I have several not-so-secret ambitions in life; one is de-stigmatize the use of Tarot as a meditative and creative practice. I’ve already written at length on Tarot: on how I can be a Christian who practices it, my personal method for reading it, and a meditation on the first Major Arcanum, the Magician. This article will explore the method of Tarot meditation I use most regularly.
Before we get into the meditation technique, however, we need to talk briefly about why Tarot is so effective as a Meditation practice.
Tarot and Archetypes
If a deck is well drawn, it features roughly 78 cards that represent the entire spectrum of human experience using deeply symbolic images. This is the magic of Tarot: our profound reaction to art and symbolism. It functions at a non-verbal level, and each card has the capacity to illuminate aspects of our own life. It offers us a safe medium to contemplate the meaning of the card in relation to ourselves. When in a spread, the cards form a story, or a narrative, interacting with one another, and they can often spark startling truths about your interior life.
This is hardly supernatural, for every card is packed with meaning. In the same way it is hardly supernatural that a good novel is a catalyst for self reflection, a card or spread of cards can speak deeply to us. However, we can certainly call it spiritual, and the deck is so well developed that it often seems to have an intelligence all its own.
Tarot, Meditation, and Journaling
My favorite method of Tarot meditation is in the form of journaling. My Bullet Journal is crammed full of Tarot Readings, and a few have deeply altered me. The following are the steps I use for Tarot Journaling Meditation:
- With pen, paper, and a tarot deck, find a quiet place, and start by focusing on the breath. Allow yourself to relax, entering a meditating state. If thoughts attempt to pull you away from the breath, acknowledge the thought of feeling and then return to the breath.
- Start to shuffle the cards. Feel cards in your hand. Cut the deck, and play with them in your hands. Allow this to deepen your focus.
- If you have a question you’d like to explore during the reading, go ahead a write it down. Sometimes, a question will come in the midst of a reading. Other times, you may simply want to let the reading carry you, card by card.
- Draw a card, and write it down in your journal. If your deck comes with a booklet, you can read the reference for that card for greater insight or context. (if you are new to Tarot, this is a great way to learn the cards.) Study the card, and allow your awareness to rest on the imagery.
- Ask yourself – what does it mean? What comes up? Start writing single words or phrases that come up. For the Sun card you might write words like, “Hope,” “redemption,” “rising.” You then might find that you tap a resevoir, something that needs to be processed. There are no wrong associations. Write it all down, until you feel like it’s time to move on to the next card.
- Sometimes, you draw a card and nothing comes up. That’s okay. Just move on to the next card.
- Once you reach a point that feels right, you can pause and look over all the cards and words you’ve written so far. Does a common theme or narrative emerge? You can write about that too. If you’d like, you can return to drawing cards and reflecting on them.
- I find that 3 – 5 cards is about as much as I can handle for a single reading. When it feels right, bring the reading to an end. Look over what you wrote one last time, and save the entry to come back to later.
That’s it. I do this nearly every other day, usually before bed. It has proven itself to be a powerful meditation practice, and I hope you enjoy.