What Tarot Means to Me // Tarot Basics
I have always been a seeker of wisdom, of what more there is. You may have read my story of how I subtly became a slave. If not check it out. I won’t go into it too much here, but I will tell you that through that experience, freedom became increasingly more important to me. The idea that my future is set in stone and someone could tell me that eventually didn’t appeal to me. Though I had explored it a lot I didn't take tarot all that seriously many years ago for that reason. Then I got a reading from Gypsy Joan here in Kansas City though and it almost felt like a counseling session. Getting readings from her I broke through many things that had been holding me back. Readings with her made me cry more than once. I did serious work with her and through the tarot. She encouraged me to start reading myself. I never thought I would, but now I am. I went to school for something very practical, thinking that is what I would do for a living, but here I am a yoga teacher and tarot practitioner. It's not at all what I thought, but I do not take it lightly.
Tarot is a powerful tool.
I use tarot to play with outcomes, futures, and with pasts. I let them weave in and out of my subconscious in the hopes of enlightenment and transformation. This is how I use tarot with clients. What are the cards telling you? What can YOU do? What happening now can influence the future? What has happened in the past that influences you? Ultimately, our subconscious bring things to light leaving us with choice.
This information can be life changing. This is why I love tarot. It can be used in such a liberating and open way. As a new mom tarot became increasingly more important because I didn’t have hours to devote each morning to my spiritual practice anymore. I could however draw a card and get some guidance, engage with my higher self, engage with my subconscious. Even 5 minutes of this kept me engaged with myself and my inner self. Tarot is a way for me to see myself every single day. And this is crucial.
There are certain traditions and systems that can be system for us as we learn, but it’s up to us to make our practice our ow. If it is our own then it is beneficial to us. If not then I think tarot can become just like any other tool, just one more thing to do. I will explain some of the system of tarot so we have a reference point, but there is no way for me to explain it all in one blog post.
The tarot is traditionally 78 cards with symbolic pictures and numbers. The cards are separated into 5 suites; the major arcana, the swords, the wands, the pentacles, and the cups. Some decks call these different things, but they remain the same meaning wise...well basically. For example, one of my decks calls the pentacles discs.
The major arcana represent the fool's journey. I went over the Fool in my tarot guided self care series which you can read here. The Fool is number zero at the beginning of the journey. Each of the 22 cards in the major arcana represent parts of this journey. I will be going over each of these in the Tarot Guided self care series, so I won’t get into too much detail here. Just know that these cards when drawn are never about the mundane. They are always about life changing stuff. The journey of the fool is not linear, as ours isn’t. When we speak about the journey much of it is about our internal development journey, not so much the timeline in life we follow. For example, the Death card is symbolic death not necessarily referring to your physical death. The fool’s journey is our journey.
The minor arcana are made up of the swords, wands, pentacles and cups.
The Swords are about the mind, decision making and intellect. The element associated with these is air and the throat chakra.
The Pentacles are about practical matters such as money, home, safety. The element associated with these is earth and the base or root chakra.
The Cups are about emotions and spiritual intuition. The element associated with them is water and the heart and sacral chakra.
The Wands are about passion and creativity. The element associated with them is fire and the solar plexus and sacral chakra as well.
How does it work? Is it magic?
Tarot Cards to me are like art, the meaning is subjective, though the artist may have had an intent our subconscious, higher self fills in the gaps. I cannot explain why I feel the urge to pick certain cards and not others during a reading. I have no idea how that works, but to me it doesn’t matter. Even if you drew cards without any kind of feeling about which one, you could get something out of it. You could even get something out of them if they were face up. The cards are a way to get out of your own conscious mind. They allow for your mind to look at the cards and create meaning with the card as a reference point. Sometimes the meaning is not even too difficult to construct because it is so obvious what it means to you. Tarot sits at this beautiful intersection of psychology, self development, magic and fun.
In my core reading, there is a basic spread of cards I use and I will explain that here at the request of a few of you. If you start reading cards on your own, creating your own spreads is a great way to dig deeper.
I start with the Core card: This is the archetype you are embodying now. If it’s a major card and often it is for my clients and myself, this is the place you are in on your fool’s journey.
Then there is a Past card: This is anything in your life that is affecting your present. It has either been dealt with recently or needs to be dealt with to be able to move forward.
Deep Roots: This is where the shadow work part of this reading really comes out. This is deep issues that affect you now. It doesn’t all have to have a negative tone either. Often, this is a part of ourselves that we have forgotten about and it hasn’t been nurtured. This is where trauma and shame can be triggered so we must tread lightly.
Higher Self: This is where you are at your best. This is you actualized. This is not always something sunny though. It could contain a divine lesson you are reminding yourself of. Regardless, remembering this and working with it will help you get to the next step.
Futures: I hesitated to call this a future card, a better term may be What’s next? It’s where to set your gaze at next. It’s something to play with. If you keep letting the past take over, what could happen. The future is not inevitable. It is to be played with and hacked. Though of course some things are out of our control, our response rarely is. These readings deal with our internal landscape and much of that we can control.