Tarot: What is it and how do I do it?
The Basics of Tarot: a Witch’s Favorite Tool
Whether you’re looking for insight into the past, the present, or the future, the Tarot will reveal all… that is, if you’re willing to listen. This old and storied method of divination is a popular go-to for modern-day witches, but to the uninitiated, the Tarot might seem complicated and intimidating at best.
Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s time to demystify and get to know everybody’s favorite deck of divination…
A BRIEF HISTORY
Unlike other divinatory methods, Tarot didn’t begin with such deep and mystical roots. In fact, it was originally invented back in 14th century Europe as a simple parlour game! Families everywhere would play with these decks—with wealthier families often commissioning artists to draw their loved ones’ likenesses onto the cards (giving their playing decks a more personalized touch). Tarot, as we know it today, didn’t come into being until the 18th century—when cards were assigned their mystical meanings, and various spreads began to take form. This was around the time occultism took off among the upper-middleclass and wealthy; making it a fairly normal affair to attend parties featuring Tarot readings, seances, and palm readings.
Today, Tarot has taken-off as a highly popular divination tool, especially in Western society. With hundreds of different Tarot decks available to choose from, Tarot’s traditional artwork has grown and transformed into a diverse medium for artists of all kinds to express their interpretations. Finding Tarot readers online has never been easier, and while modern parties have deviated from their once occultist nature, you can still easily find witchy tarot parties in many major cities.
When something has been around as long as the Tarot, it’s easy to find a lot of contradicting information. A good rule of thumb is to always go with the information that feels best to you.
Below, you’ll find some basic pointers to help you get started with Tarot.
Selecting Your Deck: For the beginner Tarot reader, choosing your first deck can feel intimidating. With hundreds of decks to choose from, the pressure to pick the “right” one can seem daunting. But as with anything, the best deck is always the one that feels best to you. Do you find yourself drawn to the imagery? The feel? The name? The most important thing when choosing your deck is connection. So, as long as you feel connected to your deck, it’s the right deck for you.
Getting to Know Your Deck: Before you even begin reading cards, it’s important to form a relationship with your deck. The best way to do this is to sit with your deck, and one by one, look at each card individually. Take in the imagery, the name, and read the meaning if you so feel called. Getting to know each card in your deck before you use it, will lead to stronger and more potent answers when you start reading cards.
Using Your Deck: To begin, pick up your Tarot deck in your right hand, and begin shuffling with your left. They say it’s best to use your left hand to shuffle the deck, because your left hand is ruled by the feminine, the receptive, the unconscious, the intuitive; it is the hand most closely connected to the heart. Once you’ve begun to shuffle, keep shuffling cards around in whatever way feels best, stopping only when you feel it’s time to stop. Your intuition and gut-feelings play a big role in this part. There is no wrong way to shuffle, no wrong way to pick cards, and no wrong amount of time to keep shuffling. Once it feels right, select the cards you need and lay them down into your chosen spread.
Here are two basic spreads that are easy for the beginner:
3 Card Spread: The most simple and easy of all the spreads, the go-to 3 Card Spread gives the reader insight into the past, present and future.
Pick a situation, event, relationship, etc. that you’d like more insight on.
Select 3 cards and lay them in a row.
The first card, represents the past.
The second card, represents the present.
The third card, represents the future.
Question and Answer Spread:
The Question and Answer Spread is an easy, 5 card spread, perfect for answering those “yes or no” questions.
Pick a question you’d like an answer to (example, “Should I quit my job?”).
Select 5 cards and lay them in a row.
The first card, represents you and your current situation.
The second card, represents an action you can take.
The third card, represents any obstacles or challenges you’ll face.
The fourth card, represents the outcome.
The fifth card, represents advice on your decision.
And there you go! While there is still so much more to discover about the Tarot, practicing the information above is a perfect entry point. The Tarot is a beautiful tool meant to assist you on your path, and to help you get to know yourself and your life more deeply. It’s important to keep in mind that like any tool, the Tarot must be treated with respect, and given the same honor you would give any precious belonging. If you treat your Tarot deck well, it will give you the same courtesy in turn.
Good luck and sweet blessings on your Tarot journey!