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Monday, November 15, 2010

Pet Health Reading by Zanna Starr

For nearly a month I have been taking care of my 13-year-old cat, Gizmo, who has a serious eye condition. Our veterinarian and I have tried various approaches in an effort to determine the cause and potential cure. I decided to design a spread that would help me deal with this situation -- not to diagnose or prescribe treatment for my cat, but to gain insight into how I can best help him recover.

It seemed fitting that I use one of my cat-themed Tarot decks. I couldn't decide which one to use, so I'm using cards from five different decks (credits are provided at the end of this post).

Before I share the reading, I have to share a somewhat startling tidbit. As I prepared to draw the card for Position 3, one of my other cats (named Karma) jumped onto my desk and meowed conversationally. I asked her to select a card from the deck. I fanned the cards in front of her and she sniffed them all, then rubbed her jaw against one. I removed it from the deck and turned it over. The cat on the card looks exactly like Karma (well almost - Karma has green eyes, not gold).

Bear in mind that this same cat once knocked a Tea Leaf Fortune Card off my desk while I was trying to do a reading. I reached down and picked up the card. The title of the card was Karma. [Insert spooky music here.]

Now, on to the reading! Here are the layout and positional definitions:

Pet Illness or Injury Spread*


(1) What I need to understand about my pet's health condition
(2) How long  the condition is likely to last
(3) Something I can do to help my pet recover
(4) Something I need to keep in mind at this time
(5) Best possible outcome

The Reading

(1) What I need to understand about my pet's health condition
SIX OF WANDS (from Tarot of the White Cats)

My first reaction to this card is that it is a very positive one to see in this position. It suggests success, triumph, victory -- all things I (and Gizmo!) would like to experience in this situation. This card tells me that the condition can be beat, that we can win over it through willpower and appropriate action (suit of Wands = Fire).

(2) How long  the condition is likely to last
TEN OF PENTACLES (from Tarot of the Cat People)

The Ten suggests that we have probably turned a corner in this situation. The suit of Pentacles relates to health and suggests a slow process (the condition began more than a month ago and  I have been treating it for almost a month). So the answer to "how long" is somewhere in there. I like the feeling this card conveys of progress being made, albeit slowly.

Karma's Choice
(3) Something I can do to help my pet recover
FIVE OF CLUBS (from Cats of the World Playing Cards)

I typically don't do cartomancy (readings with a deck of playing cards). However, I have some familiarity with basic interpretations of the cards. In one of the sources I use, the Five of Clubs represents "help from a friend or spouse." I can (and do) enlist the help of my spouse and of friends who have cats. I would include our vet in the group of people I can count on to "go to bat" for Gizmo.

I consider the suit of Clubs to be associated with elemental Fire (Wands, Rods, Batons). If we look at the Five of Wands from a traditional Tarot deck, we get a sense of competition, challenge, and fluctuation. It's about preparing an offense and/or defense and competing needs for resources.

This seems to apply quite well to my cat's situation. Interestingly, I have five different medications that I have to administer to him each day. Hopefully they don't "conflict" with each other, but getting them into and on the cat is definitely a challenge! He is really tired of all this (after 3 weeks, who wouldn't be?) and is inclined to struggle when I try to administer the medications. Nevertheless, I need to have the patience and determination to continue if I want to help Gizmo recover.

(4) Something I need to keep in mind at this time
KNIGHT OF PENTACLES (from The Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot)

I have my own keywords for this card across a wide range of decks, but I found it interesting and beneficial to take a look at Karen Mahony's comments about this card in the book that accompanies the deck:
"In Pentacles, the qualities of the Court Cards show themselves in a very down-to-earth way. . . In the Knight of Pentacles the enthusiasm of the Page gives way to a rather exaggerated sense of responsibility. For the Knight, projects have to be pursued with a dogged persistence." 
(I had to chuckle at the word "dogged" in this case.)

This knight is about being methodical, sensible, and patient -- almost to the point of obsession. In some situations, obsession would be an indisputably bad thing. However, keeping track of the timing and dosage of five different medications actually requires a touch of obsessiveness, don't you think?

(5) Best possible outcome
THE MOON (from Tarot for Cats)

Tarot for Cats is a Majors-only deck designed for and directed to cats themselves. The cat on the card looks exactly another one of my cats (Sofia).

To me, The Moon speaks of the unknown and unforeseen, of illusions, deception, and dreams. Oddly enough, the book that accompanies this deck uses the "health care" examples of a human disguising a pill in a "succulent tidbit of raw liver" and a cat carrier appearing to be "a cozy, soft box" when in reality, it carries you to the vet. LOL. In other words, things are not what they seem.

So how does The Moon translate as "best possible outcome"? Perhaps the best possible outcome is that we will finally get to the truth of the matter where Gizmo's condition is concerned. That which has been clouded or unclear will become clearer. Something that has not been seen  yet might become visible.  Another best possible outcome might be related to a message from my subconscious that can help improve the situation.

The other thing that strikes me is that the moon has phases and goes through cycles or stages. The best possible outcome may be that this condition is a phase that Gizmo is going through, and that it will end in due time.

Elements and Numbers

From an elemental standpoint, we have mostly Earth and Fire, with a Water card thrown in at the end. There is no Air. I could be way off base, but I see a connection to the fact that the treatments we have already tried would normally cure this problem but have not done so. In that sense, Gizmo's condition defies logic (Air). What the vet thought logically should solve the problem hasn't fixed it so far. Further analysis may or may not prove useful, but the cards don't seem to suggest that I do that.

Numerologically, we have a 6, 10, 5, 12 (Knight), and 18. Add these numbers together, and we get 51, which reduces to 6 (5+1). In my Tarot system, the number Six can represent integration, resolution of tensions (peace, harmony), and balance, including an understanding of what is real and what is illusion. If I were to choose a Quintessence card for this reading, I might choose Trump Six (The Lovers) or Trump 15 (The Devil). (Now I am chuckling because the cat on The Devil in the Tarot for Cats looks exactly like Karma, green eyes and all. . . The Devil. Perfect.)

The Lovers (Air) emphasizes making the right or best decisions in this situation. The Devil (Earth) alludes to an escape from narrow parameters or limitations, or freeing oneself from a perception that is neither helpful nor accurate. The Devil can also represent addiction or obsession. Off hand, I don't see a connection with Gizmo's situation, unless we are talking about the "healthy obsession" I described under the Knight of Pentacles (also Earth).

This reading has given me a lot to think about and consider. I welcome any comments or observations you care to make!

If you would like me (or Karma) to do a reading about your pet, please contact me. For the rest of November only, I am offering the reading described above for a fee of just $10.

* Please Note: This is an original spread by Zanna Starr (me). I am aware that other Tarotists may have designed similar spreads. However, to the best of my knowledge, I have not used material created by anyone else.

  • Tarot of the White Cats (published by Lo Scarabeo; artwork by Severino Baraldi; idea and graphics by Pietro Alligo; instructions by Sofia di Vincenzo)
  • Tarot of the Cat People (published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.; instructions and designs by Karen Kuykendall)
  • Cats of the World Playing Cards (published by Heritage Playing Card Company;
  • The Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot (published by Magic Realist Press; designed by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov, Baba Studio, Prague)
  • Tarot for Cats (published by Macmillan; by Regen Dennis; illustrated by Kipling West)


  1. As I read the intro to this post and your comments about your cat, Karma, I had to smile. Have you ever read the "Cat Who..." series of murder mystery novels by Lilian Jackson Braun? The following is from the Wikipedia article about the titular cat of this series:

    -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Who_series

  2. What an interesting reading! I hope your cat gets better soon.

  3. LOL - Yes, James, I adore the "Cat Who" books. I think I may have read most or all of them. I think Karma could give Koko and Yum-Yum a run for their money.

  4. Thanks, Corrine! Gizmo and I both hope so too.

  5. Hmm... my quote didn't seem to make it through, so I'll repeat it here:

    Koko’s most notable characteristic is his sixth sense. His actions ... mainly involve digging up small pieces of evidence, pointing things out to Qwilleran [the human protagonist] by acting extremely attracted to them, using body language to communicate things, making a "death howl" whenever a death is caused by foul play, and doing things that make Qwilleran think of something that turns out to be a clue.

  6. Hello Zanna. The Moon as outcome makes me wonder if Gizmo might lose sight or some sight in that eye. Overall I think you are on target with this reading. I have to admit that it was a bit disconcerting to see all the different cards. :) At first I thought you'd drawn a card from each deck for each position. :)

  7. Excellent spread and nice interpretation. I hope your cat gets better. Keep us updated as to how the spread worked!

  8. What a great reading I loved that you had the moon as the out come, perfect or should I say purrr-fect!

  9. Thanks, Arwen! I like to do readings like this from time to time, using cards from different decks that are related in some way (like cat decks or animal decks, etc.)

    I think you have a good point about The Moon. Loss of sight is always a possiblity with eye conditions.

  10. Thanks, Tierney! I will keep everyone posted. Thanks for your concern.

  11. Helen - I like The Moon card, even though it so often carries some sort of warning or cautionary message. I feel connected to it in many ways, and it's one of the first cards I look at in a new deck.

  12. What a lovely reading, Zanna. (I'm testing again to see if I can leave a comment for you.)

    I do hope your dear kitty gets well soon.


  13. Yay, Velvet Angel! You got in! Thanks for your kind wishes.

  14. This was interesting on so many levels. First, I like the idea of reading for pets. Second, while I've done spreads with more than one deck, they usually had their own sphere or section in the spread. Mixing them so closely is really a neat technique...one that I will certainly experiment with.

    Most importantly I hope Karma keeps messing with you and that Gizmo gets feeling frisky and fine very soon!


  15. Thank you, Babs!

    I think I can guarantee that Karma will keep messing with me. I'm hoping that Gizmo will feel much better very soon...

  16. Zanna -

    I loved that you did a pet reading for Gizmo! Using feline oriented decks is also a very nice touch!

    The one position that I would not have put in this reading was the position dealing with timing. This to me seemed a bit limiting.

    Something that you might want to consider about the Moon is that it has a deep connection to dreamtime and to psychic ability. In this case - both yours and Karma's.

    You could go into dreamtime yourself and ask what needs to be done for Gizmo, or you could journey with Karma and see what she has to say about Gizmo, and what he is going through.

    Sending thoughts for a quick recovery for Gizmo, and some downtime for Mom! ;-)


  17. Thanks, Bonnie! I understand what you're saying about the timing position. It's something that I am experimenting with, trying to get a better feeling for how to determine a general sense of timing with the cards. (Many of my clients ask questions about timing and I usually try to discourage them from that type of question, but I still find the idea intriguing).

    I love your suggestion about the Moon/dreamtime. I will certainly explore that.

  18. I absolutely loved this reading. I have been out of action for a couple of days, but I am glad that I remembered to take a look at this. I found this to be a very interesting reading and had to take a look.

    My first thought is this spread is a number six which I immediately associate with home, family, and taking care of children and the elderly. In this case your cat is both child/elderly to you. No matter how old it get's it is still your baby, and of course the cat is Elderly. So this is definitely showing a time of you having to take care of Gizmo ... your family.

    Elementally I have to agree there is something that is unknown on the conscoius level, added to the final Moon card. I honest have to say Karma may know something about this, no doubt you have a connection with the cat and the deck and you have a cat helping you out, the psychic animals. Do you communicate with your pets? hmmm, I am sure you do, maybe the something you haven't thought of is to ask Karma because Karma is operating on a more subconscious level and emotionally intuitive level, logic is not the answer in this question. I know that this may sound crazy to some, but I am sure you understand. But I think Karma is pointing out something with the card picked. This for one shows me that there could have been possibly play involved, I know this is an older cat, but in earlier years is a possibility with the Moon as the overall outcome card. (Just some thoughts that are rolling so I am going with them here. No matter, if I'm on or way off, this may help you with the thinking (air) process that may not be clear.) I do think that this is going to remain something hidden and not brought to consciously see it ... again, missing air, I think Karma knows something, lol. The root of the issue may be a flare up from an old injury such as the cats playing having a spat at some point. This may well have been at night when you didn't know about it (the moon there.)

    You have some cards in here that are saying time will definitely have to pass, this is not something that will happen quickly, but with that number six, the thought of the elderly, and the 10 pents in there again showing old age, caring and nurturing, throw in the Knight of Pents, you have got a ct that is gonna require more taking care of, Gizmo is elderly. With the Moon being there as the end card, and I know I am not remembering all of the cards at this moment as I write this, but Gizmo may get better in a month, and it will remain a secret as to what happened.

    I say keep up with the medicine and maybe this will help. Karma is saying Gizmo don't like the fight about giving the meds, but keep it up.

    Check this out, a friend I haven't talked to in a year just called, I am on the phone with her right now, but she is telling me she got a new dog, guess what it's name is?? Gizmo, lol. To cool. Hope this helps, just some thoughts from me:-D

  19. Wow, Scott! Lots of intriguing things in your comment. Thanks so much for stopping by. I do communicate with my pets, but not in any particularly dramatic way. Karma and I share a special bond because she chose me when I went to select a cat at a shelter years ago. Gizmo and I are also very close. Even though he is elderly and our other cats are younger than he is, I still refer to him as "the baby."

    I liked your comments about the number Six. I just realized that the Sixth House in astrology is the house of health and service, which seems quite appropriate here.

    I love that your friend's dog is named Gizmo. Connections can be seen everywhere if we just look.

  20. I absolutely loved this reading. Many things that I had to say on my own personal thoughts had to be sent in a message to you, so you'll have one on Facebook:-D

    You may never find out what Gizmos issue is, and the number of the reading is very significant which I explained in my Fb message to you. The number six being ties with family and taking care of children and the elderly, Gizmo being both your baby and elderly. I hope the best for Gizmo, you may never know what the deal is with the eye problem, at least not for a month, but keeping at it will be helpful with the meds. I also have to mention that while doing the reading that was sent about it, a friend called that I haven't talked to in a year, she was telling me she got a new dog, guess what it's name is?? Yep, Gizmo, lol. Love it, synchronization going on here. I hope that message I sent helps on some thoughts, and I think you need to be asking Karma some questions :-D


Thank you for leaving a comment. I love hearing from my readers!
~ Zanna