Voyager Tarot as a Tool for Life and Project Management

Or, “Dude, you got your TPS reports in my manifestation ritual!

While not all endeavors in our lives need be thought out Projects, some of our personal pet projects (as well as our professional ones too!) could do with a little more structure and oversight. This article outlines a method of professional project management combined with aspects of James Wanless’ Mythic Action Plan and the principle of Fortune Creation with the Voyager Tarot.

Where am I? Where am I going? Why am I in this hand basket?

Work Breakdown Structure”?

Critical Path Methodology”?




Confused yet? The world of Professional Project management is full of Big Words, catchphrases and acronyms.(Those big names and catchphrases? They just let you sound wise and important and let you charge more for yourconsulting services.) Yet, behind all these big words and acronyms used by the “Pros”, project management breaks down into very simple terms. At its’ simplest, managing a project means knowing three things:

  1. Where you are at a given point in time on the project
  2. What your goal is, and how to know when you get there.
  3. What Action it’s going next to continue to your goal.

To be clear: I’m not advocating using the Tarot to plan out every step of an entire project! If it’s worthy of project management then you can and should determine the goals, steps and timeframe by normal means. Voyager can add a layer of intuitive awareness to your work. Too often we make rational, logical plans and yet mentally skip the subtle steps; details or ideas that can help us advance, avoid obstacles or if need be, change course when we get off track.

To help intuit what you need while managing your projects, I present the Voyager Project Lifecycle reading.

The Voyager Project Lifecycle spread:

So here’s the reading for a given point in a project:

SIGNIFICATOR: Your Significator can be a physical object (like a flow chart, piece of money, or a visionboard) or a card of your choosing to represent the end goal of your project. If you can’t think of anything else to place here then try using The Wheel card as it reminds us of the cyclic nature of projectmanagement. You can also place a card from another deck here as well.

BEARING: This is the “Where am I” card. It inspires us what to look out for in the ways of impendingobstacles and/or opportunities.

ACTION: When taking your next active step, this card reminds us what to remember, to focus on andwatch out for. If you receive a family card (or a Court Card) in this position, consider who is, who might be, or can be involved in the project or this Action.

EVALUATION: After you’ve taken your action, you need to evaluate the results of that action. In‘professional’ terms this means having clear “pass-fail criteria.” How can you easily determine if your action was successful? Did you take one step forward but two steps back? EVALUATE can also help youclarify your overall goals. Did you complete a milestone? Some cards have clear implications: For example: The Hanged Man may mean you need to wait for the results to come back before proceeding with the next step.

PLAN: “No plan survives its conception.” Now that you’ve taken an Action and Evaluated the results, it’stime to plan the next Action. If you’re off course, use this time to re-evaluate your overall plan, and possibly modify what that next Action will be. Be prepared to adjust, revise and change course as needed.

On repeating the cycle:

Lifecycles repeat. In fact, to borrow an idea from Barbara Moore, the last card in the spread becomes the first cardin the next iteration of the reading. The last card of the cycle, the Plan card, therefore becomes the Bearing card ofthe next reading. If you keep detailed notes, it can help to recall important details as the project rolls on.

On kicking things off and ending it all

Sometimes a blank page can be intimidating, so I like to draw a Kickoff card before starting a project plan. Think of the Kickoff card as a pre-project Bearing reading. You can use the Kickoff cards as the first Bearing card in yourproject cycle!

Ideally, you’ll know when you’re done. But sometimes we get caught up in the details and keep adding “just one more thing” to the to-do list. The Evaluation step can help you to look back at our overall to-do list and see whatyou can check off the to-do list. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of crossing out or checking off items onyour to-do list. Enforcing that in your project management cycle makes sure you take a moment to appreciate theeffort you’ve made so far and keeps your sights on the end of the road. If you drew a Kickoff card initially, and then drew that card again during the Evaluation phase, then perhaps it’s time to take a more serious look at your to-do list: Have you really done all that you can at this time?
Finally, for those more mathematically inclined, here’s the cycle re-arraigned into a more linear format. Look familiar to anyone?
(If it looks like a sinusoidal wave (sin or cosine) you’re right! Have a cookie!)


Special thanks to:

  • James Wanless, for the opportunity to study under his guidance and learn from his wisdom,
  • Barbara Moore, for the idea of moving cards within a spread,
  • Jaymi Elford (a.k.a. Innowen) for the idea of a non-card significator in the center of the spread as a focus,
  • My classmates at the Voyager Teaching Intensive 2011 class, for all their great feedback!


[1] Program Evaluation and Review Technique, developed for the U.S. Navy Special Projects Office in 1957 to support the U.S. Navy’s Polaris nuclear submarine project (

The Revised Lovers Spread

The following spread was inspired by Barbara Moore’s class on creating tarot spreads at Reader’s Studio 2011.

RoseRed and I decided to pick a card at random and base a spread on it, and my pure luck (or was it luck?) we drew The Lovers.

Looking at the Lovers card from the Rider Waite Smith deck, we chose card locations and meaning based on major features of the card


The RWS Lovers

What we chose as significant elements were the male and female figures, the trees behind the figures, the angel above, and the obstacle (mountain) between the figures. We also discussed how to divide up the deck for specific drawing for specific locations.

When performing this spread, divide the deck into Majors, Courts and minors.

Cards 1 & 6 are from the Majors-only stack.

Cards 2 & 3 are Court cards stack.

Cards 5 & 6 are from the Minor Arcana stack.


The revised Lovers-inspired spread

So feel free to give this a try and any suggestions are welcome!



Reader’s Studio 2011

I draft this post from my airline seat, while at 30,000’ and somewhere over middle-America, on my way home from Readers Studio 2011 and I’m still decompressing and processing the experience. It really all began long before Wednesday evening, when RoseRed and I boarded our red-eye flight from SFO to JFK, but that’s when it really felt like at real thing. I hardly ever sleep when flying so a long day at work, followed by an entire evening and night traveling is a really draining experience (my Chariot had run its course). Even after arriving at JFK early Thursday morning, we had one more journey: a taxi cab ride to the hotel. I missed the last two years of Reader’s Studio due to work issues. Plus, this year Tarot Media Company was an official vendor at the event as well, so there was much setup to be performed.

A LOT of stuff happened at Reader’s Studio this year and I’ll try to recap what I can remember:

Corrine Kenner taught a class on Astrology and the Tarot. Now I confess, I’m not very much into astrology and this class was a little too deep for me. I don’t really get it when someone says: “Oh, that’s because they’re a Virgo,” or “he was a Scorpio, so it’d never work out.” For a long time I personally found it insulting when someone acted like they knew all about be when they learned that I’m a Gemini. Corinne’s class required bringing your birth chart, and frankly when I looked at mine, I first impression was that Cylon raiders were about to sink my BattleStar Galactica (yeah, I’m a geek). Sadly, even after her class, I still don’t get Astrology and certainly not astrology birth charts. Maybe I’ll have to learn a bit more about Astrology. After all, Corinne has a new book on Astrology and Tarot coming out soon…

I did, however, pick up a copy of Dan Horn and Corrine Kenner’s Tarot of Physics, and got him to sign it. I’ll post a review of it soon (I promise!)

The fantastic Barbara Moore taught a class on creating new spreads. Creating custom spreads for my querent’s questions is something I already enjoy doing so I was looking forward to learning new techniques. Above all else, I learned about using a moving Significant card in a reading, which I’ll have to play with more in the future. She’s also working on a Steampunk themed tarot!

I also got to catch a glimpse of Ciro Marchetti’s new Oracle cards and I can’t wait to order mine by the end of the month. He also had lots of other nifty merchandise, so check out his website here.

Caítlin (pronounced Kash-lin) Matthews ‘s presentation was a more complicated affair of sorting and divining cards when performing a reading. Personally, I just shuffle and draw enough cards for the number of places in the reading, but Caítlin presented methods of shuffling and dividing the cards into as many piles as places needed in the reading, with any remaining cards serving as an ‘ally’ set for use in enhancing  existing cards. Alternatively: pick a Significant card, reshuffle it back into the deck, then dividing the deck as before and choosing the pile that contained the Significant card to perform the reading with. I also must say, Caítlin has a lovely voice when she sang for us!

Saturday night was a costume ball where everyone dressed up, often as their favorite Tarot card characters. While RoseRed and I didn’t have specific characters in mind we did try on some new duds and got plenty of pictures taken with friends and hobnob with celebs.

During the final day, Shindig software showed off their virtual tabletop reading space, allowing querent and reader to not only see the same cards being laid out, but also see each other via webcams as well. They go live sometime in the next few months, so we’ll have to see how that works out for them.

This resulted in a conversation between Susa, Beth any I later that evening on the future of digital communication and divination. There was much concern about removing the physical metaphysical connection between reader and querent. How can one intuit or cold-read someone over a webcam?  Then again, who’s to say that we can’t adapt and learn new techniques for divination in the future? Tarot cards are just a tool, just like oracles, runes, stones, bones and the entrails of birds. In the 22nd century, will we divine with the hologramatic entrails of virtual goats?

So that’s about all I can recall at this moment. We’re coming in for landing and I have to shut my laptop down. Next week I’ll get back to my Zero cards for the minor Arcana and review some decks.



The Emperor’s Hands – a spread co-inspired by RoseRed

I get to share the credit for this spread with my wonderful RoseRed. Seeing how this is an Emperor year AND the fourth month of the year, she was looking for a spread related to the Emperor card to share at her next Tarot Cafe get together. After having just recently attended Anastasia’s monthly Tarot class on the Emperor and Death cards, the symbolism of the Emperor with his scepter and orb in his hands was fresh in my mind. Together we hashed out the following: the three-card Emperor spread.

Specio Imperator

IV: The Emperor
The RWS Emperor

In the RWS Tarot the Emperor is depicted holding symbols of his power and authority: an orb and a scepter, and sitting on his throne. In the context of power and authority, one also hears about those who act as “the hands of the Emperor.” The Left hand of the Emperor, the right hand (and an underhand? A backhand?). Finally the Emperor has his throne; his seat of power.

The scepter, rod and staff have been symbols of authority and power since time unrecorded. Nearly every depiction of ancient leaders they have some symbols of power in their hands. (Perhaps it’s because they didn’t want to fidgit… )  It could be as simple as: “I have the biggest stick, so listen to what I have to say.” From there I imagine it evolved into a cultural habit: “He who holds the staff may speak,” and finally to: “He who holds the scepter has the authority.” The similarities between scepter and wand cannot be overlooked, nor can the association with swords – another symbol of kings and nobility. So really, the scepter represent’s the Emperor’s Will and Way; his connection to the suites of wands and swords.

The Orb represents secular vision and power; the Emperor’s connection to the world. Often literally interpreted as “I hold the world in my hand.” It’s opulence and quality of craftsmanship speaks to the financial power of the Emperor; his connection to the suite of Coins or earth. It’s perfection of form represents the clarity of his vision; thus his connection to the suite of Cups and water.

The Emperor’s throne is his center, his highpoint. He can always be found there. It both makes him more visible and grants him a higher perspective over all his domain. If “all roads lead to Rome” then they must also pass by the throne of the Emperor.

So imagine you’re the emperor, what does the orb in your left hand represent? What does your scepter in your right hand represent? What is your center of power, your ‘throne’?

The Three card Emperor Spread

Okay, this is actually a four card spread, but the Emperor plays Significant, so you’re only drawing three additional cards at the core of this reading.

Separate the Majors from the Minors. Separate the Emperor  from the Majors and place on the table, then shuffle the Majors and Minors separately. Draw a Major and place it below the Emperor card; this is the Throne card. Draw two Minors and place them above the Emperor card as depicted:

(Yes, I know it looks backwards at first. If it helps, invert the Emperor card so his feet are facing the minor cards, and his head is towards the Throne card)

The Left hand represents what your connection to the world, your material influence and clarity of vision. Obviously cups are coin cards are ideal here, but swords and wands are also appropriate since they can represent ideals and passions that may be blocking or influencing this location.

The Right hand card represents your authority and power and clearly wands and swords are appropriate here, however coins and cups can represent material and emotional blockages to this location.

The Throne card represents the seat of your power; your position, role and starting point. As a Major card, this is a big deal and should be considered carefully. The Star would mean being a symbol of hope; Death means taking charge of a change in the natural order, and so on.