Tarot: A Tool For Your Intuition

by Suzanne Leopold,
Contributing Author, Conscious Reminder

It’s late at night, and nagging questions like “What am I doing with my life anyway?” are keeping you up again. What would happen if you pulled out that whimsical gift of Tarot cards that your friend gave you last Christmas in your search for answers?

First, let’s look at how NOT to do a Tarot session and why:

You hold the cards with the keys to the mysteries of life in your hands and decide to clear your head. You close your eyes for a few seconds and breathe. Then you hear phone notifications going off. You try to ignore them, but curiosity pulls you in, and you don’t put your phone down again until half an hour later.

Now annoyed at yourself for being so easy to distract, you silence your phone so that you can concentrate! Then you think of that one burning question that will change your life forever and ask the cards:

“Does he see me as anything more than someone to hook up with sometimes?”

You whisper, “Please say ‘yes,'” while laying out the six cards of the “true love” Tarot spread.

You start trying to analyze it like this:

“There’s the Queen of Cups, so does that mean I’m drinking too much? Then there’s a King of Wands, so maybe our relationship is like magic. That’s great, but then why is the Lovers card upside down? Worse, who is this other woman in the Queen of Wands? Maybe they’re destined for each other! Oh no, what if I’m the other queen?”

Then you spend the rest of the night Googling Tarot advice sources for answers and end up more confused than when you started.

Hold on. Your life’s not doomed yet. There’s a much better way to use a Tarot deck that can help you access your intuition in a positive way.

First of all, what is Tarot really?

Many people may treat Tarot card decks very superficially, pretending that if you just draw one of these “pretty-picture” cards, it will give you messages about your future. The truth is that this stereotype is not what Tarot is really about at all.

Tarot has a richly mystical history.

Scholars have debated the origins of Tarot for hundreds of years. Could it simply have been a natural evolution from the traditional deck of playing cards used for parlor games in the late fourteenth century? After all, noble families did create decks that look sort of like Tarot cards just because they were bored with their old cards.

However, the first person to officially publish the inner meanings of Tarot cards was French Freemason Antoine Court de Gebelin back in 1781. He claimed the Tarot was in fact from the ancient traditions of Egyptians and corresponded to the Kabbalah as well. Then 10 years later, French occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette created the first Tarot deck meant specifically to reveal supernatural knowledge of the unknown along with his own book that explained how to use the cards this way.

Today, we can choose from any one of hundreds of Tarot card decks published in every major world language. Some closely resemble the first decks, and many others are inspired artist interpretations that can have little or nothing to do with the original Tarot system. If you’re deeply analytical, then you should consider getting a Tarot deck based on the original system so that you can read the most interesting books on how to interpret the cards. All things considered though, what matters most is to pick a Tarot deck that you feel a connection with, kind of like choosing a new best friend.

People misinterpret Tarot as a mere fortune-telling tool.

In the Spirit of Change, they discuss how “Using the cards for fortune-telling is a sort of parlor trick, and one that doesn’t do justice to tarot’s complexity and healing potential.”

Instead, the Tarot helps you much more as a tool for tapping into your intuition.

You can use the messages you get from Tarot readings to contact your higher self, develop more creative solutions for your dilemmas and communicate with your — sometimes more intelligent — subconscious mind. Each card is a symbol that helps synchronize your consciousness with something important that aligns you with a greater truth you need to see now. As you contemplate on the cards, they help shift your perspective to give you a three-dimensional understanding of situations. Each card is in fact neutral, and they can reflect any meaning depending on what we must see to grow right now.

Ask questions the right way to get better answers.

To understand Tarot’s answers, you need to learn how to speak better “Tarot” language by asking the right questions. First, be very specific. For example, you wouldn’t want to ask, “Where is the best place in the world for me to live?” because, for one thing, you certainly don’t have a Tarot card to represent each country in the world, now do you? Instead, ask, “Would it be in my highest good to live in this country?” Then you can even ask the question again for each country you were thinking of visiting and compare the answers to clarify what you’re searching for.

Above all else, never ask questions about the past or other peoples’ opinions and choices. Make all your questions relevant to the present moment. Rather than asking if you should stay in a certain relationship for example, ask if the relationship is serving your highest good right now. This way, you’re only focusing on yourself and the few things that you can change in your life, which will empower you to make better choices.

If you’re concerned about finances, ask:

  • How can I learn to receive more abundance from the universe?
  • What’s the biggest financial obstacle or challenge I should overcome now?
  • What kind of financial habits have I inherited from my family? If they aren’t helping me, how can I change them?

If you’re concerned about your love life, ask:

  • Is this person supporting my goals and dreams for the future?
  • Is it best for my well-being to walk away from this relationship?
  • Would I benefit most from working through this relationship issue?

If you’re concerned about your health, ask:

  • What do I need to change the most right now to improve my health?
  • Would it be in my highest good to seek additional medical advice from a new doctor now?
  • What greater life lessons do I need to learn from my current health problems right now in order to overcome them?

Do a Tarot reading like this:

1. Center yourself to receive guidance.

You need to take time to put yourself in the right frame of mind before you start so that your habitual mental blocks won’t prevent you from receiving the messages you need to hear. Turn off the phone and get away from the computer, television and anything else that’s distracting.

Now sit in any way that’s comfortable, shut your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. When you inhale, imagine that you’re bringing positivity into your heart. When you exhale, imagine that you’re releasing your stress and all other blocks to receiving wisdom. If you already have a meditation technique you prefer, go ahead and do that now for about 10 minutes. Otherwise, it’s enough to simply sit still for five minutes; just set a timer and do nothing more than observing your breathing. Now you’re in the present moment.

2. Write down or brainstorm the best version of your question.

Maybe you still don’t know how to ask your question, and that’s ok. Just let yourself write down whatever thoughts pop up in your head for a few minutes. Ask yourself how you feel, what bothers you the most and why. After you stop and read everything you’ve written, you’ll be able to organize your thoughts to form the right question by thinking, “If my best friend wrote this, what would I tell her that she needs to ask?” To avoid the biggest roadblocks to reading correctly, focus the question on yourself, not the actions or intentions of others, and you should keep it positive and open. Don’t ask a question about something that you’ve already decided about. If you want an open reading, just skip the “creating a question” part and pick a topic you want guidance about. That’s enough too.

3. Transfer your energy to the deck.

Hold the entire deck of cards in your hands. Close your eyes again and ask the universe to support you in understanding whatever you need to learn right now from the cards.

4. Spread out the cards face down and pick some.

Whoever is asking the question should be the one to select the cards for their spread. In an open reading, you will only choose a topic and select one card. If you’re asking a direct question with a specific spread, then you pick anywhere from three to six cards depending on the layout you’re working with. Don’t feel alarmed if a card appears upside down. Leave it that way because the position is important and will add another layer of meaning to the card.

5. Record the result and contemplate on it.

If you’re a visual person, photograph the spread so that you can easily refer to it later. You can also write it down. Then look up the meaning of each card in the book that came with your deck or in another excellent Tarot interpretation deck and book sets like “Complete Tarot Kit & Book”, “Easy Tarot Deck & Book”, Rider Waite Deck & Book”.  If you’re stuck trying to interpret a card that appears but doesn’t make sense to you, then try just keeping it under your pillow and looking at it each morning after you get up for a few days to give it a chance to awaken something in your subconscious mind.

What’s the best way to take care of your Tarot deck?

When you get your new deck of Tarot cards and open it up for the first time, let it be a special moment. Get to know your cards a little first. You can start building a healthy bond with your deck by taking a minute to breathe life into a new deck before you start asking a bunch of questions. Energy healers and others who work with Tarot decks regularly suggest that you take out all of the cards and let them breathe as if you were decanting a new bottle of wine. Flip through all of them and shuffle them a few times. Finally, you should always keep them on your altar, in your meditation corner or in any other safe, sacred place in your home.

Here’s how and why you need to energetically clear your Tarot deck:

Your tarot deck needs a little refreshing now and then just like you do. That’s the only way to shed the old energies from your past questions and from other people who have handled your cards. Clear out stagnant energy by lighting incense or sage first and then moving the cards quickly through the smoke. Of course, never bring your cards near any flames. It’s enough for a little smoke to come into contact with them. If you use your Tarot cards alone, a monthly cleansing should be fine. If you become proficient in Tarot and practice giving sessions to others, then energetically clear your deck after each session.

Protect your deck from the energies of outside influences.

Especially if you have empathic tendencies, you should take a quick break after each session to psychically shield your Tarot deck. This helps you build a strong relationship with your deck and keep your readings uplifting and more beneficial for everyone. After the standard clearing we just mentioned, sit in a quiet setting and hold the deck with your eyes closed. Now close your eyes and visualize a shield of pure white light around you and the cards. Ask for a blessing to protect the deck and affirm your intentions of using it for the highest good of everyone.

Speaking of protection, give your deck the “sacred treatment” by getting a special bag or box for it.

Don’t just toss your deck into the corner when your readings are over. That’s so heartless! Instead, respect your deck by protecting it from anything that could accidentally damage it. Your cards needs to stay dry, straight and kept out of the sun to avoid color fading. The easiest way to care of the cards is by picking out your favorite Tarot pouch, box or other case. 

Finally, remember that Tarot’s greatest strength is to enhance our perspectives so that we can choose to create the realities that we’re really seeking. Use it for self-discovery, and it will continue to surprise you with rich insights!

About the Author: Suzanne Leopold started Living Mavens in 2016 to share some of the products and techniques that help her focus inward and transform her life.  With over 15 years of exploring energy and manifesting modalities, she is passionate about creating a life she loves and sharing her discoveries with others.  To learn more on how to consciously create a life you love, go to www.livingmavens.com

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