Good luck & best wishes,



Dear Tarot,

I’m wondering about the possibility of buying the lot next door to me.  I’ve put an offer down that was originally rejected.  Now, there’s a loan available but I’m hoping for the interest rate to be lowered, and the lending amount to increase before I offer a higher bid.  But at the same time, I don’t want to offer a higher amount than I think the land is worth.  What advice do you have?  

-Property Investor in Tahoe


Dear Investor,

Thank you for your investment question.  I drew these cards for you:


The 10 of Swords suggests that something must end before you can move forward.  Often this card means that the burdens you’re facing seem more daunting than they really are but, in this case, I suspect that it indicates that the obstacles are coming to an end.

This card is progressing towards the Queen of Wands, which recommends that you bring a dynamic, enthusiastic but well-grounded approach to this situation.  Creativity and even the ability to leap towards your dreams will be helpful, so long as that energy is balanced with maturity.

Finally, the Ace of Coins suggests a new and prosperous time beginning for you.  It may be that extra abundance comes your way, or that you plant the seeds for greater prosperity.  Either way, it’s the beginning of a very fortunate period for you.

Overall, it looks like the obstacles between you and this purchase are coming to an end, and that you’ll be able to move forward with both the energy and maturity you need to make this a very lucky enterprise.

Good luck!



Tarot Reading & Life Coaching

IMG_1378As many of you know, I have recently added tarot reading to my repertoire of coaching practices…  And I must admit, it took me by surprise.  It seemed shocking enough that I would move from being a lawyer to a life coach, but tarot cards?  That’s another level of crazy all together!

Sometimes when you get in touch with your authentic self, and begin to “follow your bliss,” as Joseph Campbell said, it really doesn’t take you where you think you’re going to go.  And yet… usually that means you’re heading somewhere much better.

I’ve adored tarot cards for almost 15 years, as a kind of passionate hobby.  I love the art, the symbolism, the ability they give me to tap into my intuition.  Tarot cards were my original life coach.  They are simple, gentle, highly effective and, most of all, a lot of fun.

So at a recent life coach seminar, I read tarot cards for 8 of my friends and fellow coaches.  From there, I ended up reading tarot cards via email and phone for almost 70 other friends and coaches, all within a 3 week period.  It was such a blast, and so highly transformative and even healing for so many people, that I knew this was something I had to do.

So here I am!  Life coach and tarot reader extraordinare.  Unexpected, yes, but wonderful in every way.  The response has been so staggering that I’m already planning tarot parties, group workshops and more.  Stay tuned!

Interested?  You can find more information about tarot over at my primary website (  On this Scattering Light blog, I’m going to begin incorporating some of my favorite tarot practices:  information about tarot cards, monthly tarot horoscopes and my “Dear Tarot” column.  (A few of these posts were previously published on my other website, but I find that I miss this blogging format, so I’m moving all of my blogs back over here!)

Questions or comments?  I love them all, and would love to answer any questions you have.  Leave them below, or check out my Facebook and Twitter pages (where you can also find daily tarot card readings… a fun way to learn how the cards work).  You can also contact me directly (or sign-up for my newsletter) over at

Nothing is learned except through joy.

-Ioanna Salajan





When I first created this website, I was inspired by the idea of finding peace on a windy day.  At the time, that meant that even when storms rage, you can find a place of calm and sanctuary within yourself, and use that to return to balance and joy.  Although that is all still true, lately I find that wind means so much more.

Wind is change.  It is transformation, inspiration, movement, magic.  It is what allows us to be lifted into the air, to soar the heights, to hear music and our loved ones’ laughter.  It is power.  It allows us to sweep away the past, and make room for the future.

And so “finding peace on a windy day” has taken on a different meaning for me.  The peace found on a windy day does not deny or ignore the wind, but rather it embraces it.  It uses the wind and all the powers of creativity and change that it represents.  This is the power of artists–to harness the wind, to use it to create something new, something beautiful, something full of joy.

So when the winds are raging in your own life, you do not need to fear them. Instead, let them inspire you to create something worthy of the artist within. See what you can do with that wind to create your own kind of magic, whether you call yourself an artist, a writer, a parent, a lover, a knitter, a sculpture, a dream-weaver.

We are all artists.  We all have windy days.  The greatest art is in allowing that wind to bring us new beginnings, and the possibility of creating greater peace and joy than we had previously imagined.

Try This: Take a Walk

IMG_1038Want to change your mood? One of the best things you can do is take a walk.  If you can go outside, you have the benefits of nature on top of the benefits of exercise.  If you can’t get outside but have access to a treadmill, try adding in some of your favorite music to lift your spirits.

Of course, walking does much more than lift your mood.  Julia Cameron wrote in Walking in this World that a weekly walk is a useful tool for awakening creativity.  And of course it’s good for your health–simply walking a bit more each day can yield impressive results for your health and waistline.

Need some added motivation?  Check out Jawbone’s Up Band, a wristband that connects to an app that displays how many steps you take each day and how well you’re sleeping at night.  But however you do it and whatever motivates you, a little extra time walking is a wonderful tool for brightening your day.

Soul Dreams

IMG_0962Every night, your soul sings to you.  Are you listening?

Dreams can be tricky things.  Our souls do not speak in clear, logical language; they speak through symbols.  Some symbols are universal, but most are far more personal, and cannot be interpreted by anyone but the dreamer.  This is work we have to do for ourselves, if we are to learn what our unconscious minds are trying to tell us.

Sometimes dreams burst into consciousness, with night after night of vivid nightmares.  Other times, you may find that you don’t seem to be remembering your dreams at all.  Whether your dreams are trying to get your attention or you’re looking for a closer connection with the voice of your soul, there are some simple tools that can be useful when decoding your dreams. My favorite method was originally developed by Carl Jung, and is discussed by Martha Beck in her book Steering by Starlight: The Science and Magic of Finding Your Destiny

To begin, keep a dream journal.  Immediately after waking, write down whatever you can remember, no matter how small or insignificant it seems. The more you do this, the more likely it is that you’ll remember your dreams.

Next, identify the symbols in your dream.  For example, say you dream that you are boarding an airplane with many other people, while carrying a red bag. You might identify the symbols as “airplane,” “many people,” “red bag.”  You can also identify verbs as symbols:  “boarding;” “carrying.”

One at a time, pretend that you have become the symbol.  Say to yourself, “I am the airplane.”  Go on to list three words to describe yourself (“I am large, silver, empty”), and then describe what your purpose as the airplane is (“to carry people to their destination”) and how you’re here to help the dreamer (“I’m taking her to the next stage in her journey”).  Go through each symbol this way, then go back and look over the dream as a whole, with this deeper understanding of its individual parts.

This technique can only be fully appreciated through practicing it, because what comes up may be entirely unexpected.  The way that your symbols speak to you, and interact with one another, will be nothing short of a mosaic of personal messages.  It is not always immediately clear–sometimes you have to sit with a symbol or its message for hours or even days–but often there is deep wisdom to be found here.

For the best results, either go through this exercise with another person (I often lead my coaching clients through this process), or write it out.  This is much more powerful than simply thinking your way through it, although even that can be invaluable in a pinch.

Wishing you sweet dreams~

Try This: Keep a Journal

IMG_0109Over the next few weeks, I will be introducing a series of posts called “Try This,” a collection of ideas for you to try when you’re seeking greater joy and peace in your life.  These are things that have often worked for me, and which might be of benefit to you.

I’ll begin with a practice that I began at the age of 14, and have used fairly consistently ever since:  keeping a journal.  I have used my journals for many things:  to rant about problems, to play with solutions, to capture memories, to record my journey.  There is no wrong way to keep a journal but, if you are new to the practice, here are a few ideas:

Begin where you are.  Describe where you are sitting, how you are you feeling, what’s on your mind.

If you’re upset, angry or wrestling with a problem, try this:  give yourself some time and space to really get it out.  Express your feelings, without censoring. After you’ve done that for a few minutes, switch gears.  Find something good about the person or situation, or some lesson that you’re learning.  If that doesn’t work, switch gears entirely–try writing about something else that brings you joy, such as your adorable 2-year old niece, the party you’re looking forward to, or just the way the snow looks on the mountains.

Use your journal to express gratitude.  Simply writing down a list of things that make you happy can make you feel better.

If you’re concerned about privacy, there are apps that require passwords (I like iJournal), or you can enable password protection on many word processing programs.  Or find a great hiding place!

As with any practice, experiment with different ways of doing it, and find a way that works for you.  That could be writing every morning as you sip your coffee, or once a week as a Sunday night ritual.  You may prefer a spiral notebook, a computer or a beautiful leather book (I like fairly large pages that open flat, but over the years, there’s nothing I haven’t tried).

Have you ever kept a journal?  What works for you?  If you have ideas, suggestions or questions of your own, I’d love to hear them!

Clouds In My Coffee

IMG_0098It’s already December, the final month of 2013.  It’s been a wild ride:  completing the Martha Beck Life Coach Training Program and setting up my practice; creating the Wise Owl Book Club; traveling to San Diego, Pismo Beach, Lake Tahoe and Napa…  Well, let’s just say that I am very grateful for the shorter, cooler days (even here in the desert) and to turn my focus toward my home and loved ones.

Of course, there’s still plenty to keep me busy–holiday events and shopping, work to do, knitting projects to finish–but during this time of year I find myself a bit more comfortable taking a moment to sit by the fire, drink a cup of tea and enjoy the time I have with my family.  And that means that I can also do something incredibly valuable:  dream.

When I take the time to dream, I get in touch with myself.  I listen to the small still voice inside that reminds me what’s most important, and what I should be focusing on now, in this moment.  I relax.  I play.  I listen.  And I remember to pay attention to my nightly dreams as well, which often hold messages from my soul about the way to go.

I’ll be writing more soon about methods of dream analysis that I find particularly useful and enlightening but, in the meantime, let me just recommend this:  take the time to dream while you’re awake.  Look for those clouds in your coffee, and open your imagination to what you find there.  Not only is dreaming a good way to get in touch with a peaceful, joyful part of yourself, but it just may suggest possibilities you haven’t yet dared to imagine.

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