Tarot is like any art form, daily practice and continuous education leads to mastery. I consider Tarot an art form since it engages your mind, draws upon your imagination and creativity and gives you the tools you need to manifest your best life. If you, like me, use the Tarot as one of your primary tools to communicate with your higher-self, spirit, or access the greater consciousness, then the following practices will help you increase your abilities.
Daily Reading and Journal
Most mornings I do a daily reading asking the question “What is the most important thing I need to know or do this day?” First, I say most mornings, because like most of you, I am a human being who likes to occasionally sleep in, procrastinate, gets distracted by shiny objects or just plain “don’t wanna!” sometimes. But most mornings I do this daily spread. Also, I don’t always ask the same question. Sometimes I want to know something more specific, but in case I don’t have anything in mind, “What is the most important thing…” is my standby.
When I first began my practice, I would draw one card a day. I would then look up the key words in the LWB (the “little white book” that comes with most Tarot decks) and then try to decipher how that card and those keywords related to my question. Many of us learn Tarot this way, one card at a time. This may seem elementary, but it is an important step, just like learning your letters eventually lead to you being able to read things like this blog with relative ease!
After a few years of drawing one card daily, you are bound to get the same cards over and over. Afterall, there are only 365 days in a year, and 78 cards in a Tarot deck. The repetition is key to your learning the cards and their meanings.
After drawing my daily card I would then take out my Tarot journal (this could be a spiral bound notebook or a fancy leather bound journal or even a Word document- it really doesn’t matter) and write out my question, the card I drew, and then the keywords to the cards. Then I would answer my question based on the card. Finally, the next day I would write how that card manifested in my life.
Question: What is the most important thing I need to know or do this day?
Card: The Emperor
Key words: Authority figure, structure, regulation, father
Answer: Today I will focus on how to be a better leader at work.
Follow-up: Today my department manager presented me with an opportunity to go to our company’s leadership retreat, which I immediately said yes to.
There are so many great things that come from this daily practice, but one of the key elements is the follow up. By following up and recording how the cards manifested you are rewarding your intuition and allowing it to grow.
Over the years this practice has evolved for me. I now draw three cards daily and after journaling, I take out my daily planner (or you can use your phone to-do list, calendar, or whatever you use to write down things you need to do) and list action items I need to do based on the messages I received from my cards. Also, I rarely use keywords now. Once you are familiar with the intent of the card, you can dive a little deeper as to what you think the card means in a particular situation. This is another intuition exercise. I noticed my readings became pretty mechanical after a few years of using the same keywords over and over. Keep in mind, most decks are created by illustrators who hire writers to create the text for the cards. Therefore, what you see in the illustrations and symbols are just as valid, and to me, even more so. Afterall, your relationship with your deck is personal, and you get to choose how you communicate with it, and what its messages mean to you.
Have you ever had a day that you had so much to do, you were left wondering what to do first? Begin by asking yourself the standard questions such as; “What has to be done today?”, “What can be rescheduled or delegated?”, or “What can I delete from this list?”. After you’ve narrowed down this list, take the top four and write the task on four different slips of paper. Lay out the tasks and shuffle your cards asking the question: “What is the order of priority for these tasks that must be accomplished today.” Next, lay a card underneath each slip of paper.
The picture above is an actual spread I did before writing this blog. The cards were very kind to me, in that they gave me all cards that could be ranked by office. For example, Emperor would be first, followed by the Queen, the Knight and the Page. So, my task list, in order of priority, would be: Write the blog, prepare the budget and pay the bills, take a four-mile walk, work on cleaning my office. (Since the Knight outranks the Page, I switched the order of the cards.) Apparently getting off my butt and walking four miles is more important than me having the piles of paper and books decorating my desk and every available surface in my office. Actually, good call, I’ve been lax on exercising lately and it shows…
However, it’s not always that simple. What if you get four cards that have no particular ranking? First, I would seek out any major arcana cards, as these outrank the suits. The major arcana cards are the 21 cards from the Fool (Card 0) to the World (Card 20). Next, which card is the most positive? For example, if I pulled “The Sun” under “Budget and Bills” and pulled “The Moon” for cleaning the office, I would do my budget first and then clean my office, since the sun rules the day and the moon rules the night, and day comes before night. Yes, it could be argued first that night comes first since it preexisted before the sun but use your own intuition to make the connections. What feels right to you is the correct way to do this.
If all cards seem pretty equal to you, then know that perhaps all four tasks are of equal importance and it doesn’t really matter which you do first. In which case, always go with the most difficult or “swallow the frog” first. This makes your other tasks look easy by comparison, and no matter what happens after, you at least accomplished that.
YES or NO???
Sometimes you just need a quick Yes or No. When I have time, I try never to use the Tarot for yes or no questions. You can get so specific using Tarot, that if you have time, just do a full reading. But that being said, there are times you need a quick answer. For this, I keep a small Tarot deck with me for quick and dirty readings on the go. There are two way I ask “Yes or No” questions;
One Card Reading: Simply ask your question and shuffle the cards. Whatever card appears is your answer. If the card seems positive to you (The Sun, The World, The Chariot, 10 of Cups – to name a few) then the answer is yes. If you get a card you perceive as negative (Death, The Tower, The Devil) then the answer is no. Remember, there are no truly positive or negative cards in the Tarot, but for this exercise go with your feelings of positive or negative.
Four- Aces Spread: The other type of “Yes or No” reading I do is the “Four-Aces Spread”. This is the one I do more often, because it gives more than a simple “Yes or No”. In this reading, ask your question like you did before. Then draw four piles of cards, up to twelve per stack, but stopping at an ace. When you get an Ace, stop and move to the next stack.
For example, in the reading above I drew twelve cards and had no ace, so I moved to the next stack. In stack two, I drew five cards before I hit an ace. So, I left the ace on top and moved to the next stack. On the third stack I drew ten cards and stopped at an ace. Then I moved to the last stack. The first card I pulled for stack four was an ace, so I left it.
How to read it? For me, four aces are an absolute YES!!! Three aces are a “Most likely Yes”. Two aces I interpret as it doesn’t really matter, nothing serious will be affected either way. One ace is a “Probably not a great idea. No aces mean ABOSULETLY NO!!!
Also, look at the cards that weren’t aces to give you further feedback. For example, I got the Wheel of Fortune in the above spread. This, along with three aces, lets me know that not only is this a yes, but my timing is good as well. Or, however you interpret that for you.
So, these are a few simple ways to incorporate Tarot into your daily life, and there are innumerable other ways as well, but these work best for me, and I hope you find these techniques valuable as well! Please send me any questions you may have or let me know of some of your daily practices!