Whether you are learning tarot on your own, helping someone one-on-one, or teaching a class, there are several things you can do to help make things click.
The problem with teaching or learning tarot is that tarot is complex. Many times, folks feel intimidated by the sheer number of cards, decks, images, keywords and possibilities. Even worse is the anxiety about saying the right thing. That’s an anxiety that we all seem to have in one way or the other. Sometimes when applied to something profound like tarot that anxiety is increased.
The trick to learning or teaching tarot is to remove the anxiety and invite playful imagination. Students must make a connection between themselves and the cards. That connection doesn’t have to feel spiritual, and it doesn’t have to be about liking the artwork. The important connection, the thing that makes things click and produces aha moments, is when students see themselves in the cards, and see the way the cards can apply to their own lives. Here are five ways to make that happen for yourself or for others.
Break the Deck into Bite-Sized Chunks
The Major and Minor Arcana are each too big to handle as a whole at first. Break the Majors into smaller groups, perhaps the Fool as its own story, and then the twenty-one numbered cards into three groups of seven.
Break the Minors into suits Ace through Ten. You can handle the Court in groups of four by suit and by rank.
Discuss, learn and do exercises with each group to avoid having to learn or hear about too many cards in a row in a way that becomes mind-numbing. This also teaches the structure of tarot in a very organic way.
Tell Stories and Do Exercises
Use these small groups of cards to demonstrate how we tell stories with the tarot, and how the cards are connected to each other. Create divination exercises using only these small groups. For example, from the suit of Swords One through Ten find one card at random to describe how you are processing information at present.
You can also choose a card from each group cognitively to answer questions about your life. For example, from the first group of seven Major Arcana cards, which one most expresses the lesson you are working on in your day-to-day life?
Make the Psychic Connection
Don’t let the meditative, intuitive and psychic aspect of tarot be an afterthought. Begin your studies with meditation, chakra clearing, grounding, opening the third eye, creating psychic shielding and making a conscious connection to Spirit. Everything flows more easily from this place. Your study should happen in sacred space, just as your readings will.
Make Connections Between Cards and Life
When a card is pulled at random, ask how that card represents something that is happening currently. This ability to extrapolate between the image and real life is essential to tarot reading. Start developing this skill from the very beginning.
Find Yourself in the Cards
Look through the cards to find images that you identify with. In which of these cards do you see yourself? Why? If you can see yourself in a card, you are on your way to seeing others in the cards. Seeing people and situations in the cards is the primary skill we need to develop in order to read tarot for ourselves and others.