21st Century Practical Magic

Why Tarot is an effective and appropriate tool for our times!

Many people are interested in Tarot now and asking if Tarot cards might be helpful for their spiritual growth and if these cards are still relevant in the 21st Century.  Good questions, and the answers are yes and in many ways! 

First, let’s examine how tarot can be helpful in understanding your life and critical choices you may need to make at this time. In these historic times of transition and an increasing pace in the evolution of consciousness here on planet Earth, more and more people are examining their current belief systems to better deal with the rapid changes that have been occurring this past year. Many are feeling unsatisfied with their life and are unhappy with the current state of their relationships, career and lifestyle. Many of them have developed a life that is “comfortably numb” filled with a vague sense of dis-ease and a feeling that somehow there is a better life for them, but not sure what to do about it. It appears that we have lost contact with our higher self and who we really are. So many people seem stuck in a world of “psycho-sclerosis”- a hardening of the attitudes which has proven inadequate in these crucial, dynamic times. The question then is how best to move forward in a more satisfying way that will dispel this state of discontentment and disconnect? Tarot cards may be one answer, for Tarot is a tool that can be used to connect the higher-self or soul to our consciousness (thinking self) and bring us closer to our authentic, aware selves which can result in bringing a sense of peace, fulfillment and understanding to our busy lives.

Tarot is a magical set of cards that consist of 78 cards and originated during the early Middle Ages. There are a multitude of different decks but most are encoded with ancient, sacred symbols, astrology, and numerology. Tarot is another method in which sacred, spiritual wisdom has been stored in archetypes and symbols throughout the world in a variety of ancient cultures, religions and locations since history began. In essence, Tarot is just an organized system to store this sacred knowledge. The cards then are a repository of knowledge and wisdom of the evolution of man and stages of his development. Mistakenly, many believe that the primary purpose of Tarot cards is for divination- a look into the future and what may come to be. Unfortunately, our friends, the gypsies, helped establish the “fortune telling” aspect of the cards and sullied the reputation and intended purpose of the cards. 

Although the origin and purpose of tarot in the past is murky, I believe the cards were not originally used for divination but as an organized system of how the laws of the universe operate to aid us in understanding our own personal, spiritual development. This purpose remains true for today and in my opinion, the cards best serve as a tool to understand the process and context of your own development as a soul. The cards when pulled in a “spread” are a mirror image of our higher-self and thus reveal what may be hidden in our unconscious state. The cards are a way to connect our spirit to our physical world, and thus attain a better harmony and balance in our life through a more complete perspective. 

People are now interested in Tarot for a very good reason. They intuitively know that studying and playing with Tarot cards will help them connect once again to their potential and who they are really meant to be. The time is now in our planet’s evolution of consciousness to reconnect to the spirit world and live the lives we are meant to live. Tarot is just one tool that will be helpful in achieving the goal of increasing awareness of our earth citizens.

The graphic at the top of this text explains quite clearly the concept of the phenomenon of archetypes and signs. Once you are aware of the hidden power of symbols, signs and archetypes the world will open to you and you will find signs everywhere that will support your growth and increase awareness of your spiritual path. 

(Note: In Jungian psychology, archetypes are collectively inherited unconscious ideas, patterns of thought, images, etc., universally present in individual psyches.)

21st Century Practical Magic

Why then do we label use of Tarot as 21st Century Practical Magic? Simply put, because there are many practical ways that tarot cards can be utilized to better understand your life and help you make important decisions that will bring you into alignment for where you need to be now. Being an earth sign, I always try to find the practical application that will help join the spirit world with our life here on earth! As above, so below and all that. 

Today, we’ll just discuss three helpful Tarot activities:

1) Meditate on one card each day, 

2) A daily card “pull,” and 

3) A simple “three -card spread” to better understand the context of your life.

First, when  beginning your study of Tarot, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all the knowledge contained in just one card. There are the symbols, the archetypes, the colors, astrology, numerology and both upright and reversed (ill-dignified) meanings to understand. Learning all the knowledge just one card holds can be challenging, much less for 78 cards!           I recommend when starting to explore your deck that you start with the Major Arcana or the 22 Trump cards. Start with the Magician #1 card and sit and meditate with it for 15 to 20 minutes and see what images, feelings and sensations you receive. Hold it, gaze upon it, and close your eyes. Then allow the impressions to come to you. What’s important to remember now is what does the card mean to you? It’s fine to look at the many detailed, traditional interpretations for each card via the internet or a book, but in the end, what’s more important is what that card reveals to you and how you understand and interact with the card. Every tarot card reader ends up programming their deck for their understanding of the meanings of the card- an essence of the energy for that card for you. Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings as you work your way through the deck. Just noting the key impressions will do. Don’t complicate the learning process or discourage yourself! After you finish the major Arcana cards, slowly work your way through the Minor Arcana (the 40 cards of 4 suits/dimensions- spiritual, emotional, physical and emotional), then, finally, work on the 16 Court cards. Court cards are either actual people in your life or represent certain traits and characteristics of people that you need to be aware of. 

It will take some time to complete all 78 cards, but you have time, right? Spiritual development is rarely easy or quick, so take your time and enjoy learnig about each card! The main thing is to not worry too much about learning everything about each card now,  but just concentrate on attaining some personal understanding of what the cards mean to you. If you do, you’ll end up with an understanding of the cards and how they relate to each other which will make reading the cards much easier. This should not be a painful process! Enjoy and take your time.

Secondly, you can pull a card each morning and design a querry (ask a question), such as   “What do I need to know today to live in peace and harmony?” 

Easy procedure for posing a querry:

  • Meditate briefly, (or for as long as you can)
  • Say a prayer asking for clear communication and guidance/protection from your spirit guides, sacred ancestors or guardian angels, 
  • Shuffle the cards (7 times works for me!), 
  • Ask your querry, and 
  • Finally, select a card that “pops out” to you. 

Traditionally, one pulls the card with the receptive, left hand, but trust yourself and pull whichever way feels right to you! Don’t censure yourself (don’t doubt yourself)- just do it with intent and focused awareness. Once you have selected the card, sit with it for a few minutes and pay attention to any images or feelings you might have. Then, be mindful during the day of your daily card, and how it might assst you in living a more peaceful, aware life. At the end of the day, contemplate the card pulled earlier that morning and see what lessons you may have been learned or how appropriate the card was. Remember the cards never lie, but we may misinterpret them due to our own prejudices of wished outcomes, etc.

Thirdly, the reading of the cards depends heavily upon your intent and which questions you ask. Intention and focus are everything in magic. Traditionally, questions have been accomplished through a system of different “spreads.”  Spreads are card formations and are just a simple way to organize cards pulled to reveal the answers to your questions. There are a multitude of spreads, such as the Celtic Cross which is very popular and designs your question in an organized, systematic way: 

Celtic Cross

However, one of the more effective and simpler spreads to use is a basic three-card spread that will place your querry/situation in context, which to me is key in helping you understand the process of your development and question. As you can see with the spread below, the context/past, focus/present, outcome/future neatly and effectively frames any question. Short and tidy; good for any situation!

This spread is handy, very effective and can be utilized easily. This is a good spread to use when you don’t have time to spend with more detailed spreads. It “cuts to the chase” and reveals the basic essentials for understanding your question. Remember to keep your question and intent in your mind while pulling cards! I believe you’ll find this an easy spread to find the answers to your questions. I like this succinct spread, because it shows quite easily and clearly the context and development of the question- past-present-future and context-focus-outcome.

In future short articles, I hope to discuss the history of Tarot, how Tarot works, numerology, different spreads, how to read the cards, and the choice and use of different decks. Stay tuned for more, and as usual, feel free to send me any questions you might have!