Lesson 3 – What is tarot?

Good afternoon.

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So how are things in your world today?  Grab your notebook, cards and cuppa.  Take a seat.  Now allow yourself to feel your feet, stretch and breathe.

kitten stretch

I have on my chalk board here (points with long ruler) the words What Is Tarot?

To begin with I will point you in the direction of a few pieces of background information.  Also here and here.  Have a look, see what you think. As previously noted this is your journey, you might want to read more, or differently, or less.

Now I will tell you what tarot is to me. 

This is what tarot is to me today, tomorrow I might learn something new, have a new experience, my thoughts might shift; that’s how it is with learning and with a tarot journey.

On the surface tarot is a system of playing cards.  There are seventy-eight.  They are split into two parts the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.  In the Rider-Waite-Smith system all the cards are illustrated.  There are four suits in the Minor Arcana.  These are pentacles (or coins), swords, wands and cups.  Some decks use slightly different names for their suits but they have direct links to each of these four.

Under the surface tarot is a symbolic system.  Different decks use different symbols to represent the spirit, energy and meanings of the cards.  For me this works well because I like pictures.  We learn to read pictures before we learn to read words. In ancient times pictures were the first forms of recording we find.

cave painting

As human creatures we are meaning-making animals.  Just imagine lying on your back cloud watching, picking out the faces or creatures you can see.  We look for patterns.  It’s our default setting.

At a deeper level for me tarot is also a means of connecting to my intuition, my inner voice and innate wisdom. This is a kind of knowing I previously shut off through years of academic study and valuing a more structured and rationalistic way of understanding the world.  It was while reading this book that I realised I’d cut off a huge well of guidance within me and I set out on a quest to rediscover this.  Tarot was my gateway.  So tarot is a tool to connect me to inner wisdom and also to divine guidance.  I use my cards daily, I like to collect different decks, read for others, and to read, talk and learn about tarot.  Hi, my name’s Fiona and I love tarot.

What tarot is not…

In a previous life I was a regular church attendee.  I mention this here because in some churches I attended I was told that tarot was “evil”.  There wasn’t a lot of information about why this might be the case but I have come to think  the reason it is challenging for some parts of some religions is that tarot allows us and encourages us to make our own meanings and find our own path.  Like a lot of things which are considered “witchy” this is threatening because it can’t be controlled.  My experience is that far from being wrong or bad or harmful tarot is a liberating system which helps me to negotiate the daily and my ongoing journey through life.

tea and chats

Exercise 3

So now it’s over to you.  Today’s exercise focuses on connecting with your deck.  Try out this reading.  However long you have been working with tarot I believe it is always, **always** o.k. to use your guidebook.  Follow your tarot ritual to set up your workspace and try out this great interview spread from Beth Maiden.

I’d love to hear how you’re getting on!  Social links in the sidebar 🙂

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