Learning the Tarot

I’m still doing my one card a day tarot study, though I’m not sure if I’m learning anything. The whole thing confuses me — if the card tells me what I already know about myself, then it seems unnecessary. It it’s supposed to help me see where I am going, then that too seems unnecessary since I will know what I know when I get there. And if it’s about delving deeper into my psyche and coming in contact with my higher self — well, so far that hasn’t happened.

It’s possible the lack is in the tarot itself. After all, the tarot is only a deck of cards — specialized cards, but still just cards. Although each card is assigned a meaning of sorts, a core truth, the cards are open to interpretation, so whatever a person thinks the card means that particular day is the meaning, and that meaning can be different on a different day. This all seems too imprecise and ambiguous for my logical and concrete mind.

It’s possible the lack is in me, not just my inability to intuit any meanings, but my inability to connect with any particular deck. It’s possible I’ll be able to find such a deck — after all, I have dozens of them. Each month I use a different deck, and so far, the ones I’ve used are off-putting. The artwork doesn’t speak to me, and the symbolism of the artwork seems specious at best. Still, I’m sure I will find an affinity with at least one, and then we’ll see if my studies take a different turn.

Having said that, I’ve been keeping track of my daily card, and I do see a pattern to the cards I pick, vague though that pattern might be, because the same cards seems to show up again and again. For example, the king and queen of pentacles show up at least once every month, sometimes two or three times. Since I pick a card randomly, this repetition seems to indicate that more than mere chance is at work. If I used the same deck all the time, I’d think that perhaps the card hadn’t been shuffled well enough or was sticky or had some sort of defect that made the card stand out, but I use a different deck every month.

These two cards do seem to be a reflection of my life. The queen, in a few words, represents someone who is secure in her personal possessions and in her place in life, and the king refers to stability and not having to prove oneself. Since the cards are open to interpretation, and since every tarot writer has assigned various meanings, these few words don’t tell the whole story, but they suffice for the purposes of this article.

Another and seemingly opposite card that I get frequently is the ten of swords which spells ruination, disaster, calamity, though this seems to reflect my thoughts about the current USA situation rather than my own. The card is also a reminder that though I can’t change the actions of another person, I can change how I respond, which seems a timely reminder, for sure.

The cards I pick are mostly swords and pentacles. Very few cups or wands. Very few of the major arcana, though The Tower shows up periodically, which among other things, points to changes — a release of tension that has been building up, a flash of sudden insight, or maybe a warning.

So does any of this mean anything? I don’t know. My daily card pick is helping me get used to the tarot, and it is getting me familiar with the various way experts interpret the cards, so that’s something. The card itself sometimes seems to refer to me, sometimes it seems to refer to what’s going on in the rest of the country, sometimes it seems to be a reflection of my worries. But does it add anything to what I know? Not that I can see.

Sometimes the cards tell me I am more intuitive than I know, other times they seem to think I rely on my intellect. Either way, does it matter?

I do try to find a bit of advice in the daily card, as I did with the ten of swords mentioned above, but these are merely reminders of what I already know.

I suppose it’s possible that after years of study, I might find . . . something. But then, that’s not the point of my studying. I have the cards, and I do find the array of the different decks compelling, and if there is any esoteric knowledge hidden in the cards, I’d like to know what it is. But more than that, it’s about connecting with my deceased brother, the one who collected the cards. “Connecting” might be the wrong word since I’m not trying to connect with him in any psychic way. It’s more that I am connecting with my memory of him, with the private person buried beneath his polarizing personality, the beloved brother I lost way before his death.

That connection, if nothing else, does give my daily card reading a meaning.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

10 Responses to “Learning the Tarot”

  1. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    Are you asking a question before you pick each daily card?

  2. msatutoringservices Says:

    I don’t know if it would interest you but there are many tarot readers on YouTube. Their general readings help me memorise some of the cards.

  3. Ewa (Dublinia) Says:

    The meaning of card of the day is not really the full meaning. I think if you get mostly swords and pentacles you are overthinking things, maybe you worry to much. Maybe you are too focused on your finances or stability, maybe you worry too much about money or having more money and you neglect your passions and emotions? (lack of cups and wands). If I picked a queen of pentacles as a daily cards I would think that I’m called to look around and see the beauty of the world instead of focusing on working on worrying about material things too much. The queen of pentacles is holding to her possession but there is no castle, no garden or anything else suggesting that she did not built anything with her money… just my thoughts.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’m always interested in people’s thoughts. You make good points that help me understand the tarot a bit more. I’m still not sure how to use it to get further in touch with myself or whatever it is that I am supposed to do. The daily card is just to get to learn the cards. So far, they haven’t even hinted at something I don’t know about myself. I do find it amusing, though, that so far this month I am getting mostly wands.

      • Ewa (Dublinia) Says:

        Maybe you already know everything about yourself:) I read for others, I am not able to read for myself, even one card per day does not work for me.

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          Right now, the one card a day is just an exercise to try to learn the cards. Once I’ve gotten most of the cards, I’ll start in on a once a month or once a week simple spread to see if there is anything else I can learn. Well, there’s always learning the cards and how to read them, so that’s something.

  4. Spirituality Awakening Says:

    The practice is most important to become an expert. 🙂


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