Tarot is, above all else, a tool for reflection. It will mirror what we bring to it right on back to us.
When we intentionally choose to read tarot for our highest and best good, forgoing inquiries into the future and focusing instead on the present moment, a deep wisdom will arrive. With every moment that we choose to be present in our lives, we co-create and intentionally birth the most aligned future possible—not only for ourselves but for the planet.This is the core message of the kind of tarot I read, Soul Tarot. My tarot deck was an invaluable tool during my healing from abuse and PTSD. It showed me what the pain was teaching me, where it was taking me, and how I could begin to master my brain chemistry through compassion and willingness to evolve through the discomfort.
How to use tarot for growth
When we read tarot for our deepest expansion, our deck organically becomes a sacred tool for healing, awakening, and transformation. When we use tarot for the present moment, there are no predictions. There is no scary news, no right or wrong, no good or bad, only medicine. Why? Because everything in this life is an invitation. When we say yes to the invitations that are best for us, we can live in alignment with our intuition, with our truth.
We shed past patterning, old karmic cycles, fears, and traumas. We begin to see the value of intentional growth through anything that might arise in our life. The more we begin to trust the present moment (and it can take some time), the more we can be available for service on the planet, and for the treasures of a soul-filled life.
Not bad for a deck of 78 cards!
What lives in a tarot deck?
In simple terms, tarot is a deck of 78 cards, comprised of the Major Arcana, the Minor Arcana, and Court Cards. These cards are said to encompass the entire circular experience of what it means to be alive.
The Major Arcana (Macrocosm)
Spanning from The Fool to The World, these cards are the big cyclical, evolutionary waves of the tarot. The Majors are a lot like river rapids or ocean waves; it is wise to surrender to and flow with their currents so you can be carried to the next shore of your life.
The Minor Arcana (Microcosm)
The Minors represent our feelings, thoughts, beliefs and experiences. Each suit (Wands, Cups, Swords, Pentacles) helps us master a different area of our lives:
Wands (fire): The Wands are all about fire, creativity, passion and sexuality. They are the flames within us that help us live in our raw passions without letting them consume us.
Cups (water): The Cups teach us to trust our feelings and intuition, even through the fog of emotion. It is a suit of love—not only love for one another but for ourselves.
Pentacles (earth): The Pentacles teach us how to live spiritually in the material world. They help us realize and live out our true path and provide a barometer for our finances, our security, and our health.
Swords (air): The Swords help us master our brain chemistry. The suit will take us through many different mental experiences, all so we can get clear on what is true and what is not.
Court cards (Advanced energies)
The Court Cards are the Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings of the deck. They always bring something very powerful for us to tap into, move through, and learn. They can represent other people in our lives, but it is infinitely more powerful to think of them as aspects of ourselves that we must recognize.
A spread for illumination and clarity
Find a comfortable place to sit with your tarot deck. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and drop into your body. Gently invite in anyone or anything that you pray to or that makes you feel like you are in the presence of wisdom and love (i.e., your higher self, nature, Quan Yin, Source, The Goddess, etc.).
State your intention to receive wisdom and clarity on whatever is best for you in this moment, what you most need to know right now. Shuffle your cards in whatever manner you choose, then either spread them out and intuitively choose six (you can use your dominant or nondominant hand for this, whatever feels right to you), or cut your deck into six piles. Then pull a card for each of the following questions:
1. What is happening right now?
2. How can I move through it with ease and grace?
3. What am I learning from this cycle of my life?
4. What is currently leaving?
5. What is on its way in?
6. What's my medicine for the moment?
Before you consult a book or a website for answers, deeply reflect on what you think. What colors do you see? Are there certain images that catch your eye? If worries or fears come up, bow over to them and gently inquire about why they might be arising. Journal about what comes through before you consult an outside source. (Tarot Wisdom by Rachel Pollack, The Way of the Tarot by Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Motherpeace by Vicki Noble are all excellent Tarot resources.)
Once you are finished, bow to yourself, thank your counsel, and see how the energies play out in your days and weeks!