Beyond the Celtic Cross – Behind the Scenes

It’s not every day that you get to write a book, not one that gets published. And it’s not every day that you become friends with an eminent and highly respected Tarot reader and author. But that’s exactly what happened to me.

I met Paul Hughes-Barlow online through his Supertarot website and we wrote a book together – Beyond the Celtic Cross: Secret Techniques for Taking Tarot to an Exciting New Level.

Not wanting this to be your standard promo – I thought it would be a great idea to take you behind the scenes to the creation of our book. So instead of beyond it, I’m going to take you behind it, and back to February 14th – Valentines Day, 2008.

I had just been blown off by my ex. He had someone new in his life, and while I was happy for him, he was now suddenly unavailable to me even for a chat, at his request. I respected that, but this event got me thinking that perhaps it was time I too opened my mind to the thought of finding someone new. I vowed I never would after we broke up, as you do. I decided to ask the Tarot the scary question “Will I find the man of my dreams?”

Using the Celtic Cross spread, I quickly scanned the cards starting with the Final Outcome – yes! A knight! Good times. But oh, he’s reversed, and there’s another Knight in the Immediate Future. What did that mean? I was learning first hand that reading your own cards, about your love life, a very emotive subject, isn’t always the best move. I have to admit to being perplexed and I pondered the meaning of these two Knights for a couple of days with no clear indication of who, or what they represented. Time to call the cavalry.

Enter Paul Hughes-Barlow

I had been a frequent visitor to Paul’s website and had followed his lessons on Elemental Dignities, which I felt I had gained a handle on, though I knew I hadn’t learnt to fully apply the technique to my own tarot readings. Card Counting though was mystifying and I didn’t really get it. I knew there was magic going on with this technique, but I didn’t understand it all.

Suddenly, I had an idea, and a bold one for me at the time; ‘why didn’t I contact Paul and ask him to read my tarot spread?’ Eek, the idea was a little terrifying at the time, and Paul and I have since laughed at my patheticness back then!

Still, if anyone could help, he could. I had long admired his work and so I checked Supertarot to see how to contact him and how much it would cost. £30 for half an hour. Well, this wasn’t a telephone reading, but I presumed half an hour would be all he would need. I checked my bank balance online – £32 available. Isn’t life something? Damn, if ever I needed to take a risk, it was now. So I did – I boldly went where I never thought I would. I emailed Paul, extremely nervously, and asked him if he could re-read my cards.

I waited with bated breath until he confirmed he had received my payment and then for his assessment of my cards. I actually paced the floor for about 2 hours, checking my inbox every 5 minutes until his email came through. He predicted a new man in my life, but I wanted to know more. Bold as brass, I asked if it was possible to re-read these cards, this Celtic Cross spread and reading, using the techniques he taught on his website:

Elemental Dignities, Card Counting and Pairing.

Moving Beyond the Celtic Cross

Paul will admit to not using the Celtic Cross for many years in his own tarot practice and felt a little bored by my original request. With his interest now pricked, we set about dissecting, counting, comparing, deciphering and re-reading my original tarot reading using all of the techniques he promotes. We did this through email and it took us about 10 days, by which time a friendship had taken root – which is a good job because I was a stroppy mare at times. I didn’t always understand everything and felt frustrated.

Paul though, is just Paul, unaffected by stroppy mares and waited patiently for the proverbial pennies to drop. When they did, it was a magical experience. I finally understood the methods and the techniques, it all just clicked into place.

Beyond the Celtic Cross: Secret Techniques for Taking Tarot to an Exciting New Level is the whole process of me learning to understand and apply Elemental Dignities, Card Counting and Pairing.

You get front row seats to all that deciphering, the dissecting and the penny dropping – but best of all, you get to do it too. Pull out your favourite Tarot deck and lay out the cards from my reading and follow what we did and watch your own penny drop. This is a step by step process, a walk through in understanding and applying these techniques.

You also get a decent look into my mind, my thoughts and the visions and dreams that occurred while working so closely with Paul. This was a life changing experience for me, it can also be one for your tarot practice too.

Praise for Beyond the Celtic Cross

Card Counting is very new to me and it was confusing to understand – but by following along with their example, it finally begun to sink in. And yes – it does add a new dimension to tarot reading. I had a basic understanding of Elemental Dignities but this book cleared up any lingering questions I had. I am a very visual learner and by having Catherine’s reading to “see” what was happening, I put the pieces together and was able to understand where they got their interpretations. This is a huge plus in my opinion.
theresa reed the tarot lady
Theresa Reed
The Tarot Lady
…I then tried this method with an actual reading myself. The Celtic Cross spread that I laid out was OK but a bit ambiguous in places and I didn’t gain much insight from the interpretation. I then re-did the reading using the card counting technique and the reading came to life and made absolute sense – I was amazed and so pleased that it actually “worked” for me.
lori green tarot
Lori Green
Professional Tarot Reader
There are many different platforms that a Tarot reader can work from. They can engage in face-to-face readings, text based readings, email and phone readings, but it is in through the medium of phone readings that I think this book will be of enormous benefit. The techniques are fast, accurate and easy to use … everything you want if you work for a psychic phone line.
douglas gibb tarot eon
Douglas Gibb

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28 thoughts on “Beyond the Celtic Cross – Behind the Scenes”

  1. Hi Catherine,
    I ordered your book as soon as I got notice of it – this week it is going to come.
    To be honest: I can´t stand waiting for it any longer.

    • Hi Phine – I hope you don’t have to wait too long! Please let me know how you find it once you’ve read it, and of course, if there’s questions you have – fire away :D
      Thanks for your comment and for ordering our book :)

  2. You’re so right Catherine – it really is a penny dropping experience. I have found it so hard until now to read the cards for myself and get any sensible answers but I did another reading on a family matter and the answer was there staring at me. I think I had known it all along but it needed to be pointed out to me in no uncertain terms. Now acting on it…. well that’s a different matter. :-)

    • Hi Lori – I think it was a relief for Paul when my pennies were dropping! He was very, very patient – and I was indeed a stroppy mare at times….
      It’s quite incredible what you can do with a Celtic Cross isn’t it?! It was a very cathartic process for me, but so enlightening too. I’m glad you got, and still are getting such a lot from our book and this method of reading Tarot cards.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, it’s always a pleasure to have you here :)

  3. Congratulations Catherine and I must say you have piqued my interest – I may just have to get this book! ;)

    • And so you should Helen – every tarot reader needs this book!!
      Thank you for your lovely comment and your continued support of me and Tarot Elements :D

    • Hi Cher – thank you for your comment and interest in my book, I do hope you give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!

  4. Congratulations Catherine! The book is everything – and more – than I expected. Well done!

    • Hi Theresa – thank you once again for a lovely comment and your wonderful review of our book. I’m glad you’ve been getting such a lot from it :)

  5. What the heck is a stroppy mare????
    I loved your candid sharing of this very cool story. Thank you. Now, I am just waiting for my copy to arrive!

    • Hi Barbara – a stroppy mare is a saying my family has used for as long as I can remember. It simply means a woman (or girl) who is having a strop – or a tantrum; bitching, moaning, complaining and generally throwing her toys out of the pram, so to speak – which is another saying for you ;)
      My family are from London and use a lot of sayings, including some remnants of Cockney rhyming slang. We also use made up words, which I have to admit to not being aware of until recently!
      I’m thrilled you liked the post, there are lots of other private tales to the creation of our book and the journey that Paul and I have been on, but I’m saving some of those – there may be a second part to ‘Behind the Celtic Cross’ ;)
      Thanks for stopping by Barbara, it’s always a pleasure to have you here :)

    • Thanks Melissa!! I hope you enjoy it – don’t forget to share your thoughts about it. Lovely to see you here again :)

  6. Hi Catherine,
    Your book finally arrived from Amazon and I found it interesting and generally very informative. However, I have been a fan of your excellent blog for a while now and believe you are a natural teacher who has the compassion and skills to deliver your tarot interpretations in a way that is remarkably easy to understand. Your comments on your blog from your friends and readers surely confirm that fact,
    I have also spent many hours on your colleagues web site and although he obviously has a tremendous understanding of the subject and many years of experience, I feel that YOU must soon write a book of your own in your own right and inimitable style of teaching that many will clamber to buy. Keep up the good work – PLEASE.

    • Hi Brian – what can I say to such a wonderful comment except a massive thank you!! Your faith and belief in my work and style is really appreciated, and somewhat humbling. I have a number of ideas for books, some of which are still in the concept stage, another has actually seen some assembly of a skeleton outline, so exciting times ahead!
      You know, it would be really cool to hear about the ideas of my readers, what they would like to see me write about, so if you have some things that you would like to see, please share them here in the comments or use the contact form and I will email you back :)
      Once again, thank you for such an uplifting and inspiring comment. You really did make my day :)

  7. Hi Catherine,
    Thank you for responding so quickly. I am delighted to hear that you have plans for another book. As to the subject. I, personally, have no views on the matter except to say that it is more to do with your style and the way that you present your excellent work. Many tarot authors seem to feel that presenting copious amounts of information is what readers are looking for and I am sure, in some cases that fits the bill well, however, this is where your work shines through, as you carefully and skilfully show us how to apply the knowledge you provide in terms appropriate to our daily lives. Douglas, at Tarot Eon, has this skill as well. Anyway, keep it coming and I wish you all the best.

    • Hi Brian – thank you for another wonderful comment – you can keep them coming :) Seriously though, it’s very inspiring and uplifting to hear how appreciated your work and ideas are. I will keep you updated with my book plans, and possibly even test my ideas out on my most supportive readers like yourself.
      Doug at Tarot Eon is a wonderful teacher. His knowledge is very deep and expansive and yet he is one of the most humble and modest tarot readers/teachers that I know. Tarot Eon so far, is only the tip of the iceberg, which is very exciting for us all :) I’m very fortunate to have such knowledgeable friends who are so generous with their time and resources.
      I shall keep in mind your comments about ‘copious amounts of information’ when I begin to get carried away with my writing. I was given some very sound and creative advice from Mary K Greer about writing, so you are in good company ;)
      Once again, thank you for such a wonderful comment.

  8. I have learned a lot from this book. In particular the chapters, Changging the Dynamics. This book I recommend most warmly.

    • Hi Ronnie – thank you for buying my book, and also for taking time out to comment on my tarot blog. I’m really pleased that you’re getting so much from Beyond the Celtic Cross. Changing the Dynamics was an interesting chapter to work with as the cards involved were added after the reading and so were separate from the original workings out. It was interesting to see how things changed by adding other cards. Note those cards were very relevant to the reading and situation, but it definitely changed the dynamics of the reading.
      Thank you for stopping by, and welcome to Tarot Elements :)

  9. Hello. I put a long video on YouTube called The Celtic Cross is like a Shakespeare play. I think the original layout is very comprehensive and multi-layered. So, I know you don’t know me, but I wonder if you would like a traditional take on the reading you did for yourself? I know the question; can you tell me what the cards were – and what meaning you attributed to the particular positions – and I’ll put something together that you might find interesting?

    • Hi John,
      Thank you for taking the time to check out the blog post on Beyond the Celtic Cross. I was intrigued by your offer and have to admit to spending some time checking out your videos before I answered you.
      I would be happy to see how you would re-interpret the original cards in the Celtic Cross reading that forms the basis of my book. Just as a reference, the original spread is read traditionally in the book, but for the sake of space, and the fact that the other techniques were the stars of the show, the traditional reading is given a quick interpretation as opposed to a more in depth treatment.
      I originally used the Gilded Tarot for the reading, but the Rider Waite-Smith was used for the book. I would be interested to see you use the Gilded, if you have it, but would still be happy with the Rider Waite-Smith.
      The cards in the original spread were:
      Heart of the Matter – 8 of Cups rx
      Opposing Factor – 7 of Cups
      Root Cause – The Sun
      Recent Past – 3 of Swords rx
      Attitudes and Beliefs – 4 of Cups
      Immediate Future – Knight of Pentacles
      You As You Are – 10 of Wands
      Outside Environment – 10 of Cups
      Hopes and Fears – Ace of Cups
      Outcome – Knight of Wands
      I’m looking forward to reading your interpretation on the Celtic Cross reading – I still have my original notes, which was given the ‘full treatment’ back then – can’t wait to compare and see what differences you may come up with ;)

  10. Hi Catherine
    The book is fantastic. I read through it in less than 48 hours, but will refer to it many times in the future. Your journey that is woven into this book has inspired me.
    I wrote a complete review for Amazon (US site). Keep in mind I am no writer, but feel I was able to express the impact this book had on me.
    Love your blog!

    • Hi Ed – thank you for such a lovely comment and of course for buying the book! I’m happy that you were so inspired by my journey, though I have to say, that journey continues on and could quite easily make another book!
      I’m looking forward to reading your review on Amazon, as of this moment it’s not up yet but I shall keep checking.
      Thank you for stopping by Ed, and welcome to Tarot Elements – I look forward to seeing you here again :)

  11. Hi Catherine’
    Just ordered your book and really can’t wait to read it; sounds just like what I need right now.

    • That’s great news Nina – please let me know what you think of it when you’ve read it. If you want to ask any questions while you’re reading it, please do, I’d be happy to help :)

  12. Hi there Catherine,
    I have been looking at all your blogs and feel that I can learn from you as you seem to put things over in an easy manner. I have been looking at all the web sites that talk about the elements in tarot and at first found it mind boggling but this was because I was at the time just new to tarot and looking up the meanings. I have looked at the site that Paul Hughes-Barlow has and he recomended to go to Tarot Eon and have learned loads there with Doug, but this the first Book that I have come across with the elements that talks about card counting as well. I saw some card counting with Paul on his video blog and was very impressed but it also confused me, so I have made a decision here that I am definitely going to get your book next week. Hope to speak about the book soon.

    • Hi Colin – I’m sure you will learn a great deal from the book I wrote with Paul. It does indeed cover all of those subjects but with the benefit of following the tarot reading we feature in the book, you can see exactly what we did and follow our steps exactly – this removes any second guessing that you might be doing things right, or wrong.
      I’d love to hear how you get on with the book when you get it – thanks for you great comment :)

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