Tips for Learning Tarot: Using Gemstones in Readings

Using Gemstones for Tarot reading: which, and how?

Short answer: I love using stones to help me, and find clear quartz is the most effective.

Do you use gemstones in your Tarot readings? How?

P.S. I’m doing a series of videos on this. Questions or suggestions on topics is VERY welcome! Just mention anything you would like to see covered in the comments.

Major versus Minor Arcana: Ebbs and Flows

tarot crafting boxThe Major Arcana (Cards 0-22) represent the bigger mysteries–the greater truths, the universal laws, the energetic and spiritual realities. The mythic Fool’s journey of the Majors outlines the transformational process. Whether you call it self-actualization enlightenment or awakening or whatever doesn’t matter a whit. Many schools of thought have many names for this process, but it’s at core a process of evolution.

The Minor Arcana (Suit cards) illustrate the mundane, everyday world representations of wherever we are in the Major Arcana’s cycle. This is how the energy of above manifests below, sometimes in the form of lessons.

In questions of timing, I usually find Majors to point to months or occasionally years, whereas the Minors speak more often to days or weeks. In general, the Majors just have a bigger and further reaching punch than the Minors.

If the Tarot layout is chock-full of Major Arcana, you know this is a very important time with far-reaching impact. Crossroads and turning points are punctuated with the Majors.

If the layout is mostly Minor Arcana, know the current focus is on refining and integrating what you already know. Individual choices tend to carry less weight, and impact is more temporary. It doesn’t mean the topic isn’t important. Only that current concerns are less pivotal in development.

As every part of life has ebbs and flows, so does the cycle of growth. Thank goodness! That “growth thing” can be very demanding sometimes. The preponderance of Majors versus Minors will give you a pretty good idea of where you’re at.

What do you find true of the Major versus Minor Arcana?

Tarot Video: Secret to Shuffling

Once upon a time, when I was a new, self-taught Tarotisa, I stressed about the right way to shuffle. Once I learned the secret, it eliminated the stress.

How do you shuffle the cards?

What about Tarot Rituals?

I use rituals  for preparing for a reading. They vary depending on opportunity and mood, but I do some form for any reading. I like to take a couple minutes and clear my mind. Take slow, deep breaths and center. I rub my hands with some of my “Psychic Oil” I made under the full moon in Pisces (and recharged under the full moon in Scorpio). I light incense or put essential oil in a burner. I hold a quartz crystal and say a prayer.

And then I start reading.

This sounds like a lot of trouble, but it’s not, really. I like all that stuff; that’s part of why it’s helpful.

I drew a card for insight into improving your readings, and we got the Two of Swords—you have decisions to make, after all. Two’s indicate a need to balance; this card is associated with Moon in Libra. Effectively reading for others requires you to keep emotional (moon) balance (Libra), keeping your own energy tidy. Rituals are one way to help do that.

By relaxing, creating a pleasant atmosphere and clearing your mind, you put yourself in a state primed to receive intuitive insight. You’re calm and centered. That’s when your radar’s best. You’re focused and present, ready to give full attention to the reading at hand.

And the symbolism is helpful. Crystals and physical objects pick up the vibrations when you use them. You’re creating a shortcut to get to the right frame of mind. By focusing on the energy you want to create, you increase your awareness and experience of it.  It’s a basic form of magic work.

In order for rituals to be effective, though, they have to resonate with you, being consistent with your intent in the reading.  There’s energy contained in the act of consideration, creation and execution. The more personally meaningful to you, the more energy. You can copy someone else’s ideas if it resonates, but most of the time altering to fit in with your frame of reference and belief system makes the ritual or symbol more powerful.

Do you use rituals in your Tarot or astrology work?

Reading for Yourself: Tips from the World Reversed

People often say it’s difficult or impossible reading for themselves, and I understand why. When invested emotionally, it’s hard to stay clear enough to let information freely flow. We’re looking for confirmation of what we want, or reassurance fears won’t materialize. If we don’t get it, maybe the deck is broken!  Except we worry the deck’s not broken and “the cards have spoken” and maybe by doing that reading when we were so wound we’ve inadvertently created the energy that will manifest….Agghh! (Or maybe you’re not so neurotic? )

Yes, the cards themselves carry meaning via symbolism and archetypal imagery, echoed throughout the collective unconscious over centuries of mystical practice. But they don’t in and of themselves hold the real magic of a Tarot reading.

To help explain, we’ve got the World, coming in inverted. Number XXI of the Major Arcana, we’re at the end of the Fool’s Journey. This card is (perhaps surprisingly) associated with Saturn. The World card points to a totality, everything coming together in a large, complete, and all-encompassing way. It’s a Hero’s Journey where the seeker returns with knowledge earned through trials, ready to use hard-won growth for the greater good. Implied is mastery of both worlds—journeyed land and homeland, material world and spiritual world. The World can also represent letting go of a firmly held worldview in favor of a more expansive vision. Reversed, you’d be close to mastery. You have to make sure you stay out of your own way.

When I first started reading for myself, like everybody I’d pull cards on matters I cared a lot about. But when I didn’t like or immediately understand the results, I’d quickly reshuffle and try again. You do this a few times, you’ll get the same cards repeatedly. You do this half a dozen times, you’ll start getting total nonsense. The problem isn’t with the cards. It’s a trick of not accepting the answers. Think of it like asking a guru the same question ten times. The first three or four times, you may variations of get the same, valid answer. You ask another six times, it’s clear you are choosing not to accept the answer given. The guru may stop speaking entirely, or attempt to snap you to attention by spouting gibberish. It’s your choice, of course, what you are willing to hear. But why ask otherwise?

You can hear the answers clearer in large part by letting go. To understand on a deeper level, you have to be willing to let go of the worldview you’ve become attached to. You may have to rewrite some of your currently held perspective to accommodate a larger vision. To get good results reading for yourself, you have to be open to whatever mail shows up in the box, not just the letter you wanted to get. You can’t expect spiritual messages to come through freely if your demanding editorial control of the content.

The cards themselves carry no judgment inherently. What’s “good” or “bad” to us is merely a part of the bigger picture, a bigger worldview of how the energy is playing out. Free will is part of every step of the reading process. The Tarot answers questions, very specifically (and rather literally). Be sure you’re asking the questions you actually want answered, clearly.  Be open to hearing whatever you get, even if it’s not what you expected or hoped for. If you don’t understand what you get in a self reading, let it sit until you do. The answer will still be there for you when you’re ready.

The World inverted suggests letting go of assumptions and angst to let yourself accept a larger reality. Don’t worry that it may take time or work to assimilate. It’s okay to be “working on it.” Here, you earn (Saturn) clarity by seeking and accepting higher knowledge. Allow the time (Saturn) it takes for truth to sink in. Float out the intention and the answers come back as you’re ready to hear them.

What are your experiences doing Tarot readings for yourself?

A personal Fool’s Journey: Living the Archtypes

Glasses at top of photo to show size.

I’m always looking to learn something new about the cards, and a book I picked up a few months back has been a goldmine in that regard: [amazon_link id=”0980409934″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Tarosophy[/amazon_link] by Marcus Katz. One of the exercises I’m particularly excited about trying: “Living the Archtypes” (pg 49).

Using Major Arcana only, you take out one card at a time, put it in a prominent place, and just wait. Periodically reflect and meditate on the card, but leave it out and in your line of sight until the card speaks to you, something in your everyday life personifying that card’s energy. If you have to ask, “Is this it?” it isn’t! Doing this for the entire major arcana, Katz says you can expect it to take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to complete the cycle.

He suggests skipping the Fool, as the exercise itself serves that energy, but my Virgo doesn’t like to leave the Fool out. He also notes the method of communication will suit the card’s energy. E.g. the High Priestess won’t be as direct as, say the Emperor. The idea here is getting to know the Tarot better by life experience.

I just got Cathy McClelland’s gorgeous Star Tarot, a majors-only deck for this exercise. The cards are delightfully huge at 4 1/2″ by 6 1/2″, so great for this kind of use. I plan to frame the cards as I complete each in the exercise.

I’m excited!

Has anyone else done this type of exercise? Anybody want to join me?

Note on those interested in the book: it covers ground from basic to advanced Tarot, including a huge amount of material I’ve never seen  anywhere else and that’s saying something. I consider this a serious, study book. I bookmark pages and write notes in the margins! The writing at times drifts towards an overly academic tone and can be awkward, but only in spots. I would order it from an Amazon reseller over the publisher if possible–I had a rather unpleasant exchange with the publishing house in my impatience over the full month it took to receive the book. But even if you have to go that route, I’d still say the material here is well worth the trouble…

[amazon_link id=”0980409934″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Tarosophy. Tarot to Engage Life, Not Escape It (Modern Magistery series)[/amazon_link]