The Niggles: What is in a name?

From December 2018 on TaoCraft

A lot.

Sometimes, a whole lot.

“Re-branding” seems to be a thing lately. “Ghoulish Delights Bath Shop” is becoming “Balefire Apothocary” and ”Hearts Peace Healing” is becoming “Hygge Lightwork.” One personal trainer is becoming a Tarot reader, while a musician is becoming a personal trainer and a martial artist is shifting to being a musician and life coach. Of course, Modern Oracle Tarot is now TaoCraft Tarot.

My sense is this is growth, evolution, and expansion is a very good thing for all of us. The new name isn’t just a marketing ploy. There is no ill will or negative feeling about our old names or identities at all. Shedding our old “brand” is like a snake shedding its skin: It’s necessary for growth. We are re-naming, re-imagining, and re-building in order to embrace more things and to become more fully ourselves. I can’t speak for the other folks, of course, but after brief chats on social media, I get the feeling we are all very much on on the same page.

Expansion and deeper authenticity is certainly my aim in abandoning Modern Oracle and building TaoCraft. As I write this, Modern Oracle feels like something that happened ages ago to someone else. Time passes. I’m not the same person who started Modern Oracle. TaoCraft is me, now.

That doesn’t mean I have to abandon EVERY single little thing. “The Niggles” are still here. Those posts are about ideas that camp out in my head, and niggle there until I write about them. Yeah, I know. That sounds more like a brain parasite than creative inspiration. Some ideas are like that. I blame the muses for lack of a better idea.

Since the very beginning of this re-branding process, I’ve felt pushed to talk about TaoCraft as a name. I have no earthly idea why, or even what to say, so I’ll follow that spirit, inspiration, call of the muses, or brain idea-parasite such as the case may be.

Let’s start with the obvious. “TaoCraft” is a made up word, and I’ve stuck a capital in the middle. Why? I like it. As two words, it is a description. As one word it is a NAME. I threw the capital in because 1. it works as a humpback web address and 2. “Craft” is an integral part of the concept with a dollop of double meaning.

Tao, as many of you know, is from Chinese philosophy; Taoist, Taoism, Tao Te Ching. Just to be pedantic, Tao and Dao are the same thing. Tao is Pinyan westernization of the Mandarin word, while Dao is from the Wade-Giles system. The few minutes I studied Mandarin back in the 90s, I was taught using Pinyan, so there you are. Tao it is. Tao is usually translated as “way” as in a “way of life” or a “way of doing things.”

What does Taoism have to do with Tarot? A surprising lot, actually.  “Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao” by Diane Morgan explains it best. It was an enormous influence in the early days of my Tarot career because it connected two great loves. Time and time and time again, Tao and Tarot were philosophies, a way of looking at the world, that I could rely on. I could lean on them in turbulent times without them crumbling to dust and nothing the way religion always, always did. When your life puts your beliefs to the test, they shouldn’t fall apart. Taoism and Tarot never did. No matter what I would learn or explore, I always circled back to them and found them reliable and trustworthy. Tao and Tarot belong here in this new mental and spiritual living place. They are very much an authentic part of me. This re-branding is, as is highly valued within Taoism, an exercise in deep authenticity.

Craft is also a bridge. As Tao and Tarot bridge east and west, Craft bridges old and new. When I see the word, “arts and crafts” spring to mind. That kind of craft is an old and familiar thing. My grandmother taught me to embroidery when I was 6. Embroidery, cross stitch, knitting, beading have been a part of me since then. I like to create and make. That embraces the meditation mala and assorted stuff I make and put in the TaoCraft Tarot shop on Etsy. Craft connects to a fond memory of a cherished Grandmother – a wise woman whom I swear was magic. Which brings me to the new craft. THAT craft. THE craft. Not the movie, although it is one of my favorites. TaoCraft expands my Tarot cyber-world to include, mala, meditation, Reiki, and my own brand of magical craft. It took half a century to even flirt with the notion of associating with magick or witchcraft, but dammit, I’m claiming it now. And I’m defining it on my own terms. This is my own non-diestic, non-ritualistic, natural, energy reading WAY of engaging with a solitary sort of witchCRAFT. The best label I’ve found for what I do is from Laura Zakroff’s book “Sigil Witchery”. A “modern traditional witch” is one who “does what needs doing when it needs done using whatever is at hand.” That. So that. Magick is woven in to life, both the special and ordinary times. Magick is found in both the special and the ordinary things at hand.

There you have it. That is what is in THIS name. Welcome to TaoCraft Tarot.


New Name, Same Spirit

I can take a cosmic friggen’ hint.


Back in October, I pulled the ripcord, and seriously rebranded my Tarot site. In the months since, that has had my attention to the point that it has been all crickets and tumbleweeds here.

The main focus of Taocraft Tarot is, as you might guess from the name, Tarot, plus some new additions: Reiki and Meditation. I’ve bundled everything I do under one cyber-roof over there. I still consider this to be my “author’s” site and this as-yet-un-named blog will be where the odds and ends will go that don’t quite fit into the flow of things over at TaoCraft. Since I wrote it, some of the content there will be repeated here, but I hope you will follow both sites for the fringy sprituality and natural health musing that will only be here.

The naming part of the process fascinated me for quite a while. Seems there is always a story behind the name, especially for businesses, bands, songs, albums, books and blogs. This is the first of three names are niggling at me posts.

I’m also going to do something here that won’t be available at TaoCraft. I want this site to be more conversational. Over there, it is important to have a welcoming, troll and spam free energy environment. I want the people who come to me for readings and come to the TaoCraft website to feel safe and welcome….which these days means locking down the comments. I don’t want to deal with the BS here either, but I want to hear from you, the sincere, decent not-bot people too. Enter the Questions of the Day. I’ll be putting a contact form at the end of a lot of posts. Please send your questions and comments that way. If it is really good I may share it here on the blog….WAIT! I have it!

As a nod to the past, and the fact this will be built of odds and ends of blog writing….ta-DAH ….Quirk & Flotsam (the blog) My etsy shop is named for TaoCraft now, because, you  know, branding. Quirk and Flotsam lives. I’ve always thought of the two owls in my logo being named Quirk & Flotsam (that’s more owl-ish than Creativity and Variety, don’t you think?)


Hello again after a long while away. Let me introduce you to me….

from 2018


Seasons change, and so do Tarot Websites.

Modern Oracle Tarot is now TaoCraft Tarot.

TaoCraft is a new era of fierce authenticity in my Tarot, Reiki, and Meditation work.

No more trying to make Tarot palatable to a world not ready or not interested. Modern or not, Tarot is powerful, magickal, and a potent way (Tao) to make (Craft) your life experience, your journey into the best it can be.

Click HERE to read the thousands of posts in the Modern Oracle Tarot archives. It is all just as good as ever…that hasn’t changed. The archives are where you will find a treasure trove of Q&A, Card meanings, daily Tarot meditations, the ever popular “Romance Reading – The Lovers and the Magician” and my favorite the origins of Zombie Cat 

Don’t worry….Zombie Cat made the move here with me, and we’ll be seeing more of him around New Years Day.

At my core is my own, unique amalgam of Taoism and Witchcraft. Modern Oracle was a first foot out of the “Tarot Closet” as we talked about on “Menage A Tarot”  TaoCraft is both feet planted firmly out in the world. I look forward to sharing my way of doing things with you. If it helps one person, it is worth it.

Welcome. Nice to meet you.

It’s Aliiiiive!

Redid to match this site. It is fully live and ready to go.

This site is too, except for the “Sending Stones Reiki” part. Need to take some photos etc. Will let you know when that is up and running. Am also working on a meditation starter pack that you can buy through the Etsy shop. Good things on the horizon.

Will post more about that later.  Like Maddow says….watch this space.

Cyberspace Remodel

Pretty much done with the cyberspace remodeling project. How do you like the new look? I’m kinda digging it…dark? Yes. Zen? I hope so. I like the minimal black aesthetic. Kind of like the Japanese Zen monk robes that inspired Steve Jobs’ black turtlenecks. Besides this is Pittsburgh. Black and Gold is a very good thing around here.

In Erin Hunter “warriors” series of children’s books about feral cat clans. after they are finished raising a litter of kittens the adult female cats move back from being a “queen” to being a “warrior” again. I like that. I think that is a good idea for we humans, too. I’ve always been fond of the warrior archetype. My work mission lies more along those lines than the mainstream medical ones. The healing here is in the world of energy and spirit. I’ll leave the physical and clinical medical part to other folks. Been there, done that, I have other fish to fry now.

Tarotbytes Bookshelf: Going Beyond the Little White Book

I’ve been meaning to start a series of book reviews / recommendations. Seems like I’m always giving my Tarot clients homework….books I’ve read that come to mind that speak right to what’s going on with them. The whole book may not be the whole answer, but the book that intuition plunks down on the reading […]

via Tarotbytes Bookshelf: “Going Beyond the Little White Book” — Modern Oracle Tarot

Gift in a Big Gold Bow

More opinion….just so you know

When are we all going to learn?

Maybe this is why older people are less flexible in their opinions: we’ve been around this block. A bunch of times.

Personally I’ve had it, and I’m not willing to make another lap. I’ve listened to the right wing ad nauseam. I’ve tried every way I can muster to hear them and look at their view with fairness and compassion. Hell, I’m related to them. All of my blood relative are conservative christian right wing republicans….every. last.  one. I have a real motivation to be careful, kind, and tolerant – in spite of their narrow, often bigoted, often racist, theocratic point of view.

The problem dealing with fundamentalist christians and other such conservatives is the way they are…to a person…utterly unable to separate themselves from abstract ideology. I’ve been around these people for over 50 years now. It isn’t just that one uncle at Thanksgiving. It’s all of my family, all of the time. Trust me, they think that if you disagree with their right wing politics, then you disagree with their total individual person. If you disagree with their religion, then you are a bad person whether they say it to your face or not. If you reject their views, then you reject them individually, as a person, and they take offense at that – no matter how kind and rational you state your different point of view. No matter how calm and rational you are, no matter how logical your argument may be, no matter how much you reassure them it isn’t personal, they go into some iteration of apeshit over anyone who doesn’t think like them no matter how kind or or calm or reasonable you may be.

I know. I’ve tried. For decades.

Lately, when it comes to national events, I try to fit what is being said into the biggest picture I can. Fitting all the pieces together helps me see when a fair point is being made, which I’m more than willing to acknowledge when it happens. Big pictures help us consider other perspectives a little easier than narrow views in my experience.

My big picture looks like this:

I’ve been watching American politics and political news (via a high school civics class) since the Carter administration, voting regularly since Reagan.

Donald Trump is the Republican wet dream. Donald Trump is every single Republican rooster rolled into one and coming home to roost. Donald Trump is the Republican’s gift to America wrapped up in a big gold bow.

There have been insidious threads of theocracy, of civil rights violations based on religious beliefs (anti-reproductive rights, anti-lgbtq rights, anti-science, anti-intellectul) ever since Jerry Falwell crawled out of the slime, maybe earlier.

Trump parrots all the (now proven to be baseless) claims against the Clintons and against Democrats that all the right wing Republicans spewed in the 1990s.

Trump explicitly and openly speaks all the racist, bigoted ideas that the Tea Party and their ilk implied in the 2008 race and since.

Remember the signs portraying President as an African “witch doctor”?

WV voted almost unanimously for Trump. Remember WV? They are the same good folks who voted for Clinton almost unanimously in 2008, with little old ladies railing against “the Hussein” who was “a Muslim” (I grew up in WV, and still visit family there frequently. I’m here to tell you the Daily Show with Jon Stewert captured the situation better than any of us would like to admit. The women in his clip could blend in to the family reunion un-notied. Hell, we could be related for all I know)

If one were to think of the Trump administration as being a mindless puppet of both Russia but more so of the far right, all the pieces still fit seamlessly together. Remember, it was Mitch McConnel who said their top political priority “should be to deny President Obama a second term” before leading that party to obstruct Congress from doing the people’s work for 8 years.

When are we going to learn? Time and time and time again there have been calls for bipartisan cooperation. Time and time and time again the Republicans have punched us in the face. Time and time and time again the right wing base has been nothing but obstructionist. Time and time and time again the Republicans have punched goodwill in the face.

How many bloody noses do we have to endure before we begin to protect ourselves from a skull fracture?

#WagePeace #FierceCompassion

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