Hello my lovely students! It’s your Friendly Neighbourhood Tarot-Teacher again…
Time to take our lessons to the next level. For those of you who are late to the party, here is a link to part 2, which in turn includes a link to part 1, so you can start at the beginning and study at your own pace:
Today we will be talking Spreads and exercises that will increase your confidence and familiarity with your cards.
One of the simplest and most helpful practices for any Tarot Reader is that of drawing a card for the day. You can use this exercise in different ways.
You can just pull one card every day that you want to study further. You can really think about all the different meanings this card can embody, Google the card to look at different artist’s interpretations and different meanings attached to it, making notes of any information you find interesting or that feels true to you. This card can be drawn at any time of the day, whenever suits you most.
Or, you can pull a card in the morning, intended to represent the energy for that day, any lessons to be learned, things to watch out for etc. Then you can reflect on that card in the evening and write down how this card’s energy may have been present during the day.
Or you can pull a card in the evening and try to see if this card can be used to gain further insight in the events that took place that day. There is no right or wrong way to use this exercise so go with what feels most helpful to you. For example : My card of the day might have been the 6 of Cups – during that day I might need to get something from my Mum’s attic and come accross an old box of photgraphs. Because I remember the card I pulled earlier, I decide to take this box downstairs and spend some time reminiscing with my Mum about my childhood. In the process of doing this I may feel closer to my Mum or even learn to see some of my daughter’s behaviours in a different light as I am reminded of my own thoughts and feelings as a child.
It can be very helpful to keep a note of your daily draws – this can help you reflect, see patterns and even make you aware of certain Stalker Cards, cards that keep cropping up and that have a particular message or lesson for you! All through 2018 I kept getting the 4 of Swords popping up to remind me to use my energy appropriately and rest up when I could to avoid falling deeper in to the bottomless pit that is Chronic Fatigue…
At times when you want to ask the Tarot for more specific advice and guidance you may want to use a Spread. Please don’t think this needs to be a complicated process with an esthetically pleasing outcome! A spread can be anything from just one or two cards, pulled with intent to answer a very specific question, to a full Celtic Cross consisting of 10 cards. You may pull as many or as few cards as you like but remember: more is not necessarily better!
The 3 card spread is one of the most versatile spreads that can be adapted to your specific needs and can give you a wealth of information! It is important when laying out a spread that you decide beforehand which questions you will ask, and which card will represent what answer. The clearer you are on this, the more informative and easy to read your answers will be! A muddled spread will lead to erratic, unhelpful replies as your cards reflect your unordered mind.Here are some helpful subjects for your 3 card spread:
Past Life/Current Life/Future Life
Me/Spirit Guide/How to Connect
Me/My Partner/Our Relationship
My Hopes and Dreams/How to take a step towards fulfilling them/What is Holding me back?
What to Embrace/What to Let Go/What to Develop
How I see Myself/How Others See Me/Who I Truly Am
Problem/What to Do/What not to Do
As you can see, the possibilities are endless! If, at any time, you feel a card is not clear to you, you may pull a clarifier to receive more insight in to that particular aspect. Another helpful thing to do is to look at the card at the bottom of your deck, known as the Shadow Card, as this card may reflect a hidden part of information, something you haven’t thought of or have been ignoring but should be brought in to the light.
The best kind of questions to ask the Tarot are open-ended, empowering questions. Can you ask yes/no questions? Of course you can! But usually it will be more helpful for instance to understand WHY something is or is not going to happen and what YOU (or your querent) can do to get closer to the desired outcome. Therefore, the most helpful questions are those starting with words like Why? How? Who? What? Where? Or even When?… rather than Will I? Or Can I?
For example, asking “Will I find Love” might get a resounding “yes!” in the shape of The Sun card… but how much information does this really give you?
Had you asked “How can I open myself up to finding Love?” you may have received the Ace of Cups, telling you to make sure your Cup is full of Love for yourself first, so that you can pour from it freely and in doing so attract Love in return. Or you could ask “When will Love come in to my Life” and Tarot may show you the 3 of Swords, to let you know that you will find another love once you have given yourself the time and opportunity to heal from a previous heartache or betrayal. The following are examples of clear, open-ended, empowering questions that will allow you to adjust your course in life and to gain a deeper understanding of how you can help yourself (or others) to get to where you want to be:
What Blessings in my life am I not seeing?
How can I move past this difficult period in my life?
What can I learn from this situation?
Where can I find the inspiration I need to complete this project?
What can I do to support my partner at this time?
Who can I turn to for help with this issue?
What is the best course of action to take at this moment in time?
Maybe you have already been practising on other people aside from yourself. Great! There is absolutely no need for you to wait until you are a proficient, confident Tarot Reader who doesn’t need to glance at card meanings to interpret a Spread. As long as you are letting people know that you are still learning, it can be very helpful to get feedback from friends, family or even strangers, when you practise your reading skills. But not everyone feels confident or has the opportunity to do this! Not to worry, you can still do readings for others. Just read for your pets! Or, pick a fictional character, from a book, film or fairytale, and do a spread for them! The great thing here is that, since you are familiar with their story, you can immediately check the accuracy of your reading!
Here you can find the story of Disney’s Mulan as an example: Mulan is trying to find where she fits in – she transforms herself and leaves her home behind to set out on a quest – she learns how to handle herself in battle – she is wounded and loses the affection of the one she loves – but she finds a way to rise above this heartache, saving herself as well as the Emperor in the process – she ends up a truer version of herself and learns that she can be accepted and loved for who she is.
An exercise to help you gain a deeper, more personal, understanding of your card meanings beyond the descriptions found in guidebooks or online, is to attach something of meaning to each of your cards (or just the cards you struggle to remember!). This could be anything from a favourite quote, a song, a poem, a painting or an excerpt from a book.
For example: The 6 of Swords, usually represented by a character with a child being ferried accross a body of water. To me, this card brings to mind a scene from the book The Mists of Avalon, where the High Priestess Viviane is taking her ward Morgaine to the Isle of Avalon (or Morgaine taking Nimue later in the story). This helps me to give some soul to the card in question. The 6 of Swords represents receiving help to get out of an undesirable situation or to be brought closer to your true purpose in life. Both of these children are being brought to Avalon to be trained as Priestess to the Goddess and they could never have reached the Isle without an experienced Priestess calling down the mists through which Avalon can be entered. In the same vain, I may associate The Ace of Swords with Excalibur, the sword given to Arthur to ensure he has the Blessing and Protection of the Old Gods of Avalon in battle. Can you think of any card that brings to mind a scene to help you remember the power in that particular card? Have a ponder…
You may also choose to rename your card, give it a subtitle if you please, so that the name reflects the true meaning that card represents to you personally. “Death” for instance can become “Mortality” or “Transformation”, “Temperance” can be renamed “Mediation”, the “4 of Wands” can be “Stability”, the “7 of Swords” may be better known as “Slyness” to you… Attaching these names to your cards may help you get to the essence of the card and remember the meaning more easily. But remember that these meanings are fluid, and can change according to the situation you are reading for or even the deck you are using! The artists’ depiction may influence how you feel about a particular card – always follow your gut instinct!
I hope you will enjoy practising your readings.
In the next part we will look in to how to get even more information from your spreads by looking at basic numerology and card interactions.
I will also put out an adendum to these lessons with some key words and phrases for card interpretations, for those of you who find that helpful. See you soon!