Talkin’ Tarot With is a monthly feature designed to introduce my readers to different tarot readers from our wonderfully diverse community!  Each month, I’ll be asking various tarot readers 3 questions about their tarot philosophy and style, plus pointing you to their websites and blogs so that you can learn more about them!  I like to hand pick tarot readers that I feel are talented and interesting.

tarot reader jaymi elford

It all began with a cupcake.  A few years ago, I was at The Reader’s Studio and got paired up with Jaymi Elford for an exercise on creating tarot spreads.  There were cupcake prizes and we won the first one!  At that time, I had been sugar free for three weeks but in that one second, my diet was destroyed and a strong friendship with Jaymi was formed.  Since that fateful sugary day, we’ve been roomies, hung out at conferences ‘n retreats, and hobnobbed in Portland over an elegant meal and cocktails.

I love spending time with Jaymi because she is kind and genuine.  There is not one snobby bone in her body. Plus, she’s smart as hell.  In my opinion, this is a great combo for a tarot reader.

Jaymi is also a talented writer and is currently working on her book, Tarot Inspired life.  This book is the culmination of her own journey with Tarot and focused on applying the cards to daily and spiritual practice.  It’s written in a workbook format with lots of exercises for tarot enthusiasts of every level.  As Jaymi says: “I’ve learned the cards can provide more than just readings and divination advice.”  (You can get sign up for more information about her book here.)

She’s also going to be a presenter at the first  Northwest Tarot Symposium.  Her class, Inspiring the Muse, takes writers through a whirlwind tour of the many ways they can use their decks to brainstorm stories, create characters and settings using the pictures, symbolism, and structure of the Tarot.

This busy gal is also a knitter and makes AWESOME tarot bags. (My Gaian Tarot is happily protected in one of her bags.)

When I asked Jaymi to tell me a bit about herself, she said: “In my world, tarot is an absolute necessity. If I got stuck on a desert island I’d want my favorite deck with me. It’d provide answers to questions like “when will I get off this island?” and I would use it to create stories and play games to keep my sanity. People like my readings because they receive clarity. Goals are achieved at a flip of a card. Divination curious, I love exploring other divination systems, like Lenormand, and how they integrate into Tarot. I haunt Portland, Oregon where I write, flip tarot cards, and hang with my husband and three cats.”  Now that is a tarot gal that I can relate to!  I adore Jaymi and I hope you will too.  (PS how can you not?)

Want to learn more about Jaymi?  Here ya go:

Twitter: @jaymi_elford

Check out her answers to my questions below:


Q:  What is your philosophy about tarot reading?
Jaymi: Tarot is so many things to me. It’s my companion, my creative coach, my magical practice, and I could go on and on. However, at the heart of it, when I read the cards, Tarot is my inner compass. The cards help clarify the noise in my brain by showing me what to focus on at any moment. Readings inform and transform my life into what I want it to become. Reading Tarot is like clearing the closet: once the clutter is gone you know exactly which outfits make you feel fab!

When I read for others I am their coach. My clients direct the readings, I use the cards to help their inner compass steer them onto their path. I do not like telling clients what the cards mean—instead I like guiding them into uncovering the answers for themselves.  I love the idea of co-creative readings and having my clients share their insights during their reading is so important. We look at the images together and unraveling the story together. We share our thoughts, impressions, and experiences through the reading. I pay close attention to what my clients draw in from the cards and layer what I see and hear over the positions.

Q:    How do you feel a client might get the most out of a reading with you?
Jaymi: My readings embody the spirit of play and spiritual direction. Keep an open mind as we work through the cards with pictures on them. Know that I have your best interests at heart and I want you to succeed! When you get a reading with me, I’m not going to give you the answers… instead, I’ll provide you a loose-knit framework that we can explore together. You drive the reading, I help provide directions while we investigate the cards and build your path to success. We’ll go as deep into the cards as you want to go— sometimes we don’t go over five cards in an hour.

I like it when you come to me with idea of what is going on in your life. Before you step into my office, I’ll send you a questionnaire to answer: Why do you seek tarot consultations? What concrete changes do you want to manifest in your life? What expectations do you have regarding this process? What are your objectives for our time together? I do this because I want you to have access to the full period of time you book with me. Life’s too short and time keeps moving!

You’ll leave our session with homework. Yep, that’s right… homework. I’ll ask you some questions and give you a sheet with three micro action steps that you’ll take the next day, week, and month. Doing the homework is incredibly important. It helps solidify what we talked about in a session and it gives you permission to apply it to your life!

Q:   What is your best piece of advice for an aspiring tarot reader?
Jaymi: Play, experiment, and keep a beginner’s mind. Readers sometimes forget that Tarot started out as a card game. These people dive into the “seriousness” of Tarot so much so that they become rigid in their readings, meanings, and practice. Stay flexible and play with the cards. Tarot is a life-long journey and you’ll learn a lot along the way.

Trust your self and the cards. You’ll always know what to say, when the time is right. It’s okay to blank out and not recall a meaning, or understand what or how that card fits into the larger spread. Sometimes, if a card doesn’t speak to me I’m certain that it has a specific meaning for my client and I leave it up to them to determine what that card says.

Read constantly. Read for yourself. Read for your friends. Read for television characters. Read in crowded places. Read in silent spaces. Read for those you love and those you distrust. Tarot is an active passion—you have to shuffle, lay down cards, and decode their messages. The best way to learn the language of Tarot is to look at the cards and listen to how they speak to you.

Develop a relationship with your decks. Ask them questions and see what they have to say. Take them on “dates” and dress them up (I love crocheting cozy bags for mine to live in). I’m never without a deck because I never know when I’ll need to ask my cards for advice.


Big round of applause to Jaymi for sharing her wisdom with my crew!  Be sure to check her out at: Tarot Inspired Life.  You’ll want to be her bestie too!



© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2014

picture from Jaymi’s personal collection

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