Lesson 6

Morning.  Notices first (settle down at the back there…) here is the promised grounding exercise. This is for after your tarot work.  It’s super simple but gives you an idea and a tool until you’re happy doing this for yourself.

Next a reminder that this is self-paced, come as you are course.  Lessons are aimed to be around ten minutes for the basic content, although you can take longer with exercises if you have the time :-).

If you want to share photos, ideas, questions, reflections then please come over and join the Facebook group.

Wonderful, let’s begin.  We’ve had a quick look at the Major Arcana and began talking about the Minors in the last lesson.  Today I want to talk about the court cards.  The courts are generally considered some of the most difficult cards to read.  They can be viewed in different ways.

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You can consider the courts to represent someone of that age in your reading.  For example, say you’re doing a reading about work and a King card comes up, you might think of your boss (because obviously it’s 1950 and all bosses are men who say “doll” a lot and wear fedoras).  Or you might be doing a reading about relationships and a Queen card comes up that might be your best friend/ future lover/ significant woman in your life.  A Page might indicate your child or a young person in your life, a knight a teenager or young adult.  You get the idea.

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I tend to look at the Courts as representing an energy.

  • Pages are child-like and I link these to my inner-child aspect.
  • Knights are full of energy and enthusiasm but have  a tendency (as can be seen on  the RWS decks) to go charging into action or get lost in dreams of greatness, so a caution is to stay grounded.
  • Queens have a collected inner wisdom, a togetherness, as well as some of the “feminine” nurturing energy,  they often remind me of priestesses I have known or the divine mother aspect.
  • The Kings are the strong, “masculine”, directed, external, focussed energy of their suit.

Each court card carries the energy of the suit.  My favourite courts are those in Joanna Powell-Colbert’s Gaian Tarot which move right away for the gender norms of the traditional RWS and focus on energies and archetypes.  Beautiful and relatable to life as I experience it.

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Exercise 6

I first learned about the court cards in The Alternative Tarot course.  This course encouraged me to imagine them as people.  What kind of person would that be?  If you met them at a social event, what would they feel like?  Enthusiastic? Aloof? Would they be easy to talk to?  How would they interact with each other?

  • Today pull out the sixteen court cards.
  • Have a look at them.  Compare the images, what is the same, what’s different?
  • Read a few of the descriptions in your guidebook, is that someone you could get on with?  What might they have to teach you?
  • You might want to have a cup of tea with one of them…Say the Queen of Cups…I bet she’d have a whole string of incredible romances to tell you about, as well as all that aid work she did overseas, great stories!
  • Then come and share your first impressions in the group.

 

Lesson 5

Hey and hello.  It’s a grey day here so time for snuggling down under a blanket with a mug of something hot…

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For today’s lesson we’re going to consider the elements in tarot and set a practical which will get help us connect with these.

The Minor Arcana in tarot consists of fifty-six cards split into four suits.  These are generally know as pentacles (or coins), swords, wands and cups.  Each of the suits has ten pip (number) cards and four court cards (the page, knight, queen and king).  Sometimes decks use different names for the suits or the courts but they will correspond to the above “labels”.

Each suit traditionally has a link to one of four elements (earth, air, fire and water) and one of the four cardinal directions.  

These are as follows:

Pentacles – Earth – North

Swords – Air – East

Wands – Fire – South

Cups – Water – West

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The elemental system is a way of understanding the world.  There are also astrological links with the elements and you might like to look up your sign to see which elements feature large in your own sign/s.  I find them a helpful way of understanding myself.  I am an air sign, this means I can be very “heady” with lots of thinking and ideas.  My other big element is water which means I can be intuitive and also feel emotions deeply.  I have a little of the earth element, I can be practical and grounded thought this is an area I need to work on, and my “lowest” element is fire, meaning I need to take good care to stoke and tend my inner hearth to give me the energy for life. If you’d like to share your findings (and it is totally optional) pop over to the group for a chat 🙂

Exercise 5

Elemental connections – get out and about and experience the elements.  You could try some of the following:

  • Build a bonfire or light a candle to connect with fire.
  • Look for feathers or blow bubbles for air.
  • Get digging in the garden or build a sandcastle or lie down on the ground to connect with earth.
  • Paddle in the sea, take a bath, go to visit a river or stream or just have a long drink to connect with water.

These are just ideas to get started, whatever inspiration strikes you is good.

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If you have extra time (!) and want to do some additional tarot play you could lay out your minor cards and see if you can spot the elements as they show up in each card.

Please take pictures of what you’re doing and come share them in the Facebook group.  Remember this is a self-paced course so if you are in a different place to everyone else that’s fine, there are no deadlines, tests or papers just some ideas as you explore your tarot journey.

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Lesson 4

Hello and welcome back.  How’s it going?  Let’s review the journey so far: you have your cards, you’ve decided on your rituals and you’ve had a chance to connect with and “interview” your deck.  We’ve also touched on a brief overview of tarot including the Major and Minor Arcana.

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Today we’re going to dive a little deeper into the Major Arcana.  The Major Arcana is traditionally seen as telling the story of the Fool’s journey (the card above shows the Everyday Witch Tarot version).  The Fool represents the querent (that’s you or me, or the person we’re reading for).  The cards show the journey through one cycle of life from new beginnings through archetypal figures which guide and influence us, into relationships, life changes and challenges and the transformations that these bring within us.  The journey culminates with The World a card of completion, the closing of the circle.

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My input on this is going to be limited because I want you to get hands-on.  If we had a physical classroom you’d be doing this in groups and there’d be a deal of laughter and conversation going on. In the absence of that please imagine that spirit of cooperation and shared learning.  I’ve created a Facebook group for “classroom” chats and sharing, please come and say hello and share what you’re discovering.

Exercise 4

First, you’re going to pick all the major cards out of your deck.  Have a look at them one at a time and then set them out, try three rows of seven.

Next, you’re going to tell yourself (out loud if at all possible) the story of the fool’s journey.  For instance it might go something like, “One day Wilma the Witch was feeling happy, life was full of possibility as she prepared to set out on her new broom.  As she swooped and swished around the forest she came across a Magician..” it doesn’t have to be fancy, or serious.  Tarot is a wonderful tool and can bring huge shifts in personal growth and offer divine insights.  But it should also be fun.  Keep that lightness.  Play is an excellent space in which to create and learn.

Now see if you can see if you recognise any of the cards as things you’ve experienced in your own life.  For instance The Tower, to me, stands for those completely out-of-the-blue blindside experiences that turn life on it’s head,from the niggling daily like the burst pipe or the sick pet, to the health issue which leads to a complete change of life path…

Jot down any revelations, and come and share your findings in the group 🙂

Lesson 3

Good afternoon.

Firstly some class notices:

  • I’ll be posting lessons weekly.
  • If you follow the blog you’ll get a notification when the next lesson is up!
  • School close occasionally for holidays.
  • You can get in touch via Facebook and Instagram (see links in the side bar).  Hello friend 😉

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂

Lesson 2

Good day to you, student of the cards.

How did you get on with your tarot wishes?

Today we’re going to talk about some preliminaries.  But before we start take a moment.  Put your feet flat on the floor and take three, slow, deep breaths.  Allow yourself to be.

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Let’s begin. Remember these lessons and the linked activities are designed to take just ten minutes a day . Tarot works well in the midst of life,  the cards speak to what’s going on in our lives, and our lives reflect back to us the messages of the cards.  It’s a kind of magic 🙂

Today I want to talk about simple rituals and sacred space. Rituals are a form of routine. You probably have a ritual for getting up and ready in the morning, or for organising your grocery shopping. These rituals are ways you’re going to connect with your tarot practice.

Firstly let’s consider setting up your workspace.  Where are you going to read cards?  Obviously you can read them any place, on the train on the way to work, in a coffee shop, during your lunch break, at the soft-play while the kids are burning off some energy, on the floor in your room.  Anywhere.  But it’s also good to have a place that is generally where you do your tarot work, it helps you “get into the zone”.  We live in a shared house so for me the best place to read is in my bedroom, often sitting on the bed or floor and accompanied by moggies.  To set the tone when I’m reading I might light a candle, set my cards out on a cloth or scarf and arrange some crystals around them.  I also sometimes choose a little goddess to work with me and remind me that the divine is with me.  These are my rituals and the tools I like to work with.  I also use things I find, for instance shells from the beach or snail shells, feathers, flowers, pieces of drift wood or sea glass, acorns or conkers.  All of these things set out thoughtfully help me to enter sacred space.

You might choose a corner of your living room or your kitchen table, you might read in your study or have a cabin or shed outside you can commandeer for your space.  Like me you might choose to be in your bedroom if that’s your most peaceful place.

The simplest way I find to create sacred space is to light a candle.  It can be whatever kind of candle you like.  Obviously the usual safety precautions apply (you can take the teacher out of the classroom…be careful with fire kids).

Please remember this is your tarot journey.  Whatever works for you, works for you.  It’s your way of creating sacred space, in your place.  Whatever you have heard about working with tarot, it is a tool and it is for using.  There are no rules.  I mean there are rules, because people make up  rules all the time, but you don’t have to follow those rules.  There is no tarot police out there coming to knock your door down because you shuffled casino style or because you keep your cards in a margarine tub.  It’s all good. Like any tool you learn how to use it and then, you use it.  Tarot is an art, you are a tarot artisan, a weaver, a tarot-smith.  This is the start of learning that craft.

If you’d like to share your thoughts or pictures or have a chat I’m around on my Facebook page or you can find me on Instagram.  Looking forward to seeing what you’re exploring 🙂

Exercise 2

Today’s practical work…choose your sacred space and decide on your own tarot ritual.  There is a brief example below.  It is just that. An example.  Use it. Mash it up.  Chop it into pieces and make a collage with it.  Throw it out and start fresh. You’ve got this.

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Tarot work ritual framework

  • Light a candle.
  • Take three deep breaths.
  • If you work with the divine pray to your guides/ God(s)/ angels for support and guidance in your work
  • [Insert tarot work here]
  • Thank guides/ God(s)/ angels
  • Extinguish candle
  • Ground – use a grounding exercise (a brief one offered here for guidance) and  have a drink and a snack.

Lesson 1 – Welcome

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Hello and welcome, I’m glad you’re joining me for this journey into tarot.  This tarot school will take place in ten-minute lessons.  Teaching and practicals are aimed to take no more than ten minutes a day so that you can get your tarot study in during your tea-break, on the bus or train, while the pasta is cooking or even in the bath.

Boil the kettle, make a brew…School is now in session.

This first lesson will cover some basics for our learning journey (claps hands excitedly, smiles, turns to chalkboard).

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First some introductions. Hi, My name is Fiona and I’ll be your tarot study buddy for this course.  I live in Kent in South East England, I have two grown-up sons, a teenage stepdaughter and four cats.  I have at various times worked as a carer, teacher, retail assistant, reflexologist and gardener.  I’m a self-initiated priestess. I love nature, books and being by the sea.  I also love tarot and want to share that love with the world (that’s you *winks). Say hi below or drop in to my Facebook page, I’d love to meet you.

Next, what you will need.  The main thing is a real live actual tarot deck.  You will find there are a lot available!  I work with the Rider-Waite Smith system so an RWS deck will be helpful.  You can get hold of the Radiant Rider Waite for instance, this is the deck I first learned with.  Other options which I work with regularly and find accessible are The Gaian Tarot or The Everyday Witch Tarot.  The choice is entirely yours however, pick a deck which you like, which calls to you, use the force and trust your feelings.

You will also find a notebook and something to write with useful (coloured pens are highly recommended) so you can jot down your thoughts and inspirations as they occur.  This is very much your learning and your journey with tarot so your own ideas are going to be key.

If you’re anything like me you’ll also like books.  I could give you a whole list but for now we’ll start with just one recommended text, Learning the Tarot by Joan Bunning.  Books will always be optional.

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That about sums it up for today’s lesson, when you’ve got your tools watch this space for Lesson 2.  Before you go though, today’s practical.

Exercise 1: 

What are your tarot goals?  Do you want to have worked out your meanings for the Major cards in the next sixth months?  Be able to pull a daily card?  Have the skills and confidence to read at your friend’s birthday party?  Reflect on what you’d like to get out of your time in this class and set yourself three wishes.  Write them down.  Surround them with doodles and, if you have any, glitter!  This is it’s own kind of magic.