The collective unconscious trips me up sometimes; I meant to write a post last week on this topic, and then Biddy Tarot posted an alarmingly similar one here. I strongly encourage you to go read that post first, as I didn't want to replicate information on this one.
Learning Tarot can and should be a simple, fun, personalized process where your own reactions and experiences matter more than an any prescribed notions, so the easiest way to learn it may to be throw your Little White Book to the side for now and try a different approach. From Biddy Tarot's blog:
To that incredibly comprehensive list, I would also add that I'm a huge fan of color theory in art and tarot as well. What does green mean to you and how does that apply when almost a whole card is green? This is less helpful in a black and white deck, obviously, but the shading and line work can still give you clues to the artist's intended meaning. Paying attention to specific symbols like animals, astrological symbols, seasons, and callbacks to other cards in your deck are also wildly helpful in learning your tarot deck inside and out. Most tarot readers, myself included, will tell you to journal on these discoveries, even if you're not a journaler. The payoff when you look at old entries two years later is completely worth it. Learning your cards this way first will also allow you to pick up another deck easily when you're ready.
AS PROMISED, I've also got some games to share with you to help you learn this way. Some of these I've learned at meet-ups or talking to other readers, and some I've developed on my own. You need:
- A tarot deck you don't know super well
- A friend who loves tarot and has a deck
That's it! Do whatever you would do to prepare to read for someone (shuffle each other's decks, or your own, etc.) and then take your respective decks that you're learning back. You'll both want to think for a few moments to come up with a deluge of questions to ask each other.
- Then taking turns, ask questions and have your game partner answer based only on what is happening in the picture.
- Or based on the animal in the card.
- Or based solely on intuition.
- Or based on what the person in the card is doing.
- Or based on a symbol that jumps out at you and nothing else.
- Or based on how the colors in the picture work together.
- Etc, etc.
There are a couple of other rules in these games. They should be rapid fire. The questions you each ask should be ones you are curious about but not life or death. You have to trust your gut. If the symbol that jumps out at you is an apple but the biggest one is different, no sweat. Trust the apple. You should not apply any knowledge of the cards beyond whichever version of the game you are playing allows for, period. Finally, as a side note, if you're playing "What does the animal on the card tell us," for example, and you pull a card that doesn't have an animal, as Nancy Antenucci taught me, the answer to that question is "You already know the answer." (Nancy also taught me a few rad versions of this game too.)
That's it! While learning tarot has a lot of grooves and nuances, these methods and games will make you feel super solid on individual cards and what they're trying to tell you. If you're interested in really hunkering down to study, my Coaching package is available here or you can come in for a one of session to clarify some things.
Blessed be y'all!