How to Make Friends with Your Tarot Cards

getting to know your tarot deck

In a society where Millennials are leading the way in breaking through old, outworn paradigms, the Tarot still remains a little murky. Looking online, there seems to be some pretty misleading ideas of this ancient art. We have the creepier “spiritualistic” crowd, where one is somehow expected to be not only an expert in Tarot, but also a remarkable and insightful Psychic, who simply needs to glance at a card to know what’s going to happen on the 20th of June, 2049. We also have a following for “free tarot games” and playful apps which are a more bubblegum, not-to-be-taken-seriously type of Tarot practice (with a few exceptions i.e. Mystic Medusa’s eerily accurate tarot and oracle)…and finally we have the Pop Tarot Culture, which tends to require an uber expensive deck and a permanent burning of nag champa incense – all placed on an altar that we never really use.

So what about those of us who are really serious about learning this incredible method of Divination (which, incidentally, means “coming to know the Divine”) and are tired of hearing how the cards are direct access to the Devil himself, or worse, a silly toy to be tolerated?

It can be daunting, to be sure. The internet doesn’t help much, although some sites out there are great for newbies (check out www.biddytarot.com) and really authentic. However, the prospect of learning 78 cards (there are ALWAYS 78 cards, no more, no less – any other number makes it an ORACLE deck)  plus how to lay them out can be very off-putting. However, we have a few tips to help get you started and make friends with your deck!

  1. Pick One Card a day to learn over 78 days – and repeat

The best tip I have ever had is to pick on random card from the deck each day, placing it face up and doing a 5 – 10 minute journaling session with it. Study the colours, the “feel”, facial expressions and symbols to get the meaning of the card. At the end of the day, read the “proper” interpretation of the card – 78 degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack, or abovementioned biddy Tarot are great resources. Do this over 78 days, and repeat as many times as you like. You WILL learn the cards within a few months!

  1. Ask clear, focused questions

Asking if you will EVER fall in love again or if you will be rich and famous are too vague, and the tarot will probably not give you a clear answer. Ask questions with a strong possibility, a good timeframe and frame them positively. Something like “Is a romance possible with Bob in accounts likely this year” is way better than plaintively asking the tarot if your soulmate is waiting for you, somewhere.

  1. Stick to simple layouts

In the beginning, stick to 2 or 3 card layouts. A great 2 card spread can be “Situation/Challenge” – one card represents the situation at hand, and the other the challenge or obstacle surrounding it. For example “I want to move in with my boyfriend” can be the situation. Maybe the challenge card represents his dodgy roommates. That is what you have to work around.

The best 3 card spread is the “Past/Present/Future” spread. Simply lay three cards in a row (after shuffling and asking a clear question – refer to point 2) and interpret them left to right. Try to read them as a story with a beginning, middle and end – no card stands alone, so get creative!

Lastly, don’t be scared. The Devil or Death may simply mean you need to leave a toxic situation, or that change is coming. The Tarot can be your very best friend; if you allow it, and help you develop your greatest muscle – your intuition.

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