Do you have a tarot deck in your head? For me, this is really a prerequisite for a great professional (or aspiring) reader.
As beginning students, we spend a lot of time looking at tarot images. We try to memorize key words and meanings. As we become familiar with the images, we find deeper ways of understanding the cards, based on what we see in the pictures. The pictures speak to our intuition, as well as to our logical mind.
Sometimes, the first time you see a tarot image it just speaks, even if you know nothing about tarot, or about the traditional card meanings. It can be surprising how clearly new students get very precise meanings from the cards, just by looking at them.
Once you learn some textbook meanings for the cards, your understanding increases even beyond where your intuition first took you.
Many of us begin right away to collect, and work with, more than one tarot deck. The more decks we use in our studies, the more we can learn about each card. When we see how each artist depicts each image, we add to our own understanding of each card.
Sometimes we prefer some cards in one deck, and other cards in another. Sometimes we study by comparing and contrasting the artwork in different decks.
As we learn about the cards, it is important that we keep the card images in memory. Eventually, someone will say the name of a card, and you will immediately have the image in your mind, without even needing to look through your deck and find it. Ultimately, you may have images from more than one deck in your mind.
At that point, you have assembled a “deck in your head.”
Here’s why it’s valuable.
First, it takes away performance anxiety. You know the cards cold – end of story.
Second, no matter what deck you are using, you benefit from your knowledge of other decks.
Third, it allows tarot to speak to you, even when there is no tarot deck in your hand. The cards will come to you in your mind’s eye, in meditation, and in your dreams.
Fourth, it will allow you to easily learn new decks, because, until you get used to the new images, you will be able to “translate” them in your mind.
Finally, having the images in your head will allow your intuition to fully integrate with your skills of interpretation, making you the best reader you possibly can be.
Even with a deck in your head, the card images will sometimes surprise you. When you look at a card, you may see a part of the image you had never noticed before, or you may see the image in a different way than ever before. Tarot is good that way – you will never see all there is to see, or know all there is to know. It never goes stale.