Lesson 3

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.

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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.