Learning to read tarot is like learning a new language. A language of colour, image & symbolism- which can not only reflect every possible human emotion & experience, it can predict patterns of likelihood for the future, and delve deep into the past.
A language that is worth taking your time to learn....
My first piece of advice for tarot may be controversial. Pick one deck, just one deck- and immerse yourself in that tarot deck.
Understand the symbolism of that deck, what the author & artist are trying to capture, and how you can read their symbolism. Get to know each card like an old friend, the best & the worst that each card has to share with you.
With 78 cards setting aside time to look at each card (no, not a cursory flick through, sit & look) can seem like a big investment of time- especially for one deck.
When we read for ourselves we see the cards reflecting the questions we have. When we simply look at the card we are able to start to see every subtle meaning. This also builds a very frim foundation for "reading tarot" which is simply when we understand what the unique blend of cards, question & spread are saying.
Having a firm understanding of each card seems an obvious first step to me. You can't memorise a list of key words, and expect that to offer you the subtle variety needed to reflect any situation. You need to be able to understand each card.
Which deck to choose?
My bets bit of advice is to choose one whose imagery you love. There are so many wonderful decks, I started this process with the Rider-waite deck, and then included Druidcraft. I am slowly getting to know WildWood. But that is just my personal choice.
I don't think there is any one deck that is better, or worse. This is really a very personal choice.
#1 Take your time, don’t rush. This is an enjoyable journey. A slow getting to know each card in its full subtle glory.
#2 Decide how you want to structure this journey. This is my process, but you may prefer to make changes;
-The Court cards, I always start with the court cards. They are often the hardest cards to understand, so my nature is to start with them.
-The 4 aces, having understood the court cards, now I want to get a feel for the suits.
-The suits of wands; ace to 10
-The suits of cups; ace to 10
-The suits of swords; ace to 10
-The suits of pentacles; ace to 10
-The major arcana in numerical order, 1-21, then fool.
#3Take the time to look, simply look, at each card. 10, 20, 30 minutes. Make notes afterwards- not of what you know the card to mean, but of what you saw in the card & what that means to you.
#4 You can extend this process in any way depending on your skills set.
-I tend to be academic, so I researched each card from various authors.
-If you are creative you could express your understanding through art.
-If you meditate try led visualizations where you enter a card, or meet the key characters.
-Try story writing, poetry. Bring your skills & passion to help you connect with the cards.
Next week I will be writing a blog exploring ways to start to understand the story between the cards.