Archive for April, 2013

The Death card is a major tarot card and sits at number 13

Last night I was trying to decide which tarot card to write about next when I received the sad news that someone I know had passed away. I knew him from motorcycle events that I photographed, so he wasn’t an intimate, but he did live locally and often I’d bump into him in the supermarket and he’d always greet me with smiles and stop for a chat. I liked him. He was funny and jolly, an excellent business man and over the years treated the lad he was training up like a son, mentoring and guiding him. In a complex world where we often rush past people and never speak, I classed this man as my friend.

I received the news from a Facebook group announcement and was immediately struck by a tightening in my solar plexus. A friend of mine was round watching the Moto GP I’d recorded for him and I waved my hand and said, “Pause that for a minute.”

Once the background hum of motorcycles was silenced I said, “You know Ian, with the turquoise bike? He’s died.”

Stunned my friend said, “What? You’re kidding.”

I shook my head and for a full minute we sat in silence. It was a silence filled with both shock and respect, an unrehearsed pause in life to mourn our friend.

Immediately our thoughts sprung to his apprentice and simultaneously we said, “His mate will be gutted, lost without him.”

How strange that we both said the same words at the same time, that our thoughts quickly travelled away from the dead and towards the living; the one left behind.

This is how death affects us all. We mourn our loved one, tuck them away in our heart and know that we will miss their company, their smile and their laughter. Then we consider how everyone else will cope with that loss, how those closest to them will manage, and whether they need our support. A gaping hole is left where that person used to stand which in time is filled with memories and acceptance.

For a few minutes my friend and I discussed Ian’s life and what a nice guy he was; then we both needed time for our own thoughts and feelings, to assimilate the loss. Eventually I turned back to Facebook and posted my comment and sentiments of sadness under the photo of Ian doing what he loved best, riding his motorbike.

Toni Allen Tarot Death 13

Toni Allen Tarot Death 13

In a tarot reading it is extremely rare for the Death card to actually mean a physical death, in fact hardly ever for the person asking the questions. However, it can mean that the questioner has recently suffered bereavement, as I have with my friend, and that it’s a time of loss and coming to terms with the hole left in one’s life. In all the years I’ve been reading tarot I have mainly seen the passing of life depicted in riddles and cryptic messages, which have only been fully understood after the event. If the Death card is symbolising death, then it will nearly always be what I term ‘an appropriate death,’ in that the individual referred to is already very old or seriously ill, and that the questioner is aware of this.

If I had done a reading in connection for my friend I may well have seen this as he died from an illness not an accident.

Everything which is born is destined to die; although the logical understanding of this doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to come to terms with emotionally. Our very first death is our birth, as before birth we are at one with the mother, safe and nurtured. Our passage into the physical world is an initiation into the human condition of duality and fear. We find ourselves alone, separate from all that had sustained us, and likely to die without care and attention.  

Note that the Empress who symbolises Mother Nature sits at number 3 showing the interrelation between birth and Death at 13.

When many people come for their first Tarot reading they have extreme anxiety about seeing the Death card in their reading.  Suspicion and modern day hype have created a myth around the card which instils fear, fear and more fear.  In truth the card depicts transformation and life itself.  Everything which is born is destined to die, whether that be a human being, a pet, a business, a relationship, or a daisy in the field.

Marseille Tarot Death 13

Marseille Tarot Death 13

In tarot the Death card is equivalent to Old Father Time, and in medieval cards death was sometimes depicted holding an hour glass.  Each man’s life is as long as his life, no more no less. We are born, learn to walk, transform from child to adult, give up our ego consciousness to find unity through sexual expression, marry, have children, move house and retire.  All of these and many, many more are symbolised in tarot through the Death card.  The Ages of Man is a classic symbol, depicting a youngster through to old age, and right at the end is death himself, waiting to greet us all.

For one man the Death card symbolised his impending retirement, and the end of an era. Surrounding cards showed his trepidation and extreme fear of loss of identity once his long term business title was removed.  “I’ll be a nobody,” he said fearfully. “I feel dead inside already.”

The tarot card sequence representing this was the King of Coins –  a man who has a strong business identity and gains self-worth and recognition from the position holds at work. The Death card – the ending of this position. The Moon card – His fear at going forwards into the unknown.

For one single mother the death card represented that her children were growing up, preparing to take exams, leaving school and going on to university.  She saw this growth stage as highly positive for everyone and welcomed the change. “I’ve already initiated an Open University course,” she said. “The children are disorientated by the change in me, the idea of their mother studying and not always being available to prepare meals at odd times and fill the washing machine up all of the time.”

The tarot card sequence representing this change was the Ten of Batons – overburdened by responsibility to others. The Death card – showing that those responsibilities were coming to an end. The Three of Coins – Studying under a master.

This particular client continued to consult me for both tarot and astrology during the entire three year period of her transformation process.  Astrologically she was experiencing Uranus transiting conjunct her natal Sun, which also represents an extreme death and rebirth of the ego identity.

During a tarot reading the surrounding cards will always describe what type of death is taking place.

Here are some examples:-

Two of Cups reversed followed by the Death cards symbolises falling out of love with someone or something and knowing that the emotional connection is dead.

Seven of Coins reversed followed by death symbolises work that was tedious and unrewarding coming to an end.

Ace of Coins followed by Death symbolises a contract coming to an end.

The Devil followed by Death symbolises an end to guilt or bad habits.

The card that follows Death in a reading will show what happens after the ending brought about by the Death card.

So let’s follow through with our earlier examples.

With the Two of Cups reversed and Death we might see The Fool depicting the sense of freedom we feel once we have let go of someone we no longer love.

3 card tarot spread

3 card tarot spread

After the Seven of Coins reversed and Death we might see the Three of Coins symbolising study and learning, so that once we have learnt our new skill we can go out and find more rewarding work.

After the Ace of Coins and Death we might see the Two of Batons showing that for a while doors of opportunity are closed to us.

After the Devil and Death we might see the Page of Swords representing the person who drew us into bad habits tempting us back.

When the death card is reversed it symbolises that either, the questioner is stuck and holding on to something which is over, or needs to end, or that something is being ended against their wishes. In such situations the questioner often recognises their own dilemma yet cannot see a way around the situation. One of the most common scenarios is when someone has a well- paid job which no longer satisfies their needs. To end the job would near enough mean financial ruin, yet all the time they hang on to it even though they feel they are dying inside.

Waite Tarot Death 13

Waite Tarot Death 13

Ending a long term relationship is another common example in which the death card reversed comes up. Moving on in such a situation is often complex due to the fact that children and joint resources are often involved. Some individuals are extremely courageous and walk away with nothing in order to find a more wholesome life, while others hang on bitterly until the children leave school. Neither solution has an ideal outcome because whichever choice is made the person for whom the relationship has died will inevitably go through a grieving process.

One woman had the Death card the right way up symbolising that her divorce had just been finalised. Throughout the reading she intermittently sobbed.  “I can’t understand why I’m crying,” she explained. “I don’t love him anymore.” Her tears were a natural part of the grieving process for something that had died, and of letting go. 

In a reading do not be afraid of fully exploring how to interpret the Death card. All endings are a transition to the next phase of life, and without finishing one thing we can never start anything new.


For beginners and more experienced tarot readers I have two books available in many popular formats.

Ever wondered what the Death card means in a tarot reading about sex and relationships? Find out in…

Sex & Tarot

Sex & Tarot by Toni Allen

Sex & Tarot by Toni Allen

Sex & Tarot from iTunes

Paperback via Lulu (possibly best price)

Kindle UK  Kindle US Paperback Amazon UK  Paperback Amazon US

Also on Nook and other platforms

The System of Symbols, a new way to look at tarot

System of Symbols cover

Available from Kindle UK  Kindle US ITunes

Paperback via Lulu (possibly best price) Also on Nook and other platforms.


If you’ve enjoyed this article please follow my blog so that you’ll be kept up to date when I post new articles and tarot interpretations. If you’re not on WordPress come along and follow me on Facebook ToniAllenAuthor or @listansus. Come along and follow me anyway, it would be great to meet you.Toni Allen Logo

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The Devil is a major tarot card and sits at number 15.

Marseille Tarot the Devil

Marseille Tarot the Devil

With so much misrepresentation of the Devil in tarot it is often difficult for students to decipher the cards true meaning.

At number 5 we have the Pope or Hierophant, symbolising clear communication with ones higher self, while here at number 15, the second cycle of tarot, we find the Devil representing negative thoughts, habits and behavioural patterns.

The Devil stands on a pillar representing the physical realm that we are all bound to.  Chained to this pillar are a male and a female figure which represent the duality that binds us to life and rebirth until we reach self-realisation.

The symbol explains how through temptations in the physical world the Devil binds us into life time after life time of bondage to lower levels of existence.

In practice we experience this as bad habits and feelings of guilt.

All of us have a propensity to fall back on habitual behaviour when we feel stuck, ineffectual or unhappy.  This can be anything from smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, taking drugs, over indulgence in chocolate, unconsciously choosing painful relationships (because we are familiar with them), over working, gambling, stealing, lying, sexual excess, abstinence, laziness … the list is endless.

In medieval times the Devil is shown pitch-forking the ‘sinners’ into the mouth of hell, creeping up to steal someone’s soul at the moment of death, and generally wreaking havoc when we’re out trying to have a good time. The message is loud and clear. Be good or the Devil will take you.

In life many things are pleasurable and highly satisfying in moderation. We all need food to sustain us, but when it becomes our evening habit to sit down and eat three large bars of chocolate self-restraint has flown and we are under the power of the Devil. Temptation is all around us. Have another beer. Go and have lots of sex without ever forming a relationship. Tell lies until everybody is suspicious and has learnt not to trust you. We all have our excuses for this repetitive behaviour, but until we listen to our higher conscious, as symbolised by The Pope, we stay locked in and chained down by the Devil.

TemptationA vicious cycle is set up because the more we fall back into habit the more guilt we experience, and the more guilt we experience the more we require the habit to sooth us.

Toni Allen Devil tarot card

Toni Allen Tarot

Often we experience this as other people “making us feel guilty.”  This process often starts in early childhood when we are threatened with withdrawal of love if we continue our “bad” activity, and offered punishment if we persist.  This early programming sets up a cycle of guilt every time we endeavour to tread our own path of self-discovery.

The Devil reversed symbolises breaking away from these old habits and making ourselves a clearer channel for our highest good so that we cease to be locked into these habitual patterns of activity.  I have often seen this in readings where the questioner is consciously seeking to address their drinking, smoking or eating habits.

The negative side of the Devil reversed in when the individual has no remorse or guilt of any sort.  Sometimes people are completely unaware that their actions have caused harm to others.  On a general level this type of individual presents as  inconsiderate.  On a deeper level I have seen it in readings for people with criminal tendencies, or where they are already in therapy having treatment for deep psychosis. Without a sense of conscience, which the Devil offers, an individual is likely to become both dangerous and evil.  

When drawing Tarot cards as hints and tips for your creative writing the Devil is your baddie. Here’s someone who will do evil things and have no remorse. It’s your psychotic killer, or the lover who believes that keeping you close is for your own good, and nothing to do with their own sense of inadequacy.

In one reading a woman had the Devil representing her feelings of bondage and guilt while nursing her elderly mother.  She had been brought up to respect her parents yet hated the lack of freedom which her overwhelming sense of duty brought with it.  “I shall feel so guilty if I don’t look after her myself,” she said, even though she had enough resources to pay for a nursing home for her mother, or employ home help.

This type of guilt is laid on by the desire to be ‘good,’ and the fear of how society will point the finger and accuse us of being ‘bad’ if we don’t fall in line with how everyone else says things should be done.


For beginners and more experienced tarot readers I have two books available in many popular formats.

Sex & Tarot

Sex & Tarot by Toni Allen

Sex & Tarot by Toni Allen

Sex & Tarot from iTunes

Paperback via Lulu (possibly best price)

Kindle UK  Kindle US Paperback Amazon UK  Paperback Amazon US

Also on Nook and other platforms

The System of Symbols, a new way to look at tarot

System of Symbols cover

Available from Kindle UK  Kindle US  iTunes via Lulu   Paperback via Lulu (possibly best price) Also on Nook and other platforms.


If you’ve enjoyed this article please follow my blog so that you’ll be kept up to date when I post new articles and tarot interpretations. If you’re not on WordPress come along and follow me on Facebook ToniAllenAuthor or @listansus. Come along and follow me anyway, it would be great to meet you.Toni Allen Logo

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The Tower tarot card is a major card and sits at number 16.

Toni Allen Tarot the Tower

Toni Allen Tarot the Tower

Throughout our lives we all strive to obtain and retain a sense of self and individual identity.  This starts at The Emperor and our feeling of I Am.  We draw people, places and things to us that help us to maintain what we believe to be our identity.  Piece by piece, brick by brick, we build this ego personality, which here in the Tower is represented by the Tower itself.Then something happens that shatters our carefully created self-image and we discover that it was all an illusion. The Tower crumbles.

In The Tower card this sudden occurrence is symbolised by lightning striking, as if God himself has metered out some divine intervention. The two figures being ejected from the Tower are symbolic of our dual nature, our ability as human beings to know good from bad and right from wrong.

In life there are two distinct ways in which The Tower is experienced. One is when something unexpected happens to us, and the other is when someone else deliberately undermines our personality and therefore damages and destroys our self-confidence.

With the first example we directly experience this as a deep shock and trauma.  One man had the Tower as the initial central pivot point of his reading.  From the spread it was obvious that he had experienced such trauma that he now didn’t know who he was at all.  Literally he had lost his identity.  He explained to me that a few months ago his mother had died and that along with his three brothers, whom he was in business with, he had gone along to the reading of the will.  In her will his mother had declared that he was not his father’s child but the son of a family friend.

This had instantly been a shock for the man, but when his three brothers turned and pointed at him saying, “You are not blood, we do not want you in the business”, his world had completely fallen apart. In a matter of seconds he had lost his identity, his family and his work.

The first thing that this client needed was treatment for shock, so I recommended the Bach Flower remedy Star of Bethlehem. The other thing that he required was time to assimilate the changes, lick his wounds and recreate his feeling of “I am.”

Here are a few examples of when I have seen the Tower depict shock:- Finding out

Marseille Tarot The Tower

Marseille Tarot The Tower

that one’s partner is having an affair.  Sudden loss of a loved one.  Accidents. Divorce.

For many people the break-up of a long term relationship results in The Tower. One’s identity has been built on being that person’s partner, on the shared friendships, the shared dreams and the shared income.  With the loss of the relationship comes the loss of everything else.

Shock shuts down the heart chakra.  This creates feelings of numbness and an inability to experience emotions. In tarot the heart chakra is symbolised by the Ace of Cups.  Often you will find the Ace of Cups reversed close to The Tower card in a reading symbolising the broken heart.  If the trauma is recent then this is a very natural reaction, but if the trauma is from years ago then it symbolises that the individual has not yet been through all of the stages of grief. Often crying is what is needed, and you will often find that a person stuck in shock has not yet cried, or cried enough, over their loss.  The letting go is symbolised by the Star Card.

The other side of The Tower is when one person deliberately sets out to undermine another.  The cause behind this is often jealousy, and if the two people are in a relationship it can arise from a fear of abandonment.  This fear is rooted in the unconscious idea that if the partner achieves more then they will no longer want to be with someone who is not such a high achiever. In a reading see if this Nine of Coins reversed is close to any card symbolising the partner as this often refers to a person who fears being abandoned and is highly insecure.

During a reading I have seen The Tower depict a husband or wife who criticises or constantly puts down their partner. Instead of the Tower blasting the personality apart in one fell swoop it is someone slowly chipping it away, bit by bit, instead.  The partner takes on the role of God and will often say things like, “if only you did this or that,” “I don’t think you’re capable”, “You’ll never achieve that,”  “You’re so stupid.”

Waite Tarot the Tower

Waite Tarot the Tower

Many people live within these abusive relationships until they quite literally reach breaking point.  Often people suffer an abusive relationship for many, many years, the ego identity too crushed to believe that they would be capable of making it on their own.

I have also seen this side of The Tower in both work situations and teaching situations. In both cases it often occurs due to inherent jealousy.  In a reading the Three of Swords will depict the jealousy and bad feeling coming from the person who is undermining the individual.

Sad as it is I have often done readings for people who are studying on a spiritual path and it is their tutor, or master, who is undermining their abilities.  These types of teacher fear that the student will surpass them and somehow steal their glory.  When I see this in a reading I know that the spiritual student has great capability, otherwise the master would not fear them making progress.  It also happens in educational establishments of all sorts, again where the teacher has to “know best”.  In this kind of situation look out for the three of coins close by, as this symbolises teachers and teaching.

When the Tower is taken to symbolise the past and childhood it can depict either: a) childhood abuse, generally of a mental or “smacking” type, rather than sexual abuse, or b) birth trauma.  

With childhood abuse the Tower depicts blows to the body or ego identity, and only alongside specific surrounding cards would it indicate that the abuse had a sexual nature.  These shocks get stored in the body, create post-traumatic stress and also long term feelings of inferiority.

Shock from birth trauma can not only create feelings of inferiority but also contribute to a long term feeling of loss, grief and a sense of “not belonging”.  Very often such people find it difficult to find a sense of fulfilment within their lives and underestimate their own achievements.

Interpretations for tarot cards adjust and metamorphose with the age in which we live, and in recent years the Tower has come to represent the dramatic destruction of the twin towers on September 11th. I most certainly did not foresee the tragic events, although for about two months leading up to Sept 11th I had a lot of clients laughing and saying ‘impossible!” when I looked into their futures and judged that they would not travel, not publically perform their music, that their company would not be worth half as much in a few months’ time, and so on. All of these predictions came to pass after September 11th.

After the events of September 11th I have seen the Tower in readings for people who have been influenced and affected by the terrible events. Even though I live in the UK some of my clients lost loved ones, while others have had their working lives changed due to the world events which followed.

Marseille Tarot Tower Reversed

Marseille Tarot Tower Reversed

When the Tower card is reversed in a reading it symbolises the questioner’s refusal to crack up under strain, pressure or shock.

Very often it depicts that someone has armour plated themselves in order to survive a situation. I saw this clearly for one woman who was nursing her sick mother.  Due to her mother’s dreadful illness she had become “not herself at all,” as my client described it, which included swearing at her, yelling abuse and going into lengthy sulky silences.  My client admitted “bricking herself in” against the onslaught, yet knew that mostly all she wanted to do was to burst into tears. She accepted that there would be a time, in the future, when her mother eventually passed away, that the constant shocks would have to be released.

If shock remains locked in it results in all kinds of physical ailments, especially stiffness within the body.  Often when a client has a variety of ailments which doctors have diagnosed as “stress” and the Tower card is reversed then I will start to take cards for their past to work out where the shock originated from.  It is quite amazing how the human psyche manages to cleverly cloak and shield us from shock so that we can continue to function.

For one young man we traced the blocked shock back to when his father left his mother.  Never before had he taken the situation to be a shock, yet he clearly recalled how each day he was upset when his father didn’t come home after work. “I never cried,” he admitted.  “My mum needed me and I had to be a man.”

Toni Allen Tarot Ace Cups Reversed

Toni Allen Tarot Ace Cups Reversed

For one woman the Tower card reversed appeared when we were looking at her romantic situation.  She desperately wanted a fulfilling relationship yet found it impossible to trust and feel love back from any partner.  The Tower reversed implied that her heart chakra was blocked which was the cause behind the lack of loving sensation she experienced.  We took cards for her past and the Ace of Cups reversed (broken heart) next to the Ten of Coins (family) indicated that her family had been unable to exhibit positive affection due to their own problems.

On a very mundane level if the questioner is asking about buying property and the Tower card turns up representing the property they intend to buy then it literally indicates that the building is on shaky ground, that the foundations may be at fault or that it is in need of extreme renovation.  I see a lot of people who are property developers and these folk generally just smile at me and say, “I know it needs a lot of work, my dear, that’s why it’s a good investment for refurbishment.”  One man even roared with laughter.  “That’s what I intend to do,” he said. ”Raise it to the ground and build something new.”


For beginners and more experienced tarot readers I have two books available in many popular formats.

Sex & Tarot

Sex & Tarot by Toni Allen

Sex & Tarot by Toni Allen

Sex & Tarot from iTunes

Paperback via Lulu (possibly best price)

Kindle UK  Kindle US Paperback Amazon UK  Paperback Amazon US

Also on Nook and other platforms

The System of Symbols, a new way to look at tarot

System of Symbols cover

Available from Kindle UK  Kindle US  iTunes    Paperback via Lulu (possibly best price) Also on Nook and other platforms.


If you’ve enjoyed this article please follow my blog so that you’ll be kept up to date when I post new articles and tarot interpretations. If you’re not on WordPress come along and follow me on Facebook ToniAllenAuthor or @listansus. Come along and follow me anyway, it would be great to meet you.Toni Allen Logo

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The Tower – Major Taror Card Interpretation The first in a series of posts to help you build up knowledge of Major Tarot Card Meanings

Poll – How much would you pay for a “Tarot for Beginners” ebook? Today I need your help. Thanks for voting.

Author interview. I was interviewed by David Njoku of Indie Author Land on Being Richard and my other projects. Read the interview now at Indie Author Land.

What was Richard III really like? There is no birth time for Richard III – Third installment of my astrological profile of the King in the car park.

Writing Prompts – Two exercises to get your creativity going.

Being Richard Cover225% Discount!

I’ve just approved the paperback version of Being Richard for distribution and it will take about 8 weeks to make its way into retail stores such as Amazon. I know that lots of readers still enjoy holding an actual book in their hands and turning the pages. It’s one of life’s little pleasures. To introduce the paperback edition of Being Richard to everyone I’ve given it a whopping 25% discount on Lulu, which is the biggest discount I can offer, bringing the price down to just above cost. You will not find this offer anywhere else. So, now is the time to buy the paperback version of Being Richard

Sex & Tarot by Toni Allen

Sex & Tarot by Toni Allen

I’m also running a special discount on the paperback version of Sex & Tarot. 40% reduction. Yes, nearly half price and with this discount lower priced than the ebook. This is absolutely the best time to buy the paperback version of Sex & Tarot direct from Lulu. This offer is only available on the Lulu website.

In preparation for Valentine’s Day I’ve posted on

Love and Romance in Tarot – the tarot suit of Cups

For fans of Being Richard there’s

Being Richard-maps of locations in the novel-Elstead, Surrey

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The inspiration behind Being Richard – a contemporary thriller

Many people ask how I come up with ideas for my novels. Sometimes it’s flash-bang and a character is right in front of me doing something that needs to be written about, their story burning to be told; but more often it’s a much slower process.

The concept for Being Richard came to me in two stages and I spent a lot of time in Sunbeerka a.k.a. Richard’s company, thinking about him, talking to him, before I started to write.

Sunbeerka, son of the swamp lord, is my immortal’s ancestral title. At the end of this article is an exerpt from Being Richard in which he reveals his true name.

So here’s how the seed was planted and the character and plot line evolved.

As a professional tarot reader and astrologer I’ve studied many occult theories and investigated a variety of paranormal phenomena. One story that’s always intrigued me is the myth surrounding The Comte de St Germain, who many people say, never died. During his lifetime people would remark how he didn’t look any older than when they’d last met him years before, and some people believed that he’d discovered the elixir of life. I would often ponder this character and wonder how someone would cope if they never grew old, while friends and family aged.

I enjoy genealogy and recently discovered that one line of my ancestors used to live in a local village, Elstead, in Surrey, UK. This led me to not only research my family, but also find out more about Elstead in general. On the outskirts of Elstead is a wonderful place called Thundry Meadows, where the River Wey meanders, and archeologists have unearthed ancient artifacts that suggest there was a settlement there some two thousand years ago.

I started making up stories in my head about who this ancient tribe might have been and then I thought…what if one of them was still alive today?  What if one of them was like The Comte de St Germain, and for some reason or another, had never died? With those two ideas Sunbeerka was suddenly in front of me, walking around a local graveyard, hunting for yet another new identity, so that he could never appear to be too young for whom he was meant to be.

I didn’t decide that Sunbeerka needed a problem, I just knew that one would appear while I wrote, because in all good stories the protagonist needs a problem. The first ‘problem’ that came into my mind was that the owner of Sunbeerka’s new identity had a troubled history. This was initially going to be the main thrust of my novel, Sunbeerka exploring Richard’s past and getting himself into all kinds of trouble while he unearthed family secrets that Richard’s living relatives would much rather keep secret. How did baby Richard die? It’s a question Sunbeerka is determined to answer.

Out of the blue Gilbert Hawkins appeared. Hey, I don’t recall inviting you into my novel! Yet there he was, sharp witted, keen eyed and creating another set of issues for Sunbeerka to overcome. Now Sunbeerka had S.I.D., the Special Investigation Department, telling him what to do. Obey or get locked up forever. And forever is a very, very long time when you’re immortal. Furthermore they insist he stops researching Richard’s family.

With the appearance of Gilbert I had all of the elements required to keep the tension running. Now Sunbeerka has people getting in the way of his goal…and that makes everything all the more difficult for him.

Here’s an excerpt from Sunbeerka’s first meeting with Gilbert.


“How long have you been observing me?”

“Long enough to know that you’ve way out lived your four score and ten. Before Julian you were Mike; and killing Bobby off just after the war was a real mistake, maybe one of your biggest. Records, Richard, records and photography, they really have been the bane of your life in recent years, even though you’ve proved extremely camera shy.”

There was no point in answering him. He was my worst nightmare come true, all of my fears realised into one forty something man leaning against my gate thinking he was clever. Those sharp brown eyes were scrutinising me, eyeing me up and down, searching for answers in my face and eyes, and the way I smiled or frowned.

“I have all of the evidence,” he said, turning his collar up against the fine mist of drizzle that had begun to grey the surrounding green.

“I’m sure you do.” I pushed myself off the gate and headed back towards the cottage.

In the kitchen I put the kettle on for instant coffee, quick and easy.

He stood in the doorway, blocking out the last fragments of natural light and feeling like an ominous guardian of the gate. I couldn’t get out and he couldn’t get in; neither of us could cross the threshold.

“My first name’s Gilbert,” he said at length.

“Well that’s a bloody stupid name if ever I heard one.”

“Unlike you I didn’t get to choose mine.” His tone was brittle, defensive.

Laughing I placed a mug of coffee on the table, next to the teaspoon and honey, goading him to have another try. Maybe this time he wouldn’t notice the chip and cut his lip.

“If you don’t join I’ll have to call my people and get them to arrest you.”

Leaning my palms heavily on the table I glared at him. “I don’t believe that you have any people. You’re just a lone wolf, a weirdo scientist, some crackpot snooper who sticks his nose into places where it’s likely to get burnt.”

“Unfortunately for you…no.”

“Prove it.”

“I can’t take you into the office unless you come on board, top secret, hush-hush, you know.”

I jerked my head towards the coffee on the table, but he didn’t budge so I shoved him out of the doorway. It was my backdoor and I needed to breathe the fresh air.

“I don’t do…emotional involvement, not anymore.” I sipped my coffee.

“Who’s asking you to…”

“You are!” I kicked the doorframe. “Everyone is. Every conversation creates a connection. Every smile, every embrace, every kind words builds a bond.”

“You don’t have to like me.”

“I’m not talking about liking!” I smacked my chest. “Here, it all takes place in here. And up here.” I tapped my head over and over again. “The thoughts, the memories, the missing and the yearning.” I stepped outside, took deep calming breaths. “You don’t understand. The body lives on, untouched, unscathed by every knock and cut… but the mind…” I rounded on him and shouted, “My mind is shot Gilbert! Completely fucked up, screwed up, destroyed! How many friends do you think I’ve lost? Hundreds? Thousands? They grow old and die, or get mangled to pieces in stupid battles… their guts spew out over my hands and I can do nothing to save them. They die of disease, long lingering deaths, and I harbour the smell of their feted breath and their last kiss on my lips… and I miss them! I yearn to have them back. To hear their sweet words again, their words of love and truth. To hear the timbre of their voice and to join in with their laughter.  I yearn to join them in man’s dream world called heaven, and to leave this physical world far, far behind… There is no god to give me salvation, no hope of relief from the bitterness and anger and the sorrow…”

Gilbert was staring at me, absolutely dumbfounded.

“I miss them all,” I said quietly. “Every sweet soul who has trodden on my heart and left their footprint in my mind.”

He picked up the jar of honey and fiddled around spooning it into the coffee.

“These days they call it post-traumatic stress disorder. How many wars do you think I’ve been in, Gilbert?”

He shrugged.

“How many times do you think people have stuck a rifle to my face wanting to kill me? How many times do you think I’ve been locked up, strung up, stoned and spat on for being out of step with their reality?”

He took off his cap and swept a hand through his hair. “It can be different now…”


“There are drugs that can help…”

“I’ve tried Laudanum and diazepam and…

“I get the picture.”

“I’ll be useless to you. I don’t know what you want me to do, but whatever it is, I can’t do it. I shake under duress, and get angry… and at other times I simply don’t care.”

“You’re depressed, Richard. You need company.”

I laughed. “And then that company dies and the depression is exacerbated. Get your anger out they say…but to whom? My god who did this to me? My father who sanctioned the ritual? The invading army who started it all by murdering my mother!”

There was a moment’s painful silence.

“Do you have a real name?” Gilbert tipped his coffee down the sink. “An original name? I mean, who were you to start with?”

“Tuesla Gunchilld.” It felt strange saying my name out loud. I hadn’t voiced it for so many years that it rang through my mind like an aching echo from the past.

“Now who’s got the bloody stupid name?” He spoke very quietly, a hush of awe hissing through his pursed lips. “How old are you?”

“I stopped dying when I was thirty years old. I have lived on this mortal plane for two thousand, five hundred and sixty two years.”


The paperback edition of Being Richard is now available and has 25% discount direct from Lulu.

Being Richard is available from Amazon US  |  Amazon UK for Kindle and in paperback. iTunes and from Lulu

It’s also available for Nook and other platforms.

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Today I could do with your help setting the price for my new Tarot book that’s coming out soon, so please vote in my poll at the end of this article. Here’s the story behind the question.

About two years ago I signed a contract with the publishers Collca to write a short tarot book that would be made into an iPhone app. They were meant to publish what was to be called The Essential Tarot Handbook at the end of 2011. They didn’t. By the end of 2012 I was thoroughly fed up with their excuses and took legal advice on what to do next. The upshot was that I informed them they were in breach of contract and had the rights to my work returned to me.

This sorry and frustrating saga has left me with a short book on tarot that runs to just over 10,500 words. In ebook format it will run to around 50/55 pages.

The content was designed to flick through while practising a tarot reading and very much aimed at the beginners’ market. There’s a short general introduction to Tarot and the focus is on practising a three card tarot spread, with examples. The bulk of the book is brief interpretations for all 78 tarot cards, including reverse interpretations, that you can then use while practising a three card Tarot spread.

So now I’m left with a perfectly valid piece of work and am confused as to where to place it and at what price to offer it. I’ve put the prices in $ because this is the currency that Kindle uses and it will give me a better idea as these are popular prices. This Tarot book is ideal for beginners and anyone starting to learn Tarot will find it a very useful working tool.

As well as voting in my poll on pricing I’d really like to hear your comments about which platform you would prefer to find this book on. iBook for your iPhone? Kindle? Nook? Kobo? Giveaway freebie? Smashword? Everywhere!

It’s a hard lesson I’ve learnt that even if you’ve signed a legal contract there’s no guarantee that it will be upheld.

I really appreciate your help with helping me find the right way forward for my “Tarot for Beginners”.

You can also add your comments and join in the conversation at Facebook ToniAllenAuthor or at Twitter @Listansus. Toni Allen Logo

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