We’ve all had Tarot readings where we’ve been amazed at how the reader has been able to make connections between the cards and come up with so much amazing information for us. Of course, for many readers the Tarot is merely a gateway they use to access higher intuitive knowledge, but there is no doubt that much of what they are able to tell us comes directly from the Tarot. As we are learning our craft it is understandable that we want to be able to work towards a similar level of expertise but are unsure how to go about it. However, learning to read the cards with this type of depth begins with seeing relationships between cards and looking out for when they appear together in a reading – and this is something we can begin practicing at any point in our development.
Ready to begin? Grab your trusty Tarot journal and your cards. Now – go through your deck and separate out the Major arcana cards from the Minor arcana. With the Minor arcana cards separate these out into suits – Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles.
You’ll need a large table or a clear space on the floor for this. First of all, take the Major Arcana cards and put The Fool at the top. Then – lay out the rest of the cards in thee rows – seven cards to a row. When you look at the cards this way you will start to see not only the Fool’s journey clearly but start to see connections between the cards themselves. With today’s modern decks many of the artists sometimes depict characters from one card in another. For example, in some decks the couple depicted in The Lovers are the same as the couple chained in The Devil. See if you can find anything like this in the deck you are using. Sometimes the visual message is more subtle. Look at where colours are repeated or symbols. When you find these (and believe me you will – and many once you look closely!) write them down in your journal and also what you think they mean. Now start to think about what these cards which share imagery in common would mean if they appeared together in a reading. What added information would they be telling you? Write this down too. To use the example I gave you earlier – if you discovered that the couple in The Lovers card in your deck is the same one as the couple in the card of The Devil – if they were to appear in this order in a reading this could well indicate a relationship where issues like obsession, manipulation, control and co-dependency could appear.
Now, keep the Major arcana cards out and lay out the Minor arcana one suit at a time in order starting with the Aces and on to the King. If you have room lay them out in a single row – if not try to make it three rows as you did with the Major arcana. Once you have laid out all four suits in this way take as much time as you need to look first for where imagery, colours, symbols or layout from the Major arcana cards is repeated anywhere in the suits of the Minor cards. Do any of the court cards or people in the Minor cards resemble any of the people in the Major cards? Again, take note of any similarities no matter how minor as that’s the thing about the Tarot – what is hidden from us or takes us a while to see is the important stuff! Now, look at the suits themselves and again, study them to see where imagery, layouts, symbols, colours or people look similar. This can even be clothing the people are wearing. If you like and have the space and no one will disturb your cards, you can leave them out over several days and keep coming back and looking at them some more. This allows your subconscious to process the visual information and alert you to new connections and relationships between the cards next time you come back to them. Take your time an be prepared to repeat this exercise and with different decks if you have them.
As the connections between the cards emerge don’t forget to keep writing down in your journal your interpretation of what these cards appearing together in a reading signify and again, don’t worry if your interpretation flies in the face of the traditional one. It is ultimately the reader’s ability to see these connections and place their own interpretation on them that gives the reading the depth we are all seeking.
The Tarot contains so much information but it takes time and practice – as well as observation – to access. This technique will help you tune into a new level of knowledge and have the people you read for wondering how on earth you knew that!
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