What is in a Name

I’m not a marketing expert.

Changing the tone, tenor, content, and name of my Tarot identity was mildly terrifying. “Re-branding” doesn’t begin to capture it, probably because name, nature and self-identity are so enmeshed. Changing from Modern Oracle to TaoCraft Tarot was certainly one of those life learning expanding experiences which triggered several posts musing about names and labels.

It is a little bit of that same process here. This blog & website has always been a catch-all side project. Initially I envisioned it to be an “about the author” promotion site for the back of books. Natural health services were added after my dissertation and things only got more scattered and less focused from there. It is time for this site to get a makeover too, new blog name included.

On one hand, I want to keep this blog neutral, nonthreatening, and a little milquetoast to serve as an online resume of sorts. On the other hand, I want this blog stay the friendly, welcoming, chatty catch-all that it evolved to be. On the other other hand I want it to be fierce and fearless, unafraid to difficult subjects. Of course, there is no reason it can’t be all of that. If an employer doesn’t hire me because of the views expressed rather than the quality of the writing expressing those views, then that discrimination is on their heads.

So friendly fierce fearless chatty catch-all blog it is. Welcome.


“…being normal is not necessarily a virtue. It rather denotes a lack of courage.”

– Alice Hoffman

“If you’ve got an idea you genuinely think is good, don’t let some idiot talk you out of it”

– Stan Lee


(creator unknown)

Update July 2019

If you are new here – Welcome.

If you have visited before, or followed the blog for any amount of time, you have probably noticed the new look.

In 2018, I officially re-launced Modern Oracle Tarot as TaoCraft Tarot.  This website and blog is being streamlined to match. Here are the key changes

  • All of the Tarot content has been moved to the Modern Oracle Tarot / Tarotbytes Archive (posts prior to October 2018) or to the current TaoCraft Tarot Blog
  • From here forward, Reiki, Meditation, and Taoism related content will appear on the TaoCraft Tarot Blog
  • The Vampire Diet, Baihu’s News Haikus, Merry Monday, Tao Tuesday, and Browncoat Whovian Epiphany content has been discontinued.
  • This blog will be any eclectic, random or natural health posts that do not fit with the Tarot/Meditation/Reiki/Taoism/Magick milieu of the TaoCraft Site.
  • Some posts may deal with sensitive or controversial subjects. Reader discretion is advised. Comments are closed.
  • Constructive reader feedback and Natural Health questions are welcome via email at
  • Not all emails will receive a reply. There is a zero tolerance spam policy


Please read disclaimer below before submitting Natural Health Question. This is for general interest ONLY. No information on this website or by this author can diagnose, treat, or cure any disease and does not in any way replace professional health / mental health care. No liability of any kind real or implied is accepted. Use, and all information or entertainment services entierely at your own risk.

Meditation in the Media (Pittsburgh)

Meditation In The Media


Please visit “Quirk & Flotsam” on for handcrafted meditation beads, how-to beginner’s meditation book and more…click HERE to enter.

Would you like your own tutorial to get started? click HERE

Meditation and Spongebob’s Grandma

Making and Meditation

Mindfulness can make a meditation of anything.

Mindfulness is at once the simplest and one of the most challenging things in the world to do.

Pay attention to where you are and what you are doing right now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Were you aware, just for a moment, of were you are, aware of yourself reading a screen instead of focusing what is on the screen? The easy part is slipping into that here & now mindset for a moment. The more challenging thing is sustaining that presence for more than a moment.

Stress or any activity that takes skill and concentration makes that kind of sustained mindfulness even more difficult. The classic way to counteract that is by using the exact opposite. Instead of thinking and doing, meditation teaches us to sit and do nothing – even thoughts are released in favor of experience the moment. We counteract thinking with being.

Or not.

In our typical first-world lifestyle, it is very difficult to shift gears quite that far. It is a challenge to go from full mental throttle to full-throttle off.  Sitting in traditional meditation is still an effort because it takes a certain vigilance. Our mind wanders very far very easily when it suddenly has nothing else to do.

There is a middle way. Another strategy is gentle, repetitive activity that takes a little bit of mental engagement. Something that keeps your mind focused on what you are doing, but isn’t over taxed either. Some activity keeps you here just enough that you still have “processor capacity” to put it in computer terms. A meditative activity keeps you engaged enough that your mind doesn’t wander quickly, yet is automatic enough to let you focus on something else. If you make that “something else” that feeling of mindfulness, or at least make the “something else” some positive emotion such as compassion or contentment…then that low grade activity becomes meditation, just as certainly as traditional seated meditation.

My favorite example is a recent episode of the tv show “Mythbusters” where Adam Savage describes the process of making a prop bull whip, and remarks that the repeated braiding is in a way “meditative” (I’ve heard rumors that he practices meditation and would know that quality in its fullest sense, but of course can’t know that for sure). In “Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain” author Betty Edwards describes a phenomenon where artist experience silence as they work. As the non-verbal parts of the brain are engaged in creative, spatial-relationship kinds of activity, the verbal parts profoundly quiet.

Whether you think of it in terms of spirituality and enlightenment, or in terms of neuroscience, meditation quiets the mind and lets us focus on here and now. It lets you connect with a simple, repetitive task on a different level.

When my daughter was young, “Spongebob Squarepants” was one of her favorite tv shows. There was one episode where Spongebob visits his grandmother and somewhere in the episode she knits a sweater “with love in every stitch”.

As a knitter, I get that. After watching that episode together, I’ve told her  that everything I’ve made for her has ‘love in every stitch’ just like Spongebob’s grandma. Now an eye-rolling teenager, she thinks its a rediculous reference to an old tv show

Actually it’s true.

It doesn’t have to be knitting. Any easy repetitive activity. It might be easy to ‘zone out’ doing it..but what if we don’t? If we keep our mind and heart on what we are doing, it will benefit more than one person.

This might be a little woo-woo for you, but just for argument’s sake let’s assume that material things can carry a subtle energy signature. That’s why grandma’s cookies taste better than store-bought. Maybe there really is love in every stitch of the old gal’s sweaters.

Making with mindfulness IS meditation. Making with mindfulness benefits the person doing it (gracing them with all the benefits that meditation can offer) AND it benefits the person who uses the thing they made through it’s elevated energy and the good feeling that is transferred. Try it experiment. Bring a bit of homespun science to the notion. If you pray or meditate, try wearing the same jacket every time you do (Ted Andrews suggested this in one of his books). Then put on the jacket some other time. Do you notice any difference in how you feel? Do you notice any shift in your mindset just by associating the jacket with the good feelings of your prayer or meditation experiences? Think of the long tradition of wearing rosary beads or wrist mala. Positive energy is believed to inhabit the beads and comfort the wearer at other times too.

Knit a sweater holding thoughts and feelings of love and compassion for the person who will wear it. Hold thoughts and feelings of health and love for those who will eat the food as you prepare it. Do you notice a difference? What do you observe in others? Observation is a legitimate scientific technique. Try it with and without the intention and mindfulness. What differences do you see? What differences do you FEEL? If it helps YOU to feel better, than the practice is worth while just for that aspect alone.

They say creation is a sacred act. In the case of simple day to day tasks, it can be a meditative and loving one too. You can live life with love in every stitch.


The Lighter Side of Meditation

Shared with permission from 

I love Kate’s “Fridays With Veronica” series. Such fun! I highly recommend it!

VeronicaVeronica is my evil twin/alter ego who reads Tarot on my blog every Friday! In between reading Tarot you can find her getting day drunk on her balcony, snoring in a yoga class and on, pretending to be married.


Are you one of those people who think you shouldmeditate, but never seem to get around to it?

Here’s a tip: Meditation is just doing nothing.

Everyone thinks it’s some mystical thing requiring discipline and spirituality. It isn’t.

I would say it’s just like being lazy but it’s so much more than that…’s being lazy on purpose!

The reason you’re having trouble meditating is because you’re associating it with monks and jerks who do yoga. Stop it!

Meditation is the ultimate freedom – better than rollerskating with no underpants on or calling in fake-sick to work and staying home to eat chocolate-peanut-butter Coconut Bliss ice cream while watching Vampire Diaries re-runs on Netflix.

Want to meditate more? Start thinking of it as a time when you don’t have to do shit. You don’t even have to think! Which is probably why you watch all those stupid TV shows in the first place! Am I right?


Kate, author of the / blog and “Fridays with Veronica” is co-host of “Menage A Tarot” podcast along with David Dear of and Ronda Snow of