Wednesday, October 19, 2011

pagan art journaling {week 38}

this week's prompt: learning the tarot

I know that I've journaled about divination before but this week I've been thinking a lot about ways of learning the tarot.

Some people just learn the cards at random, some are very methodical, some rely on their books, others let the images speak to them and create interpretations of their own. What do you do?

When I went hunting for my first deck, I really wanted something that spoke to me. And being the contrary soul that I am, it just had to be different. My first deck was the Haindl deck, which is an amazing, rich, multicultural deck that draws on the IChing, Runes, Qabalah, and world myths. As I was making the shift from runes to tarot at the time, I liked that it drew links back to runic lore. It felt like a bridge. In fact, it was totally overwhelming!

I loved it, but damn did it knock my socks off! I spent the first years constantly going back to the book, rereading the interpretations. But it was worth it, because I felt like the cards spoke to me. When I had to make some major decisions in my life, at the ripe ol' age of 22 (you know, when the decisions are the biggest and most dramatic), this deck was my guide. And I say that in all earnestness. I moved across the country based on this deck telling me to be bold and leap into the unknown like the Fool, ever trusting and even a bit naive, as need be. It was the best decision of my life and the tarot readings I did at that time, replete with their death, tower, and fool cards repeating constantly, helped me find my inner voice and make peace with a decision I very much needed to make for myself at the time.

I don't know how many of you out there have had those moments of absolute rightness in your life. That knowledge that yes, you are on the right path. But my move, which I made based in part of what the tarot kept showing me about my inner dreams and desires, was one of those moments. I remember sitting on the bus, watching the prairies pass me by, knowing with absolute certainty that I was going where I needed to go. I felt touched by the hands of god/goddess in that moment, even though I was moving far from everything and everyone I knew, with only $200 in my account, a suitcase, and one onerous little black cat (who, for the record, flew across the country while I took the lowly bus - bloody spoiled princess)!

Anyways, not long after I arrived here, I found a small teaching group and met a lady who guided me towards a book that helped me put a bit of order to the madness. Of course, now I can't find the right book, but it was helpful! It prompted me to think about the cards in terms of the number sequences instead of just their suit associations.

It was a little thing, but it helped me a lot in terms of seeing progressions through the cards. Now that I'm learning another deck, the Crowley deck, I find myself drawing on this knowledge even more, especially as I hone in more on the qabalistic nature of the card progressions through the Tree of Life.

How have you gone about learning your tarot decks? How many decks do you use? Do you find that certain decks speak to you more, or randomly decide that its time to move on? My Haindl deck did this to me and it's been an interesting process, being humbled by my cards!



  1. I took a couple of different classes on the tarot-- one was an excellent 8-week course. I also belong to a tarot group that's been getting together once a month for the past 4-5 years to share readings, books, and techniques with one another. I'm also fortunate because I have several friends who love to talk tarot as much as I do. Plus, I read a lot of books on the subject!

    I'm not sure how many decks I have, probably need to count... around 25 or so? But I've found a couple that really resonate with me. I use Pearls of Wisdom when I do readings for others, and the Druidcraft tarot for myself. They are nothing alike, but they totally work for me. I tend to like decks that have lots of details and symbolism, especially when I'm doing a reading for someone else. The Druidcraft appeals to me personally because I really connect with the Celtic theme and symbolism; it speaks to my soul because of my Celtic ancestry, I think.

  2. Wow that's amazing! 25 decks. I'm humbled! :) I like the idea of having 2 decks, one for your personal readings and one for others. I'm still such a dabbler in so many ways, even after all these years. It would be great to be able to really work with others to share readings and interpretations! I might have to look into that in my own community.


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