5 Reasons to Study Tarot (or purchase a reading)

1. Tarot offers an alternative to language (and a bridge to get there)

My whole life I have been a student and teacher of language. Words form the bowls or other containers that collect the “broth” of our experience, collecting, containing, and giving it shape.

There is, however, an end to words. Not necessarily to their power, but to our mastery of them. We have all experienced reaching the end of our words, but not the fullness of what we are trying to shape or express.

When I found the tarot at age 36, I was already adept at managing (and often getting around) these limitations, but when I began to understand the images, and how each deck’s iteration of the same card was something of a visual synonym, I began to think visually for the first time in my life.

I experienced the new (to me) sensation of being able to skip the words for now, and interact with the thoughts and feelings that – like a mote on the edge of sight – chased away from the direct capture of words.

After a traumatic situation, I was able to sit (even for the barest moment) with two images and feel the same relief I’d previously achieved with a half-hour of journaling.

2. Tarot gives you a chance to exercise an underutilized part of the brain

Our everyday world calls on us not only to focus on language, but also on the concrete and time-bound. All those things that have been labeled “left-brained.”

Tarot offers a rest to that part of our processing, and offers a challenge to the less-often exercised “right-brain” strategies of visualization, storytelling, and  abstract connection.

Odd are good this will tire you at first. This is not a flaw in you or a malevolence in the “energy” of the cards. This is basic muscle building, and it will contribute to increasing overall mental strength and aptitude. Read more

Reading Reversed Cards

I love reversals. People who don’t use them insist that all the possible meanings are in a card, upright or not, but that’s a huge load to make a card (or reader) carry.

By including reversals, I only have to see half of that stuff at a time.

From the Monstarot deck

Reversals have been read a number of ways:

  1. Something opposite the core meaning
  2. The worst version of the card topic
  3. a smaller or specific aspect of the card
  4. intensifying the core meaning
  5. in protection aspect (kind warning)
  6. delay or resistance to the topic/essence
  7. fear related to the topic of the card, or placement in the spread.
  8. Not at all (every reader chooses for themselves, and have all of these element still available to them).

There are more, of course, but these are the ones I’ve run into personally.

How do you know which one it is? Read more

What is Tarot?

The basic answer begins with the physical deck itself.

A tarot deck is made up of 78 cards, 52 of them analogous to the 52-card deck you are familiar with for poker, Gin Rummy, and Go-Fish.

Their familiarity is part of what makes them the every-day level of “sharing.” Minor Archana, they’re called. The little secrets.

Another 4 cards belong to the minors as well. A fourth face card for each suit. Instead of the Jack/Queen/King arrangement of the traditional deck, Tarot decks include Page/Knight/Queen/King.

78-52 -4= 22

The last 22 are the archetypal or storytelling cards, and these are the cards least-familiar to the average card-player: The Major Arcana. The skookum secrets.

These include the kinds of cards that can look scary – Death, or the Devil, for example. And what about all that nudity? Don’t worry, we’ll get there.

Or avoid it. You know what I mean.

Tarot is the overarching term I use to describe both the physical decks I use, the act of laying out cards, and the practice of discussing what the images on those cards represent.

So when I say, “I do tarot,” I am saying that I have a comfort with and an understanding of ways to use these 78-card decks, some of which I’ll share on this blog over time.