Originally published on State of Liberation
Tarot cards are far from being a mystery. In fact, they are available in thousands of variations, designed by countless artists, printed and purchasable at your favorite book shop or website. Though they were once a flashy prop used by extravagant mediums, their use has since spread as a personal and regular practice, as a self-help tactic, and an exercise in introversion. The idea that magic and the divination are the ultimate purpose behind Tarot cards is incorrect and misguided. Tarot cards are not intended to tell the future. They are a tool to reflect on the past, see the present clearly, and hypothesize about upcoming events, so that we can contemplate our decisions and prepare mentally. If you find yourself confused or caught in the complex web of life, and wish for a conduit from which to draw spiritual wisdom, whatever source that may be, Tarot might be worth a try.
The concept of Tarot is about as old as humanity itself, with decks incredibly similar to those we use even today, found in ancient Egyptian tombs. Throughout history, sets have been created as simple yet beautifully handcrafted playing cards, and finally altered in key different ways to be turned into spiritual tools. You want to select a set of 78 Tarot cards, with 22 Major Arcana, and 56 Minor Arcana cards, divided into 4 groups of 14; the swords, wands, pentacles and cups.
When choosing your own Tarot deck, you may want to become a bit more familiar with the choices artists and practitioners have made in creating their decks. Whether you would like to delve into a complex composition, such as the Crowley-Harris Thoth studies and the Golden Dawn approach, or simply choose a beautiful deck that resonates within you, put a bit of thought into it. A Tarot deck, after being used regularly, will carry your energy- a tiny part of yourself.
Once you have a favoured deck in hand, take some time to look at every card and become familiar with it. Look at the faces of each character and internalize the symbolism the artist has chosen to display. You will need a Tarot interpretation book or source, again, of your choice- though the symbols and meaning behind each card are well known (even a small internet search will tell you what each card represents) each author will have their own differences in explanation.
There are many card spreads used by practitioners, but to begin, why not give the 3 Card Spread a try? Shuffle your deck well, taking the time to quiet the chatter in your head, and to let a particular life issue or thought take the center stage. If you so choose, let the presence of the divine within you arise in this exercise. Let that energy within your mind travel down, from the temples, to your neck, curving through the shoulders, down your arms, spreading to your palm and fingers, and finally, entering the cards. When you feel ready, put down the deck, and in that same state of concentration, cut the deck in two. Flip three cards from the point where you separated the deck; as should be instructed in your interpretation book, do not turn them right-side up if they are upside down, as the direction the cards decide the tone of your reading. Read the meanings of each care and see how they apply to your current situation.
The first card you drew will represent a state you have left behind, or are in the process of concluding. The second card will represent your current situation…this card’s meaning can sometimes be difficult to swallow, as it will often bluntly show us the versions of the present we refuse to see. The third card will be a theoretical view of what should be upcoming _should current events remain the same_ and is _in no way a guarantee of the future. Take time to internalize the meanings the cards have shown you.
The fun part is repeating the exercise a few more times, and seeing if the same practice brings similar sentiments from the cards. The more you use your cards, on a daily basis if you can, the more the meanings you derive will be clear, often spot-on, and sometimes, creepily accurate.
After a few draws, you will feel your inner energy start to dwindle, and repeated readings beyond that point will stop making any sense, seemingly random and devoid or vitality. It is very important to take long breaks between Tarot reading sessions. After completing a reading, drink plenty of water and reload on vitamins. You will feel purged and ready to take on whatever challenges await you.
Questions or comments about Tarot practice? Don’t hesitate to comment.
Want to see a spiritual or religious concept to be featured on Humdrum Discoveries? I would love to hear your ideas!