Then today is your lucky day! Miss Bri, of Milagro Roots (who I had the immense pleasure of meeting and getting to know when The Blogcademy came to Austin), has answered a question I asked her in August in a guest post so the knowledge can be shared with all of you magical babes. I've always been curious about reading tarot but had no idea where to start, so I asked her if she could teach me, especially since I had picked up a beautiful deck earlier that year. So, without further ado, here is Bri's introduction to reading tarot:
Start with the Rider Waite Smith deck
If Tarot is a romance language then the Rider Waite Smith (also known as Rider Waite) deck is Latin--the beginning of the beginning. Not the oldest deck nor the most traditional, the RWS has attained such high status for a few interesting historical reasons but primarily because so many of the decks that came after its publication in 1909 follow the same basic system of symbol and meaning--if you cut your tarot teeth on the Ride Waite Smith deck you will be way ahead of the game.
Learn the history of the cards
There are some topics (Lady Gaga, the Bermuda Triangle, Bigfoot…) that are as misunderstood as the tarot but not many. The occult trappings of both tarot cards and reading the cards for divinatory purposes did not really get set into motion until the Victorian era. My favorite book that gives a real and fair look at the history of the cards is Paul Huson's Mystical Origins of the Tarot. Follow that up with Rachel Pollack's Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom and you will have a solid foundation to work from. The books do not teach you how to read tarot--that comes from within you, but they do assist in placing tarot within a greater context--and that will help you as you feel your way through the cards.
Divination is a ritual--treat it like one
Tarot cards may or may not have been originally intended for divination purposes (it's a hot debate) but that is their primary purpose, especially in America, these days. Divination is a sacred art and as such one should approach a tarot reading in an open, friendly, and sincere manner. Light a candle, burn some incense, take time to center yourself and access that still, small voice within you--the cards reflect truths you already know.
Keep your spreads simple
I am always surprised at how many beginner books hand out really elaborate spreads, especially since some of the best readers I know stick to the old so-called Gypsy method of 1/2/3=past/present/future. Start with drawing one card, two cards (especially great for yes/no questions) and three cards--then bloom from there with a spread like this one.
Know that you know
Tarot cards are a map. They show us what we already know to be true--but maybe forgot (or decided to willfully ignore)--you already know the answers sweet thing!
Happy Trails and Happy Tarot!
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