Most people see tarot as this sort of magical deck of cards with these otherworldly abilities. Well, yes, they are magical and they do have special abilities! But, they’re magical in the same sense that we can literally create life from a few seemingly simple ingredients. They have special abilities in the same way a plant can regenerate itself season after season. Magic exists and can be quite easy to perceive when you behold the world in all its glory. Just because something is common, doesn’t mean it isn’t extraordinary.
On that note, forget everything you know about tarot! Throw it all to the wind! Every misconception, notion, biased fear, all the things your mother told you—let it go. Open yourself up to the possibility that these cards are not inherently “evil” or inherently “good” they just are. The tarot deck is simply a tool that exists to aid you in receiving, interpreting and relaying information, or messages, from the universe. Or, some people prefer the term, God. Before each reading, I like to ask for only those with unconditional love for (the querent) to help guide me. Others call to angels or loved ones. It is all very personal and depends on what resonates with you most.
I would like to first acknowledge that it is impossible to give you a complete education on tarot in one simple essay, but in this article I will give you a little more insight to what tarot is, how it works and how to begin learning tarot, if you feel called to do so.
How Tarot Works
So you know how there are visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic learners, right? Well, the same thing applies to intuitive readings. Besides tarot, there are many different tools available, depending on your intuitive style. Consider tarot a visual learning aid. Once you tap into and begin developing your intuition, it can be difficult to decipher the messages you receive. This is where the cards come in handy. They give you something to work off of and help you to visually interpret these messages more clearly and, therefore, with better accuracy. Tarot is truly like learning a second language. Each card has not just one meaning, but a plethora. The tarot incorporates symbolism, numerology, astrology, alchemy, archetypes, religion, the list goes on. But how you define the meaning of each card, in each reading, depends much more wholly on your intuitive insight.
Choosing A DeckI would recommend beginning your journey with a classic Rider-Waite tarot deck. Once you have learned this deck, you can much more easily venture into others. Traditionally, when you purchase any new deck, you must form a “bond” with it. Sleep with it under your pillow, play with the cards a lot, go through each one and see what images stand out, how each one makes you feel, what your favorite and least favorite cards are and think about why that may be. The reason for this “bonding” period is that each reader will interpret or read each card slightly differently. If the Queen of Cups comes up in a reading for you, you might see that as the equivalent of self-care, because that is how you interpret the image. When the Queen of Cups appears in another readers’ spread, they might interpret that as unrequited love because, to them, the Queen is staring longingly at her cup. The theory is that spending time with your deck will allow for the correct cards to be pulled according to your own specific interpretations.
Learning And Interpreting The ImagesA great way to get to know your cards more in depth is a technique called, The Fool’s Journey. The Fool’s Journey is actually a metaphor for the journey of life. This is what a tarot deck in itself represents- all the stages of life from birth to death. This process is where you separate the Major Arcana and carry each card with you for a week at a time. You begin with The Fool and end with The World. Each week, you will take the next card and look at it every day. You carry it with you, sleep with it under your pillow- simply spend time with it. It may sound a little silly initially, but think of it as a totem or something you like to wear that has sentimental value. See how each card makes you feel or influences your day. The more you pay attention to each card, the more you’ll notice new things and understand about it. To this day, new details will still pop out at me every-so-often and I’ll wonder how I never noticed them before!
Congratulations, this is the first step on your journey to tarot reading!
Spreads To Start With
Once you begin to feel comfortable with the cards, you can experiment with spreads. A tarot spread can consist of as little as one card. Below, I will outline for you a very simple three-card spread you can do for yourself, or practice on friends. There are also different shuffling and card-pulling techniques, but for the purpose of keeping this lesson as uncomplicated as possible, I am going to focus on the spread.
PAST PRESENT FUTURE/OUTCOME
This is one of the most popular ways to read a three-card spread.
You can ask questions such as:
1) What will happen if I leave my current job at Company A for a job at Company B?
2) Where is my relationship with ____ going?
This spread can be used for any subject or topic, as it is not limited to romance and career.
You are going to want to decide on your question BEFORE you pull your cards. While you are shuffling, focus intently on your question and whoever, or whatever, is involved. Many find that doing a short meditation beforehand is beneficial for calming your mind of intrusive thoughts so that you can focus on your reading and achieve the clearest possible results.
Thought VS Intuition
Reading tarot takes a lot of practice and patience, so don’t feel discouraged if it doesn’t come easy to you on the first few tries. If it was easy, everyone would do it! As you practice and keep working with the cards, their meanings will become second nature to you. Just remember, this is not about analyzing and interpreting through your logical mind, this is about working with your intuitive mind! The most difficult hurdle to overcome in reading tarot is not in learning its meanings, but in trusting yourself.