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Some time ago I decided to seriously get into tarot. Though the path was winding, in some sense it almost seems inevitable. I have always had a passing interest in the occult and tarot cards, but only more recently did I decide to delve into the history and meaning of the cards, and see if there was anything really to it.

One of the first things I learned was that most people see tarot as a way to uncover secrets that will let them divine the future. This is not so. Tarot readings are designed to divine the PRESENT, and show you how your present reality has been influenced by your past and how it can affect your future—if things continue the way they are. As such, every tarot reading is firmly centered in the present moment, and although many (and I think it would even be fair to say, most) tarot spreads incorporate future outcomes, this is not their primary purpose.

Another thing I learned is that the prevailing opinion today is that there is no magic in the cards themselves; any spiritual or magical power is channeled through you, the asker. This was my personal belief already, but it was interesting to find that most people now are of a like mind. I think many people who are only tangentially familiar with tarot believe that the cards themselves have a mystical, perhaps even nefarious nature and will of their own. This is simply not the case. Just as the words of the Bible only become holy as we read, interpret, and internalize them, so the cards of the tarot only become holy when we analyze and understand their meanings and significance within the individual readings.

From that starting point I began to seriously research the background and suggested interpretations for the cards. If you are not familiar with them there are a few YouTube videos I could point you to. If you still cling to the idea that tarot cards were created with some mystic purpose, the History Channel can cure you of that notion. They basically started out as a regular playing card game consisting of the minor arcana, which the wealthy then modified to include the major arcana, or “trump cards.” These later decks were then picked up by occult mystics and given symbolic meanings.In modern terms, It would be as if Margot Adler or David Lynch had picked up Pokemon cards and arbitrarily assigned some mystical attribute to each one. (Actually a Pokemon-themed tarot deck sounds awesome, now that I think about it.)

That said, let me return to my earlier point of the cards not having any inherent magical power. The tarot is a tool for your subconscious mind to tell you stuff. That’s it. The deck serves as an outlet for your subconscious to tell you things it wouldn’t otherwise have a way to tell you so directly. This is why it is important to be familiar with the card meanings BEFORE you try to do any readings. I will say that if you have trained yourself to listen closely to your intuition to the point where you can almost audibly hear it, or you are a master of lucid dreaming, tarot probably won’t be any more effective than those methods of exploring your subconscious. If you want to supplement or confirm your experiences though, or you just think the cards are cool, tarot ain’t bad.

After all this research, however, I am only just beginning my tarot journey. Now that I know the history of the tarot and the symbolism of the cards, the only thing left is to, well, actually do a reading. I didn’t buy a beautiful tarot deck just to do ONE reading though. That’s why, in an effort to really learn the cards and be proficient in reading them, I have decided to begin a project I call “Tarot Every Day.” As you can imagine, this involves doing one tarot reading every day for an entire year. Three hundred and sixty-five days of readings. This is an all-or-nothing venture, my friends, because I am an all-or-nothing kind of person.

The rules are thus:

Every week day Monday – Thursday I will do a simple three card spread asking a different question each day. The question should be a simple one, such as “what have I forgotten?” or “what will bring me good luck?”

On Friday I will do a five card spread, with a question that is a little more meaningful, such as “how can I restore my hope in humanity?”. If clarification is needed, I will shuffle and do a second pull for each card, or at least the card I need the most clarification on.

On Saturday I will do a Celtic Cross reading, and ask a pressing question that has been on my mind. This could be an elaborated version of a question I asked earlier in the week, a question about a recurring problem I keep having, or a question about where my life is going in general.

On Sunday I will do a more advanced tarot spread, such as the Tree of Life or the Dragon. These will be about the overarching themes in my life, questions about God and spirituality, and the most important questions I have about myself. If clarification is needed, I will do a four-card spread — likely the tetragrammaton.

In the course of doing these readings, I will explain what each spread means the first time I do it. Every post thereafter I will point to these descriptions instead of explaining it all again. This will cut down on time and word-counts, and avoid trying the patience of people who have already read the previous posts. All readings done will be for myself. I will not be doing any readings for other people, or if I do, for some reason, I won’t be posting it to the blog. Hopefully by the end of the year I will be confident enough in my ability to do a tarot reading on demand (should I choose to accept the request) without needing to pore over notes or consult the vast collective intelligence known as the internet.

It will be an interesting year.

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3 Comments

  1. Best of luck in your endeavor! I look forward to following along and hopefully learning a thing or two! I’m still currently working on the meanings of the cards, but I do sometimes have the urge to lay down a spread just to see if I can interpret it.. some are easier than others, I definitely need more understanding first!

    • Thanks so much! I was just looking over your page when I received your message. One of the purposes of my project is to get more familiar with the card meanings, so maybe we’ll both learn a lot. The best advice I heard someone give is that writing down your readings helps you interpret them, and you can always go back later to see how accurate they were. I say if the mood strikes you, do it! You may be surprised.

      • Hah, how funny that you were already on my page!
        I do have a section in my physical tarot journal for readings that I plan to utilize a little bit more, although I probably won’t be sharing much on my blog just yet from that section 😉


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