Tarot Made Easy

By Anya

If you have a deck of Tarot cards, or are thinking of getting one, chances are at some stage you will read the little white book (lwb). This is the book of meanings that generally accompanies the cards themselves and is full of confusing keywords with little information on how to read with insight and confidence.

Lets start at the top: choosing your deck - If you haven't already purchased a deck, go to your local new age store, or amazon, or aeclectic.net and find a deck you like. Try aiming for a deck that has pictures on both the major and minor arcana, like ones based on the rider waite traditional decks, eg hanson roberts. PS its a myth that you can only get a deck if its a gift, only you will know the one you like!

Once you find a deck you like, you need to get to know it. Reading the little white book is a good start but where do you go from there?

...learning the Tarot

First off, focus on the major arcana, you already know (from the previous thread) that these are the big ones, the momentus events, experiences and lessons in life. One by one just look at the card, start with The Fool, and take each in turn. Start by just noticing the colours, the surroundings, what the central character is doing. Ask yourself some questions: how does it make you feel, what does it remind you of? Write all these observations down in a Tarot journal.

After looking through all 22 cards, go back to them and this time consider them as the journey of The Fool, take one after the other and tell a story, the Fool's story. What happens when the Fool starts out, what does the Magician tell him, how about his encounter with the High Priestess, all the way through. Again try writing it down.

These are just tips on how to familiarise yourself with your deck, and as you can see this can take as long as you want it to.

Once you feel happy with the major arcana, try focusing on the minor arcana too, armed with your knowledge about the suits and keywords from the little white book (lwb), write down how you feel when you see the card, what it reminds you of etc. Also find some books to help you on your way, Rachel Pollack's 78 Degrees of Wisdom is a great start.

Doing readings
Most lwbs feature the traditional reading, the celtic cross and its worth familiarising yourself with that. It might take a while so in the meantime here are two spreads you can easily use as you get to know the Tarot:

The daily reading - this is a one card reading, easy peasy, draw it at the start of each day, and note down what it means to you. At the end of the day go back to the card to see how relevant it was.

The three card reading: past, present, future - another easy one, just draw three cards for each position and tell a story from all three. As well as reading each card in isolation try to see how they connect, how the past has influenced the present and how the present will influence the future.

This really is just an introduction to the tarot, everything I mention here is the tip of the iceberg in terms of how tarot works, how to learn etc... so I hope this encourages any of you who are interested to get out there an get your own deck, or have a reading!

On that note I thought I would talk a little bit about how readings work, what they involved, the difference between online and face to face and what to avoid!

A reading is the combination of three things: a spread (which I briefly touched upon in part 2), the question and the cards drawn.

The spread
There are thousands of different spreads, although dont let that alarm you, firstly if you want to be a reader you don't have to learn lots of spreads, and as a querent you trust the reader to choose the right spread for you. The reason that there are so many is that every reader will design their own spreads. In fact designing a spread is a great way to learn how to read the Tarot!

The most common spreads are the 3 card past, present, future and the celtic cross. Once you have learnt those, it is a small step to making them up youself. The key is to identify positions for the cards that will give the most insight into a question: eg what obstacles are there to this situation, what past influences are affecting this issue.. that kind of thing.

The question
The question is also important, as is how you word it. Although you can get a basic overview of a problem from a yes/no question it doesn't really empower you - and that is the beauty of the tarot, the way, when interpretted well, it can really empower you. So try to word your question so it has an open ended answer, things like... how can I improve, what do I need to know about.... what energies are around me in x situation.... Of course you can have general readings too, if you just feel the need for some general insight, and these can be very informative and eye opening!

The cards
once the spread is chosen, the question shared, the reader will then shuffle the cards and they are drawn, placed into each position and then interpretted according to their meanings, their position, how they relate to each other, and you should get a really good in depth overview of what the overall reading is telling you.

Online or face to face?
I think both have their place today. Finding a good tarot reader is like finding a good hairdresser, when you find them you don't want to let them go! The thing is often a face to face reading takes place at a mind body spirit fair, or tarot party. How do you know you can trust going to someone's house, or them coming to you? What if you don't live near a regular event or new age shop? This is where online readings, I think are invaluable.

A word of warning though: avoid pay per minute phone readings, and avoid computer generated readings!

There are differences between online and face to face. Face to face you may be asked to draw the cards yourself, hence you can rationalise how a reading works with the accepted transference of energy theory. However some readers subscribe by the old wives tale that no-one but them can touch the cards. Online of course there is no direct energy transference, however the world consists entirely of energy, so it is entirely plausible that distance should not affect tapping into enery fields, especially if the online reader has an idea of where you are.

Personally I use location, numerology (from date of birth) and intuition to tap into an energy field, and am nearly always accurate (I say nearly, I have never received negative feedback - but am not so bigheaded to claim to be amazing! - The tarot is the amazing thing!)

There are drawbacks to both methods. Face to face there is the risk of being read by the reader, by that I mean some unscrupulous readers use psychology to read you, your reactions, body language etc to tell you what you want to hear. With online readings, you need to be sure the person at the other end of the email is genuine (check out their credibility, are they a member of the Tarot Association of the British Isles for instance?), also it may be difficult to overcome your own scepticism about how tarot works, especially if you are happy with the notion that it works if you touch them...

My advice when searching for a tarot reader is this:

Check their credibility - eg TABI membership/endorsement
Check they have ethics
Email them and ask them questions
Ask for a free one card reading or test out a cheap reading
Read information on their site
(This is true for online or face to face readers)
Above all - go with your gut feeling, if you like them chances are they will be able to help!

So thats it for the basic intro to tarot - as always I am happy to answer any questions, there is further info on my site too. Visit anya at www.innermoo.co.uk

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