Getting started with tarot reading can seem like a daunting task. You have 78 cards to memorize, and if you plan to learn reversals as well, that’s a minimum of 156 different tarot card meanings!
It’s not uncommon for me to hear from frustrated people because they feel as though they are just not able to memorize them all. There is an unfortunate assumption that one can’t do their first tarot reading until they have all 78 cards memorized and can deliver a 10 card spread with confidence. Others are even afraid of what might come up if they try. Fear of what card you may pull is often due to not understanding the meanings. For instance, the Death card may scare a new reader because of the name. But Death can actually be looked at as a beautiful card of transformation.
So, please don’t fear your tarot cards! Flash card style learning is definitely not the easiest way to learn the tarot, and is the number one reason so many people give up before they get to do their first reading. Getting started with readings right away is a great way to build your relationship with tarot. There is no need to pull several cards, or to attempt in depth readings, but getting used to shuffling and pulling cards is essential.
Here is an exercise you can get started with to build a relationship with tarot.
Tarot Card of the Day Journaling Exercise
All you need for this technique is a tarot deck, a journal, and something to write with. The most common way to start learning tarot is the card a day exercise. There is a good reason for this, because it helps you decide what your favorite shuffling style is, helps you get a good sense of what you will feel when your deck is ready, and helps you build a relationship with each card.
To start the card a day exercise, keep your deck in a convenient place. This could be next to your bed, next to your coffee pot, at your desk, or even in your bathroom. Anywhere will do, as long as it’s somewhere you will see it in the morning so you don’t forget.
Now close your eyes, take a deep breath, and start shuffling. While shuffling, ask either out loud or in your mind what you need to know about your day ahead. Try to feel the sensations in your hands and take note of anything you feel, see, or hear while shuffling. It may take you a bit at first to know when the deck is ready, but that’s okay. Some people say they just know, while others will feel sensations in their hands when it’s time. For me, I feel a magnetic pull to the card on top when I’m done shuffling the deck. Some people cut the deck after shuffling, others don’t. Experiment with multiple different techniques until you find the one that’s right for you. Now, when you feel it is time to stop, pull your first tarot card.
Analyzing Your Tarot Card of the Day
Now place your tarot card for the day next to your journal and take a moment to study it. Don’t look up the definition in the guidebook just yet. If there are people in the card, what are their emotions? How does this card make you feel? What do you think is going on in the story of this card?
Write down the name of the card and any interpretations that come to mind. Once you’re done, look at your guidebook and compare the interpretation of that card to the one you wrote down. If you have time, you can journal about the similarities and differences in your interpretation verses that of the deck creator. If not, just make a mental note.
Now this is the best part, so don’t skip it. At the end of your day, look back at your journal entry. Think about how that card related to your day, and journal any insights you discovered about that card. How did it play out in your day? Was it in the way that you thought, or was it completely different? Remember, this journal is for you and only you, so don’t be afraid to be wrong in the beginning. With time, you will find your insights at the beginning of the day become more and more accurate.
Alternatives to Consider
If journaling isn’t your thing, I get it. I’m a busy mom who doesn’t always feel like I have the time to journal, and it just isn’t for everyone.
My personal favorite alternative is to just jot down notes in my phone. Rather than in depth journal entries, sometimes I would just write the date, the card, and a few key words that came to mind. At the end of the day I might add to it, or at least make a mental note about how the card related to my day.
Another good alternative is taking a picture of your card of the day. If you have a smart phone, keep them in a specific folder so you can reference the card you pulled throughout your day.
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If you enjoy coloring, there is even a tarot coloring book. The Tarot Coloring Book by Theresa Reed (affiliate link) is a beautiful way to get to know the cards in the Rider Waite deck, which is a great deck for beginners.
While filling in the pages you may even notice little details you could have easily glanced over before. If time isn’t an issue, coloring your card of the day is a fun way to get to know them on a deeper level.
Regardless of how to you choose to record your card of the day, it is a great way to get to know your tarot cards better, faster, and to build an authentic relationship with the meanings to each one. After all, the best way to learn is to do! So please don’t fear your tarot deck. If you start off with this simple practice, your understanding of each card will continue to grow with time.
What are some of your tips for building a relationship with tarot? Share with us in the comments.
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