Saturday, November 13, 2010

A personalization process for the Tarot

Imagine for a moment that you were creating a card based oracle from scratch because you wanted to deepen the guidance you receive from within. You might start with two cards; one says “yes” and the other says “no”. Each time you asked your Spirit a question and used these two cards, obviously you’d only be able to ask very rudimentary questions and you’d receive very simple answers. Eventually you’d want to expand your vocabulary so perhaps you’d add a card for “maybe” and one for “unsure”. Over time as you began to seek more and more specific answers you might have a deck of hundreds of cards that you’d select from and there would be overlap between cards so you’d start trying to find ways to deepen the response on each card to reduce the number of cards. Potentially after years and years of perfecting your deck, you’d end up with a simplified version of the Tarot deck. Fortunately this process has already been done for you over centuries and all you have to do is learn the language.

The process that I will share with you is a way for you to learn the meaning of the cards according to the interpretation book and eventually create a reference that is specific to you. This is a process that may take you a year or so to create but not doing it doesn’t speed the process along nor help you learn to work with the Tarot any faster. Hopefully you’ll be using your deck for years to come so why not start personalizing it right away so that you’ll see a personal connection faster than you might otherwise. For this process you’ll need a couple of notebooks, your Tarot deck and interpretation guide. I like using a notebook with ruled, loose leaf sheets in it because when you fill one page up, you’ll be replacing it with another one as you’ll see. Create a single page in your notebook for every card in the deck. Write the name of each card, in sequence, at the top of the page and leave the page blank. You’ll be using the front and back of the sheet, so one card per sheet of paper.


I recommend doing your reading in the morning before you start your day. The very first step is to get your “Basics” in place. When you connect with the Tarot, you are connecting with an energy field of the Tarot and with your Higher Self. Your Basics help keep you grounded during this process and that allows you to connect more fully with the process. Take your Tarot deck and hold it next to your heart. Take a moment and feel that connection between your physical body, the cards and your Higher Self or spirit. When you feel the connection feel like you drop a question from you head down into your heart and into the deck. An easy, generic daily question that I pose is “What is this day about for me?” A question similar to this is the best way to start learning the Tarot rather than jumping to big questions with complicated spreads. It’s like learning to crawl before you run. Remember though this is your egoic self asking the question of your Higher Self, your direct connect to Source. You aren’t asking the cards or some outside entity. It’s you all the way through.

Next shuffle the cards while contemplating the question. Think about the events of the day that you already know you have planned while you do this. Continue shuffling the cards until you feel that you’re ready for the response. There is no set number of shuffles or time but more just a feeling of “that’s enough” that will arise. Next lay the cards down and cut the deck with your left hand and put the bottom half on top. Using your left hand is said to engage the intuitive side of your energy. Trust that you will be cutting the deck at exactly the right spot because you will. Your conscious mind may not be aware of what is going on but during the shuffling process your spirit is getting the cards arranged in the way that you need for the response. Trust is key to this process as well as enough shuffles for your spirit to get you the best answer to your question. That is where the “that’s enough” response comes from…from YOU!

Take the top card and turn it over so that it faces up and lay it down. If the card is upside down, leave it that way. The cards have additional meaning if they are upside down (reversed) as opposed to right side (direct) up. Now you can either take the next card and flip it over or cut the deck again. Listen to what your intuition tells you or go with what “feels right” because it will be right. Place this second card to the right of the first card face up. In the beginning these two cards are all the cards that we’ll use in a single reading. Keeping the number of cards used to a minimum will allow you to direct your focus onto a single card so that you can learn about each card more fully.

Now take what I’ll call your scratch pad (any little notebook will do for this but allocating a notebook specifically for this purpose is a good idea) and write the date and both cards that you drew on the line with it. You’ll be using this scratch pad during the entire process so keep it with your cards and books. That’s it for the first day. To start with, don’t read the interpretations in the book for today (hopefully you will already have taken the time to read the first portion of the book up through the interpretations). When you’re done, stack the cards you drew (still face up) on the deck so that they will be on top for you to see tomorrow.


On the second day the process will be a little bit different. Take the cards you drew yesterday and spread them back out side by side so that you can look at the pictures more closely. The first card you drew is what the focus of your day was about. The second card is what energy is crossing (or mixing with) that focus. As we all know, an entire day is never about one single thing. Life is too complicated for that. In the beginning don’t worry too much about what this second card means but for now just record it for historical reference. It will make more sense later.

For the purposes of explanation, I’m going to assume that you are using “Tarot of the Spirit” as your interpretation book. Look up the meaning of the first card you drew. When you find the page where it begins you’ll see a “Divinatory Meaning” followed by a “Meditation” and then the “Interpretation”. Read through the “Interpretation” completely while you lightly hold on to the thoughts of your previous day. When you finish the reading, take the card and hold it so that you can get a good look at it. Let your eyes wander around the card while you continue to mull over all that happened to you yesterday. Take your time with this but hold your focus on the card rather than looking around the room. If need be after a minute or so, close your eyes, think about the image, the interpretation you read and your previous day.

When you feel you are ready, turn in your notebook to the page you have created for this card. Write the date on a line and then summarize your previous day onto one or two lines at the most. We aren’t looking to create a journal here but rather record events or learnings from the day. If the card is direct (right side up) then document it on the front of the page and if it is reversed (upside down) then record it on the back side of the sheet. The events that you want to record are those which “feel” relevant to you based upon the interpretation of the reading you just did. There is no right and wrong here but rather a trusting of your intuition to give you the information that you need. If you think that the event is in any way related to the reading, make a quick note of it. You want to be concise but detailed enough that when you read over this in a few months from now you’ll be able to recall the experience from your words or get a feel for how the day was from your words. At the end of the line, make a note of the second card that you drew. You only need to note what card it was for now. Don’t read the interpretation for this card because it will take your focus off of the primary card’s interpretation and slow the process of the image/interpretation connection. Eventually you’ll have read and re-read each cards interpretation so many times that you’ll almost immediately know the meaning just by seeing the card. That’s the experience that we’re after.


You’ll repeat the above process each day that you do a reading. If you can incorporate this spiritual practice into your daily routine you will of course start seeing results faster. Once you have filled up a page (or mostly filled depending upon your personal process), you should begin to see a pattern emerge. That pattern is what we are seeking with this process. Remember the more days that you incorporate into your readings the more accurate your results will be which is why I recommend waiting until you have filled the page. Once you have identified the pattern, take a fresh sheet of paper and document what you see. You may not come out with a verbose summary like in the interpretation book but that’s okay. This info is specific to you so that you know when you see a certain card come up you’ll begin to have an idea of what is ahead in the day or where you are in your personal cycle

The most important thing that you will gain from this is a greater ability to respond to a situation rather than simply reacting to it. For example, if you know ahead of time that your plans will most likely fall apart because of outside influences, then you can begin to consider alternatives or at the very least not become triggered by the experience and start spouting off at others involved. Having an understand of what’s going on for you as part of the experience allows you to see the lesson there more easily rather than immediately seeking to blame others.


By the time you’ve reached the point where you are building your own summaries (and you can keep adding to this over time as you see other patterns emerge) you will be familiar with all of the cards. This is where looking back over your history with each card really becomes important. With the built up knowledge of the cards and knowing what they mean you can now come to understand how the second card in the draw is flavoring the first one.

Let’s say for example that you are working with the “Death” card and creating your personal summary for it. Death does not have to mean a bad thing because death to an old habit, a destructive emotional response pattern or unhealthy relationships can be a good thing. This is where that second card comes in because it helps to clarify what aspect of death you’ll be dealing with. Yes, sometimes it can mean that someone is going to die but that is rare. So as you look back at your history for each card you can see a bit more info on it now by noticing how the second card related to it. This should help you begin to understand the primary cards message along with what happened to you on that day a bit more fully. Hindsight is always rich with insight if you take the time to examine it. This information can help you see how a single card can have so many nuances.


The end result is that your summary will certainly be informed by the interpretation from the book but it will also have your personal experiences in it as well. This won’t come from you trying to guess what the card will mean, it will come from your experience and documenting that result. Once you have your summary created you’ll be mentally blending your summary, the books interpretation, modifying it with the secondary card and then letting your intuition speak to you to give you the insight that you can use as you go through your day ahead. If you understand what scenario may arise during the day you’ll begin to recognize it when it emerges and you can respond with wisdom rather than reacting out of a patterned response.

The other nice thing that you will see emerge from this will be gained by looking at the daily readings history. In doing this myself I’ve seen where my own cycles are emerging. For example, if I draw the Magician today, I can look back over my history to find the last time I drew the Magician. I can then see what was going on in my life the last time I drew that card and I will see shades of those experiences in my current experiences. This lets me consciously draw on what I learned from the last cycle and then I can choose to respond differently this time around if I want a more desirable outcome. Hindsight now becomes foresight and that is the guidance we all seek so that we are making more informed decisions in our day to day existence.


I know this seems like something that is going to take a while to create and it is but the important thing to remember is that you are learning from your own experiences along the way. If you choose to use an oracle such as the Tarot, you’ll be doing it for years to come once you see its value so why not get a jump start on something like this now rather than a year down the line. It’s a relatively simple process that will yield some powerful information for you down the line...but then simply doing a daily reading and using the interpretation guide is a powerful and useful process as well. Of course there is no requirement to do the process I’m sharing with you. I’m simply offering you something from my experiences that might be of assistance to you.

There are also other amazing oracle decks on the market. One I’d like to mention in particular is the “Animal Medicine Cards”. The animals have much to teach us humans if we can get past our ego’s and see them for the powerful teachers that they are. This deck and interpretation guide will teach you a great deal about what energies the animals are manifesting and you’ll see how this knowledge can help you make more informed decisions. It is one of my favorite decks. The book lists some very powerful spreads that can tell you a great deal about yourself and how you move in the world.

The best thing to do when you go to choose any deck is to look at all the cards and see what you are drawn too. Perhaps you just like the images, the color of the deck and cards, the feel of the cards or something that you can’t quite put your finger on. Your spirit will make the deck(s) that is best for you seem the most appealing. If you pick up a deck and suddenly feel a little bit happier, just noticing that shift can tell you a great deal and will always lead you to exactly the people, places and things which are in your best interest. That is how we can directly follow our intuitive guidance. It really is that simple.

I wish you all the best with working with oracles. If you begin using one and have questions, I’m happy to try and help answer them so feel free to drop me a line via email.

What lessons does the day hold for you?


Post a Comment