Let’s Talk about Tarot: How to Use it in a Daily Practice

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I love tarot cards and am actually an avid collector. I think that tarot cards hold a lot of potential for self knowledge, growth, and even healing. I know that most people put tarot cards into one of two camps. The first believing that these cards are just cards and do nothing more than provide fake messages. The second believing that these cards are a bridge to evil.

I think it’s really to dismiss tarot as one of these things than to actually learn about tarot. These cards started off as a card game and slowly became synonymous with divination and fortune telling. The history of tarot is actually highly debated. It’s inception is difficult to pin down but most people believe it gained popularity in Italy in the 1430’s. These cards were introduced to other countries and there are now many different version of these, the most popular being the rider waite tarot. Most presently, the new waves of spirituality resurrected this practice and it is now mostly used for self reflection and shadow work.

Where to Start?

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Most people are really intimidated by tarot because of the number of cards you have to know and memorize. However, tarot can be as difficult or as easy as you want it to be. So where do we start?

First, I recommend cleansing the deck and choosing a crystal for it. You can cleanse with the moon light (waning moon works best), selenite and other cleansing crystals, or smoke. Then I usually pair it with a crystal so that it can keep the deck charged (the energy high). Next, it’s important to just spend a few days getting to know the deck before actually starting to throw cards around. Look at the art, spend time looking at each card, read the guidebook if your deck has one. Unless you are using a basic deck, most other versions have their own spin on every card. This adds a layer of meaning for you. Then I usually do an interview spread just to get to know the energy of the deck (there are many on pinterest).

When I first starting reading tarot, I started with single cards. I would spread the cards out and pick one with my non-dominant hand then read it’s meaning in the guidebook. This helped get a feel of what each card means generally as well what it means in this specific deck. Basically, I would as one question and pull one card as the answer. Eventually I started to feel comfortable doing small spreads. I got myself a little notebook where I wrote down the meanings and tried to tell a story with each of my spreads. Once I felt confident I started using my own interpretation of the meanings and asking myself questions related to the cards for my journal and to reflect on.

Starting with tarot is really about just jumping in and learning through practice. Eventually comfort and confidence starts to work it’s way through. Most people will tell you that reading cards is mostly about learning to trust your own intuition. It is about taking the basic meaning of the card and using your skills, your life experience, to apply those meanings to your life.

How to use Tarot as a Daily Practice?

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For most people who use tarot or other divintory cards, they choose a time of day that they feel works best for them. I like to read my cards my cards for the day in the morning and then do any other spreads I feel like at the end of my day. I try to keep my cards in mind throughout the day and journal about them when I feel called to it. For instance, if I get the Magician for the day, I try to think about planning, balance, and knowledge. I’ll try to think about how I can tap into that energy that day, where this energy needs to fall, and whether or not I’ve been lacking this energy prior.

What I tell most people when it comes to cards is that your interpretation is the most important. What you choose to reflect on, focus on, is the most important. These cards are starting points for you to reflect on and question. You build upon the meaning of the card, your interpretation, and meditate on it. Tarot is about strengthening that intuition muscle. For some, using spreads is super helpful and important. For others, it’s about asking the right questions and intuitively working with the cards.

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Building a daily practice is about how you want to connect with yourself. I really like starting my day with cards because it gives me the opportunity to change perspective on life, to reflect on the day before, and to give myself some starting points to focus on. I like to journal about these cards at the beginning and end of the day as well. It’s something that helps me feel more grounded and reminds me to be aware of my thoughts, actions, and needs.

Not everyone likes to practice this way. Some pull one daily card at the end of the day, and reflect in the evening. Others prefer doing weekly reading and asking random questions throughout the week to supplement that reading. There are plenty of ways to build a daily practice and what it truly comes down to is dedication and a willingness to reflect.

What has helped me, is having different decks, a notebook, journal, and a set time everyday. You can add anything you want to this practice. You can make a playlist to read to, you can add your tarot to meditation practices, you can draw as you reflect, you can try and write a short story. There are so many ways to play with this.

Each practice is personal and really unique. The structure you create is about making reading and self reflection easier. For instance, some people don’t read card reversals, or other like to use different decks in one reading. I like to throw in oracle cards when I read tarot. These are more general and provide a good starting point for my readings. Have fun with it. Try new ways of journaling, find different decks you connect with, and study.

I’ll leave you with some questions for self reflection after a reading!

Some Questions to Help Reflect On a Reading

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  1. How can I best connect to this energy?
  2. How have I been lacking/overdoing this energy?
  3. Where in my life is this card pointing to?
  4. What imagery in this card am I most drawn to? What meaning does it have?
  5. Which of these scares me the most? Why?
  6. How have I been feeling and how does this card challenge those emotions?
  7. Have I gotten this card before? Why do I think that is?
  8. What correspondences (zodiacs, elements, numerology, symbols) does this card have?
  9. How does this card work with the others in this spread? What story is emerging here?
  10. Which card seems to represent me? Why?

I’m a Brown student pursing a BA in literary arts and on my way to an MFA in creative writing. I write and read about love, identity, and womanhood.

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