Tarot Foundations & Grasping Individuality
Progress is a difficult concept for many of us to embrace. We like to think of progress as something that is automatic upon investment. But, as many of us know, progress is quite difficult to attain. In the tarot community, progress is synonymous with improvement. This is something then, that only comes with effort, but is not guaranteed. Holistic Tarot encourages us to document our tarot journey, all in an effort to gauge our improvement. When we do our best to gauge our thoughts and note personal revelations, then progress is possible. This is the process behind becoming a better tarot reader. If you do not document your tarot journey, then you will never improve. To this end, I want to discuss my personal progress during my first month with Holistic Tarot and its corresponding beginner study guide.
When I did the monthly projection reading, I wasn’t expecting too much. My interpretation of the reading indicated a strong rooting in Elemental Fire, and, perhaps, themes of being too emotionally guarded. In actuality my month was filled with affirmations and contradictions of this assumption. The theme card of my month was The Magician, an interesting choice given the start of my new journey with Holistic Tarot. One thing I knew for certain though was how potent Mercury’s energy can be. Feeling the divine current so embodied by The Magician can often leave one feeling like The Tower, instead of a powerful visionary. Luckily for me, it seems these two ideas mixed into one experience I called the month of June.
If I had to pick one theme for this first month, it would be foundation. Much of my time was spent learning to rethink aspects of tarot I’d long forgotten. How do I shuffle the cards? What do I think is the purpose of tarot? Why does tarot seem to predict the future? All these questions were never really answered in my mind prior to Holistic Tarot. Defining my approach to tarot became a central theme for the month, one that encompassed a great deal more than I could ever have expected. If I look at the books I read leading up to Holistic Tarot, I seem a similar groundwork taking place. My mind was suddenly receptive to new definitions, myths, and attitudes to tarot. And, quite honestly, this has made all the difference in my tarot journey.
Starting my tarot journey, I had no clue what I brought to the tarot community. I don’t mean that to be self-defeating, I’m just being honest. There was nothing that I thought I exclusively brought to the tarot table. But, with a little bit of an impulsive nudge, I signed up for a free five day course from Biddy Tarot. This course was absolutely amazing, and it helped me connect some of the dots. What I discovered was how to view the lens that I used to look at tarot. We all have a particular point of view when we approach to tarot, but many of us don’t see the filtered lens. Let me be clear, there’s nothing wrong with the filtered lens at all. In fact, a lens or point of view is very much necessary. However, we have to allow ourselves to advance by being aware of both our biases and perspective.
When I began to look at tarot through this specific lens, my positions within the community became clear. For example, I think both Christians and Pagans can utilize tarot as a tool. Tarot, to me, is largely a tool for personal growth connecting the conscious to the subconscious. This is just my opinion, but it has helped in my tarot research. Someone with my approach to tarot will benefit largely by the study of archetypes. Admittedly, I have noticed a huge spike in what I get out of my tarot studies when I allow my mind to wander to myths, archetypes, and historical references. I’m actually embracing the Gestalt Method for tarot reading. The approach works well, and I purchased the book, Heart of Tarot right before starting Holistic Tarot.
Both Heart of Tarot and Holistic Tarot encourage intuitive tarot meanings. This was something I’ve always struggled with. Now, I’m not going to say I don’t still struggle, but I’ve learned why I have difficulty reading intuitively. Interestingly enough, this was also a topic somewhat covered in the Biddy Tarot course. For me, I’ve been really hindered by my tarot deck choices. When I try to read intuitively, I simply fail to connect to the art of the tarot cards. This is true for many decks that are recommended for such use. Now, I’m a creative person, but I also think I’m picky with my art. There’s not a deck I own that I haven’t stuck to the traditional card meanings when reading. That’s the difficulty with Rider-Waite Smith based decks. Every time I look at them, I can’t see beyond the established meanings. The artistic style of the deck isn’t being allowed to shine through.
So, how did I learn to fix this? Well, I started to seek out decks that varied from the Rider-Waite Smith a bit. There’s a deck, called the, So Below, that I’ve started working with more. The deck has a complimenting As Above deck that varies from the Rider-Waite Smith, but the So Below works well within the Rider-Waite Smith system. Combining the two decks allows for me to brainstorm and get slightly creative with storytelling. Again, I’m not saying it’s easy, but reading intuitively is getting easier. The artistic style of a deck is really important, and I’m slowly exploring what the decks I gravitate toward have in common or contrast with one another. Reading intuitively is so important, and it is worth investing in to me personally, but it’s certainly not coming easily for me either.
Along with a foundational approach to tarot, I’ve slowly started to notice lessons on individuality. Apparently, tarot is directly linked to my sense of being true to my sense of self. This is difficult, as in one case, it required getting rid of some negativity in my life. But generally, I was actually surprised at how inspiring the connection to my root self has become. What guides my life is largely going to be reflected in how I read tarot, and that’s not something I ever considered prior. A better understanding of these guidelines actually makes me a better tarot reader, highlighting areas impacted again by bias. Keep in mind, we’re all bias, it’s just a matter of finding out where. For example, I learned not to approach The Fool as badly, when I learned I’m biased against the term innocence, and instead, prefer child-like.
Overall, my first month has really been spent defining terms. What inspires me personally, and as such, directly impacts my tarot readings? Where do I need to focus my efforts for growth and improvement? How do I best connect to tarot? These questions all require that foundational outlook. Now that I have it, I feel it will be easier to study tarot and my role as a reader. What I didn’t expect though, was how much a foundation would provide much needed tarot confidence. Suddenly I could articulate my approach to tarot, and as such, have a better grasp of the concerns others felt with it. Tarot is an interesting medium to work with. We all have a different approach to how we read tarot. But together, we’re all still learning. And that, is perhaps, the most important thing I learned. We’re all learning tarot, no matter how advanced or new we may seem.