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Getting to Know Your Tarot Deck

Come on.  Admit it.  Your tarot deck has been sitting in a closet or a drawer for months or years.  You always mean to break it out and really become fluent, but it never happens.

If you haven’t decided on a New Year’s resolution yet, learning the tarot is a great skill that can been mastered in a year with some diligence and dedication.

Here’s a few tips to get you started.

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Choose a deck.  If you don’t have one already, or the deck(s) you have simply don’t speak to you, start by searching some random ones.  This can be done online, but occult shops with sample decks are an even better opportunity to get a literal “feel” for various decks.  There are many, many decks of every imaginable variety.  Decks for cat people, decks for steampunk enthusiasts, decks for music aficionados, decks for writers, decks for kids.

(One of my favorites of all time is The Housewives Tarot.  It’s shaped like a recipe box and The Devil is chocolate.)

Point is, there’s one for you.  If nothing speaks to you, keep looking.

Connect with your deck.  Once you’ve selected and acquired a deck, spend some time with it.  Go through it card by card several times.  Right down any impressions you get or cards that jump out at you, even if you don’t know the meanings of the cards yet.

Learn the cards.  It’s time for a little rote memorization.  While most readers eventually develop their own method of interpretation, it’s best to have some foundation in the traditional meaning of the cards.  I started by choosing 3 key words for each card from Learn Tarot and putting them on flash cards.  It took me several months of daily study to get to the point of instant recall, but you may find it goes faster or slower for you.  Once you have absorbed the basic energy of the card, the words themselves sort of disappear and you just get a general impression when you pull the card.

Start reading.  For everyone.  In the beginning, I carried my deck wherever I went.  I started reading for people I knew well first.  But then I just started reading wherever.  The homeless guy outside my grocery store, the lady at the nail salon, the bored bank teller.  I used to know a reader who traded readings for cab rides.  Respect those who decline your offer for a reading, but don’t assume someone won’t want one.  Many times people whom I never thought put any stock in divination quite eagerly let me read their cards.  Skeptics arguably make for better learning experiences than believers anyway.  The more you practice, the better you get.

Decide whether you want to be paid in karma or cash.  Once you’ve become fluent enough to start charging for your services, think long and hard about whether or not you really should.  It’s not for everyone.  Don’t assume that just because you don’t get cash, you won’t be paid back in full—and then some.  I’ve noticed that when I offer a complimentary reading to someone in spiritual need, it comes back to me ten fold in karma.  Just something to think about.

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