What I Learned from the Tarot
Several years ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop when a simple deck of cards changed my life. The friend I had been chatting with pulled out a deck of tarot cards and gave me a three-card reading. Those three cards told a story that cut straight to the heart of my situation. They reflected the challenge I had been facing as well as my weaknesses and my strengths in relation to it. It fascinated me how easily her interpretation of those three cards gave me a new perspective. I was so intrigued that I asked her to show me the deck. And she did. All 78 cards. She described how each of them displays some aspect of the human experience. Heartbreak, choices, love, fear, despair, betrayal, victory, apathy, charity, beginnings, endings, hard work, forgiveness, friendship, joy, humility and even devotion to God all exist somewhere in those 78 cards. All of this is the story of our lives, and all of this is the tarot.
I had never seen a more perfect tool for personal insight than the simple construction of the tarot. Immediately following this meeting, I dove straight into tarot research. I googled tarot decks and bookmarked the ones with complex, intriguing artwork, finally landing on my favorite. It was stunning and mysterious. But when I went to my local metaphysical shop, an entirely different deck seemed to be calling to me, a brightly colored deck with a friendly energy. I stood there with my dark, mysterious deck in one hand and the friendly, colorful one in the other. This was my first lesson that tarot is an intuitive art form. Research can only take you so far; feeling is what is needed to really use the tarot.
I purchased that deck and quickly learned the cards. 78 cards: 22 major arcana, reflecting the overarching themes of the soul’s journey, and 56 minor arcana, broken down into four suits, each covering one arena of human existence—mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. After much researching, note-taking, contemplating, and journaling, I had learned the basics and started reading for myself and friends. I even kept my deck in my purse, reading for anyone who was willing, including bartenders, strangers at coffee shops, and even a woman seated next to me on an airplane. It was these readings that taught me the idea of simply listening. The cards tell a story, which is easy to construct if you know the cards, but the story itself has a deeper meaning and a more personal message that can only be felt through intuition.
A deck of tarot cards is just a tool. The real power lies in the story, the message, and the insights it helps to reveal. I see the deck the same way I see a mirror. A mirror reflects your physical appearance. It does not add or detract. It does not judge you or change you. It simply shows you to you. The tarot does the same thing with energy. It simply reflects the energy you bring to the reading. The mirror of the tarot, however, is more difficult to interpret. For me, the cards are a springboard for intuition. They give me a starting point and my inner knowing gives me the rest. Staying grounded, trusting myself, and keeping myself in a compassionate state of mind are key to meaningful readings.
Over the years, I have come to love many things about tarot. I love the deck and how each card has a personality. I love how many deeply spiritual symbols are interwoven into the artwork. I love how accurately and beautifully I can use tarot to find truth for myself and others. I love how laughably spot on some readings are. I love when a reading brings tears of deep emotion. What I love most is how each reading is different. Each person I read for has a different story to tell. Each energy feels unique. Each soul has a unique song to sing, and the tarot is a tool that helps me hear it. I listen, I love what I hear, and I reflect back in my own words the beautiful music I am hearing.
Each message is a gift, every soul is beautiful, and everyone has a story. This is what I’ve learned from tarot.