Tarot for Real Life – Navigating the Crossroads

What’s possible with a tarot reading?

I have been thinking about this a lot as I’ve been creating my first tarot course.  So many of my clients are brand new to tarot when we start working together. They’re introduction to tarot is usually through some of the common pop culture tropes that I spoke to in my last two blogs, detailing tarot in pop culture which you can read here and here if you missed them.

They don’t realize that tarot can help inform choices in your daily life, bring insights about your year, or act as a mirror to some of your deepest fears and anxieties.  Sure, tarot is a fun experience and it can be exciting and compelling to get a reading. However, tarot can also be functional in your everyday life.

Today, I want to talk about how I use tarot to navigate transition both personally and with clients. Using tarot as a tool for navigating transitions in career or personal life can provide insight that is invaluable.  It is also the most common theme among the readings I do.

People find themselves at a crossroads, unsure which option is best for them, or torn between what they know is best and what they feel obligated to do.  A Decision Maker Reading can help to start to tease those things apart.

In this type of reading, I look at the many different options available to the client.  I pull cards based on each possibility and we look at what they can learn from those possibilities. 

This is the reading I did when I was ready to leave my corporate job.  I knew it was time to leave but I had so much fear about leaving. I equate money to stability so the idea of giving up a corporate paycheck was insane to me.  I had a good job that provided a lot of autonomy and flexibility. I felt foolish for even considering letting it go. But I was also feeling a very strong pull to come out of the spiritual closet and start to share about what I had been experiencing for the past few years.  

I wanted to take my healing work full time and I was feeling a strong pull to do that.  Even with lots of signs that I was on the right track, though, I still felt unsure. I spent my entire career in corporate America and giving up all that hard work to go out on my own seemed kind of insane.

So I sat down with my deck and gave myself a reading.  I asked what I would experience if I stayed at my current job.  Then, I asked what I would experience going out on my own. Finally, I asked what I would experience if I found something part time to help me feel more stable as I started to grow my own business.  

Going out on my own full-time was the clear winner.  These type of readings aren’t really about getting a yes or no as much as they are letting you know what you will experience with each option.  

I was anxious and overwhelmed by how scary it felt to let go of the structure I had in my life and throw myself full force into my own business.  I never wanted to be a business owner. I never had a desire to live an entrepreneurial lifestyle. It seemed very stressful to me (sidenote: it can be at times).  But the cards also gave me insight into how I would feel.  

With this reading, I did take note of the Star showing up in this part of the spread telling me I was honing in on a career that would not only bring healing to the world, but also to myself.  I would be tending to my own wounds by helping others heal and grow. It showed strength and empowerment.

When I looked at staying at my old job, I pulled a lot of cards indicating burnout, resentment, and feeling undervalued.  I already knew that was how I was feeling in my heart, and I think I also knew that it wouldn’t change, but there was a small part of me holding onto the idea that I might be able to stay there and keep running my business on the side.

Logically I was drawn to finding some part time work while I started to run my business.  However, I could see clearly in the spread that I would end up feeling too burned out and overwhelmed by trying to manage another new job along with my work.  The cards were spelling out that it wouldn’t be much different than how I was feeling at my current day job, so why go somewhere else and struggle the same way for less benefits.

The spread showed me what was possible in each scenario. It validated what I was already feeling, and gave me specific information about each option.  It didn’t decide for me. I took that information and made a decision that I already felt intuitively drawn to. It validated my own intuition.

This is what I do with the Decision Maker spread with my clients.  They get to list out the many options at their crossroads and see where each path leads.  It’s not all about good or bad. Not every reading is so clear but you might see something like, the new job you were eyeing looks like your dream job, but if you took it you would have to do a lot of presentations and public speaking and you hate that.  The purpose of the spread is to show you that so you can reduce decision-making anxiety, and be as prepared as possible.

I see tarot as this mirror that provides a reflection of what is possible.  I love doing these readings and I am so excited to start teaching other people about these readings in my upcoming tarot course.  

Starting this Friday, April 24th at 3 PM ET I will be hosting a FREE three-part training called Tarot of Real Life: Get Your Shit Together with the Tarot.  This training will talk about the top three mistakes people make when starting to learn the tarot, discover the neuroscience behind how tarot helps with decision making, and learn the steps to start reading tarot quickly and effectively to manage anxiety and learn to trust yourself.  You can sign up for that free training here.  Or you can get on the waitlist for my Tarot Course, Practical Tarot for Everyday Intuitives here.

And of course, if you are at a crossroads and learning tarot is not your thing and you just want me to do it for you, you can sign up for a Decision Maker online reading you can do that here.  

© Sheila Masterson 2020 All Rights Reserved

Tarot in Pop Culture Part 2

The Netflix binge continued into week four of our quarantine here in Pennsylvania.  I figured I would make the most of it by bringing you more Tarot in Pop Culture.  

This week I watched Wine Country which Stars Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler and came out a few months back.  

When it first came out, I had multiple friends reach out to ask if I was getting paid $475 per half hour for tarot parties.  No friends, sadly, I am not.

Wine Country tells the story of a group of friends who go for a trip to California Wine Country to celebrate one their 50th birthdays and to reconnect as friends.  Amy Poehler’s character has a tight itinerary for the entire weekend which includes tarot readings for the group.

The reader arrives and complains about how the house was not marked and then says “I’m a psychic, not Magellan.”  That gave me a good chuckle.

I find that frequently clients expect me to read their minds.  I should know why they are getting a reading but being psychic isn’t like I’m reading your mind.  Things don’t come in as clearly as we speak to each other as humans.

But I digress.

Anyway, Amy Poehler’s character greets Madame Sunshine, who comes into their rental house, immediately insults the space declaring she will have to “smudge the heck out of the space”.

Then she states that they need to go to a different room that is not “contaminated”.

The rules of social grace also apply to being a tarot reader. I would never walk into someones home and insult their space or the energy of their house.  I might notice if something was off but I wouldn’t through jabs at a host or hostess.

Then she finally sits down to read.

What I found most interesting about this is that she reads for each woman in front of the rest of the group.  She doesn’t ask any questions or get any insight as to what they want to focus on. She simple pulls a card and then starts reading.

As a rule, I try to keep readings at a party off to the side so that people can have privacy, since readings can tend to become very personal very quickly.  If I can be in a separate room, it’s even better because it allows the client to feel more comfortable opening up. I’ve given some really powerful readings in that type of environment, even though they are typically very short readings.

As a rule I try not to ever give a reading in front of other people, unless the sitter specifically requests it because you can’t be sure of what will come up and how comfortable they will be talking about it in public.

However, in a movie, I see how it can help for comedic effect and to move the plot along.

I also find it interesting that she pulls one card per person. You can certainly gain some insight from a single card pull but not nearly as much as with a few cards, and even with short readings you can usually find enough time to pull at least three cards.

The second sitter who come up for her reading asks Madam Sunshine a question, which she ignores and just continues her reading.  Not only is this rude, but it’s also a no-no. Questions are like the filter you put the card through, so if the sitter has a specific question in mind it can completely change the meaning of the card.  That’s why I always offer clients the opportunity to pick a topic or a specific question at the beginning of their reading.

Then, she pulls the Death card.  She reads it as transformation and metamorphosis and I was thinking “Finally, a movie that actually doesn’t use the old death card = death trope”…but I thought too soon.  In the next breath says, “But it can also mean death is coming.”

By the time, she gets around the group reading, the women are all so freaked out and discouraged they tell her not to bother.  She pulls the cards, looks at them and says, “Yeah, you’re right, nevermind.” This sends the group into a panic asking what it says and is it bad.

This part puzzled me because she pulled the Seven of Cups, The Four of Wands, and Temperance.  She tells them they surround themselves with battles, that they have been intertwined and dueling for thousands of years, and that they need to shed their tough shells that have built up over time if they are going to remain friends.  There’s a lot of secrets. Finally she says, “From one old lady to another, get over your shit, cause it is later than you think. That will be $475.”

I would have read that same spread as trying to fit too much into a short period of time, a message to focus on quality time, not quantity and to focus on the moment of connection, and try to stay present with each other.  There’s healing to be found in our connection with our friends if we can get over the pettiness that keeps you bickering. Bring your focus back to the strengths in your relationships and what brought you together in the first place.

As for getting paid $475 for a half hour reading…I laughed out loud.  Sadly, that is not my rate right now, but I did get a kick out of it.

Overall I found this representation to be pretty typical for hollywood.  I was a little disappointed but I also recognize where it is a convenient plot point to stir up tension between the friends and also added a certain level of comedic effect.  And of course, it’s important to approach readings with a sense of humor, so I suppose they nailed that.

If you are interested in a tarot party, I am currently offering online tarot parties as an option for a fun socially-distant night in with friends.  I allow clients to hang out in the virtual zoom room and chat with each other, while I do readings in a separate breakout room where I do the individual readings.  You can email me sheila@starsagespirit.com to book now.  

© Sheila Masterson 2020 All Rights Reserved

Tarot in Pop Culture Part 1

Since we have been stuck at home for a while now I have been getting deep into my Netflix queue and catching back on both some good and bad shows.  Among those I was long overdo to watch was the last season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. 

And there, early in season two (Season 2 Episode 4 to be exact)  an episode featuring a tarot reader. I was thrilled to see what kind of portrayal this show would offer.  I find the perception of tarot in pop culture to be interesting. Over and over in older movies or scary movies, there’s this trope of an old, haggard-looking reader who pulls the Death card and predicts the death of our beloved characters.  I wanted to tease out a couple of recent references of tarot in the media to explore what is accurate and inaccurate about these portrayals.  

In this episode, a mysterious Tarot reader arrives at Dr Serberous’ House of Horrors seemingly out of nowhere.  She rushes in from the rain and asks if she could give some readings.  

A few moments later, Sabrina arrives, and is offered a reading which she skeptically decides to sit in for. The reader draws the magician card and says that he’s a handsome trickster that few women can resist.  Then she draws the 3 of swords and the tower reversed.

Sabrina is transported into a daydream/alternate world where she suspects her boyfriend, Nick, might still be seeing his exes or sharing private information about their relationship with those same exes.  In a fit of frustration she refuses to be his assistant in his magic show act for the school talent show. However when the talent show comes, her jealousy gets the best of her again and she volunteers to be an assistant for his last trick.  The trick makes her float in the air on her own, which is at first exciting. Then, one of Nick’s exes increases the power of the spell and she keeps floating up, through the roof of the school, and through the atmosphere until she’s floating through space, frozen solid.

We are taken back to the present moment where a stunned Sabrina says to the tarot reader, “That’s not actually going to happen, is it? I’m not going to freeze to death in outer space?”

“We don’t read the cards, child, the cards read us.  They whisper secret truths. In this case it’s not the boy you need to fear.  Believe your trickster and him alone. You need not fear the dark path…”

Next, Sabrina’s friend Theo sits down for a reading.  The readers pulls the Knight of Swords and The Wheel of Fortune and Theo is transported into a daydream/alternate reality.  Theo, who also happens to speak and communicate with spirits, gets advice from an ancestor to use the magic that Sabrina’s family has access to, to help him fully transition into his truest form.

In the middle of the night, he sneaks into the Spellman house, finds a spell to help with gender transition and completes it on his own.  When he wakes in the morning, he is finally in the body that aligns with how he feels and he is thrilled. By the end of the day, things have taken a terrifying shift, as he discovers that a side-effect of the spell has started to turn his body into a tree.

When he comes back to the present moment with the reader, she advises him that it’s a warning to not try to do everything on his own, and to reach out for help early on, to get the support he needs with the process.

The cut-away daydreams are a pretty dramatic representation of a reading but this whole episode, as character after character gets their readings, we see how the cards are just presenting information about what we might experience if we follow a particular path.  The characters get insight into their fears and what might be clouding their perceptions. They also get advice that reinforces what they already know in their hearts.  

Sabrina gets reminded that lying once doesn’t mean that person is always a liar.  Theo learns that he has the love and support of a lot of people who want to see him get what he wants but in a safe and supported way.  And each of the rest of the characters get their concerns validated while also getting some direction and confirmation of their own intuitive hunches.

I really appreciated this representation of the tarot.  The show itself goes through a bit of a spookier, creepier lense but in general the way that tarot is presented is more in line with my reading style.

No, I don’t transport my clients to an alternate reality where their worst fears play out.  What I do see is that so many clients come in with very real fear in their hearts. They want guidance, and often they are afraid they will hear that their greatest fear will come true.  

I’ve had several people tell me they aren’t ready for a reading yet because they aren’t prepared to hear what they might be fearing.  (I even have people who are nervous to be around me now because they are afraid I’m going to “sense” something about them that they might not want me to.)  

There’s a lot of wisdom in waiting to have a reading until you can be totally open.  I find that the best readings come from clients being really willing to question their desired outcome.  Often, we are missing some part of the bigger picture and tarot offers the opportunity to focus on that.

What I particularly liked is that the reader in this episode didn’t tell the characters what to do, but offered them information to inform their decisions.  This is something I have always said. Tarot is about getting more information to inform your decisions, not about the cards or the reader making the decision for you.  It is a practice in empowerment.

The whole thing is ruined a bit by the reader having an agenda in each of the readings she gives.  Good tarot really involves removing your own opinion and ego from the equation, but as far as everything I’ve seen in movies and TV shows this wasn’t too bad.

Overall I found this episode to be accurate in its portrayal of tarot.  I do wish we could do without the old, haggard, lady-in a-turban trope and the idea of tarot only being done in a creepy environment.  However, in terms of how tarot is typically portrayed in the media, I really liked this use of the cards to move the plot along and offer each character insight into their concerns, even if the show is cheesy.

© Sheila Masterson 2020 All Rights Reserved

Enforcing Boundaries in Emotional Times

The past two weeks have been very emotional and anxious for so many of us around the world.  For just over two weeks now we have been staying home to try to stop the spread of Covid-19 in our local community.  

For me, staying at home is no big deal.  I have been working from home for about four years now so having to spend a little more time at home doesn’t affect my day much.

The biggest adjustment has been taking my yoga classes online. It’s a challenge to practice and teach at the same time, along with the technological challenge of making sure everything is connected and working right and that everyone can hear you.  I also miss seeing my students in person and getting that personal connection.

In terms of the rest of my work, I was already doing about half of my business online, and I just started teaching online workshops and courses this year, so it was already in my plan to continue.  Most of this is just happening faster than I was initially anticipating, but again, I am fortunate to be in a pretty good situation in terms of my understanding of technology, and already having a plan in place to start teaching a tarot course in the spring.  I am grateful that I planned my year out this year and for having so much support from my community.

I have seen a lot of my healer and yoga teacher friends struggling with how to support their community, process their own stress and grief, and reset boundaries for their work.  This is hard work.  

As a collective, we have a tendency to be very achievement oriented. We want to take action.  We want to help as many people as we can. We feel like we should say yes to everything and everyone who asks us for something. I’ve watched a lot of my peers put a ton of pressure to show up in the same way, or even more often, to try to help their communities process complex emotions.

For me that has looked like shifting my hours to accommodate clients who are home with their kids all day and making more evening hours available, adding a some more accessible reading options, and  popping on Instagram live for yoga classes and mini-tarot lessons. All of these are choices I have made to support my clients and community and I have been able to balance them with being kind to my own brain and body.

It’s times like these and that community can be a refuge for us in our isolation.  I am lucky to have so many wonderful supportive clients who have reached out and a lot of entrepreneur friends who offer advice and perspective.

Several of you have reached out to me because you saw that I dropped off the schedule at one of the yoga studios I have been with for almost four years.  I wanted to take a moment to talk about this and about setting boundaries.

First of all, I am very disappointed to say that I was fired this past week. I’m sad not to be a part of this community anymore, but I have every intention of staying present and showing up for my students at the same times for as long as I can.  So many of you have graciously made donations or sent kind words to encourage me to keep doing that and I can’t thank you enough.  

I have been struggling along with you, worried about friends and family, and my sister who is a nurse working in the Covid-19 unit in her hospital.  Things like this have a tremendous long term affect both physically and mentally on the front-line healthcare workers. I have been feeling that deep grief and anxiety that so many of you have been feeling right along with you.

Showing up to teach when you aren’t feeling yourself, is part of the territory for yoga teachers and I have been doing it for years with my students.  Even last week, teaching classes was a refuge for me.

Through my entire teaching career I have noticed a lot of studio owners feel entitled to free labor, idea sharing, and emotional labor from their employees.  Teachers are expected to act as front desk person, sales person, and all while being present available for students. This hasn’t been true at every studio I’ve taught for but it has been true for quite a few of them.

Let me be clear.  You are not required to give your work and energy away for free, no matter what field you are in..  If you want to and you feel called to, by all means, share your gift.  

But if someone is pressuring you into doing it, or implying that you’re ungrateful, selfish, or greedy if you don’t, that person is a bully and a manipulator. They don’t deserve your time or energy.

Being a yoga teacher is rich in rewards, though it’s hardly an easy way to make a living.  If you teach yoga, odds are you do it largely for the love of teaching yoga and this is absolutely true for me.  I love this work more than I can express.

So this week when I asked a question in the studio’s teachers forum about the new teaching format and was met with contempt by the studio owner I was confused.  For a week and half, I taught free classes on the studio Instagram page, for which the studio owner paid nothing, but the students who took the class made donations.  I’m extremely grateful for those donations and to have the privilege to still serve the community that I’ve grown with over the past four years.

That was not the end of it. 

I received a scathing email from the studio owner two days later, firing me for “stirring the pot” and “calling her out” in front of the staff. I was extremely frustrated.  I have compassion for people who are struggling and for all small business owners but this decision was emotional, aggressive, and entitled.

This studio owner felt entitled to labor that she wasn’t paying for.  She felt that I should be grateful for what she was providing and be quiet.  To be clear, I simply asked one question for clarification. I didn’t push the issue and I didn’t ask anything additional.  I wanted to have all the information before deciding if I could continue to teach in that format because unfortunately, I don’t have the privilege to afford to teach for free right now, even if I would like to.

I sent her a compassionate response because her cruelty suggested to me that she was feeling a lot of anxiety and was probably much harder on herself than she was being on me.  Then, I forwarded it onto the rest of the teachers at that studio so that they would have full transparency. I wanted to let them know if they had their own feelings about it, they wouldn’t be the first to share them with her.

It makes me sad that I won’t be a part of the community anymore, but this year I have been learning a lot about stepping into my worth and really valuing my time and effort.  I have been teaching for five years now, and it’s time. The hardest part of that journey for me has been all about setting boundaries and this was an important lesson. I am mourning the end of this phase of my teaching and the community that I have been a part of for so long.

I do know that these choices and boundaries are important for me and every other healer and teacher out there.  This is how we advocate for ourselves and when you take care of yourself, you have more energy to give to other people.

So, I am looking at all of you out there who are feeling exhausted and burned out right now.  Relieve yourself of the notion that you owe anyone more than your best in any given moment. Give yourself permission to feel however you do and to let go of anything that isn’t serving you, whether it’s a class, a client, or a schedule that you have been holding on to.

It is okay to allow things to shift and change right now.  Take this opportunity to take sweet care of yourself. If you are struggling right now and need support, I will still be teaching live on my Instagram.   I will also be adding some DIY tarot spreads and mini-lessons on how to read for yourself. Finally, you can download a free meditation for easing anxiety, clearing out your energy, and maintaining your own energetic boundaries to help you navigate this health crisis here.


© Sheila Masterson 2020 All Rights Reserved

How to Keep Going in Business When you Feel Discouraged

I actually wrote this blog at the beginning of last week, before everything changed so drastically.  It’s even more appropriate now that so many different entrepreneurs and self-employed folks are having to majorly adjust the way they do business to try to survive in lean times.  

This week I watched as all the local yoga studios in the area began to close their doors. I talked to friends, students, and personal clients of mine who were experiencing intense anxiety to balance safety, sanity, and still keep the lights on.  It is a hard choice to make because I know for myself and so many of my teacher friends, we all feel tremendous guilt letting our students down. And those of us who teach full time also have a lot of fear about how to make ends meet in the meantime. 

It’s all really perfect timing because I have been working specifically on my Moon Card Tarot Embodiment workshop.  Last weekend I did this workshop all about the Moon card and working with your shadow. The class was about facing the scary emotional things that we try to breeze over.  It’s about the end to spiritual-bypassing and the beginning of radical honesty. It’s about learning to sit with discomfort, and make no mistake, my friend, these are VERY uncomfortable times. 

The fear and anxiety are very real.  This kind of disaster brings up major base level, root chakra issues of safety security, health, and financial freedom.  People are feeling fear on a lot of fronts and while I planned this class back in the fall for Pisces season because the Moon Card is the tarot card for Pisces, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

I’ve been dealing with my own brand of shadow work lately.  Sharing yourself in a public way, on the internet can open you up to criticism and imposter-syndrome and I’ve been dealing with a bit of both.  It’s okay. I’m a tough cookie, but I did want to talk a little bit today about how to navigate working for yourself when you feel discouraged.

I’ve learned so much about the importance of community over the past few months.  I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: working for yourself full-time can be very lonely.  You don’t have a tech support team, or people to brainstorm with, and you don’t have anyone patting you on the back when you do a good job.

Since I started teaching yoga I’ve had a deep appreciation of community.  It helped me get on my feet when I was a new teacher and I continue to feel supported by so many of my teachers friends.  I feel it especially during times like these when we are all feeling the crunch.

I’ve also seen how wonderful community has been for our yoga teacher trainees with our first teacher training this year.  Our students really stepped up and supported each other in the kindest ways as they began teaching and finding their own voices.  They continue to do so even after they have all graduated and are getting out on their own and it’s so amazing to watch.

In December, I participated in a virtual business planning retreat for female entrepreneurs.  During the retreat I had a chance to bond with so many amazing women from so many different industries.  It was a wonderful opportunity to brainstorm problems and get new ideas and support through the community.  I also have a new entrepreneur buddy, Megan, who is an audiobook narrator, and who I chat with every week about how we are doing with hitting our weekly goals.

For the past month and a half I have been in an incubator program with eleven other awesome witchy, creators.  The purpose of the program is to break through mental blocks and limiting beliefs, and to give us a practical pathway to follow to create our first program launch.

I have been working really hard on my first tarot course and it’s brought up a lot of imposter syndrome and internal stories.  I tell myself the market is saturated. So many other programs already exists. Who am I to teach? Can I even teach something that came so naturally to me?

My coach, Sarah, and her community have allowed me to ask these questions and show up with an undefended heart for feedback and constructive criticism.  The program has also allowed me to participate in others’ success and cheer on my peers while they are doing their own deeply vulnerable work. Every victory for them feels like one of my own.

So I wanted to write this today as an ode to everyone in my community and all those who have been a listening ear to me so far, all those who have reached out over the past week, and all those who will reach out in the future.  I am lucky to have each and every one of you in my life.

And if you are a budding entrepreneur starting your business in the wake of a global pandemic and looking for support and community, don’t hesitate to reach out and find your own group of like-minded friends.  It’s impossible to understand the value of having someone who understands your struggle, listens intently, and offers feedback until you experience it. There are tons of facebook communities, instagram friends, local community groups.  Find your people and don’t be shy. You never know who will be able to help you out when you’re feeling down or who you will be able to help out.

If you are looking for ways to support me during this time, I will be offering live yoga classes online via the studios I teach at and my own instagram (@starsagespirit) and facebook.  I also offer tarot readings and distance reiki via videochat and I am extending my hours to accommodate In addition, if you missed my moon card class yesterday you can send me an email and if you will provide a donation, I will send you the link to watch the replay.  

I am also doing an online spring equinox workshop this weekend, Saturday, March 21 from 11am-1PM.  This workshop will welcome in the new season with a half vinyasa, half restorative yoga flow, intention setting for the new season, and a healing guided meditation to provide healing and stress relief. Yoga is a wonderful way to get back in touch with your body and to help you feel more grounded and peaceful during this time of heightened stress.  You can sign up here.

10% of the proceeds from both workshops will also be donated to the Aim High Studio Food Kitchen in Collegeville, PA to help them serve and nurture my local community in Montgomery County, PA in this challenging time for so many less fortunate families.

I will be updating more throughout the week so be sure to keep an eye out for more online offerings to help you from going stir crazy.  Stay healthy and safe out there.


© Sheila Masterson 2020 All Rights Reserved

What Happens During a Reiki Session?

I get this question a lot.  Most people don’t quite understand what Reiki is and to be honest, even at the Master teacher level it can be a challenge to put words to what the experience is really like.

Every session is a little bit different but I have a general format that I follow with new clients.  My first-time client session is usually around 90 minutes.

When clients book they fill out an intake form that has questions about their health history and any current symptoms or issues they are dealing with.  I always review this information before the session so I know what to expect.

When the client comes in I start by having a conversation with them about their current energy level, mood, sleep, and emotional well-being.  From there, we talk about any goals the client might have for their session. Sometimes these are simple things like managing anxiety, or helping with better sleep.

Other times, they are more complex like dealing with anxiety from complex childhood trauma, or working through IVF and fertility issues.  The conversation we have at the beginning of the session sets the tone. From there the client gets on the table (just a massage table).

I take a moment to clear my energy and the room.  One of the hazards of being a medium is that I have to clear the energy in the room when I’m doing any work.  Then I put up extra energetic protection so that I don’t have spirits walking in and out of my space while I’m working.

(Fun sidenote: When I first got certified after my Reiki II attunement I described the feeling of spirits walking in and out of the room thinking that this was normal.  That was one of the signs that made it obvious to him that I was a medium but I was totally oblivious. He didn’t tell me any of this until I came around to the realization on my own because he didn’t want to freak me out and he could see I was already on edge enough)

This energetic shield that I create will allow healing energy in as well as any guides, angels, or ancestors of mine or my client’s.  It will also keep out any looky-loo spirits that are just curious about what’s going on. (yes, this is a serious thing that happens)

Then I start by scanning the clients aura with my hands.  Auras are the energetic field around the body and can be really big but usually they are most concentrated within 8 inches of the body.  As I scan my hands along sometimes I will notice some sticky spots. All practitioners describe this differently, but to me it usually feels like when you have a little chip in your finger nail and it keeps snagging on fabrics.  It’s the same sensation.

Then, I check in on each of the chakras.  These are the seven main energy centers of the body.  There are many more chakras, but those are the main seven I deal with from the root through the crown.  As a society we tend to live between our heart chakra and our crown. We are constantly looking at things – computers, phones, the TV.  We spend a lot of time in our heads. We spend less time walking, moving our bodies, and being active. Even those of us who live active lifestyles typically still have sedentary jobs.

So usually I work to help balance the energy from the upper chakras and bring some of that excess energy down into the sacral and root chakras.

Then I go through a combination of Kundalini and Usui Reiki treatments.  I describe Usui Reiki as healing for the physical body, the emotional body, and issues from this lifetime.  Kundalini Reiki is more of karmic healing, so it deals with issues of identity, karmic ties, behavior patterns, and past lifetimes.

Once I feel like I’ve dealt with the physical and emotional issues coming up for the client, I will do a treatment called Past Life Reiki.

Two years ago when I started with this treatment I could feel the energy moving and was aware that things were shifting but I was never completely aware of what was happening.  However, after a few months of doing it I started to see people’s past lifetimes almost like watching a movie.  

Now I just let these lifetimes come up and watch them from start to finish, describing what I see with clients.  At the end of each lifetime I will do a prayer for separating the client from that lifetime and sending healing and forgiveness back to the client in the lifetime.  This can bring about very emotional and sometimes even physical reactions from the client as any trauma or pain is released. Then, I wait to see if there is another lifetime.  In any given session I might see between two and four lifetimes. (I will do another blog more about past lifetimes.)

Once we’ve gone through this healing I will move on to healing any karmic ties they might have.  This treatment is usually informed by the past life treatment. So typically there is a theme to the lifetimes that came up that is frequently present in their current lifetime as well.  This treatment help to heal karmic ties to certain people, certain roles in life, and certain behaviors including addictions.

Finally, I will go back through each chakra and see how the energy is moving through their field.  Once I’m certain everything is balanced, I will do one final blessing, inviting in any ancestral or angelic blessings to close out the session.

I also keep notes on my clients, particularly their past lifetimes so we can keep track of their progress over time.

I feel so fortunate and lucky to be doing this work and of all the things I do, reiki seems the most like home to me.  I took to it very naturally, as if I had been doing it forever. I love seeing how my clients feel after a session. I’ve had clients who have made major emotional leaps and strides. I’ve worked with a lot of women dealing with fertility issues who were struggling with anxiety and guilt and who were able to overcome and get pregnant.  

I feel like this work is what I was meant to do and I love seeing people make peace with their past and ease their anxiety.  For me, Reiki has been such rewarding work and I love doing it. I’m hoping to start teaching this year and I’ve recently opened up my distance Reiki offerings as well.


Hopefully that gives you a little more insight on what to expect.  If you want to schedule a session you can pop over to my booking page to schedule here.

© Sheila Masterson 2020 All Rights Reserved

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

When I was a kid, Are you Afraid of the Dark was a show on Nickelodeon, where a bunch of teenagers, who called themselves “The Midnight Society”, sat around a camp fire in the woods and told scary stories.  I was way into it. Spooky stories, campfires, unsupervised youths…it was basically what I imagined being a teenager would be like.

Although as an adult it begs the question, where were these kids parents and why were they allowed to start fires in the woods alone at night?  Aren’t forest fires a concern? Do most teens even know how to start a fire?

But enough motherly questions…

I was thinking about this show as we entered into Pisces season on February 19th.  The tarot card that coordinates with Pisces is the Moon and the moon card is all about sitting with discomfort and embracing our shadow side.  Less of the thing that goes bump in the night, and more the thing that goes bump in all of our interpersonal relationships. This kind of scary is what we try to hide in all our close friendships and intimate interactions.

The fact is we are all afraid of this dark.

During their transitional time of the year, when the weather is starting to warm (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), it can be a time of deep reflection.  We are far enough away from our entry into the new year to have lost touch with our goals or resolutions for the year, which can bring about a lot of shame.  

The moon card is all about exploring deep truth within ourselves.  Are we ready to make the changes we might have agreed to at the beginning of the year?  Do we want to hold these resolutions for a real reason or do they just sound good to us?  Why might we be struggling to focus on goals that are supposed to be important to us?

These questions and this exploration can bring up deep shame that is self-imposed or even learned from our family system.  Remember, you don’t need to have a background that is rife with trauma for shame to be an expertly wielded weapon in your world.

The fact is we are all afraid of this dark. The uncomfortable things that come up in our daily lives.  We all struggle to be ourselves because we’re afraid of being judged. We crave connection and we all sit in our own little pods, hoarding the dark and heavy things about ourselves and presenting just the parts that we access to be socially acceptable.

Even the way people present those things on social media is very curated and neat.  A picture of a woman saying how she struggles with depression with one single, beautiful tear streaming down her cheek, all while the rest of her makeup is perfect.

Give me a break, Instagram Ingrid!  

I’m currently participating in a business incubator program to help me authentically create and market my first ever full tarot reading course.  I’m in the program with ten other creators and entrepreneurs and I’ve been watching the moon card play out in real life over the first month of our interactions.

So many of these folks are coming forward with deep shame and imposter-syndrome about their own experience-level or their product itself.  So many of us deal with very real emotional wounds that keep us afraid of stepping up as the most authentic version of ourselves. It is hard work and I’m so honored by the vulnerability and raw honesty of the people in this program with me, because so often they are voicing the things that I’m feeling, but struggled to articulate.

It’s been enlightening for me to notice and be coached out of the ways in which I hold myself back.  I haven’t even fully shared my Facebook business page because I’m worried what people from my “old life” will think.  I’m worried all those ex-boyfriends, old co-workers, high school friends will think I’ve gone off the deep end.

Modern American society is focused almost entirely on achievement, wealth, and doing as much as possible to succeed.  We tend to glorify an underdog story of hard work and strife and we vilify those who things come easy to. But only if that underdog story isn’t too messy.  Only if it’s short-term and fits into a lovely little story package.  

We have so much programming that working harder, longer, or faster is the solution to everything.  We embrace a culture of business. How many times have you asked a friend how they are, or been asked yourself and go automatically and without really thinking to the phrase “I’m good, just soooooo busy.”

These are things we all do.

The moon card invites us to slow down and take stock of the things that make us uncomfortable.  It’s an invitation for us to observe the less social-media-ready side of ourselves. It reminds us to turn away from the cult of busy-ness and  acknowledge what comes up when we sit still and take stock of how we are spending our time and energy or how we are showing up in our work and personal life.  The moon is a reflection of what is just under the surface, that we might be unconscious of, but if we take a moment to pause and look at our behavior pattern, might come to the surface with a host of unpleasant emotions.

The more we can do this work and not feel afraid of the messy thing that might come up, the more we grow and change.  This shadow work is about showing up and starting to see ourselves in clearer light, to understand our behaviors, and to begin to anticipate when shame and doubt come up for us.

When we face the darkness, it loses its power.  It becomes less frightening.

This month, I am doing an in person Moon Card Tarot Embodiment Workshop at Nectar Yoga Studio in Phoenixville, PA on Saturday, March 7th from 1:30-3:30 PM.  This workshop will combine discussion and theory on the Moon Card, pranayama and breathwork to release shame, yoga, meditation, and journaling.  I am looking forward to holding space for deep emotional processing. With this type of radical self-honesty we can release ourselves from being a prisoner of shame.  There are still a few spots left in this workshop and you can sign up here.

© Sheila Masterson 2020 All Rights Reserved

How to Find the Right Spiritual Practitioner for You

A couple months ago, I had my first appointment that didn’t go so well. I’m fortunate that this is really the first time this has happened since I have been doing this work. 

It was all due to a communication issue.  The client was under the impression that because I’m a medium, I would bring mediumship into everything that I do.

She had come in for a 2020 Year Ahead Tarot Session and was disappointed that I wasn’t connecting with her loved ones in spirit.  On my website I keep these offerings separate and I use specific language for each. In tarot I’m reading the clients energy and giving them insight on their life and struggles that come up for them.  (This is not the case for all readers but this is how it works for me).

That was not what this client wanted.  She was very frustrated that I was not giving her a mediumship reading, despite the fact that she did not book a mediumship reading.  About twenty minutes in, she stopped the session and said she really didn’t feel like it was connecting the way she wanted so I asked for some clarification on what she meant.

Did she feel that I wasn’t accurately getting a picture of her situation?  No.  

She said she knew what I told her was what was going on, and it made sense that she knew she needed to work on those things. Everything I had told her was accurate and connected with her current circumstances.  But she was under the impression that because I’m a medium I would be connecting to spirit and bringing through messages because that’s what she experienced when she went to another reader. I reiterated what I always say at the beginning of my sessions that we all read a little bit differently, but that this type of reading is meant to read her energy, not her loved ones in spirit.

So I made what I thought was a good business decision, I stopped the session.  I told her that maybe we just weren’t a good fit, and told her I would refund her payment and I did so as soon as she left.

That is a violation of my no refund policy but I wanted to do right by her, and even though I had already invested my time and energy.  As a new business owner it was more important for me to have someone leave happy even if they didn’t get what they want, than finish a reading that they weren’t receptive to and try to force it.

I think this is one of the hardest things as a reader.  You aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. You have to try not to take it personally.

I wanted to talk about this today to bring up a few things.  

First of all, if you are a reader or any kind or a healer, really try to take your ego out of your work.  When you care so much and love what you do, it can be easy to take things very personally. Sometimes you will have readings that are lights out.  You will feel super connected and super in sync with your client.

Other times clients come in with very real pain that is consuming them and with a desire to hear a specific thing.  They might be disappointed when they don’t get the exact message they wanted out of the session and while this is disappointing for both client and reader, it’s not personal.  It will feel personal, but it’s not.

And then there are clients who won’t be satisfied no matter what you do.  You also have to make peace with that as well.

For example, this same client felt a need, after I had apologized for the misunderstanding about what service she was purchasing and sent her a full refund, to still send me another email insulting my space, my reading style, and my tarot cards and explained how because I was a medium she “would expect to see those skills on display” .  She also implied that because she felt my fees were high, she felt entitled to that.

It was a lesson to me on boundaries.  I let her cross one boundary by giving her the refund, and so she felt entitled to more. You have probably experienced this with boundaries in your own life.  If you give someone an inch, they feel entitled to a mile.

It’s been a huge gift for me to be able to take my ego out of the equation.  I am in charge of providing the reading or healing session, translating what I see and hear, and giving my full attention, compassion, and concentration to my clients.  But I am not responsible for their outcome.

So often with spiritual work, clients come in thinking that a practitioner is required to give them what they want.  They are focused entirely on the outcome they want. But your job as a practitioner is to provide the space for them, to provide a healing environment, to listen to their concerns, and provide them with what insights you have. You have an obligation to give them what they need, which may not be entirely in alignment with what they want.

I think of it like going to the doctor, you can give the client the medicine, but it’s up to them to take it.  Not every client is going to be ready to do what they have to in order to grow. Not every client is going to be ready to hear what you have to say.  Part of being a spiritual practitioner, maybe the hardest part, is learning to be okay with that.  

This whole experience reminded me how important it is as a service provider to have clear service descriptions and a clear cancellation and refund policy.  Setting expectations for clients is paramount.  

It is also the responsibility for the client to do their research and be sure that they know what they are purchasing and that they approach readings with an open mind.

So here are my pointers for finding the right practitioner:

Know Your Goal

Whenever you are seeking a service, you should be sure you know what your ultimate goal is.  You should be sure that the service that you are purchasing fulfills that goal and that you understand what you are buying.  I am always happy to answer questions or direct clients towards the service that is more in line with their goals and almost every reader I know, does this regularly. 

It’s in the readers best interest to make sure that the client is set up for success.  That’s just good business.


Make Sure You Understand that Practitioners Philosophy and Limitations

I have very specific language on my page about what service is good for which type of issue.  I also have a breakdown of my philosophy towards reading and healing in my “About Me” section.  I list what I will and won’t read on because there are a lot of legalities, especially in Pennsylvania, about what you can and can’t give advice on.  I state clearly that I am not legal, financial, or medical council and this type of work is not included in any of my services.

I also have specific language in my terms and conditions of my services about how I don’t provide refunds, and that while I will give guidance on topics ultimately, my clients have free will. 

You should be wary of any reader who acts as though they have all the answers, rather than empowering you to get your own answers or validating what you already intuitively know.  Do not give your power away to someone else.

Get a Personal Referral

I am also a big believer in getting and giving personal referrals for any spiritual work.  My business is almost exclusively personal referrals, and I love it because it sets clients up for success and I know that the people coming in know exactly what to expect.

I also only see other practitioners that I know personally, have been referred to, or that I have seen how they provide their readings to other people via their website or a podcast.

This will give you a clear expectation of how the reading works, if they have the type of style that you would find helpful, and what kind of questions or prep work you might need to do ahead of time.

I hope that sets all of you up for your best experience with your next intuitive or healing session. 

If you are a practitioner, I hope it validates your experience and inspires you to stay firm with your boundaries.  Healthy boundaries help you to feel safe as a practitioner, and to build your business without feeling burned out or resentful of the work that you love so much.  

If you haven’t taken the time to set clear boundaries, don’t beat yourself up, make the time this week to do it.  It doesn’t take very long and it only requires a bit of clarifying language on your website or in your literature.  Take the time now to invest in yourself and your business. It only takes a few minutes to do the research and set yourself up for success.

© Sheila Masterson 2020 All Rights Reserved

When Intuition Leads You Wrong…

Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park , WA

There’s this idea out there that if you listen to your intuition, it will never lead you wrong.

While I do think that is true, I also think that sometimes we can get a little confused by our own perception and our own fear.  So the filter that we put the intuitive messages through is the real problem.

In my own practice, I’ll find myself waiting to ask a question until I’m sure I’m ready to hear the answer, even if it’s not what I want to hear.  If we approach these questions we pose to our intuition expecting a specific outcome, or with fear about hearing what we don’t want to hear, we can cloud our comprehension of the message.

Intuition is approached best when you try to make yourself as neutral as possible.  For me, the messages come through clearest when I have no buy in, either way, and I just want to hear an answer.  This is why it’s much easier for me to read for other people than it is to read for myself. When I sit down for a reading with a client, even if I have a strong personal relationship with them, it’s much easier for me to just be a neutral vessel passing the information along. 

When I read for myself, I run into all my own worries and fears and I have to do a lot more work to stay clear as I’m reading.  For daily check ins, or just random curiosity questions, it’s no problem. However, if I come to my cards or sit in meditation with something that is really bothering me and heavily weighing on my heart, I really struggle to get clarity.

If this happens multiple times on the same topic, that’s when I might turn to a fellow reader friend and ask for some insight.  Sometimes the heaviest topics that carry the most fear are the ones we just can’t tackle on our own. That’s why we have friends, therapists, and other readers to give us perspective and guidance when we are too anxious to get a clear answer.

So often when people tell me that their intuition led them wrong, and they start to explain how, I can hear the moment in the story where they got the message, and applied it to their own expectations.

There is nothing wrong with this, it happens to all of us.  There are some things it is just hard to be neutral about.  

The problem arises when we don’t take responsibility for those expectations, and instead start to assume our intuition is broken, or our intuition led us wrong, or worst of all, assume that means we aren’t intuitive at all.  Because intuition is an intangible thing, and very hard to measure, the moment that we feel like it isn’t working for us, we have a tendency to completely write it off and say that it doesn’t work.

I can’t tell you how many times I started pulling cards for myself and would just keep pulling until I got something I liked as an answer.  Yes, I teach tarot and yes. I still do this. I am human.

The point is to be aware of your expectations when you go into meditation or when you sit down with your cards.  Pay attention to how you are feeling. You don’t have to empty yourself completely or be some kind of robot in order to get the answer but it’s good to be aware of the filter you are putting the answer through.

So how can you become more aware of that and bring more clarity to your intuition?

I recommend a quick writing exercise to help make you aware of what might be coming up for you in a given moment.  Sit down with a notebook or journal and take a few deep breaths. Place your left hand palm face up on your left leg and your right hand on your heart and take ten deep slow breaths.  Then open your eyes and write answers to these questions.

What fear is coming up for me right now?

What happens if that fear is confirmed?

What do I hope will come through when I tune into my intuition?

What do I think will actually come through?

At this point, I will often ask any guides or angels to help me get clarity and answers that are for my highest good.  This can be very helpful to do if you want to start to develop a relationship with your guides or if you are just still feeling very emotional.

Then, take a few moments to sit in meditation or pull some cards.  However you like to tune into your intuition, take some time to do that.  When you are finished and feel like you have received some guidance, write it down.  Then take a look at how the information you got compares to your fears and expectations going in.

When I do this exercise I can normally see where I might have given into fear by how much what I wrote matches up with the question about fear.  I can also see if I was able to stay neutral.

You can do this several days in a row and just see if your perception changes.  You can also look back over time and notice if you see a pattern.

Having a written log of what fears come up can serve as a great way for you to start to acknowledge your own patterns.  Sometimes we are so unaware of our default setting but when we see the same message written down over and over we can start to learn that pattern and over time we might not need to write things down at all.

I hope this helps you become more confident in listening to your own intuition and more compassion for yourself when you are struggling to get a clear answer.  You don’t have to be neutral all the time. You can use this exercise to start to work through emotion without it clouding your comprehension of intuitive messages.  

Finally, If you are looking for help honing your intuitive gifts, The High Priestess Embodiment Digital Workshop is still open for enrollment.  There are only a few spots left in this first time offering and it will only be available until Wednesday, February 19th at 11:59 PM ET. If you enroll in this course you will have access for the lifetime of the course as well as access to all future course updates.

This course is an introduction to connecting with your intuition.  It is an entirely self-paced workshop. I firmly believe that intuition is for everyone. In modern society, we are so overstimulated that it can be easy to think we have no access to intuition at all.  We start to doubt ourselves and our instincts. This course will provide you with practical tools to connect with your intuition and make decisions with confidence.

If you are tired of giving your power away to self-doubt and have always wanted the tools to start to explore your own intuitive gifts, this is a great place to start.  Invest in yourself!  If you want to join the workshop you can sign up here.

If you have any questions or feedback on the course or on today’s post please feel free to reach out to me via email sheila at starsagespirit dot com.

© Sheila Masterson 2020 All Rights Reserved

Design Your Own Intuition Guidebook with the High Priestess Embodiment Digital Course

White Mountains – New Hampshire

Last week I launched my first ever online workshop.  It’s an adaptation of my High Priestess Embodiment workshop that is designed for participants to work at their own places to build their own intuitive language.  This has been equal parts thrilling and terrifying.  

Putting my own thoughts and ideas out there opens me up to criticism and imposter syndrome and it’s taken a little bit of procrastinating, a little bit of coaching, and a little bit of getting cues from my own intuition to give me the confidence to do so.

Almost a year ago when the idea for this course started bouncing around my head, I knew it was important for a couple of reasons.  I wanted to normalize listening to intuition. I wanted people to see that it is something we all have in our own way. Finally, I wanted to make intuition more accessible and less lonely.

When I first started having these experiences I felt incredibly alone and isolated.  I spent most of my life not really understanding that something different was happening for me, and feeling a bit alienated from people who I thought were having the same experiences but were not.

So when I got older and everything intensified, I wanted to give other people like me who are just starting out on their own path the tools to start to figure out how intuition works for them.  All I wanted in the beginning was a guidebook.

I wanted to try to logically approach something that is pretty esoteric, and that is only just starting to be studied by science.  I wanted to create a hypothesis, test data, and come up with some sort of proof for myself.

I read book after book from other mediums and intuitives trying to understand the exact path forward.  Some of them said to meditate for an hour a day, some had elaborate exercises and some suggested the only way was to find a one on one mentor.

I was frustrated.  Like so many of us, I was too focused on trying to find the “right” way to approach my particular gifts that I ignored what I knew in my heart to be true.   I lacked confidence in my own ability and I wanted someone to help me prove it to myself. I wanted a clear set of guidelines and rules to follow. I wanted a path forward.  I also wanted to feel more aligned with my own deeper desires in life.

What I have learned is that the book I was looking for, the manual for intuition doesn’t exist.  

Intuitive gifts are so individual.  The reason I couldn’t find the instruction manual I desired was because there is no one way forward.  There are many. 

This is why I developed the High Priestess Embodiment Workshop, was to give clients the tools to start to build this structure for themselves.  I wanted to save people from the loneliness and confusion I felt. I wanted to give them exercises to start to notice their intuition in their body as well as where they feel fear or anxiety.

Our culture is so focused on achievement.  Nothing is more revered and rewarded than hustle, multi-tasking, and constantly striving for something new.  It’s easy to feel completely out of touch with yourself and what you want in your life. It’s easy to be brainwashed into wanting what society, family, and friends tell you to want.

Usually we spend time striving towards these things and then are confused when we get them and don’t feel satisfied.  Have you ever experienced this? Obsessing over something thinking that achieving it will make you feel accomplished only to get it and still feel like it’s not quite right?

I designed the program for anyone who has an interest in getting back in touch with their intuition.  Intuition is like a personal super power. It empowers us to say “no” easily to things we don’t want and gives us clarity on what we do.  It allows us to release the doubt that society programs us to have and really learn to trust that we are making the right decisions for our personal situation at any given moment.

The exercises that I put into this course are the exact exercises I used to grow my own intuition and feel more confident in my readings, and also in decision making in my life.  They are designed to help participants to create their own version of a playbook and provide them the confidence to experiment and start to notice how and when intuition shows up in their daily lives.  They are designed to build trust in yourself.

I will also be providing answers to common questions that come up from those taking the course.  Each participant will have the opportunity to ask two questions which will be recorded and posted in the course for all to have access to.

The course itself is entirely self-paced.  It can be done all in one sitting, and it’s roughly 90 minutes of content plus the follow up question/answer recordings.  All participants will also have access for the lifetime of the course, so any updates that i do to the course in the future will be included, as well as all future question/answer recordings from future releases.

This course isn’t about me handing you all the answers.  It’s about you gaining the tools to start searching for your own answers and recognizing solutions when they come up in your own daily practice.

It brings me so much joy to watch students connect and start to put the pieces together for themselves.  I love watching them gain confidence and celebrate their wins.

If you are interested in signing up you can sign up here.  If you have any questions you can feel free to reach out to me via email sheila at starsagespirit.com

© Sheila Masterson 2020 All Rights Reserved