An Easy Guide to Learning 21st Century Tarot Cards

“Tarot for me is like an infinitely sensible best friend…It takes into account what is best for all involved and tells you what you probably already know about yourself and your needs. It is always objective and always tells it like it is. It never lies and it never exaggerates. If you are doing silly things, it is not afraid to say, as well as giving you an oversight of the possible consequences. It can look at your relationships and let you know what can be improved and how, it can tell you what kind of day you have had, and how this may affect you tomorrow.” – The High Heeled Guide to Enlightenment

But Tarot is of the Devil, right? 

No, no, no… Of course, some people will always feel uncomfortable with any kind of spiritual or esoteric practice. But tarot is only as spooky as something like reading your horoscopes. Tarot comes from pagan traditions, but pagan does not mean devil. Trust me, my dad was a pagan and he is one of the nicest, most peace-loving dudes there ever was! Pagan societies worshipped nature, the earth, the mama goddesses and the father gods. Tarot has been given a bad rap over the years by the way it has been portrayed in films and through other media. As a tarot lover myself, I find them naught but friendly, pure and wholesome!

Tarot has an undeserved reputation as being demonic, satanic or a harbinger of doom. If you pull out cards that are seemingly negative, don’t panic. It can be unnerving to pull out the death card or the hanged man, but these have very different meanings beyond the ‘obvious’. For example:

Death: Change, end of a cycle, new beginnings. I love the death card because it means that old, outworn things are changing and over, making way for shiny new stuff!

The Hanged Man: Look closely at the image; he is hanging by his foot, not his neck. This card represents stasis, limbo, time to consider and to heal.

Tarot cards do not cause bad things, they simply reflect them, as they reflect all experiences of life. Tarot is a true representation of the world, and unlike Angel Cards that tend to be overtly positive, Tarot tells it how it is.

What are Tarot?

Tarot are a set of 76 symbolic cards. They represent a whole gamut of human emotions, behavior, situations and other complexities. Tarot are a tool that can be used to interpret and assist you in all life situations; they give guidance and clarity.

Tarot mirrors back your life to you in a way that helps you to see choices, options and potential conclusions in an objective way.

With Tarot, nothing is definite. Tarot is a guide. It is up to you what you do with what you are shown. You may be shown possible outcomes, but if these outcomes are less favorable, then Tarot will advise you how to avoid them. At its most wonderful, Tarot acts as a cheerleader. It shows you that you are on the right path and helps you to optimize future opportunities. Tarot will help you make the most of your current life path.

How to learn Tarot

Choose the right pack. I own several packs, I only read with one. Pick a pack that draws your attention, with images that you enjoy looking at and that you can connect to. There are so many to choose from, (dolphins, cats, stylistic, fashion tarots, etc) and in many different themes, so hopefully there will be a perfect pack for you out there!

Every Tarot pack should come with a basic leaflet explaining very simply the meaning of each card. That should suffice to begin with as you may not want to confuse yourself with overly wordy card explanations. My advice is to trust your gut instinct about a card. It does not matter that you have a slightly different interpretation than somebody else. What matters is that you listen to your ‘higher self’ and work with your intuition. Tarot is not just about the image on the card, it is about what springs to your mind when you see that image. Tarot is about going with your feelings and not letting your overthinking mind get in the way. Trust yourself. Tarot can be a great platform, not just for readings, but for getting to know your inner thoughts and feelings.

Practice by pulling out a card for yourself every day. Do this in the morning and reflect upon the card when the day is done. How does that card reflect the events of your day? This is an easy way to get to know the card and to build your own relationship and understanding of them.

Begin by reading each card as you perceive it. Look at the image, the colour, the way it makes you feel. Don’t be afraid to use your intuition and gut instinct. Your personal interpretation is vital to tarot. In time you will develop your own associations with each card that, alongside the ‘official’ interpretation, will lead you to be able to perform a richer and deeper reading.

Progress to pulling three cards – these could represent recent past, present and near future. Now that you have more than one card, try to see how the cards relate to one another. What story are they telling? Notice how the meaning of a card changes depending upon the cards that are next to it. A card may mean one thing today and something very different next week. Don’t try to mould Tarot to rigid meanings. Tarot is fluid, just like your mood, and like life.

Notice themes that occur in the cards and how these may echo what happens to you over the next few days. Remember Tarot is about real, every day life. Whilst you may pick out a seemingly significant card, don’t always expect to have a magnificent event occur. A fabulous card could represent something small and nice in an otherwise boring week.

Read with LOVE – Tarot, like anything in life, only reflects the intention out into it. So read with love in your heart and with a desire to be helpful! 

Tarot can be great fun, so make sure you enjoy your readings. Reading with a positive intent can help bring about a helpful and enlightening reading, even for somebody having a particularly bad time. Tarot are not about seeing the future, they are about making the most of the now and setting yourself up for a better life. Remember that and you can’t go wrong!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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