I found and subsequently stalked Michelle Embree on Facebook. She wrote the most interesting thoughts about tarot cards and the world, and then I found out she was in St. Louis! Well, sometimes. I finally reached out and asked if we could hang out, and she was in Kentucky. Or New Orleans. Or someplace else. She’s got a wandering soul and a poet’s heart. I am always listening for new voices in tarot. This woman approaches the cards with such a unique perspective, I learn something new every time she writes. She also has a storytelling show called “Make Beautiful Things: A Ritual in Fairytale” that is told in much the same way that our beloved Pamela Colman Smith told stories. Enchanting.
I’m happy to report that my stalking has paid off, and we are now friends! And I get to color with her and talk cards and hang out. Even my asshole dogs like her. Check out her LFT Questionnaire and get in touch for a reading.
1. What you appreciate the most in your friends.
2. Your idea of happiness.
Coffee time and conversation. Comfortable temperatures and good news.
3. Your idea of misery.
Anticipation of danger or strife approaching. Extra misery points if also out of coffee.
4. Your favorite colors and flowers.
I like all the colors. I really do. I wear mostly black, though. And I like red gadgets.
But when it comes to flowers I like White Roses.
5. Your favorite poets.
Claudia Rankine. Anne Sexton. Nikki Giovanni. Dorothy Allison. William Blake. Rainer Maria Rilke. Tupac Shakur. KRS. Big Boi. Courtney Love. Daphne Gottlieb. Hip Hop and Punk. The rock ballads. The folk songs.
I could go on and on, of course. I like poetry very much. I hear/see it in everything, so I really could just list names forever. Some you would know, some you would not, some would just be people I have met. Like a man, a homeless man getting day drunk behind a house I lived in Baltimore telling me about the KGB during his time in the Vietnam War, as it is called. You wouldn’t know him nor should you, but he was my favorite poet that day.
T.S. Eliot. W. H. Auden. Patti Smith. Shel Silverstein. Dr. Suess. A. A. Milne. On and on. I like the sweet poets and the clever ones. I like the formal and informal poem, the new and the old. I like the deep poets and the dark ones too, I like the eloquent same as the angry.
6. Your heroes/heroines in fiction.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
7. What role does divination play in your life?
I’m with my cards all the time. It is how I find the questions I need to ask. And asking the right questions is how we decide our best next moves. Asking the right questions helps us open our perspective and gain insight into our own problems. Asking the right questions is how we operate both deductive and inductive reasoning. There is no such thing as an answer more important than the question that discovered it.
I work with clients every week, too. I use cards and questions to get a picture/sense of the narrative the querent is living and I can usually ‘see’ options and obstacles from a different perspective or with differently weighted values and I share what I see to spark more conversation. These conversations physically shift energy and create release. It is literally the meaning of the word conversation; a process of conversion. We shift and make change to live the experience of thriving. That’s the goal in the larger picture. Divination as a process of understanding the self and the power held within the self is what I am dedicated to as a ‘spiritualist’ and an artist.
8. Your heroes/heroines in real life.
Artists. Creators in active creation. Regular people making expressions of who they are and keeping records of what they witness. Regular, flawed people making an effort every day. People in pain who keep giving. Regular people are my heroes. Life is so ridiculously hard. If you are a regular person and you try and try and keep trying and put the best you have into what is within you and around you– if you do that– YOU are my hero. Everyday. Whether I know you or not.
9. What is your present state of mind?
10. What is your favorite tarot deck or divination tool?
My favored deck is the Thoth deck drawn by Frieda Harris in conversation with Aleister Crowley. I understand this deck with the most fluid ease. There is an element to this deck that tells me to never trust it more than I trust myself to interpret it. There is a trickster at play in the cards and I get the most sense of that spirit within tarot from the Thoth deck. My relationship with that deck is cool headed and that serves me well as a reader.
11. Your favorite songs?
‘I against I’ from Bad Brains, the whole album.
12. What is your favorite word?
13. What is your least favorite word?
Sliders (omg. gag. ugh. I almost lose my appetite every time I see it on a menu. blech.)
14. What sound or noise do you love?
15. What sound or noise do you hate?
16. What turns you on?
17. What turns you off?
Lack of empathy; failure of imagination
18. What is your favorite curse word?
Muggle Humping Stump Jumper
19. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?