For the last few years, life has been simple. Not easy. But simple. Like children, we have been told what to do. Stay inside and protect ourselves if we venture out. Everything has been influenced by these two rules.
Like living under a dictatorship, decisions have been made for us. That’s over now. Back to the real world. Life as we once knew it. Soon.
But as life goes back to being normal, the fact that we have been so sheltered may make us more vulnerable.
We all know that life is a journey and the destination doesn’t count. Knowing this makes us feel warm and fuzzy because it means we accept death and that it is no longer important to us — life is. We have a future of exciting twists awaiting us. But we also know that those twists can be a real pain: choices must be made, decisions taken, friends and business partners chosen or rejected, and so on and so on.
The journey of life can be smoother if we are confident in our decisions. As simple as trusting our gut.
But what is our gut?
Nothing other than a feeling also known and feared as another word: intuition. Most people are fascinated by this word, wrongly assuming that only a select few are proud owners. No. We all have it. Whether we choose to use it. Or not.
This is where Tarot cards come in. The fact that Tarot has been around since the Renaissance proves that we are not the only ones to question how best to live our lives. To question who should or shouldn’t share that life with us. To question which road to take when a choice presents itself. Tarot can help us understand our current situation, our past, and our hopes and dreams.
Tarot cards are widely used for divination. Most people assume this means fortune-telling. Not necessarily.
Divination can also indicate the effort to obtain insight into a question, a situation, a person or choices to be made. It can help to clarify or confirm a suspicion or an unease.
Tarot cards can answer a simple yes or no question. They can help us when we are stuck. When we are unsure. When we doubt ourselves.
We can become inspired and use them in a multitude of ways. Can’t find something to write about? Pull a card from the deck. Look at it. What is it saying? The card can work on our imagination and reveal a new subject to write about. Bored? Pull a card and follow the path it reveals. Need to focus? Look at a card in detail and meditate on the symbols as well as the entire card itself.
Tarot can allow us to advance on the unknown journey ahead, during times of uncertainty.
One of the main advantages of the cards is that they distract us. They take our attention away from a problem or question. Tarot can be a remedy to stop watching a pot that never boils. It is a way of taking our eyes off the pot and get some results. The “pot” can be anything.
Tarot cards are what we want them to be. They are nothing other than a tool. One to be used however we want.
But the cards’ meanings need to be learned and understood before they can help us.
The easiest way to learn their meaning is to just look at them. Simply study the pictures, what is going on, and compare one card to another. Understand their meaning for us and only us.
The most common way to do this is to choose one card every morning, not look at it, put it aside, and then look at it at the end of the day. Really look at it. Every detail of the card. These details are symbols. Symbols allow us to see and think more clearly. Understand how those symbols relate to our thoughts and actions during the day. Was the unfurling of the day similar to the indications given by the card’s symbols?
This is no ground-breaking idea. Just the easiest and most common way of learning. The other way is to pull a card in the morning, carry it around during the day, and take a peek once in a while. Good for those with short attention spans or limited patience.
There are loads of books on the subject, different decks, meanings, and history. But for a beginner, simple is better. It is also a more personal method of learning the Tarot cards’ meanings. The advantage is that we can even write our own book by journaling about how a card related to our day.
The first thing to do is choose a deck. There are many. Too many, really. Since Tarot has become so popular in these unpredictable times, companies have taken advantage of this “niche” business.
Having more than one deck can be useful. But when choosing the first one, a good rule is to choose one that “speaks to you.” Corny but true. It’s no different than picking up an object that feels comfortable when holding it. Before actually touching and buying a deck, taking a look at different examples on the internet often helps. I find the Rider-Waite deck to be the most illustrated and colorful. It was the first deck I used and still is. Again, a personal choice.
Then there is the question of the number of cards. There are seventy-eight cards in a deck. They are divided into the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana cards are numbered to reflect the passage of time during life’s journey and monumental influences. The Minor Arcana cards represent everyday, mundane matters. I have never focused on the Minor Arcana, but that is my choice. I have also never changed my interpretation of cards that happened to be upside down when removed from the deck. Some authors believe that the meaning is “inversed”, being the opposite meaning of the upright card.
As for the question of shuffling the deck, anything goes. A traditional shuffle like the one used for a normal deck of cards is fine. As is jumbling up the cards and letting one randomly drop.
Just one card will usually do the trick. If the card is unclear or we are unsure of its meaning, then pulling another card can help to clarify.
A warning. The Tarot has a mind of its own. If it is asked the same question over and over again, it “sulks” and acts up. The cards will make no sense and be of no use. That is because the Tarot has already given the answer and is not ready to either give a different answer or confirm the same one again. The Tarot is misused if we try to wrangle the answers we want. The Tarot card is not a daisy where we can pluck the petals while saying “loves me, loves me not” and just pick another daisy when the petals don’t give the “right” answer.
To give an example of how a card may resonate differently with different people, the card pictured above is a good illustration. The World is the final card of the Major Arcana — the end of the journey of life or the beginning of a new episode. On the face of it, the image suggests nirvana, satisfaction, and a multitude of achieved or future dreams. The naked woman dances above the world, joyful and successful. A positive influence. A “yes” card. But is it? Depends on how you look at it. And feel it. Is it a person who is self-absorbed? Selfish? Vain? Whose world is their oyster? A one-sided relationship? A person or situation to be avoided?
It is up to us to interpret the Tarot cards as we see them. As it is up to us to live life to the fullest and enjoy each day. We are not always victims of the cards dealt by life. If we use the tools available, we are not a victim but in a position of power.
Resilient or Victim?