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If a picture can paint a thousand words...

Why is there such a focus on memorising key words for Tarot?


My most repeated advice to Tarot students is to LOOK at the cards, rather than immediately start remembering keywords and associations. Which is why in a reading I usually turn the cards over one at a time- it forces me to focus on the individual card, rather than skip over to the big or interesting ones.


I can't begin to calculate how many hours I sit and look at the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot. It is the only deck I use professionally, and reading Tarot is my main source of income.


And yet I still notice small nuances between the cards in a reading- which add so much depth and detail to a reading.


The Sunflowers in the Sun and Queen of Wands.

The black pole in the Fool, 6 Swords, and 10 Pentacles.

The pairing of red roses & white lilies in many cards (magician, Ace pentacles, 2 wands).

The bridge in the 5 cups & 4 wands.

The scales in 6 pentacles, Justice, 10 Pentacles.


These are the sort of details that create cross linking in a Tarot spread for me, I don't necessarily remember all these details- but when I see the same small detail repeated in a spread my eye catches them.


Perhaps that is why I rarely do a one card reading- I like to read across the symbols of several cards.

And it is certainly one of the reasons why I chose not to read reversed cards. I wouldn't read a book upside down, and I don't read Tarot cards upside down.


I do have a good knowledge of the meanings of the cards, I love reading, researching, and writing about the symbolism. But when I read the Tarot, when I'm actually looking at a card I let that go.


I let go of expectation, story, and just for a moment wisdom.


I allow myself to look at a card as I would a much loved painting (and I do love wondering around art galleries) and I allow myself to see whatever catches my eye.


My most usual Tarot spread is a 9 card grid- 3 cards for the past, 3 for the present, 3 for the future.


Often I find myself absorbed with the linking of colours, body language, symbolism, as my eye runs up and down, across, and horizontally - mapping all the nuances.


Even after a busy day of reading Tarot for clients I am still delighted by the complexity of symbolism my eye can find in a spread.






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