Northwest Astrology & Tarot Salon at Breitenbush

Today I’m having a conversation with Toni Gilbert, nurse, counselor, author, tarot consultant and astrologer. She’s bringing together some fascinating names to serve as discussion leaders in what promises to be a premier event. Let’s get started.

Northwest Astrology & Tarot Salon at Breitenbush

breitenbushArwen: Why do a salon for tarot AND astrology?

Toni: This salon is actually a personal expression of who I am. Tarot and astrology are two important tools that I use in wellness counseling. I like to talk about them and I thought that a salon could be the quiet and subdued environment that I have a fondness for.

To further answer your question, I’ll give you an example of how I use astrology and Tarot in a session. Before I see a client, I study clients’ chart of natal astrology for clues about who they might be and their possible challenges. After that, I say a quick prayer of intention and then spend some time in meditation to allow anything useful to come into my imagination. Sometimes I receive symbolic clues and sometimes I just rest in meditation.

As a transpersonal counselor, I like to have a full range of tools as options when in session. Tarot cards is but one of my tools, albeit a major one. I use the artful images on Tarot cards as an assessment tool at the beginning and for the major part of the counseling process. I also use astrology in counseling as an interpretation of the archetypal forces at work in this world at the moment that a client came into this world. With astrology, I interpret some of the forces at work in their lives in a way that makes sense to them.

Interpretation is an art form because of its openness to all ideas as valid in their own ways. The interpretations of astrologers will vary dependent upon the education, experience, personality, life orientation and personal development of the person doing the reading.

Basically, I study the archetypes and I find that, like dreams and meditations, Tarot cards and astrology are both rich with archetypes and offer a multitude of interpretations. This type of study is as complicated as mathematics, but we must dip into our more intrinsic and intuitive levels. The intention and the use of these esoteric tools open the mind up to possibilities that we may not have thought of. The additional information deepens the intellectual aspect and gives the counselor more to go on. As strange as it may seem to some, intention also invites the archetypal transpersonal world to participate in a dialog with you through these tools.

As an inner journeyer, I have explored my core dimensions for over 50 years. I have friends who have also lived the hermit’s highly symbolic life and we compare notes. Our way of seeing is great fun. We want to share and the salon is a good way to do that.

On top of that Jupiter is transiting Leo in my 5th house of self-expression. I can hardly wait.

Arwen: Who have you invited to present?

Toni: I’ve invited my old friends Robert Volkmann, a medical doctor and astrologer and tarotist and astrologer Christine Payne Towler, author of the new Tarot of the Holy Light deck, Isha Lerner, astrologer, tarotist and author of the Inner Child Cards, Paul Nagy a tarotist clergy and mystic with a message, Two new friends astrologer Mary Jo Wevers and Stargate bookstore owner Alan Stein. Our latest to join is author Cynthia Giles, who has worked with Tarot for thirty years (teaching, writing, reading). She has presented at the Bay Area Tarot Symposium among other events. Tarotist Jadzia DeForest will be here with her husband Jay. Together they will host the Northwest Tarot Symposium in 2015. You can get a more complete profile of each of the conversation leaders at the web site

Bonnie Cehovet a longtime professional friend has written the profiles and been a great support helping to bring this event to a successful conclusion.

Arwen: Why a remote place in Oregon?

Toni: To some who love Breitenbush Hot Springs retreat and conference center, remote is a good thing. Recent literature and scientific studies validate what we know intuitively is true, that being with intention in a forest sanctuary is healing. Several Japanese studies gathered evidence supporting the efficacy of what they term “forest bathing” as a natural therapy by investigating its physiological benefits using biological indicators in outdoor settings. ( For more in-depth information about this phenomenon, see the published article Forest Immersion Therapy on my personal web site.)

Basically, the environment at Breitenbush gives event participants a Nature’s healing type of experience that is best observed and experienced with mindfulness and a relaxed attitude.

Arwen: If you have no experience with tarot or astrology, can you attend?

Toni: This event is open to the explorer, the teacher, the student and many other archetypes. If you want to learn something that will facilitate your personal growth, or you have wisdom to teach, then this quiet and introspective type of event is for you.

Arwen: Will there be classes or workshops? What’s the structure?

Toni: Intellectually, there will be two, two hour conversations a day by the Conversation Leaders. The rest of the time, you can get a massage, walk in the woods, and dine on healthy vegetarian food. There is a sauna and several hot tubs. This is a place whereby you leave your watch at home. And because of this salon, you can get an interpretation of the archetypal energies in a Tarot layout to answer your utmost passionate life questions and an astrology interpretation of the planet configurations at the time you were born.

For your exploring pleasure, we have a line-up of Conversation Leaders, all master magicians of the esoteric arts for the experiential part of the salon. I can envision the Conversation Leader’s cabins all decorated up with scarves, bedspreads, lights and smells. And I can envision it all with music in the air.


Toni Gilbert is a transpersonal counselor with a background in holistic nursing. As a professional with a formal education in nursing, psychology, transpersonal studies, and certifications in wellness counseling, mind-body consciousness, guided imagery, the use of imagery in medicine and more she offers clients an array of healing arts techniques to enhance wellness and prevent illness. In addition to an associate’s degree in nursing, she has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and art, including undergraduate classes in Jungian psychology. She continued her interest in art and its symbolism in a graduate art therapy school. She holds a master’s degree from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.

Toni’s first book is entitled Messages from the Archetypes: Using Tarot for Healing and Spiritual Growth, published by White Cloud Press. Her second book, Gaining Archetypal Vision is published by Schiffer Books. She has written for national and local publication. You may see her published articles on her personal web site.
Ms. Gilbert maintains a personal web site and the Northwest Astrology & Tarot Salon site at She was the founding editor of the Alternative Journal of Nursing and the founding director for the Oregon Holistic Nurses Association.
In the recent past, Ms. Gilbert worked in the field of mental health nursing and owned Centre of Main St., a wellness center in Jefferson, Oregon, where she saw clients and facilitated therapeutic groups. In addition, she has taught psychology at two community colleges.
You may contact Toni through her web site at and E-mail

Saturday, Whoops & Creativity

Whew! It’s Saturday and I’m still on vacation. Enjoy my interview with Marie L. White. Which reminds me! I haven’t done that review. Whoops!

I asked Marie L. White, the creative mind behind both the book and art of the Mary-El Tarot, a few questions. For the answers she had to draw from her own deck and interpret the cards for us. I will have a review of this deck up eventually. I’m just having so much fun learning it right now.

Read the interview.

Creatrix, Gaia & Arwen

Today I have an interview from 2009 when I interviewed the creatrix of the deck that has been my go-to reading deck ever since I got it in my hands. Here’s Joanna Powell Colbert’s first interview with me.

jpcToday, please welcome Joanna Powell Colbert and her Gaian Tarot. This interview is comprised of answers from both the author/artist (A) as well as the deck (D). I give the questions and then the deck is used to answer the questions. So what you read is what Joanna pulled for each answer.

Read the interview.

Fairies, Ghosts & Victims

Today’s is with Lisa Hunt when she participated in my interview by drawing cards from her then new Fairy Tale Tarot. She now has the gorgeous Ghosts & Spirits Tarot out so I suppose I need to get her to do that one as well. Hmmm, wonder if she will!

For the first of these interviews on my blog, Lisa Hunt has offered herself up as a willing vic…errr, participant. I wanted to share a bit of what she said about this process.

Lisa Hunt on the process of doing this interview-by-deck: Lisa_grin

Read the interview.

Vacation1, Mary K. Greer & Memories

I’m on vacation this week so I’m bringing up some old posts to share with you while I’m gone. I have been so blessed in my Tarot community to have the opportunity to interview some amazing people! Here is my interview with the amazing Mary K. Greer from 2008.

Mary K Greer
Mary K Greer

Recently I asked one of the leading ladies of Tarot if she would mind doing an interview with me. I had this idea of doing a contest in conjunction with her interview. To my surprise, she said yes. I panicked. I knew what the contest was going to be (read to the end for more on that), but oh dear!

Um,now what, Arwen? You asked one of your heroines if you could ask her some questions. They better be good!

Read the interview.

Pssst, that contest is 4 years old so it is OVER. 😀

INTERVIEW: M.M. Meleen & the Rosetta Tarot

Recently, at my Austin Tarot Meetup, I heard about a new Tarot deck called the Rosetta Tarot. When I read the opening page, this line really leapt out at me:

“Tarot can be considered a hieroglyphic, symbolic, and pictorial language so flexible as to be able to contain the known universe and all combinations of manifestations both earthly and spiritual, tangible and intangible.”

I decided I wanted to look further into this intriguing deck. Continue reading “INTERVIEW: M.M. Meleen & the Rosetta Tarot”

Interview: Marie L. White & The Mary-El Tarot

I asked Marie L. White, the creative mind behind both the book and art of the Mary-El Tarot, a few questions. For the answers she had to draw from her own deck and interpret the cards for us. I will have a review of this deck up eventually. I’m just having so much fun learning it right now.

I asked Marie L. White, the creative mind behind both the book and art of the Mary-El Tarot, a few questions. For the answers she had to draw from her own deck and interpret the cards for us. I will have a review of this deck up eventually. I’m just having so much fun learning it right now.

Born in California and now living in North Carolina, Marie L. White has always found a need to touch, paint, taste or in some way immortalize the beauty that she sees. Her dreams and experiences made her search for answers to make sense of it all. She sees Tarot as a triple threat of expression through art, word and number. Read her full bio here.

Now let’s hear from Marie as she explores her process letting her own deck speak for her. Continue reading “Interview: Marie L. White & The Mary-El Tarot”

Interview: Joanna Powell Colbert (#2)

“Writing is flying in dreams. When you remember. When you can. When it works. It’s that easy.” ? Neil Gaiman

Almost two years ago, I had the immense pleasure of doing an interview with Joanna Powell Colbert. I asked her to use her gorgeous deck, the Gaian Tarot, to answer each. Now that Llewellyn has released the mass-market edition, I wanted to revisit Joanna to ask her a few other questions. She is on a month long blog whirlwind tour in celebration of this release.

In full disclosure, I am a bonafide Gaian Tarot nut. I have three mass market editions and two limited editions. It’s an amazing deck that I highly recommend. I’m mad for gorgeous Tarot and Joanna’s deck constantly delivers.

Arwen: Your deck celebrates a connection with the natural world. Where is your favorite urban spot for reconnecting with nature? Continue reading “Interview: Joanna Powell Colbert (#2)”

Chatting With Bonnie Cehovet

Bonnie CehovetI had the chance to interview Bonnie about her new book, Tarot Birth Cards And You, as well as life in general.  Leave a question or comment for Bonnie to be entered to win a copy of her new book, Tarot Birth Cards and You.

Did I mention Bonnie has a new book? Okay! I’ll stop!


Arwen Your book highlights a threefold process for working with the birth cards. What inspired you to develop this approach?

Bonnie I never really thought of this as a process. What I wanted to do was Continue reading “Chatting With Bonnie Cehovet”