Everyone has a story about their first brush with Tarot. Perhaps you stumbled into them at the local bookstore. Maybe incense and oils took hold of your nose and lured you into a shop. Maybe your best friend pulled them from their bag late one slumber party.
I was the wander-into-the-shop variety. I’m pretty sure it was frankincense that got me.
How ever you came to find the Tarot let me say Welcome!
Learning the Tarot is definitely an undertaking but it is an incredibly rewarding practice. Each form of divination is its own language. An easy to understand but hard to master language.
When you began to learn English, you had to learn the basics
of the alphabet and what each letter sounded like. From there, you began
forming simple words like cat, dog, and octopus.
Going from A, B, C; 1,2,3 to Shakespeare is going to take some time and study.
So What Makes up a Tarot Card?
Each Tarot Card has various embedded symbols and meanings. The funny thing about symbols is that what one symbol means to me may mean something entirely different to you.
There are cultures that view owls as incredibly wise, while others find them to be omens of bad luck. Your experience will and should be very individual when it comes to symbols.
Like the swastika of the Nazis, symbols can be powerful at facilitating feelings and experiences.
Take colors for example.
Most people would agree that yellow is typically used for light, sunshine, and happiness. However, I think yellow is overly bright and I associate it with gross yellow mustard.
Spoiler alert: I don’t like to eat mustard. So when I say that each card or suit is associated with something, take it with a grain of salt.
Like the Pirates’ said: they are more like guidelines than actual rules.
How to Truly Learn your Tarot Cards
The thought of learning 78 different cards with at minimum 3 different symbols and meanings with reverse variations can really make someone put off learning them.
Take it from someone who procrastinated their own journey with Tarot for at least five years. I swear my poor deck is permanently dusty.
My big trick to learning that helped me break through the wall on learning Tarot?
Create a one to two-word association for each card.
Then, take to memorizing them like flashcards. Start with just one suit of the Minor Arcana and dedicate 1 week to just memorizing those. Then, next week, pick another suit.
At the end of that week, combine both suits and see where you are at. Rinse and repeat until you can shuffle through the deck easily.
Once you feel confident that you have the one-word trick down, I recommend doing a 1-3 card pull each day. This will get you used to handling your cards and it will also let you select a few to focus on each day.
If you want an easy start, sign up for our free chart here.
Focused Study on the Tarot
Okay, so I have the one word trick down. Now what?
Well now its time to expand on that base you worked really hard on to build. It’s time to do more daily practice!
When you pull a card, write down the first three symbols you see. Is there a dominating color? Are there any unique features that stick out or call to you? What does each of these mean to you?
This practice will let you in on your subconscious and the symbols they see and pick up on most easily.
Now is also a good time to pull out the Tarot study book and start reading through it. See what matches up to your one word association and see what you want to change. It’s your craft after all.
A side note: I don’t think you should memorize and be able to recite 3 pages about the Two of Cups. The point of reading at this stage is that the repetitive contact and information flow will let some other symbols and feelings sit in your subconscious.
Overview of the Major Arcana
The Major Arcana are the big, heavy, life-shifting cards. The big-ticket items like an impending decision to move across the country or a big decision with an investment.
These cards come up when something that holds a lot of meaning while be impacting a situation. These cards are more like archetypes with multiple layers of meanings and symbols.
If you look at the order of the cards, you will notice that it is a cycle or a journey through a learning experience.
The Fool is young and inexperienced and steps onto the path. Each card after that builds towards the next and the next until that particular life cycle is complete.
The Fool will encounter resistance such as the Hierophant and the Devil.
The Fool will encounter hope and encouragement such as the Star and the Sun. Until the cycle is complete at The World.
Overview of the Minor Arcana
The Minor Arcana goes through a similar but smaller journey. The Ace is the ultimate card of the suit and each of the others is a more refined expression of the suit.
The Minor Arcana will let you look at the everyday details in a reading.
Wands – Fire, Creativity, Desire, and Drive.
Wands represent the beginning and spark of creativity. A desire for change is what makes one pursue magic. We must wield our will in order to begin a path.
Ace- Opportunity, Five – Help, Knight – Plans
Cups – Water, Emotions, Expression, Loved Ones
The Cups are receptive and spiritual. Emotion is required to drive us forward. We must care about the outcome. Do our emotions line up with what we’d like to change? Are there positive or negative feelings there?
Ace – Communication, Five – Bad Relationship, Knight- New Love
Swords – Air, Reason, Thoughts, and Logic
The Swords are about planning and stepping the process out. How do we get there and what is our true intention? What work needs to happen?
Ace – New Start, Five – Escape Danger, Knight – Health
Pentacles – Earth, Material Plane and Money
The Pentacles represent the manifestation part of magic. They are receptive and helps us ground back into the reality of our world. Did we achieve the change we wished to make?
Ace – Prosperity, Five – Material Issue, Knight – Money Moving
So try not to feel overwhelmed when first starting out with learning your tarot cards. Each card and each deck will have it’s own flavor and style that may or may not mesh with your witchcraft style.
When going from the ABC’s to Shakespeare, it will take some time and study to fully feel like you understand your cards. Don’t forget to sign up for our free study sheet to help you get a jumpstart on familiarizing yourself with your cards.
Love and Light to you.
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