Tarot Topic 4: Creating a Ritual

‘Ritual’ is a heavily used word in the world of magical things. Most of magic is a ritual, and I don’t mean gathering 5 of your best friends and holding brooms in the shape of a pentagram (unless you are into that kind of thing, then go off sis).

A ritual is simply a sequence of activities that you repeat. Some of us have morning rituals without even realizing it- and some of us that morning ritual is simply screaming “fuck” before getting out of bed and making coffee. The moral is, rituals are personal. They are for you and you alone, so make it what feels good to you and roll with it.

There is no prescribed way to start and end your tarot session, but here are somethings I have enjoyed that you may take what you need, change it up to suit you, and leave what you don’t like. 🙂

Set the space

Clear off a table or counter, go outside, sit on the floor, or lay out a cloth. The theme here is the space is cleared and the intention is throwing down some cards. Burn some sage/palo santo if you are into that or light a candle. Release your emotions and clear your mind. I like to read with no music playing- which is very out of my normal. I don’t have a singular space that I read, but the vibe is always the same.

Shuffle the Cards

Sounds obvious. Some people just keep shuffling until it feels good, others have a specific number of shuffles. Sometimes I just throw the cards on the floor and mix them up. Sometimes I try and fail to do the one handed shuffle thing that so many people can do.

As you shuffle, think about your question or intention for the cards. Think about who you are reading for if it isn’t yourself. Ask for guidance. Let that be the only thing residing in your mind.

If you are into crystals, throw a crystal matching your intention/question on top of the deck to charge it while you take a few deep breaths.

Read a Mantra or Mini-Meditation

This isn’t something I do every reading, but at least once a week when I’m feeling it or have the time or need it, I will open the book Dear Universe by Sarah Prout randomly and read the mini-manifestation. Sometimes I open This is Just What it’s Like Sometimes by Neghar Fonooni to a random chapter and read some of her beautiful words before I pull some cards. Others, I will grab a book of poems and read one. They often find something I had buried deep in my mind and it is always what is needed in that moment.

Pull the Cards

If I am using a spread I am not familiar with or don’t have memorized, right before I pull the cards I usually look at it once more and read the questions to myself and then dive in. Otherwise, I think of my question or intention and pull away. Once the cards are out, take a deep breath and simply look at the images for the meaning. If you need to use a resource for some guidance, go for it. This is a judgement free zone. Sit and ponder, pull out the journal, and write it all out.

The true moral here, is to find what works for you- like all things in life. Find it, then do the damn thing.

Tarot Topic 3: Simple Tarot Spreads

One of the greatest things about Tarot is the absolute freedom in it. There are SO MANY spreads to choose from and you can even make your own. It can be overwhelming to see all the different spreads and some are HUGE. I quickly learned I often don’t have the attention span for 10+ card spreads, and that is okay. Test thing out, create some rituals, and start reading.

Daily Draw

This is a super easy way to get to know your deck. Give it a good shuffle, ground youself with a deep breath, and pull one card. If you also have an oracle deck- feel free to pull one of those as well. Write the card(s) you pulled in your planner or journal to track patterns and learn.

Two Card Spreads

These are great for simple questions and quick clarifications for life.

Three Card Spreads

Just like the two card spread, it is generally useful for questions we have. The options are pretty limitless for what the cards can be pulled for here- substitutions are welcome!

Tarot Topic 2: Getting to Know Your Deck

Building a relationship with a new tarot deck takes some time and effort- just like a real relationship. Even if you aren’t new to tarot, a new deck needs to be ‘broken in’ per se.

  1. Cleanse the Deck

First things first- cleanse that shit. Get all the vibes from the store off and introduce your own (that sounds gross…not like that). Smudge the deck with sage or palo santo. Let it chill with some quartz or selenite. If there is a full moon- you lucky duck, spread the cards out on a windowsill and let them bask in the moonlight over night. As you cleanse, set some intentions. Think about your goals for these cards and what you want to discover with them. (This absolutely does not mean they will give you the answer you want, FYI). After you cleanse, give them a super good shuffle.

2. Flip through the cards

Sit and go through them all to get yourself familiar to the images.

3. Do a Tarot Spread

Ask the deck what it wants to teach you and pull some cards to see what it has to say.

4. Do a Daily Draw

This is what truly helped in my journey of learning tarot. Every morning, I would pull one tarot card and one oracle card (Postcards from Liminal Space or Starseed Oracle). I wrote the cards in my journal and went about my day. That night when I was winding down, I would open the journal and get those cards out and reflect on my day and the cards meaning. Seeing repeating patterns was interesting (until you *keep* getting the Tower or Death over and over again and you want to scream at the Universe that you *get* it, but that is another topic).

5. Journal

Write that shit down. Write down every spread you do and what it means to you. Write the date. Write the astrology of that day. Flip back through it. Some weeks, I would do a recap on Sunday of what I pulled that week and what happened. It both made me see my bad habits (and good ones) and the repetition of the cards applied to different scenarios was super helpful.

Tarot Topic 1: Picking a Deck & Shit

Tarot, much like Astrology & crystals, is a super personal thing to dive into. It is def a time to look inward and think solely about yourself and your goals. For that reason- your deck (or decks if you keep finding ones you like) need to fit your vibe & aesthetic. Really everything you fuck with regarding this journey needs to be 100% you, as it is your journey.

There is a superstition that your first deck must be a gift…if that is your thing- then go for it. If not- then start the search.

Tarot vs. Oracle Deck: The traditional tarot deck is 78 cards- 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana. While these 78 cards have slight variations on interpretations, the structure remains the same. Oracle decks are free. They can be from a wide range of content and are often used in conjunction with a tarot deck.

Resources: This part is almost more overwhelming than picking a deck. There are so many books & websites devoted to Tarot. Personally, I started with WTF is Tarot by Bakara Wintner. Her humor and easy descriptions (and swearing) made it less intimidating and super relatable. The Tarot by Paul Foster Case is a classic, but extremely helpful. Biddy Tarot has a great website, The Hoodwitch, and Labyrinthos has both a website and app that are full of info.

Actually Picking a Deck: This is actually easier than it sounds. Literally just start pouring over metaphysical stores websites (hello COVID) and click through the images until one speaks to you. Wayhome Tarot from Everyday Magic was my first deck and when I saw it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I bought it. My second deck, Etheral Visions was purchased on my birthday trip to NOLA and I knew I needed it the second I saw the Empress Card that the store had out. It is totally an intuitive process and absolutely acceptable to have multiple decks. Use the same process to pick out oracle decks, if those sound like your thing!

Getting to Know your Deck: Sounds weird- but building a relationship with your deck is important. Sit and flip through the cards to get used to the imagery. There are a TON of “meeting your deck” spreads online. Do a couple and see what it has to say. The more you read from your deck, the better it gets. If you have more than one deck- they might have different purposes. I use Wayhome primarily for myself and Etheral Visions tends to be a bit more brutal, so I only pull that out when I am either reading for the collective or when I am emotionally prepared for a dragging. I almost always use the Postcards from the Liminal Space oracle deck to clarify.

Caring for your Deck: Decks need to be cleansed. You can either use sage, palo santo, or crystals for this (or all of the above, if you’re feeling frisky). A very good shuffle does the trick. Feeling extra- do a fun 78 card pickup on the ground to *really* shuffle those suckers. I often leave crystals on top of my decks while they aren’t in use and always sage them before a big reading.

Learning the Cards: After you got all your supplies, it can be daunting to look at these 78 images and expect to immediately know them all. Many of the images are intuitive and you can figure out the meaning by looking at them. Don’t stress. When you are starting out and reading for yourself, it is totally fine to flip through one of your books or websites to read what the card means then relate it to yourself, your question, or your situation. In my opinion, learning by doing is the way to go. Keeping a journal of what cards you pulled, in what place, and what was going on in your life is also KEY to learning the cards and patterns in your life. Even if it is simply pulling one card in the morning, writing it in your planner, then reflecting later that night about that card and the relationship it had to your day.

I have several tarot journal pages on my Etsy (ApricityAlchemy) that I use *everyday*

Start tarot-ing and doing the damn thing 🙂