Q&A with Joy: Just MacGyver It

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

I was doing a mentoring session with an astrology student. When I asked how the week went, she mentioned that she reviewed the material from last week, read ahead for this week, and looked at some charts. Awesome! “How’d the charts go?” I asked. “Well,” she said, “since I really don’t have all the info I need to read them yet, I didn’t get very far.

Here’s the question:

I just started learning something (like tarot or astrology, for instance) and I don’t have enough info yet to do a reading. What do I do?

Here’s my answer:


Just MacGyver it.

I pointed out to her that the learning process forces us to make do with what we have now instead of looking ahead to where we hope to be at the end of the class. The latter thinking leads to those astrologers who have been studying for twenty years but insist they don’t know enough to do a reading yet. You will never learn everything there is to know on your subject. And you don’t have to be an expert to do a great reading.

I told her to MacGyver it. MacGyver didn’t ever say, oh, darn, I don’t have the right tools and equipment, I guess I’ll give up. He repurposed what was close to hand. He made it work. And always saved the day.

If you don’t have the info you think you need to do a reading or find an answer, take a look at what you do have. The basics aren’t stepping stones to get you somewhere else entirely, they are the foundation on which the system rests, and without which the whole structure will collapse. The stuff we learn in the first few classes, even when it seems too simple to be that important, is the heart of the system.

Here’s an exercise to test your astrological basics. Try doing a brief astrological chart interpretation without using the signs or sign keywords–you can only refer to the angles, elements, modes, and planets. If you know your basics, this is pretty easy to do, but does need some focus. When you take your subject apart and rebuild it step by step, you understand it at a whole new level.

Chances are this exercise will bring it all together in a surprising way. And instead of being at the mercy of inadequate tools, you’ll discover their flexibility and your ingenuity.


Joy Vernon has been studying and teaching energetic and esoteric modalities for more than twenty years. She is the organizer of the Denver Tarot Geeks, Denver Tarot Meetup and Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup, and she served on the faculty of Avalon Center for Druidic Studies. She is a reader at Isis Books and is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and a member of the American Tarot Association and Tarosophy Tarot Association. Joy also teaches Traditional Japanese Reiki. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit JoyVernon.com.

© 2016 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.

Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.

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