Tarot is a subject that is so full of mythology and religion that many consider the subject to be just a load of rubbish. But is it? What can we actually say about tarot? Apart from the fact that it is a pack of playing cards, probably very little. But the mythologies that surround tarot makes us feel that maybe there is something special about them. I know that historically the tarot started out as a medieval game, and nothing less. But with the passage of time, the tarot has developed a special meaning. The meanings of tarot are a pictorial representation of life itself. The moment I make this statement, again the response of what a load of rubbish appears in the mind of certain skeptical individuals. But wait! What is wrong with a graphical representation? When you were learning the academic life and preparing to go to university, did you learn to use symbolism to help you learn? But that’s different, I hear you say. That was mind mapping and a well respected learning tool. Well, the symbolic aspect of tarot is also a learning tool, but a learning tool that operates not through the top down process of absorption of data, but through a bottom up process of contemplation of the situations that you find yourself in in the here and now.
In some cultures the much maligned activity called divination is not about finding out what your boyfriend had for dinner on Thursday, but a complex system of counsellings therapy that the individual can learn to use by himself or herself.
Give yourself some time. You will not learn everything about this apparently ancient therapeutic art in one day. Split up your time into different sections. Firstly, the learning of religious symbolism, then the learning of how the religious symbolism appears in tarot and then the meanings of the major and minor arcana cards. Take your time. Learning tarot is about learning about life. One great occultist once suggested that religious symbolism was like a filing cabinet, each draw of that filing cabinet having its labels, but nothing in the drawers. You take your life experience, your studies, your work experience and everything that you have learned from your social life and family life and compartmentalize them into the different categories as defined by the mood, personality, energies and meaning of the various different symbols. To do this well may take many years. Learning about tarot and learning about life go hand in hand.
But once you have done this, then what? How are you to use the cards in the form of two way prayer that is a self counseling and divination exercise?
Start with a spread, nearly any spread will do. Research the different types of spreads. Find one that suits your needs. If you are doing a self exploratory exercise, find a more analytical spread, such as the Celtic Cross.
Study the spread in detail. Read others interpretations of the spread and build up your own meaning as to what the positions of the cards mean. Sit quietly undisturbed and in meditation, relaxed, focused and receptive. Ask the question out loud and then shuffle the cards and lay them out in the spread in question. You will find that as you do so, the memory of the various learning that you will have gone through will be stimulated by the turn of every card. Write down what the reading said to your mind in answer to your question and then come back to what you have written the next day with a fresh mind and then see what kind of creative interpretation you can make from the outcome of the reading. Don’t take what the reading said as fact, but a wisdom. You are free to reject what the reading says, but remember, people do tarot readings to get a different point of view and not fact.