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BTP94: How Grete Learned How to Read From the Heart, Not Just the Book

Tarot Certification


Grete had tried to connect with the Tarot cards a few times in her life, but she found herself referring to the little book of meanings more often than she found herself trusting her intuition. 

She knew there was something more to the Tarot, so she started the Biddy Tarot Certification Program. 

Now a Certified Biddy Tarot Advisor, Grete runs her own Tarot business in Japan and reads the cards confidently for her clients. In Episode 94 of the Biddy Tarot Podcast, Grete shares her journey with the Biddy Tarot Certification Program, learning how to read from the heart, not just the book. 

Let's get into it!

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You’re listening to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, and this is Episode 94: How Grete Learned How to Read from the Heart, Not Just the Book. 

Welcome to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, where you'll learn how to connect more deeply with your intuition and live an empowered and enlightened life with the Tarot cards as your guide. 

Listen as Brigit and her guests share their very best tips and strategies to help you read Tarot with confidence. Now, here is your host, Brigit Esselmont. 


BRIGIT: Hello, and welcome back to the Biddy Tarot Podcast. As always, it’s my absolute joy to be talking with you about Tarot. Now, today, I welcome a very special guest. This is Grete, who is a recent graduate of the Biddy Tarot Certification program. 

In our conversation today, Grete really talks about her journey with Tarot and really how she’s found herself now in this place where she can read intuitively. But it wasn’t always that way, and we’ll hear this in the conversation.  

Grete found Tarot a couple of times throughout her early life, but she failed to really connect with the cards, and it didn’t really stick until probably about a few years ago. 

She did find a deck that she liked, but what she found was happening was she would be reading from the book all of the time. So, instead of really trusting her intuition and trusting her gut feel, she would keep relying on the books because, in her mind, she thought, “Who am I to know what to do with these cards? I must be able to follow what’s in the book.” 

But she knew that there was something more in Tarot, and she was really called to discover how to intuitively connect with the Tarot cards. That’s when she started in the Biddy Tarot Certification Program. 

In that program, she did the training, and she had practice opportunities inside of the Community, and what she found was that she started to connect with the Tarot in a very different way, and that connection was so much more powerful because it finally connected her with her intuition. You’ll hear it today in the call from today. 

She realized that there was actually just so much more to Tarot than she had thought originally. In fact, it wasn’t just about what was going on in the Tarot reading but what was happening in her life and how she was able to connect with her intuition more in her life. 

Now… No, I’m not going to give too much more away. I’ve probably given away half of it anyway. In that case, I am going to warmly welcome Grete to this conversation. 


Welcome, Grete! I’m so glad to have you hear on the podcast. How are you going today? 

GRETE: I’m great. Thank you for having me. 

BRIGIT: And you are Japan right now—is that right? 

GRETE: Yes, I live in Japan now. 

BRIGIT: Wonderful. 

GRETE: At this time, for the twelfth year. 

BRIGIT: Beautiful. Then, obviously, your accent… You’ve got a slight Japanese accent, but whereabouts do you originate from? 

GRETE: I am originally from Norway, but my parents were Christian missionaries, so they came to Japan when I was 8. I stayed through high school, and then I went to Europe and stayed in Europe for many, many years. Then twelve years ago, I married again, a Japanese guy, and came back home to Japan. 

BRIGIT: Yep. Oh, isn’t that beautiful you call it home? 

GRETE: That’s the short version. 

BRIGIT: I love it. 

GRETE: Yeah! 


BRIGIT: Good. Obviously, we want to have a chat about your journey with Tarot and how that has evolved, so let’s start from the start. How did you find Tarot to begin with, especially with missionaries as parents? 

GRETE: Yes, yes. Of course, Tarot cards were a no-no in my house, in my home. But in high school, there was this girl that I really, really adored. She became my bestie, and she was Indian. Everything she did just impressed me so much. She did yoga; she did meditation. And one day, she came with a Tarot deck and started reading for people, and that’s how I first met the Tarot. 

But then I, of course, got away from it, and then many, many, many years later, somewhere in the late 1980s, I was living in Germany, and I stumbled upon a Tarot deck in a bookstore, the Visconti Tarot. 


GRETE: You know, the really Renaissance art, beautiful cards with a little white book that I couldn’t make anything of. The cards were beautiful, but I couldn’t use them. 

Then my next step was I found I Ching years later again. Do you know the I Ching? 


GRETE: Yes, and I started using that. That, I found, really resonated with me, and I found every time you would read the same page, it tells you something different. At the time, I didn’t realize that that was the way I should use the Tarot, but I got really into I Ching. 

Then, again, fast forward to living in Japan and getting back together again with this girl from high school. She was still into all kinds of these things, you know? She brought me back to exploring. We started out with Oracle decks, and we did divinations for ourselves, and I did it only for myself. 

Then Facebook and Amazon happened, and I started buying real, new Tarot cards, but then I started with the Hermetic and, later, the Thoth, and they were so difficult. I didn’t understand anything! 

BRIGIT: Yes, they’re pretty heavy decks to start off with, aren’t they? 

GRETE: Really heavy, yeah, but how should I know, right? But then, one day, I don’t know how it came into my vision somewhere on the net, I found this book called The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings by Brigit Esselmont, and I just went on, bought it, and printed it out. You should see it now. It’s very well-used. 

Then I started reading for myself, book in hand, and it opened the door. This I did understand. Now I understood. I can use it for this and for the other thing and for relationships and work. I was so enthusiastic, so I had to become a member of this site because I wanted to read for others, and there’s a Free Tarot Readings platform there. 

So, I went ahead and started reading for other people—and it worked! I could connect to those people far, far away. I could feel them. I could see their problems. They were happy. It was really great. 

But I was still reading with my crutches. I was using the books. Then I kept on buying decks, and I read all of them. I have the Animal Totem Tarot with the beautiful book, and Rachel Pollack and all these… Kim Krans, Robin Wood Tarot… All kinds of different things. 

I was reading all of the different books to get confirmation of what I thought was right. I didn’t trust myself. 

BRIGIT: Yes, I think a lot of people go through that. 

GRETE: Yes. That was the past story up until the certification program! 

BRIGIT: Yes, and you were reading the books, and you were literally doing a reading with the book in one hand, cards in the other. 

GRETE: Yeah. 

BRIGIT: Yeah, what was really stopping you from just trusting yourself, do you think? What got in the way of that? 

GRETE: Uncertainty. “How could you know? Who am I to say that this is the meaning in your case?” and “OK, I know what it could mean if you asked about your job, but you're asking about your relationship, so how do connect that, you know? 

BRIGIT: Yeah. 

GRETE: I was so uncertain, so I needed confirmation from all these other big names, sewing it together. It took me a day to do a reading like that! 

BRIGIT: Yeah, I bet! Yes.

GRETE: That, too, was fun, though. 


BRIGIT: What made you realize that maybe there was something more to Tarot that you didn’t have to rely on books? What gave you that new idea? 

GRETE: Because there must be something else, some place I did not connect, since other people could do it. How could they be so sure of themselves? How could they make a deck and say that “This is the meaning of my cards,” you know? 

BRIGIT: Yeah. 

GRETE: “And I know that I am able to see this. I just don’t know how to open the door.” That was my feeling. “I need something.” I knew there was a room there, but I couldn’t open the door. 

BRIGIT: Yep. So, what was your next step? Once you realized that this was where you wanted to go, what did you do? 

GRETE: I knew that this was what I wanted to do because all my life, since I was a little girl, when I was small (I’m still small, but smaller), people—even members from our church—would come to me, little me, instead of going to my father, asking for advice in problems. I would boldly give them my advice. Not from a church point of view. Not from a Japanese point of view. But something inside me told me what to say, and I’ve always enjoyed this, to see that if I can help, then that makes me happy. I saw the Tarot as a big tool to be able to reach people. That’s why I wanted to become professional. 

BRIGIT: At what point did you start reading professionally? And how did you know that you were ready to do that? 

GRETE: When people on the Free Tarot Readings network started contacting me outside of Biddy Tarot and asking if I could do a reading for them again. Then people started telling me that “You should be awarded for your work, and you need to…” They were pushing me along. 

I thought, “No, not me! I can’t do this! I can’t take money for this.” 

That’s the missionary spirit—you're not supposed to earn anything; you’re supposed to be humble and not earn your money. You’re supposed to do it all sacrifice, sacrifice everything! 

BRIGIT: What kind of changed that perception for you? If that was ingrained, what made you start to realize, “You know what? This is actually worth something,” or “There’s a value attached to this”? 

GRETE: I realized that a lot of other people are doing this professionally. I didn’t really know that before. I didn’t know this world. Then when the certification program came again into my view—it had been there before, but they were starting up again—I thought, “This is my chance. This, I want.” 

My husband looked at me with big eyes. “What are you talking about?” 

But I knew I wanted this because this would give me authority, I thought. 


GRETE: This is what I want. So, I pleaded with him and myself, and I started out. 


BRIGIT: That’s a big thing because a lot of people have that challenge around partners thinking, “What are you doing? Why are you investing in learning Tarot?” 

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GRETE: Yes. 

BRIGIT: So, what did you do to convince your husband that this was the right fit for you? 

GRETE: He had seen me for half a year reading on the Free Tarot Readings platform and seeing how I was enjoying this. I told him that “If I have a certification, if I really learned this from the bottom up, the right way, then…”  

You know, the Japanese are very systematic. In that way, I’m very Norwegian. If I want to do something, I just do it. I don’t have to be told how to do it; I’ll learn by doing. But the Japanese have to learn how to even hold the pen right to write this kind of writing. Any small detail, they have to learn. 

So, he understood totally that that was the way to do it. You have to really, properly, officially learn this. He was cool about it. 

BRIGIT: For you, the motivation for the certification program was, what, around building up authority, having that system in place (even though you're happy to go outside of the system, which is good)… 

GRETE: Yes. 

BRIGIT: What else made you feel that this was the right step for you (or the next step)? 

GRETE: The certification program, you mean? 

BRIGIT: Yeah. 

GRETE: You know, it was actually connected to my yoga teaching. I’ve been teaching yoga for many years, but since I live here, I can’t go to the States and take the certifications. In Japan, people won’t let me take it because I can’t read and write Japanese. I went to international schools here, so I have been blocked for taking certifications. 

People were telling me at the same time, “You don’t need to be certified to read.” 

“Yeah, I know that, but teaching yoga is the same thing. If you have a certification, you can teach other places. You can open your own studio. If you don’t have a certification, you have to do it privately.” 

This is online. This is my chance to get something real. I want to do this for real! You know? 


GRETE: Like a kid, I was stomping my foot inside, in my heart, and saying, “I want this. This is something I want to be able to say that I can do.” 

BRIGIT: Yes. Good on you! I love it. 

GRETE: Yeah. 

BRIGIT: Once you started the certification program, what was your experience inside of it? How did you find the training? Was it helpful, given that you had already done some Tarot? And the practice opportunities? Tell me a little bit more about your personal experience. 

GRETE: It was actually a challenge because I had studied this book so deeply that I felt that I knew the cards, the meaning of the cards. But I realized that…  

I said to myself, “Go beginner’s mind. This is a new Fool’s journey for you, so you start from scratch. Imagine you don’t know anything and learn. Do all the small things.” You know? All over again. “Learn it.” 

But it was frustrating from time to time, but I realized after a while that my reading really changed. This opened the door I was talking about to that room inside me that I knew I could do this from. The core meanings of the cards became… By doing the exercises and the workbook and clearing these quizzes, which were fun, that kind of changed something in me. Something loosened. I don’t know. I can’t say, really, pinpoint it, or put my fingers on it, but something changed. Suddenly, I could use any deck, and something in me applied. It just sprang up. It springs up! 

BRIGIT: Yeah. 

GRETE: Yeah, I realized that when you want to learn piano, you have to start from the basics before you can start ad libbing. 


GRETE: A border burst open. A gate sprang open, and I was freed through this, through the work. 


BRIGIT: Yes. What is your relationship with your intuition like now? 

GRETE: Now I trust it. I trust my intuition now. It’s like a whole new, big part of me, a whole new dimension inside me. It’s like an entity. It really changed. 


GRETE: I can tap into it. It’s amazing. I don’t know what to say, really. I’ve got this, you know? It’s like I have this new playfulness about it. It’s not so deadly serious anymore. Playfully, I tap into my intuition, and it’s like I have conversations with it, and I’m enjoying it. That seriousness is taken away. It’s very serious, but I don’t approach it in this “UGH!” kind of way, you know what I mean? 

BRIGIT: Yes. I’m guessing you don’t have to keep thinking about “Am I doing it right? Have I got the right meaning? What does this card actually mean?” Instead, it’s this beautiful flow that you have now with your readings, where your intuition is just working through you, which is beautiful. 

GRETE: Yes. 

BRIGIT: Wonderful. 

GRETE: It works also outside the Tarot! 

BRIGIT: Yes, it does, doesn’t it? 

GRETE: I just bought the Noa Knafo cards. 

BRIGIT: Oh, yes. They’re nice ones, aren’t they? 

GRETE: Yeah, and those are not Tarot cards. But before, I know I wouldn’t have understood them. Now they speak to me like they have an actual voice, and that’s the intuition. 


BRIGIT: Yes, absolutely. It’s powerful stuff. It’s wonderful. You’ve just become a Certified Biddy Tarot Reader in the last few months. Tell me: what’s changed for you even in this short period? I know that you’ve just launched your website. What else is happening in your world, in your Tarot world? 

GRETE: After the certification… Yeah, I wish I could say that I have a whole lot of new clients because of this, but I just launched my new website a few days ago, so it’s actually really new. I have a few new clients that searched for me in the Certified Reader Directory and found me there, but since I haven’t been out there, really, for so long, business-wise, I haven’t seen any big results yet. 

BRIGIT: Yes, very early to tell, isn’t it? 

GRETE: Business-wise. I think having a certification is not enough for people to trust you with their problems. It’s impressive for some, I think, but it’s not enough. I have to get more out there. I’m on Instagram and Facebook, and marketing is important. You need a big presence on social media. I’m still very new to this. 

BRIGIT: It’s a journey. Creating a business and bringing in new clients and so on, that’s something that does take months—probably a good 12 months—to really start seeing good results, and you are at this beautiful place of starting that journey. 

What about, say, even in your Tarot readings when you're reading for just friends and family right now? Can you feel that difference, having done the training and the extra practice as well? 

GRETE: Oh yes! And I continue reading on the Free Tarot Readings platform, too. There is a big difference in my readings—and a big difference in my feedbacks. There is a new connectedness, and the feedbacks are different. I can see a difference there. 

BRIGIT: Fabulous. 

GRETE: Definitely! 

BRIGIT: Good. Beautiful. So, what’s next for you? Obviously, you're birthing your new website and this new version of yourself as a Tarot reader? What’s coming up for you over the next 6 to 12 months, do you think? 

GRETE: What’s next for me? 

BRIGIT: Yes, what’s next for you? 

GRETE: Next for me is… Actually, I’m in the middle of “next”. I’m in the middle of the next step, launching my new website. The next? I’m in the next, enjoying reading for all… The next thing is all of the new clients that are just lining up—they’re out there in space and time—waiting for a reader like me to come along. Then I want to write blog posts for my site, polishing my new website.  

My dream is to read full time. I need to continue teaching yoga, that’s for sure, to keep my body in alignment with my soul kind of thing, but my dream is to read until I’m 130. Wherever I am, I can take this business with me, so I’m looking forward to that! 


BRIGIT: Oh, that’s beautiful. Whereabouts can people find out more about you? 

GRETE: They can go to my brand-new website called, or I’m on Instagram and on Facebook also, so they can find me there. 

Note: Grete's current website is

BRIGIT: Yes, and we might need to spell your website. We don’t have such a good Japanese accent like you! 

GRETE: Shimonagare means “the lower part of the flow”—it’s actually the address, the street where I live. In Japanese, names all have meaning, and I love the meaning of this name. It means the lower part of the flow in the river just before it meets the sea, where everything from above has accumulated and gathered and assimilated in the sea. It’s rich waters in the lower part, so that’s why I’m using this name. 

BRIGIT: Yes. Oh, that’s beautiful. 

GRETE: It comes flowing to me. It’s spelled… If I can only spell it. S-H-I-M-O-N-A-G-A-R-E-dot-N-E-T. 

BRIGIT: Beautiful. We’ll add your website to our show notes, which will be over at, and you can also access your website from there, and we’ll also have the transcript for today’s show as well. Grete, I’ve so enjoyed speaking with you and learning more about your Tarot journey. And, of course, I want to say a huge congratulations for becoming a Certified Biddy Tarot Reader. 

GRETE: Thank you. 

BRIGIT: I’m so glad to hear how it’s shifted your readings into that more intuitive space, and hopefully, it will also translate into more clients for you and, potentially, a new career for you as well. Thank you for sharing that with us today. 

GRETE: Thank you! Thank you so much. Thank you for having me. I’m really honoured. 

BRIGIT: Oh, it’s my pleasure! Thanks. 

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Grete and I. It’s an absolute joy to speak with her and to learn more about her personal journey. Now, of course, you can find out more about Grete at her website, and let’s see… To spell it out for you… And don’t worry, by the way, this will be on our website over at, but if you want to check out her website, then you can go to Now, I cannot say it as good as Grete did, but maybe saying it in a bit of an Aussie accent might help you. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this conversation—and maybe it’s inspired you to also think about what else is out there for you when it comes to Tarot. Have you been reading by the book, and are you ready to embrace something new and more powerful in the way that you connect with the cards? 

If you’re feeling a calling, then make sure you head to, and you can jump on the wait list. Or maybe, if you lucky and you jump in there, and it’s already open, you can enrol! 

Inside of the certification program, you will get access to our two very best courses for Tarot. You’ll get 7 months of access to the Community. You get to practice your Tarot readings in the Free Tarot Readings platform. And you get to connect with some awesome people, as well as myself. We get to jump on live monthly calls. It is an amazing program. It’s changing people’s lives for the better, as you hear with Grete, and I really want to warmly invite you into that program. 

Join the waitlist at and I hope to see you in the program! 

Bye for now! 


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