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.

Aaaannnddd…’s dead again

Buh-bye Modern Oracle

 I’ve been vaguely, non specifically restless with the name “modern oracle” for a while now. It was increasingly awkward and disingenuous. It was the right thing in the beginning, with a new family to protect from the early days of the now-rampant bigotry toward anyone a little different. Seasons change, and so do Tarot businesses.

I think part of the process was watching “Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrel.” I was the second coming of Gilbert Norell, trying so hard to make Tarot mainstream that my work was degenerating into Milquetoast nothing. Now that the little one is nearly drinking age, It’s safe to unleash my inner Jonathan Strange. It might be nuts…it might be genius. I’m honestly not quite sure which, but you, dear audience, and time will figure that out. On one hand, I was worried that re-branding under a new name would just ruin everything I’ve tried to do over the past decade or so. On the other hand it was so right, so ME.

The funny thing is the mental image that came right after the dots connected and the light bulb went on over my thick head. I could imagine my spirit guide slumped down in a chair in a mixture of relief and exhaustion. Sorry man. Hope you recover soon from that monumental effort. I owe a thanks to fellow energy healer and card reader Pip Miller (This Hobbit’s Life on WordPress) On an impulse she was offering one card readings online and on equal impulse I got one with her. It took a while to realize THIS was what she was talking about, but her reading was the stick of dynamite tossed into a waiting gas tank that finally got the message through.

*Gratuitous I Told You So Moment*

If I say that email readings are EQUAL to in-person readings I MEAN IT. I give them that way, and I get them that way all the time. If you are a book-lovin’ reader like me, the written card readings are actually more potent than the face to face ones, giving and getting.

I don’t like the smell of roses either

What’s in a name he asked. Everything and nothing. A rose by any name smells as gag-me floral. Coffee by any name smells as delicious. But in ‘Murica, in the all holy world of money and business and marketing, names and “branding” is a thing. “Modern Oracle” is what I wanted other people to “get”. It was what I wanted to be….TaoCraft is who I AM. Already, fully. Tao is from The Tao Te Ching. It means “Way,” like a way of doing things or the Taoist WAY of living. It is like the “do” in Japanese martial arts. KenDO is the way of the sword. Tarot is a WAY of learning about our lives, ourselves, and the WAY forward in difficult emotional times. Craft hints at a heaping helping of energy centric, non-diestic witchy-ness, but it is also about craft as in MAKE something, or a skilled CRAFTsman. TaoCraft Tarot is a WAY of MAKING our way forward in life with a little more insight and maturity. Modern Oracle was about what Tarot can’t do, as in busting old myths and getting rid of ridiculous antiquated notions like exact predictions of a fated future. TaoCraft is more about what Tarot CAN do. Now that Modern Oracle has spent a chunk of time tearing down misconceptions, TaoCraft can start to build a new way forward.

The Oracle foretold the way of the craft. This is how it had to happen. It couldn’t happen any other way. For that I am grateful for it all.

Now, on with the adventure.