Tarot Wisdom

Tarot collection

During my Graciella la Gitana Oracle© workshops, I noticed that participants have begun asking me the difference between oracle and tarot readings. I was a bit stumped. There are similarities but also differences. I knew that it was in the underpinning structure of the cards. Readers of both quest for knowledge. The readings are of a spiritual path. I’ve been reading tarot cards for years. The cards have never been my preferred way to read. I prefer to sit with a cigar and listen for the messages that come to me or the visualizations that tell me what I need to share. Sometimes the cards have almost seemed like a prop. It reminds me of one of my favorite characters, Ana in Covering the Sun with My Hand, who does call the cards a prop!

I’ve used the cards intuitively and made up spreads without seeking outside counsel. I’ve picked them based on their design and my attraction to them. I don’t even really remember from where I’ve picked them up. The woman who reads for me uses cards that I’ve never seen anywhere but I don’t think those cards are even tarot. But maybe they are. They are delicate, rare, and beautiful.

Because I was asked about my knowledge of tarot I decided to take a class. I attended one at the Open Center given by Robert M. Place. I had no idea who he was but was happy to find he has a wealth of knowledge, experience, and is willing to teach what he knows. Did I mention he’s a nice guy? No ego disruptions during class. It was a three week, once a week, introductory course. I learned the history, the background, and how to read the cards in ways I’d never thought of.

What was great for me was the affirmation of how I’ve been treating the cards intuitively. Meditating with the cards, learning the symbols and my attribution of symbolic meaning based on my personal reflections and experience has definitely been the way to go. This is exactly how I created the oracle with Graciella whispering in my ear exactly what I needed to hear. When I originally began designing the cards with the scrawls and illustrations I thought I was designing a tarot. But it wasn’t moving. I had my expert friend-sister read her deck for me. It turned out that it wasn’t a tarot but an oracle. At that point, I began listening for the concepts and the project took on a life of its own. Dynamic! I shared my vision with my daughter who then began illustrating based on my child-like drawings.

The help that my spirit guide, Graciella, has given me is amazing. Her over-arching theme is of Compassionate Consciousness©. We’re writing a book that describes this but also provides details about each concept portrayed in the oracle. I sit in meditation with the cards during the time of the dark. Afterwards, I sit and journal what Graciella wants me to jot down. She frequently surprises me with her take on things. We’re working steadily to get this book out to you.

Ultimately, I’ve learned that the cards are not a prop. I’ve learned that using my creativity in designing spreads is exactly what I did and should continue to do. Traveling this oracle journey with a stopover at tarot has been enriching and I will continue that too. I hope that you join me on this spiritual journey.

I’m adding the link to the Graciella la Gitana Oracle on Amazon at the bottom of this post. They are available here in this website shop located on the top banner but on Amazon they are discounted by 15% until May 31st. Order a set for you and a loved one. If you are interested in attending a workshop the next one will be in Brooklyn on July 27th. I’ll add another Eventbrite for that. The cost for the workshops are twenty dollars. If you host one at your home, you, of course, attend for free.

In light and love,




Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

We’re back from Dallas where we attended my son’s graduation for his two year degree. He’s a husband and daddy, works full time, and managed to snag his white Cum Laude cords and gold sash representing the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. We’re all so proud of him. It reminded me of my years in school while raising a family. Not easy but doable. With support and determination anything is possible. That goes for writing too. Pick a goal. Set some objectives. Go for it. Our dreams can come true!

Tonight, a day late again, I shuffled the Graciella la Gitana Oracle deck and allowed Graciella’s energies to merge with mine. We centered. We spread the cards in a fan-like spread on the uncluttered desk. I breathed. Together we pulled the Prisoner/Prisionera card.

The Prisoner/La Prisionera

This is a great example of reflecting on what leads to feelings of being locked up. How do we find ourselves in these situations? Do we truly unknowingly commit crimes? Against others or ourselves? The prisoner state can be a metaphor for how I’m treating my life. As I’d written above, sometimes achieving goals can be extremely difficult depending on the situation. We often forget the reasons why we are imprisoned. The imprisonment is often self imposed. Do I need a reminder that the goals I’ve set mean that I must sit quietly by myself and complete tasks enabling me to check them off my written lists? I remember when I was in doctoral school. I happened to see the chair of my dissertation committee at a green market. Over fruit he assured me that I was almost finished the years of often grueling study, researching, and writing. I felt free at that moment although I had several months left to complete the work. I needed someone else’s say so at the time to tell me enough was enough. Today, I hope that I’m setting achievable goals and that I will know when I’ve reached them. Remember that whatever hardship you may be enduring will always find its end. All is temporary in this life! Cheer up and get to work!

In light and love,

Theresa and Graciella

Unlikely writing inspiration

During our recent trip to Key West, Florida, we made it a point to visit the Butterfly Museum, the Lighthouse, and the Haunted Ghost tour. We joined groups of people at America’s most southerly point where a little girl gave us the evil eye for enjoying our lime fruit bars. Yes, our tongues had turned green.

One site we visited was Ernest Hemingway’s Key West Haven. We went on a whim. I’m not particularly enamored by his writings. Less so of his multiple marriages and even less so his dance with spirits that I’m sure contributed to his suicide. Nevertheless, I was taken by his life as I climbed the stairs, ambled through his garden, and enjoyed the many five fingered cats that lounged throughout the house and grounds. Hemingway had a full life, had boxing matches on weekends with his pals, and lived passionately doing what he loved. Much of his life focused on the military and his writing.

We had glimpses of the tools of his trade. There were several typewriters on display throughout the house. Photographs and letters written by and to him had places of honor on the walls.

I was very much taken with his writing room. While I could do without the mounted heads of hunted animals, the cushioned chair and ottoman were definitely something I could and wanted to sink into. The writing table and book shelves that lined the room were absolutely enchanting. It reminded me how important it is to take up space as a writer. I often feel as though having a laptop is enough. It can be. But it doesn’t have to be that way all of the time. 

Something moved in me as I gazed at his office. I imagined my own room changed a little bit here and a little bit there. While I have a space, it’s gone through multiple reincarnations, if only in my own mind. With all of my baggage and history with owning myself as a writer, Hemingway has inspired me to take up some more room as I develop my art and craft. He’s again sparked the passion I have for living as a writer.

I’ll let you know how it evolves ❤️


Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

It’s Monday evening and Graciella and I finally sat to pull this week’s Oracle reading. This comes after a very sweet birthday filled with two cakes, one made by my lovely daughter who is visiting from Texas, cards, and a huge balloon. I haven’t felt this open and joyous for a birthday since I can remember. I’m always grateful but this year I felt an essence of happy and serenity that is often elusive. I say that if I was a musical tune I’d be made of minor notes. Often a bit melancholic, on the night side, and calling out to the moon. This birthday brought the sun and the light of happy, joyous, and free and I’m not complaining.

I’ll admit that we didn’t smudge with sage as we usually do when we pull a card. We shuffled, fanned the deck out on the clear desk surface, and let our fingers do the walking. We pulled the Water/Agua card together.

Graciella la Gitana Oracle Water/Agua image
Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Water/Agua

The image immediately evokes the innocence of fully being in the ecstasy of the waters of the Great Mother’s love. While we see a boy and girl playing together, in this reading I am compelled to acknowledge the joy that is when both the masculine and feminine aspects of myself are joined as one. The twins that have differences but who learn to live together in a synchronicity that enables a full experience of self. This week I’ve complained a bit about the continual rains, while taking in the fact that some communities are truly suffering with the damages that so much rain has brought. Graciella reminds us to be as the children. To take what is offered and to full exult in it. We celebrate the simple joys of turning on a hose and dowsing ourselves. This, to me, is reminiscent of the baptismal waters or waters of initiations in various traditions that bring a newness, a rebirth, a new me. What do these images signify for you? We’d love to read your comments below.

In light and love,

Graciella and Theresa

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

The invites for the Coney Island Siren Book Launch are out. The books are approved and ordered. Yesterday, a warm and generous woman I’ve met within the last year hosted an oracle workshop and we had a great time at her beautiful and welcoming home. Graciella and I have been super busy but that’s no excuse for not getting the weekly oracle reading up here on the website weekly as promised.

One of the women at the workshop initially thought I was Graciella. That’s a great point. I’ve been working with her for so long that I tend to take it for granted that everyone knows who she is. Graciella is a gitana (gypsy) spirit guide of mine that I’ve been working with for over fifteen years. She was revealed to me in my meditations and through learning the way of the Spiritist. From my perspective, we all have spirit guides who protect, teach us, and offer their gifts to us in ways that resonate and often spark creativity within us. I write about her in the booklet that comes with the oracle deck. I’ll be expanding on her paradigm of Compassionate Consciousness © in the second book that I’m channeling for her.

The usual method we use is to smudge with sage, center, shuffle the deck, spread in a fan-like position on an uncluttered surface. I ask what is it that Graciella would like us to be aware of this coming week. Together we pulled the Contemplation/Contemplación card from the deck.

In this image, Graciella chooses fabric at a bazaar. She not only has used her eyes to look at the tempting fabrics, she closes her eyes and contemplates which to choose by using all of her senses. Her fingers cascade along the various textures and I’m certain her choices will be affected by the tantalizing smells of cooking foods in nearby stalls, and by the sounds of an accordion player who hopes to garner the attention and coins of other market buyers. As you contemplate your choices this weeks, as Graciella, use all of your senses. Include your intuitive sense. Don’t discount what you know from your gut. Your intellect may tell you one thing, but a whisper in your ear tells you different. Listen. Sniff. Touch. Look around you and within. Taste a sampling before buying the entire pie. By working with our gift of meditation, our third eyes are further opened to an expanded vision of the possibilities that are currently in front of us and that are soon to come.

Graciella also extends her thanks to you for being symbols of love and peace in this world and for the work of compassion that you extend to others.

In love and love

Graciella and Theresa

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

Spring is here! It’s exciting to experience the blooming trees, shrubs, and flowers in this part of the world. We need Nature and She needs us. Last week, we were in Key West. The trip was spontaneously planned after I was advised by my doc that I needed a vacation. I told her we planned one for later on this year. She advised that now was the time.. We went. I believe my spirit guides spoke through my doc because they know that I listen to her.

Key West Dock
Key West Butterfly Museum

Key West Butterfly Museum

Those are some of the photos I took. My sense of awe and tranquility far surpasses my photography skills. We even went jet skiing. I alternated between closing my eyes and feeling at one with the water with feeling as though I was riding a horse on some of the more powerful waves.

But now, I’m back to sitting with Graciella and pulling a card for this week’s reading. We smudged to glorious sage, shuffled, and centered. Again, together we pulled the North Card. This one seems to be a favorite of Graciella’s.

The North/El Norte

This week the North reminds us to honor our ancestors, our truth, our backgrounds, and our backstories. There are memories and associations with each that we may not want to dwell on and that is fine. We are often pointed to by others who want to accuse us of not being enough or being too much. We receive the message that we’ve done wrong or we are stalked and clung onto by others who may want what they think we have. It’s important to know who we are from the inside out. By familiarizing yourself with your ancestors and guides you can glean the clues of what makes you who you are. Some of it you may love and some may bring up feelings of discomfort. Reflecting on our histories and those who came before us will undoubtedly free us from the ties that bind us. Let’s give ourselves opportunities to look into the mirrors of the lakes within. Let’s not adhere strictly to notions created about ourselves by others. Let’s listen to our ancestors and honor those roads they have paved for us. We now have the ability and tools to further those paths. If you feel you don’t have the tools, reach out. Look to the healthy-hearted ones for some guidance on which tools might be appropriate for you as you dig into the fertile ground of your existence.

In light and love,

Theresa and Graciella

Nature meets civilization

Back to the cemetery

Last week we attended a talk at Greenwood Cemetery about the Egyptians by the Brooklyn Museum of Arts curator, Egyptologist Edward Bleiberg. I was fascinated to hear how the affluent were able to install tombs laden with riches and items to ensure a safe passage into the netherworld. The process of mid to low range earners creativity to do the same was even more compelling.

This is a short post, not discussing all those wonderful details, but about something else- totally related to the dead of those and other times. The talk was given in the evening during those in-between times I like to write about and experience. The times when the veils are more permeable for communication for those in both worlds.

We watched as the evening darkened. While the speaker shared in a low lit room, we felt the presence of the dead become more and more palpable. When we exited into the twilight, the air was stirred by a gentle breeze. By the time we entered the car I knew we weren’t alone.

As soon as I arrived home I smudged with pungent sage. The feeling of being accompanied by a different energy lasted throughout the following days. It was very strong. Lots of voices attempted contact but they were not clear enough for me to decipher.

This past Sunday we were elbow deep in suds as we scrubbed our doggies. The ancestors speak when they’re ready. They were finally ready or maybe they felt I was ready to listen. They gave me their simple message. Please don’t forget us. They wanted me to share it with you too.

I’m the first to say that I don’t forget my dead. I pray, I light candles, and carefully tend to my altar. One thing I heard at the talk that was different was that the Egyptologist spoke about families having picnics at the tomb sites. Truly celebrating their dead. Interesting, isn’t it?

It makes me wonder about what other ways I can commune with the dead. Seances, Misas, meditation, and the like, for sure. Maybe a trip to my family’s burial site with a full picnic basket and blanket is next in order. I’ll let you know. You can let us know by writing a comment too.

Through the veils,

With love and light,


Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

It’s late morning and I’m sitting to write down this week’s reading courtesy of Graciella. I usually do this late afternoon, but today as I did the meditation for my next Graciella project, I pulled two cards. She has me doing both. Graciella is not afraid of work. I’ve mentioned she is a task master and I must keep up with her in order to channel her work of Compassionate Consciousness. I may have previously mentioned that I’m in the process of a book that goes into depth regarding the concepts that the oracle deck introduced.

Balancing the spiritual with the material is sometimes tricky. When I originally designed the oracle deck booklet I had included a section of the history of Graciella and also descriptions of several layouts that can be used while reading the cards. You may have noticed that layouts are not included in the small booklet that comes with the deck. The printing company allowed for a certain number of pages that included exactly what is there. I made the decision to write a second book that would cover the rest of the information. Each day I sit in meditation with a pulled card, listen to what Graciella would like me say, and write the information down. This activity expands on the lyrical poem on each concept that is in the current book. I also have more information on themes within the cards and will sit with the illustrator, Mara Alicia Cordova, to discuss her perceptions about the cards that are so rich in texture, depth, and color! I’m hoping to have the book ready by the end of the year. Actions into vision!

I’ve also had the joy of doing Oracle workshops and each time I’ve learned new things about the deck and the process. If you’d like to host one let me know. We’ve had loads of fun learning to read the cards and sharing spiritual insights.

When I pulled the card for the meditation, two came up. The one for this week is the Water/Agua card.

This card is the epitome of having fun where you are in the glory and loving energy of the feminine principle of water. Will you be out in the rain? Will you wash your auto this week? We can be glum and grumble about the drops of water that we dodge from. Or we can enjoy them. That old adage of April showers bringing May flowers reminds us that when days are rainy or gloomy that sunshine is certain to appear later for us. This week comes the arrival of Aries in the new moon on the fifth. day. This is a time when we are faced with the energies of being emboldened, we are likely to feel a surge to start something new, to shout out to the Universes in ways that may not be usual to us. Welcome this week of new. Allow yourself to be awash in the waters of the Great Mother! She is there for us as we have been for her. Allow your masculine energies to combine with your feminine. The strong points of each will aide you as you move forward in this new enterprise. Be there for yourself!

In love and light

Graciella and Theresa

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

I waver between writing about the various situations in my life or going immediately to the reading for the week. There was a recent post I read where someone had lots to say about the blogger who went on and on about her upbringing and neighborhood when the ultimate post was going to be a recipe. I do believe there are times I don’t write enough about what I’m doing. I was intrigued by Julia Alvarez, I believe, who wrote on her website that she wasn’t blogging because she was writing. Blogging is like cross-training. It can’t always be a long novel. Or can it? I don’t know because I’m blogging and working a regular job and writing novels in-between times.

What’s up is that my novel Coney Island Siren is just about done. I’m down to the very last edits. I’ve given out a few Advanced Readers Copies and generally feel great about the book. The book launch will be at the Nuyorican Poets Café in NYC on June 12 and I’m doing a reading, conversation, and signing at Café con Libros on June 14th in my hometown of Brooklyn. I hope to see you there. There will be a couple of other spots I’ll be with the newest of my literary libations and I’ll let you know here and on other social media places like facebook and Instagram.

I’m back to the weekly reading. Last week I must admit I was busy at a private party hosted in the Bronx by an author buddy for a Graciella Workshop. There were seven of us in total. We had a great time. Eating, talking, teaching, and learning how to read the oracle decks using several layouts. I’m in the process of writing a second Oracle book that includes the layouts with explanations and much more discussion of each concept. Graciella is a task master! There’s lots of meditation involved in obtaining the information so there I go in-between times again. Don’t forget that if you’re interested in hosting a workshop, please email me at theresavarela@gmail.com

Tonight as usual I smudged myself and the oracle deck with wonderfully smelling sage in my abalone shell. I shuffled the cards, fanned them out facedown on my desk, and pulled. The North/El Norte card appeared.

The North/El Norte

It’s here that as Graciella merged her energy with mine that I immediately heard and felt, Ask the ancestors! What have you made of your relationships with your ancestors? Are you close to them? Do you hear them whisper in your ear? Do you allow them to help you as you walk a path that is often rocky? Do you allow them to help steer you away from obstructions? Some of us are not so knowledgeable about the North and the reference to the old ones and those gone by. There are still those here on this side of the veils who come before us and those who have already crossed over who are rich with wisdom for us to learn from. Again, today I see red flags of warning or alertness for us to take note of. That’s not to say that danger is in the air, it’s to say that we can be aware of pitfalls and possible dangers that we don’t need to get entangled or embroiled in if we listen to the prophecy of the elders. There are many points of advice or suggestions that are handed to us that can alleviate a mountain of problems if only we’d listen. Sometimes we are too headstrong and want to do things our way. That’s fine if we first attempt to discern whether the old way is a way that will allay potential stressors or whether we need to walk on those jagged stones in order to determine who we are. Sometimes we do but then again, sometimes we don’t. We may use that available energy and passion for other more worthwhile things in our lives. Look for the flags this week and listen!

In love and light,

Graciella and Theresa

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

After a weekend of relaxation and errands, I’m happy to come to the oracle. The oracle continues to give me guidance in my day and especially in the observance of what may be in store for me. It’s not as though the messages strike me like lightning, but it’s more of a subtle knowing and understanding revealed that I look forward to when I pull from the deck.

As always, most importantly I join with my spirit guide, Graciella, who has gifted us with the concepts and images. I spoke with someone recently who said he felt Graciella’s spirit as he played with the cards. I affirm that she is present in each card doing. It is her energy and decision to share her wisdom in compassionate consciousness that we join with when we work with the deck. We centered, lit a white candle, shuffled the cards three times, fanned them on my worktable, and pulled one. The card that showed itself is the Fertility/ Fertilidad card.


This is a magnificent card! I love the deep purple of royalty of the pouch that holds, what? I’m not sure. I do know that each individual has his or her own cache of riches that is filled with promise. It’s important to know what your store of treasure is, where it is, and how you closely you hold it to your breast. There are coins here that seem to be falling out of the pouch. Tonight, I see the possibility that the pouch of goodness may have been placed on the coins. The coins seem to be antique gold that are riches of their own, separate from the pouch’s valuables. The green leaves surrounding the pouch and the coins are light in color, and that tells me something new, something that is growing, fresh like the spring leaves that will soon poke through the earth wet by the snow and rains will be encountered.

Look within to yourself. Find that precious object or objects belonging especially to you and listen for your next steps as it shows itself to you.

In light and love,

Graciella and Theresa