By Patricia: Have you ever wished you could read the tarot for yourself, but are intimidated by having to memorize the meanings of all those cards, and then having to learn those different layouts and what they mean? It doesn’t have to be that hard; in fact, many of the best readers do not use the traditional meanings of the cards when their own intuition tells them the card means something else today.
The first step in reading the tarot is finding a deck that “talks” to you. I find it best to go to one of the local shops that cater to the Wiccan/Pagan community. They almost always have decks that have been opened, so that you can look at the individual cards. You are looking for a deck that has scenes on each card (many decks will only have an image of 4 cups on the 4 of Cups card, etc. which makes it difficult for the intuitive reader).
What you are looking for is a deck with images that mean something to you. If you have always had an affinity for faeries, for Arthurian legend, for dragons, etc., find a deck utilizing those themes. Look at the pictures on the cards. Do they show a story, do they tell a story? Do the cards “speak” to your heart and your soul? Don’t be in a hurry to choose a deck – your first deck should be very special to you. Take your time; you will know the right one when you find it.
Most of us end up getting drawn in and will have several decks eventually. Each deck will be right for you in certain situations, but not necessarily in others. I keep 4-8 decks with me when I read, though I primarily use only one. The rest are there for when I get someone with unusual needs or questions. One deck speaks to me about people’s life path, the role they are meant to play in this lifetime. One deck speaks to me about the spiritual path the person is meant to take in this lifetime. One deck speaks to me about what kind of person or spirit will be the guide or guardian in this lifetime. I choose which deck I use according to the needs of the person I am reading for.
When you have found your deck, open it up and get familiar with it. You may read the little book that comes with it if you wish, it certainly won’t do any harm, but you do not have to. Have someplace special for your cards. Your deck will appreciate it when you find a special way to keep the deck safe when you are not using it. Some people buy or make decorative boxes to keep them in, some people wrap them in silk, others will keep them loose on their altar or near their bed, where the cards can speak to them through their dreams. Whatever you choose to make your cards special to you, will be right for you and your cards.
Once you feel you are familiar with your cards, shuffle them so they all remain oriented in the same direction. (It is possible, but difficult, to do an intuitive reading with a card that is upside down to you.) Cut the deck, and look at the top card. The simplest reading is to tell yourself the story of that card and see how it applies to your life, or to the life of the person you are reading for. Let your intuition tell you if the story is a blessing, a warning, affirmation, redirection? What is that card trying to tell you? A great way to really get comfortable reading and to help you guide your own life, is to pull one card per day, read the meaning for yourself, and see how that card, that story, applies to your life that day. You may pull a card that shows children happily playing. That can be a message to be sure you take time to enjoy your day regardless of what is happening around you. You may get a card that shows someone standing alone in a forest. That may be a message to rely on yourself, that day, not to lean on others. As you get familiar with the cards and how they relate to your life, you will become more confident in your reading ability.
The next simplest reading is to pull three cards with a question in mind. The first card will be for the past, the next for the present, and the last for the future. This gives the cards the opportunity to help you see how the situation around your question has been developing, what is going on right now, and how the situation will continue into the future.
One very important thing to remember as you learn to read the cards: the future is not set in stone. The cards show the most likely outcome if things continue as they have been going. If you do not like the outcome the cards show, find out what you have to do to change that outcome. Sometimes, an outcome that looks bad ends up being a good thing. If it looks bad, look deeper, get in touch with your guides and find out what is really going on.
In the end, reading the tarot is the opportunity for your guides to speak to you in a way that is easier for us to understand. The tarot is a way to learn about ourselves, our guides, and the path we are meant to walk in this lifetime. It is a tool that can help you enrich your life, and help your spirit grow.
Love and Light,