I became interested in Tarot last spring, and I bought my first deck and instructional book. However, I never got around to actually studying the cards last year. This year I got back into Tarot and have been slowly but surely studying the cards. Since I only study one or two cards a week, it’s going to take forever to get through all 78! The decks I’m using for learning are the traditional Rider-Waite, and the Gilded Tarot (which is based on the Rider-Waite).
The Gilded Tarot came with a book called “Easy Tarot”, which is very straightforward and helpful for learning the cards.
My Tarot journal is pretty barebones right now, but basically it’s a simple notebook where I write down a few things for each card:
- The traditional meaning of the card.
- The interpretation of the card based on the picture.
- How the card’s meaning relates to my own life (specific situations, past and present)
- How the card’s meaning relates to other people in my life (family and friends).
Then I leave space to come back and write other things that might happen that illustrate the card’s meaning for me. The idea is to make each card as real as possible, so that it’s more than just a pretty picture on shiny cardstock paper.
I’m not interested in the Tarot as a fortune-telling-read-the-future thing. I’m more interested in it as a way to take a step back from life and to connect with my intuition. Once I learn the cards well enough to do readings, I’ll do them for myself to get some insights on things to focus on. To me, Tarot is an incredible tool for mindfulness and introspection. I don’t believe the cards themselves have any latent magic, rather, the magic comes from you, the person using them and interpreting them. They force you to look at the big picture and put your life in perspective.
It’s been a healing tool for me as I deal with chronic depression. The very first night I wrapped the Gilded Tarot deck in a black silk cloth and slept with it under my pillow, I somehow felt better. And I slept better that night than I had in most nights prior. I have to work still to make using and studying the Tarot a habit, but it’s something I really want to do, and I’m working on making at least some time for it each week.
I also like Oracle cards. Unlike Tarot, Oracle decks are simpler and usually just have one word of inspiration on each card. The meaning depends on that particular deck. Usually, I draw one Oracle card, and whatever message comes up on that card, that’s what I try to keep in mind for the day. I don’t do this every day, but I’d like for this to become a daily habit.
I can’t wait to start getting into my other Tarot decks, because I love seeing different artists’ interpretations of the traditional meanings. They say that if you learn the meanings of the traditional Rider-Waite Tarot, you’ll be able to follow any other deck, since most are based on Rider-Waite. We’ll see if that’s true!