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Getting to know a Tarot deck

There is, in my opinion, only one way to "bond" with a deck, to get to know a deck, or to decide if a deck is for you.

You need to spend time getting to know every card in the pack.

I appreciate with 78 cards in a pack of tarot cards this is quite an investment of time, but it is the best way to really understand any deck, and is the basis of being able to read with a deck fluently.

There are many ways to structure this process, this is how I like to do it;

#1 Gaze at the cards, 1 at a time (I chose 30 minutes per card as I knew I wanted to move into professional tarot card reading)

#2 Record your thoughts about the card, what do feel, see, what do the symbols mean to you?

#3 Research what other people have to say about this one card. I had a pile of 29 books that I compared, you might choose one or two favourite authors. But I think it is important to start with your thoughts, then compare them to other peoples.

#4 Compare the card to the same card in other decks. Perhaps one you know really well, or a well known deck. I compared the Rider-Waite & DruidCraft (the 2 decks I was getting to know) with Thoth & Morgan-Greer. What is different, what is similar, and how does this alter your perceptions of the card?

#5 Finally I went through all my notes and wrote down my key ides. My hard work was worthwhile as these can still be found on Amazon as two e-books!

It may seem like a lot of work, though you can scale it back and gaze for shorter times, use less books. I knew I was researching the course I was going to teach- so I wanted to be certain I knew each card well.

I was surprised, some cards I already knew very well. Others I realised I had over simplified (High Priestess was one) others I had avoided (6 cups, page of swords!).

If you have a particular interest other than Tarot it is well worth using this to deepen your understanding. I used my knowledge of Pagan & Norse mythology- perhaps you have a good understanding of astrology or crystals. I don't think there is much point in using other wisdom traditions unless you already have a sound understanding. It is too easy to piece things together and find you don't actually understand anything!

Along side getting to know each card personally, simple practice is the surest way to bond with a deck.

I tried to do a three card reading for myself each day- simply looking at the day ahead. I made a few notes. then in the evening I reflected on my reading, and my notes. This bought some cards into clear focus, and helped me to check in with how accurate my readings were becoming. I started to get a real "feel" for how the cards worked together, and it forced me to reflect on mistakes that I had made in my readings.

It may seem like a large task to study every card, here is how I broke down the task

#1 Each of the four aces. Understand the four suits and you are ahead of the game!

#2 The court-cards, often overlooked because they seem difficult. I like to tackle them first.

#3 Then the suits, Ace (again) through to 10.

#4 Finally the major arcana in numerical order.

This is why I still only read with the Rider-Waite & DruidCraft decks in professional readings. I may enjoy sharing other decks online, using them for myself, for teaching & inspiration. But if I am reading for a client I need a deck that I am totally fluent in reading, a deck that I know I can understand-whatever it is saying.

Many people have commented on how quickly I can read Tarot, how well I can find the accurate meaning between the cards, and how easy I make it look. I am glad that it seems easy, but remember it took me many hundreds of hours to get to this point of ease! In the end there is nothing more reliable than hours spent practising.

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