|One of the challenges of using astrology, tarot, or other semi-divinatory tools of insight is to know which one gives the results you are looking for, along with how (or whether) to mix them to get the best results. In the case of astrology and tarot, itâ€”s rather like mixing allopathic and homeopathic medicine. Both can help you get to the heart of the matter, but they may also seem to be at odds on principle. Some astrologers donâ€”t like to sully their precise and â€”scientificâ€” art based on exact, known planetary positions with the seemingly random throw of the cards. And on the other hand, some people think that cards are so much more intuitive and in-tune with the moment of a personal reading, not so stiff, formal, and unyielding as the planets.
A truly insightful practitioner will tell you there is a time for each, and room for both in the space of a single reading. Susan Wishbow Townley has been mixing planets and cards for years, both in solo practice and jointly with her astrologer-husband John Townley. A reading with Susan will see multiple charts up on screen (simultaneously in Win*Star 4.0 and Win*Star Express) and a flow of Ryder-Waithe cards being pulled as thoughts and questions come to mind or a new direction in the client conversation beckons. It is a perfect combination of structure provided by the charts fueled by seeking energy directed by the nature of the cards as they are drawn out of the pack variously from top, bottom, or within.
Because she has so much past-future information to draw on in the charts, transits, and progressions, she doesnâ€”t use formal throws like the Celtic Cross, instead using the cards like a stream-of-consciousness tale that modifies the conversation about the already-full astrological structure. It is often a real issue, between astrologer and client, just what the client (who may say one thing but feel another) really wants to delve into. The cards help cut to the quick, focus on the real question at hand, and get down to answers and solutions. And they allow Susan to address subjects that a chart really doesnâ€”t say enough about (like: how does my brother feel about this, what color should I wear to the reception, is someone feeling hostile to me right now, etc.). The kind of emotional queries that ebb and flow within a reading are often more easily addressed by the instantaneity of the cards than by more delineated charts. You canâ€”t be doing a horary every other minute, after all.
Susanâ€”s astrology draws on the work and style of Buzz Myers, Doris Hebel, Kathryn Kirleis, and Michael Lutin, along with her husband John, with whom she often works closely in two-on-one readings. Working as a team, her more intuitive approach mixes well with his extremely delineated, structure-driven analysis. Her articles have appeared in Dell Horoscope magazine, at www.AstroCocktail.com, and in the â€”Star Gazingâ€” section here at Sessions in the Third House. Beyond astrology or tarot, from her beginnings as a communications/speech graduate of Emerson College, Susan also has a long history as a social activist and observer of political and popular culture, which strongly informs her work among the stars, both literally and figuratively.