In uncertain times, your personal growth and future plans may be the only thing you can count on. Tarot can be a part of your planning.
Simple Tarot readings start with a request. The ability to ask a question of the cards is the first step in the exchange of information. It’s never easy to ask for help, but if you’ve got a friend who knows the practice or can help you as you work through your first few readings, you have the chance to move forward, ask for guidance and determine what you find most challenging.
A Simple Three Card Reading
For example, you might ask for guidance in working through a big change. Shuffle the cards and make your request. Then split the cards into three different piles and flip over the top three cards of these stacks.
The first card will guide you on what you need to give up or surrender to the change, rather than fighting. The second card gives you guidance on how to protect yourself as your ride out the change. Finally, focus on the third card so you can stay centered on your goals as you work through your evolution.
Every growth experience is a response to some form of discomfort. If you choose not to change, your discomfort will come from being still as the inevitable change crashes over you. If you choose to initiate change, the discomfort will come from your efforts. The only thing you can be sure of is that there is no life without some change and growth.
Find Clarity in a Five Card Reading
If your goal is out there but you’re struggling to see it fully, a clarity reading can help you fully define what’s getting in the way. Shuffle first, focusing on the specific challenge that is blocking you.
You can either pull your five cards or cut the deck as you are moved. Flip five cards face up and study each one according to the questions that will help you study your challenge from all angles.
1) What exactly is going on? Describe it with no eye toward good or bad.
2) How can I walk through this event without getting knocked over?
3) What do I need to know by the time this is over?
4) What am I shedding as I work through this event?
5) What am I learning or gleaning from this?
For example, if your first card is Judgement and your third card is the Hermit, make sure you act fairly to yourself and others during the process. Know that you need some quiet time when things get rough and make plans to take some.
The history of the Tarot and information on the major Arcana can help you put a pack to use as soon as you find a set you like. Work your Tarot on your own or with a friend to bounce ideas around. Understand the success and struggle are cyclical. Strive to carefully consider the symbolic nature of the cards and all the ways that we grow into new ideas and shed old relationships every day.
WHAT IS TAROT: History
The earliest forms of Tarot come to us from the 14th century of Europe. While they may have been used to divine the future or guide users initially, pressures from religious institutions often either drove users underground or forced them to turn these useful tools into an entertainment. However, the Major and Minor Arcana, or lessons, have survived to the current day and offer those interested in understanding their future options a great deal of guidance.
The Major Arcana
0: The Fool
If the Fool comes up in your Tarot reading, think of it as proclaiming your innocence. If you’re not sure about a move and the Fool is turned over, perhaps it’s time to study up on your potential new city.
1: The Magician:
The Magician offers a different message. Your skills are remarkable as is your perspective. If you’re asking a yes or no question and the Magician pops up, it doesn’t mean “yes”. It means you already have the answer and perhaps need to ask a different question.
2: The High Priestess:
The High Priestess speaks of intuition. If you’re struggling with a task and you just can’t get started, do a reading. If the Priestess is turned over, put away the cards and do something creative or indulge in some self-care. Your intuition knows what you need to do, but you must listen.
3: The Empress:
The Empress is the card of compassion and care. We often beat ourselves up over problems instead of understanding that it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for help. She may be giving you the message to dig deeper. If you’re considering a romantic or geographic change, the Empress wants you to have more input. Why are you considering this change? What’s making you unhappy, and what will a change in this area do to give you comfort? She’s a mother goddess of the highest order.
4: The Emperor:
The Emperor is the card of confidence. This card is all about authority and power. When the Emperor appears in your Tarot layout, carefully study what you already know about the situation. Are you asking the right questions to help you to your next level? The Emperor may be telling you to hit the books and review your life notes.
5: The Hierophant:
This card asks you to take a look at your own spiritual compass. Should you or shouldn’t you do a certain activity or make a certain move? It depends. Does this action fit with the person who you are, your sense of right and wrong, and your life goal? If you take comfort from any spiritual writings, this is your time to sit back down with that crucially important book.
6: The Lovers:
Your reading may or may not be about romance; the Lovers card is actually tied to all of the people you care about. If you’re struggling to come to a decision on an action and the Lovers appear, it may be a sign you need to get information from a loved one, or ask them honestly if your action will have a negative impact on them.
7: The Chariot:
The Chariot card is all about power. However, embracing your power can be frightening; if you see yourself as kind and sweet but need to step up and say something harsh, the Chariot might just pop up in your reading! Stick with your goals and plans, pay careful attention to your deepest inner sense of self, and keep moving forward.
The Strength card is tied to fortitude. Can you hang onto your goals as you are forced into discomfort? The Strength card can help you to remember your personal power as you ride the wave of difference and change in your life.
9: The Hermit:
The Hermit is the card that reminds you to stop, focus, and spend some time in your own studies. It’s not always possible to be completely alone, but the ability to avoid chasing the next best thing and carefully study where you are right now is extremely healing.
10: Wheel of Fortune:
There is no easy path of constant success. Winning may be fun but it teaches us nothing. From the top of the wheel we tend to coast until we’re in trouble, then we work our way back to the top.
The Justice card is a reminder that there is an arc to the universe. The power of karma is always busy in our lives. This doesn’t mean that every situation will be fair, but it does remind us that our behavior toward one another has to be fair if we want to advance.
12: The Hanged Man:
The Hanged Man is related to a state of limbo. If you want something better but can’t find a path forward and aren’t willing to try something new, you’re dangling by your feet over an abyss of your own making. Carefully look at what you’re clinging to if the Hanged Man comes up.
The Death card is a reminder that we can’t enjoy something new without something old passing on. Life itself is cyclical. It can’t always be summer. When the snow melts and the earth warms, the new flowers will bloom, but they’ve had to do some serious suffering to become fruitful. This is the message of the Death card.
Temperance is a lesson about balance and focus. It may be a lesson about avoiding alcohol or other intoxicants, but often it’s about putting away anxious thoughts and worries so you can take on troubles as they come.
15: The Devil:
The Devil isn’t in the cards to frighten you. Rather, the lesson you can review when the Devil pops up is that often our sense of hopelessness and despair is a self-imposed prison. If you find that depression or anxiety is unmanageable, seek help. If financial burdens have you feeling helpless, find a professional to aid you. Being buried under trouble isn’t necessary, but you will have to be courageous to kick the Devil out of your head and move on.
16: The Tower:
The Tower is the card of destruction. However, it’s out of destruction that new growth comes. If you’ve ever renovated your home, you know it takes a lot of dust, hammering and noise to come up with something new. If you have to tear something down, do it. Then build something better.
17: The Star:
The Star card shows up when your path has a chance of smoothing out. This doesn’t mean you can get complacent, however. If work is going to smooth out, maybe it’s time to challenge yourself with new training or a side hustle. If your romantic life is smooth sailing, maybe it’s time to take things to the next level. Be ready to continue to grow when things get easier; don’t coast back to the bottom of the wheel.
18: The Moon:
The Moon is tied to your innermost feelings and your subconscious. If you wake up struggling with anxious thoughts, your subconscious is knocking at the door of you mind and letting you know that you have an issue to work on. Be gentle with yourself when doing moon work. The moon is constantly changing, so be ready to start small.
19: The Sun
The Sun card is a lot like the Star, only much more so! When the Sun card shines on your life, it’s because the work you’ve done is coming into alignment and you can reap the rewards of your efforts. Keep growing, but enjoy the celebration!
When Judgement shows up in a reading, it’s time to take a look at thoughts, actions or feelings that may be holding you back. Are you holding a negative thought that you think is protective but is really a hot coal? Let it go. Get back into balance by being fair to yourself and forgiving those who will never ask. Move on.
21: The World:
This card is the bearer of wonderful news. You’re on the right path, putting in the right amount of effort and headed in the right direction. Imagine all the places you can go and the folks you can help along the way! This is the goal of Tarot; to get to a place where you energies, goals and values align.