Hey Gypsy! I have a quick question. I have been interested in reading cards – especially the tarot – for a couple of years now. Not knowing where to start, I have picked up a few books to try and learn how to read them. Nothing seems to work. Try as I might, I simply have no luck in memorizing the meanings. I get so frustrated. This seems to be more work that it’s worth. Do you have any advice for me? Thank you in advance! ~ Mary H.
This is an excellent question! I will tell you exactly what I tell my other students…take the LWB (Little White Book…the little info pamphlet that comes with tarot decks these days) and put it in a drawer somewhere. Pay it no mind. And the reason that I say this is because while the LWB is an excellent source for gaining insight into what the original author of the deck had in mind when creating the beautiful work of art that is a Tarot deck, it is just one of many insights that can be had by any one person when experiencing the deck in question. Even then, one person can have varying interpretations of the images from reading to reading with no two readings of the same card duplicating itself from one reading to the next.
The key is to surrender yourself to the image. Relax your mind…soften your vision…and let go of the hold the physical world has on you at the moment. Release yourself and become one with the image. Drift into it psychically. You will know that you are successful when you will feel somewhat detached from this world and begin floating psychically into the next. When this happens you will sense that you are just a little bit beside yourself or a little bit outside of yourself…like your mind is floating around somewhere outside of your head. This feels weird when you first experience it, but the more you practice, the more comfortable it becomes. Soon you will find that you can weave in and out of this trance and flow state. This special feeling will also confirm that you are connecting with other realms of being and consciousness, thus validating the process for you. Some days may prove more fruitful than others, so please do not become discouraged if one day you slip right into the groove while other days it seems more of a chore or difficult to concentrate. This is normal and is determined by fatigue and stress levels of any given day. Don’t push it. Just try again tomorrow or after the stresses of daily life have passed. You will learn how to pace yourself as time goes on. Practice makes perfect.
The next thing I suggest is to do what I like to call Tarot Journaling. Find a first deck that you feel drawn to. (You can do this with any deck in the future, but for the time being, choose a beginner deck that you feel most comfortable with. My favourite for this is the Traditional Rider-Waite. You will find Tarot decks fall into two categories…traditional Rider-Waite style and the non-traditional styles. This does not include oracle decks which are a whole other thing. Perhaps another question to tackle soon in this series!) Go get yourself a spiral notebook or journal that you can write in comfortably. For the next 78 days you will be doing this exercise in two parts…once in the morning and once in the evening. After perusing your deck in a casual manner, take your deck and shuffle it thoroughly. Lay the deck face down. Draw the top card. Which one did you pull? At the top of the page write the name of the card. Below that write about the card – anything that comes to mind. Take in the colour, the symbols, the numbers along with the way this card makes you feel intellectually, emotionally and physically. Anything that comes to mind, write it down. You may even draw the card if you are so inclined, or maybe even print out from the interwebz small graphics of the images and affix them to the page…anything to make connecting with the image easier.
Once you have written all that you can about the image, set it up in a sacred space or on a table top where it won’t be disturbed during the day. Close your journal and commence to go about your day keeping in mind the card that you pulled that morning. As the day begins to wind down, take up your journal again. Write about anything that you experienced during the course of your wanderings that reminded you of that card. Did a situation arise that reminded you of the card? Maybe you ran into someone that reminded you of a character depicted in the image? Possibly something happened that caused you to feel the same feeling that the card invoked in you that morning? Anything and everything…write it down. When you feel there is just nothing more to write, turn to that LWB and see what the author of the deck had in mind. Jot a few notes about that, but do not focus too heavily on their interpretations. What matters it what you felt and what you experienced. That is where you begin to make a true connection with the cards. This is your own personal psychic connection with them.
On the following day, lay the card from the day before face up in a separate pile. This is your cast off pile. This way you won’t pull the same card twice. After 78 days, your drawing pile will be empty and your cast off pile will be full. Now you will find that you have 78 new very dear friends within a deck that you know intimately and personally.
Your next exercise is to pull a card of the day for yourself and to read for yourself every day in much the same manner as you did for the journaling exercise, but this time you won’t be writing it down. What you want to do now is to try to remember without writing or reading. Soften yourself, pull a card at random, take it in and then set it in your sacred space. Go through the day remembering the image and reflect on what it means. Whenever something happens throughout the day make a mental note of it. At the end of the day take the card and regard it again. Finally, slip it back into the deck in a random spot then shuffle. Now you will be ready for the next day, and so on. By making yourself familiar with your tools…in this case, your tarot deck…you will be taking the first steps at opening up psychically while making a deeply personal connection with your intuitive self. These are the key components to psychic ability. The Tarot is not the doorway, as some highly superstitions, misinformed and misguided folks may believe. You are the doorway. Tarot is the tool, the thing that unlocks your intuitive abilities. And while tarot is a very powerful tool for doing so, it is YOU that have the real power…the power of seeing, of knowing and of using that power to help those that need it most in a most honourable way.
I can hear it now, the next question: Isn’t it bad luck to read for one’s self? In a word…no. It is not. In true RuPaul fashion, all I have to say is this… How the hell can you read for someone else if you can’t read for yourself? Can I get an amen up in here? 🙂