When you are new to tarot, it is essential you introduce yourself to it gently. Much like a first date, walk softly, speak from the heart, and learn about the tarot slowly. A strong relationship with the tarot is all about taking your time. The tarot will speak its secrets to you in time. There are a few techniques that help a new practitioner in learning the tarot. And what better way to help any of you who are interested than to write a bit of how I myself learned?
First off, I began studying the tarot 10+ years ago. My very first deck was The Enchanted World Tarot by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber, and I picked it out of a metaphysical book catalog. I can remember waiting for it to come along with my other book goodies. I was very eager and it felt like Christmas was coming early. Picking one’s tarot deck is a very personal rite of a tarot practitioner. The imagery has to pull your heart in. It has to both ascetically please you and also express your understanding of the symbology behind each card. When I saw the imagery of The Enchanted World I was instantly drawn, and its beauty really spoke to me louder than the others. Now, having access and transportation (the wonders of growing up!) to many places that sell tarot cards and allow you to do what I recommend: OPEN THEM UP! See them, sort through them in their entirety. To really connect to the artwork by the artist. I highly recommend this for a beginner tarot enthusiast. It is part of the culture and should be expected, although, I suppose you should ask first. Then once you find your deck, or rather the deck finds you, there are several ways to go about learning and studying.
- Intuitively Interpret. Don’t read the accompanied book. View it as a cheat sheet. Make your own interpretations first, then see how close you are to the artist’s intention. Describe the card to yourself using different words. Ask yourself how does the card make you feel? What is the imagery? Symbols? You may be surprised at how accurate you were.
- Pick A Card of the Day. Use your intuition. Interpret as you see fit. Introduce yourself. Encourage a dialog. Place the card out on your altar or nightstand, or in another good safe place where you will be able to see it frequently throughout the day. If you leave the house, bring it with you, or take a snapshot of it on your phone as a backdrop.
- Manifest your card. Allow your card to manifest in some way during your day whether that is by actively visiting a place similar to the card’s art work, or looking for and finding its symbolism in your daily comings and goings. Be prepared to be impressed.
- Write about your impressions in a Tarot Journal. Start a diary of all of your sessions and your progressive knowledge. Include in it any dreams that could also give you extra insight. Name the card your own name. Make it yours. Come up with little nicknames for certain cards to help ingrain its symbolic meaning.
- Make your own cheat sheet. With every card, there are certain universal meanings that are yes very basic, but help you to get a sense of these archetypal meanings. Fold it up and keep it in your bag of tarot cards, that way if you get stumped or second guess yourself you will have an instant reference.
- Have fun and trust your instincts! Don’t let specifics get in the way. The tarot was first overall a game. So have fun. Allow synchronicity to happen and leave room for serendipity.
- Objectivity is key! Always follow your gut when it comes to tarot reading. This means however you have to be your worst critic.If you can be your own best friend, and be honest and unbiased with yourself, then you will be on the road for great tarot success!
- Study as much from as many sources as possible. Get out there, study for yourself. Delve deep into the mysticism of the Tarot and be swept up in its history and healing wisdom.
- Take care and guard your deck. Be sure to protect your deck from animals and small children who would like to “play” with them. I had a deck eaten by an unruly and cranky puppy. I was very sad, but could only blame myself for not putting them up and out of reach of idol hands, or rather teeth. As far as children, I would only caution you a bit so they don’t get sticky or ripped or lost. If you keep them in a pouch when you’re not using them all the better.
- Cleanse and purify. By cleansing and blessing your deck with an intention for healing you will be able to imprint the cards with your own energy. Much like a hand-shake, blessing an object allows you to equate a positive and a good vibration surrounding your tarot practice in your subconscious. This should also be done frequently as remnants from clients can be imprinted onto the cards, plus it helps not only with energy germs, but the physical ones as well. You can use sunlight, incense smoke, or even my favourite: aromatherapy. Most essential oils are natural antivirals, antifungals, and antibacterials. Plus they permeate the atmosphere around you, creating an even better and healing environment for you and your clients.
I hope these tips helped you with your practice. Let me know if you would like to sign-up for the Introduction to Tarot eCourse! (Soon to come!)