How to Read Tarot Intuitively with the 5 Senses

Developing Intuition, Tarot Study

how to read tarot intuitively with the 5 senses banner

Using your intuition to read tarot cards can be an abstract concept. It’s based on a feeling, an inner knowing, a flash of truth, a moment of clarity. There’s on right way or wrong way of doing it, and it’s highly personal most of the time so it’s really difficult to get a grasp at it.

It’s personal because our perceptions are all wired differently. 

Intuition, in my belief, is a way to channel information from the spirit-sphere. By spirit-sphere, I mean the general “zone” where our subconscious, the archeyptal energies, the collective unconscious and the shared human connection that we all have. Channeling is one thing, and depending on what’s “wired” to be our primary modes of perception, we can receive those information in a myriad of ways.

For example, if you are textually and visually oriented (like me), you may be getting impressions or urges of imagination and seeing the pictures on a certain card move in a certain way. You may also hear a specific word over and over again. If you’re more scent oriented, you may get a whiff of garbage when you pull out 5 of Swords, which may be telling you: you’ve got some emotional junk that you need to get rid of that is related to a 5 of Swordsy situation.

So an important part of developing your intuition is to understand how you perceive the world. Which senses (out of the 5 senses) are you most drawn to? A good way to figure this out is to take the Multiple Intelligences Assessment. I use this to evaluate the students I am working with in language learning to gain a better understanding of their personalities and qualities as a student. It’s free and takes about 15-20 minutes to do: an excellent resource for self-understanding.

Another way to figure out what your “orientation” when it comes to your “senses” is to examine your hobbies and interests. If you’re into music or if you are a musician, then it’s probably safe to assume that you are quite sound oriented. If you’re a bibliophile, you’re probably more oriented with sight. If you like to learn things by doing and enjoy movement, you will probably be more connected with the sense of touch.

Of course, these aren’t absolute indicators of how your perception is wired. But it’s good to consider how you perceive the world since it will help you tune into the way you interpret information, which will in turn benefit your tarot reading process.

Reading with the 5 Senses: prompts to help you generate insight and ideas when working with tarot cards

Sight

  • What is the first thing on the picture that you are drawn to? Is it a colour? An object? A gesture? Use this as a point of emphasis in the context of that tarot card.
  • What are the characters doing? How are they interacting?
  • What is the movement present in this card? Are the various elements on the card moving towards each other? Are they scattering? Are they all charging towards one direction?
  • Imagine this tarot card is a scene from a movie. Use your imagination and keep playing that move in your head.

Sound

  • What is the first word that you “hear” in your mind?
  • What song or genre of music do you think this card remind you off?
  • What are the characters saying? “Eavesdrop” on their conversations.
  • What is the quality of their voices? Grubby? Fine and silky? How do you think the quality of their voice reveal about their character or the message they are sending?

Scent

  • What do you smell? What scent does the card remind you of? Does this compliment the traditional meaning of the card, contradict it, or contrast it?
  • Depending on your experience, what you get a whiff of can be a good smell or a bad smell. Is the scent accompanied by positive or negative feeling? What does this reveal about the card and the question you are asking?
  • How does the smell reflect the atmosphere or tone of the card?
  • Is the smell really strong? Or faint? Where do you think it’s coming from on the picture? (E.g. The Man’s boots, which can be linked to the root chakra)

Taste

  • What is the first food/drink that you are reminded of? Does this type of food have a specific role or memory attached to it in your personal life?
  • Is it a bad taste or a good taste? Or neutral?
  • Does the taste-memory inspire any reaction from you?
  • Are you reminded of any herbs, flowers, or incense that you have worked with? What are the attributes (physical and symbolic) of those scents?

Touch

  • Do you feel like you are holding a particular pose when you look at one of the characters?
  • Do you feel any sensations (such as pain, itch) when you stare at the elements on the card?
  • Do you feel like you are holding or letting go of something? What is it that you may be holding?
  • Are you reminded of any texture or surface that you have touched or seen before?

Tips & Examples on Using the 5 Senses as Prompts 

  • To start with, do not expect dramatic sensory episodes in which you receive a grand vision from the card or hear a clear audio of Coldplay play next to your ears. It could happen, but most of the time, intuitive insights are very quiet and subtle. What you “see” can really be a “feeling” of what you see. You wouldn’t necessarily “see” the Devil thrashing the chains about, but most likely what you’ll get is “I think the image is moving this way”. Go with that voice. Follow that feeling.
  • Some of your insights or impressions may feel completely random or weird and may defy the traditional key words or feelings of the card, but go with it. Don’t censor yourself or over-analyze. Allow that “feeling” to finish itself first, then analyze how that feeling is interacting with the card and what it is indicating.
  • Don’t base your observation completely based on a guidebook; listen to your first impression. For example, you may get a more positive outlook when you look at the 10 of Swords card. You may suddenly feel like “those swords on his back are actually fake and he’s not wounded–he’s just lying on his stomach with ketchup streaming down his shirt!” Which may be telling you: hey, that friend you think are super stressed out and in need of your help? They are enjoying the attention you give them as they perform or exaggerate their misery and they’re not actually hurting as much as they say they are.
  • I’m not asking you to throw away your books, by the way! Once you have solidified a “feeling” and have a clearer sense of your intuitive insight, you can contextualize this insight within the traditional meanings of the card, integrating the knowledge and awesome powers from both sides of your brain. For example, if you are looking at 10 of Pentacles, and you feel like one of the characters is being “banished”, which doesn’t immediately align with the theme of abundance, family and legacy of 10 of Pentacles. However, you can contextualize this feeling in the theme of 10 of Pentacles. The feeling of banishment can be saying that you are lacking a sense of belonging in your community, feeling alone, left out or “banished” because you don’t seem to jam with the spirit of the community and what it is trying to leave behind as a legacy.
  • When reading with multiple cards or a tarot spread as a whole, “drift around” the cards and look at all the images. Pay attention to how they are interacting with each other and see if you can grasp a general “theme” or “feeling” that is emerging within you, then you can work with this feeling + look at the individual cards to see how the details would develop.
  • The best way to validate your intuitive insights is practice on a willing, enthusiastic and honourable guinea pig who gives quality feedback. If you can find a forum or a few good tarot buddies that will provide you with detailed feedback and are willing to address your reading in detail, that’s one of the best things you can hope for. That’s how I came to trust my intuition in the beginning–through exchanges and offering free readings for feedback. A lot of the times reading intuitively will feel a bit wishy-washy because intuition is hard to “prove”, but when you receive awesome feedback, you will know that you’re hitting the right spot and you’re on the right track.

Closing 

I hope these prompts and general tips have helped you with your intuitive adventures! Let me know in the comments section which sensory mode you are most aligned with, or if you have suggestions about content/prompts you would like to see more of. 🙂

For more resources, check out these Youtube videos that I made to help you strengthen and deepen your intuition + your intuitive practice with tarot! 

If you are looking for a more in-depth guide on how to cultivate an intuitive tarot practice, check out my e-book: 

 

 

Tarot Worksheet #8: Tarot’s Suit of Pentacles

Developing Intuition

An exploration of tarot’s Suit of Pentacles through creative storytelling. Learn about the definitions of each card + how the elemental associations intersect with the numerological associations in this video!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD WORKSHEET #8

Worksheet #8 is designed for you to explore and deepen your understanding about the Suit of Pentacles. The worksheet includes 4 sections:

  • Loosen Up Your Mantle: a warmer activity to help you consider the things that we exchange as currency + tap into the symbolic dimension of the earth suit
  • Earthy Exchanges: an exercise that will help you unpack the symbolic dimensions of natural  + other occurrences of earth
  • Some Sort of Alchemy: let’s do some fun tarot math and explore how the elemental + numerological meanings intersect and amalgamate!
  • Journey to the Centre of the Earth: questions and journal prompts for further exploration!

Happy Worksheeting! 😀

More Resources

If you are interested in reading more about viewing tarot cards through the lens of storytelling as well as cultivating an intuitive tarot practice, check out my e-book: Tarot Beginnings: An Introduction to the Story and Study of Tarot. 

3 creative ways to explore and bond with your tarot deck

Developing Intuition, Tarot Study

Establishing rapport with your deck is an essential process. When you are familiar with the deck you are working with, your intuition channels better through the imagery and symbolism. Getting to know your deck allows you to better contextualize and communicate with the images and symbologies on each card.

Each tarot deck is a unique world, a singular world rich in symbols and meaning. Here are a few ways for you to explore that world and tap into its specific themes and symbology.

1. The Story World Method: Grouping cards together by theme and recurring images.

  • This helps you become aware of the visual patterns and symbolic images within the particular deck you are working with. More often than not, you will find several main symbolic strands that underlie the 78 cards.
  • This also helps you with the tarot reading process. One is that it gives you a symbolic grounding for your interpretations. Second, it helps you recognize what kind of “world” this deck seeks to portray. 

What are the images or symbols that are common in the deck you are working with? It could be anything: a specific animal, a type of building or structure, astrological symbols or mythological representations. For example, in Universal Fantasy Tarot, there is the recurring motif of the epic journey and the epic quest. Since journey and quests usually involve travelling to different places with distinct characteristics, you can observe that the common spaces portrayed in this deck are human cities, vast and dream-like skyscapes, as well as the mystical forests. You can then conclude that these are few of the many typical tropes used in the genre of fantasy. You can then apply your knowledge of the common tropes in the fantasy genre to your interpretive process while tapping into these symbols and tropes.

For instance, journeying into a forest where faeries and magical creatures abound may implicate the undertaking of a psychological journey inwards in search of the unknowable Self. The faeries can be interpreted as excitement, unexpected aid, or even temptations. In short, getting to know the major and recurring symbols really help you “put the story together”, and this in turn helps you tell your own story.

2. The Speed Date: Arrange a speed-date between the cards from your go-to deck and the deck you are exploring.

  • This is a fun way to get to know a new deck. Put two identical cards side by side and compare them–for example, High Priestess from Dreaming Way Tarot vs High Priestess from Rider Waite Tarot.
  • By putting the archetypal forces and personalities on the spot with each other, you will facilitate an interesting dialogue between the deck you are already familiar with and the “new kid on the block”.
  • You can use this to measure how a universal archetype carry similar themes and symbolism and how they differ.
  • You can really find out if your established or general understanding of one deck can vibe with the new deck.

For example, one of my go-to decks is the Dreaming Way Tarot. If I were to put Dreaming Way’s High Priestess with Steampunk Tarot’s High Priestess, they will probably hit it off quite nicely because they are both kind of hipster. If I put Dreaming Way’s High Priestess with Rider-Waite’s more reserved and serious High Priestess, for example, the conversation will be very different.

“What is that atrocious attire you are wearing? ” says RWS High Priestess. “Get off of the moon right this instant! You are an embarrassment to the divine feminine!”

Dreaming Way: “These are stockings, and I wear them because they are stylish. Get with the times, RWS. Who says the divine feminine can’t be youthful and carefree?”

3. The Fool’s Journey: Journey through the major arcana with The Fool card and tell a story. This is one of my favourite ways to explore the major arcana (well, all of my favourite ways are included in this post!)

  • This method requires you to be familiar with The Fool from a tarot deck first. Take some time to really get to know who The Fool is. He or she is often the “opening act”, or the archetype that greets you when you first look at a deck. What is The Fool wearing? How is it different from the traditional portrayals of The Fool? Once you have gotten to know The Fool, you go on The Fool’s journey and you journey through the major arcana.
  • Afterwards, you embody The Fool and imagine what his or her story is and how s/he will react to the archetypes down the road. The Fool sets out to meet The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, and The Emperor…

For example, The Fool in Wild Unknown Tarot is a baby bird perched on a branch. There is a bright newborn energy to it. When it meets the Magician, which is the next card, what would it say and what will take place? The Fool may shrink from the fierceness and the certainty that The Magician radiates–it must be tough for a baby bird to stand in front of a powerful leopard! But perhaps it is The Fool’s lesson to learn that every creature, though different in size and ferocity, is connected by the life force they share–for they are all children of the Mother Nature, and they are all blessed with the same opportunities and potential.

All in all, this method allows you create a somewhat linear narrative that links all the major arcana archetypes together and helps you explore the portrayal of the archetypes in this particular deck.

More blog posts coming up with more detailed and comprehensive descriptions of each method! More elaborate examples, too. 🙂 Stay tuned for more tarot goodness!

Tarot never gets old, as I like to say. 😉

More Resources

If you are interested in reading more about viewing tarot cards through the lens of storytelling as well as cultivating an intuitive tarot practice, check out my e-book: Tarot Beginnings: An Introduction to the Story and Study of Tarot. 

5 Ways to Explore a Single Tarot Card

Developing Intuition, Tarot Study

Welcome to the 5 Ways to Explore a Single Tarot Card! In this blog post, you will be introduced to, uh, five ways to explore a single tarot card…that will hopefully inspire you and ignite your interpretative sparks! 🙂

The Feel-See-Speak Trio

19-The Sun

1. Feel. To “feel” means to engage with your intuition in a relaxed manner. It’s the free-vibing, sky-reeling and heart-flowing way to look at a tarot card.

  • What is your first impression of the card? For example, you may be picking up on sadness when you are presented with positive card like The Sun. Maybe instead of being basked in light and openness, you are being blinded by its brilliance instead. Maybe this can be pointing towards your overly optimistic attitude which disengages you from some of the serious issues that you need to be facing.
  • What jumps out at you? What is the first thing that you notice? Sometimes your focus may be drawn to a random or miscellaneous detail on the card that doesn’t seem to be significant. Maybe somehow, by some ridiculous synchronicity or coincidence, you are now staring at The Sun’s nose, and for some reason you are thinking to yourself that the glorious sun might just be having this glorious itch. Kind of stupid, right? But don’t dismiss it until you explore the idea! This could be referring to The Sun’s perfection and stillness, and subsequently its need to break free from that perfect image in order to rest and stretch for a while (and satisfy that annoying itch!) before resuming its post. If you apply it to your situation, maybe you’ve been dutifully sitting before that office desk for too long, and you need to go out there, take a deep breath and enjoy the sun a bit so you can be more productive!

6 of Wands

2. See. To “see” is to observe and absorb the details and scene of the card. You register the details holistically and come up with a conclusion or insight based on the interactive qualities of the card, and then you look at how you came up with that particular conclusion or insight by examining how the elements on the card interact with each other. 

  • What do you think is going on? Why do you think so? Once you’ve gathered your thoughts and have a general idea, think about why you have come up with this conclusion. For example, in Rider Waite’s Six of Wands, you see a man holding a wand with a victory wreath festooned on the top of the wand. He is obviously in the position of leadership since he is surrounded by followers. How did you come up with this conclusion? The horse is being covered by a green cape (excuse the lack of vocabulary pertaining horse gadgetry) and this green cape covers up a third of the card as well as the majority of the followers. This renders the role of the followers less significant than that of the leader’s, whose existence is heightened by the incomplete shapes of the people who support him. This shows that the people who support him are ultimately nameless or do not need to be named, which means that the support may not necessarily come from a distinct individuals but a group of people or community, who are raising their own wands to join the group march. There is a bigger picture here, and the bigger picture is represented by the leader’s vision and his direction.
  • What can you see from the character’s expression and gestures? What is their relationship with the other characters around them? Again, using Six of Wands as an example, maybe the first face you see is not the leader on the horseback, but the blonde figure looking at the leader near the edge and the (excuse the precise vocabulary pertaining horse) horse’s butt. This shifts the focus of your interpretation entirely because the leading man is no longer in the spotlight, an unnamed individual now is. The blonde figure seems to be looking at the leader with yearning, and maybe he desperately wants the leader to notice him. He not only wants to be included in the group and the march, he also wants his presence to stand out and be meaningful in the eyes of his leader. To apply this to real life, maybe you are feeling under-appreciated for the efforts you have done for your community and you wish to be recognized more in a meaningful way.

10 of Swords

3. Speak. To “speak”, actually, means to listen. Listen to what the card says to you.

  • What is the first word, first sentence, the very first thing you hear the card say (in intelligible language and not just impressions) to you? For example, if you draw the Ten of Swords, maybe the first thing you hear is “Ouch”, which doesn’t really resonate with the gravity and solemnness of the card. But let’s take a look at it this way: despite the weight this card usually implies, maybe it is trying to tell you that things aren’t as bad as you’ve imagined. Maybe you’ve just been whining a lot and moping a lot, but maybe you’re not actually in that much of pain. You cry and you shout and you exaggerate. “Oh dear! Look at me! I’m so having a Ten of Swords moment!” But not really. You’re just being a drama queen.
  • What conversation is the card’s inhabitants having? In other words, eavesdrop! And remember, you can be creative. The conversation doesn’t have to take place between two human characters. It doesn’t even have to make sense. Going back to the Ten of Swords again, this might be something you hear: “Okay, seriously, I’m not even stabbing you hard,” one of the sword says while the other swords chime in. “Omg, I don’t even want to be here. I don’t get paid enough to do this.” “Can you believe this guy? He’s not even dead. The blood is totally fake.” “Yeah. He just wants attention.” And then, finally, the guy fake-twitches and lets out this overly dramatic moan: “I am in SO much pain!” Again, this conversation is rather humourous and lighthearted. One of its messages is clearly: “Stop moping. You’re being a drama-queen.” And the other: “Laugh it off, man! Stop trying to be a cry-baby.” In addition, it can also represent the attitudes and perspectives of the people who are involved with your drama. 

And the rest of the Five…

5 of Cups

4. Animate. To “animate” is to ask yourself this question: “What would happen if the card comes to life?” In other words, make the scene move. Unpause the stillness and keep watching. Rewind the movie a bit and look at what happened just seconds before.

  • What is the first thing that moves? What do you see in your head when you look at the card in your hand? If you are looking at the Five of Cups, the first thing you see may be the three cups that are tipped over, with their colourful contents spilled onto the ground. The next thing you see may be the man, dejected and frustrated, is actually the one who kicked and knocked them over–who is now standing in perfect stillness and regretting his decision. This means that he own person is the source of his dejection and misery. Maybe he didn’t mean to let his emotions spill out, but right now it is too late. What you have seen can represent an impulsive moment in which wild, unadulterated feelings are chaotically released, which leads to the current experience of loss.

Queen of Pentacles

5. Reference. To “reference” means to establish a point of reference within the image of the card and see how it relates to the rest of the items on the card.

  • So, due to paramount laziness, I am going to provide you a link to a previously written blog post which addresses this very subject in great detail. But just to give you a brief taste of what “reference” means: it basically means to pick out a single element from the card and then examine its relationship with the other items. For example, if you draw Queen of Pentacles and the point of reference you have picked is her crown and her veil, you can use this as a reference to interpret the rest of the image. The crown and the veil can may symbolize status, and the queen may be trying very hard to keep those two things on her head, which leads to an obsession with image and external status, and an over-emphasis on the words and actions that would qualify her as the Queen of Pentacles instead of the inherent qualities that make her the Queen of Pentacles.

Tarot never gets old, as I like to say. 😉

More Resources

If you are interested in reading more about viewing tarot cards through the lens of storytelling as well as cultivating an intuitive tarot practice, check out my e-book: Tarot Beginnings: An Introduction to the Story and Study of Tarot. 

Establishing a point of reference during a tarot reading

Developing Intuition, Tarot Study

In this post, I will talk about what is a point of reference, how does it work, and how to find a point of reference. While it is not necessary, it is better for you to already have a basic understanding of each tarot card so engage in this exercise. It’s not like it can’t be done, but it will predictably be a very taxing and grueling process as you scramble to look up the definitions of each card, and on top of that trying to remember everything as you attempt to extrapolate meaning. Things will be easier if you’re cool with the seventy eight cards of tarot, or the majority of it. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basic definitions of each card, you can better contextualize the issues and questions at hand.

Let me give you a quick example of interpreting a card without a point of reference. Four of Swords is about resting, contemplating, aligning your centres (mind/body/heart) and regaining balance. If your question is, “What is the best thing to do right now about my conflict with my best friend?” and then you pull the Four of Swords, the result of your reading is likely to be:

This is a time to pull myself together. It’s time to put our arguments to rest, to allow each other to cool off, to reflect upon the problems at hand, explore the various causes of our conflict, rethink my relationship with my best friend, and try to consider the alternative perspective. We probably need some space and quiet time right now. It’s not a good time to be emotional. 

Which is sound and good advice in and of itself. However, when you establish a point of reference, you can go beyond the “2D” meanings of each card and you enrich the possible spectrum of meanings that you are able to get out of each card.

Swords - Four

 

What is a point of reference and how does it work?

A point of reference is something you focus on to contextualize and frame the rest of your interpretation. It gives you access to emphasis, and most importantly, perspective. It gives your reading more depth and insight.

Here are a few indicators:

  • It is usually the first thing you see on the picture when you pull out the card.
  • Often, it is something (an image, an object, a colour, a particular motion that the character is doing on the card) that you find yourself gravitating towards

For example, if you ask the same question, “What is the best thing to do right now about my conflict with my best friend?” and again, you pull the Four of Swords–you find your eyes resting on the stone bed that the person is lying on.

From afar, the stone bed gives off a clean, stoic feel. When you zoom in your focus, you imagine yourself lying on a stone bed. Your back is plastered against the stone surface. Intuitively, you know you are feeling uncomfortable on that stone bed because it is hard and does not conform to the arch of your back. If you are the person lying on the stone bed, you look like you’ve been asleep for a long time. You may feel like you’re trapped. It’s like one of those dreams in which you are aware that you are dreaming but you can’t seem to wake up. You are agitated, you are uneasy, and you want to break free from this moment of stillness because you are no longer serene and contemplative.

The result of your reading may sound like this:

We’ve been on a cold war for the longest time now. We haven’t talked to each other for months. I tried really hard to reflect on our situation and to give my friend space but nothing seems to be dissolving this tension inside of me (represented by the stone bed). This is driving me nuts, but maybe Four of Swords is telling me that there are things that I haven’t considered. Maybe I thought I was being reflective and giving my friend space but I actually wasn’t. I was just impatiently waiting. Maybe I need to really look at myself. Maybe I haven’t given MYSELF the right environment to chill and reflect. Maybe what I need to do right now is to dissolve the tension first, so I can think clearly.  

How do you find a point of reference? 

One of the things you can do to find a point of reference is to close your eyes and open them again, and then note down the first thing that you see on the card. When you close your eyes, clear your mind. Sit still for a couple of seconds and allow your thoughts to settle. And then, you open your eyes and follow your gaze.

If your tarot reading process involves energy work and communicating with a guide or your Higher Self, you can try to form a question or a particular “chant” that you’ve developed for yourself to help yourself “get into the zone.” In short, establish a mini ritual to help you achieve the point of focus. For example, you can close your eyes and say this in your mind: “What is this card trying to tell me? Where should I look?” You can then open your eyes and note down the first thing you see, or turn towards the image that you keep coming back to. You can also move the card around in circles in front of you until you “lock in” on one of the image or objects on the card.

There really is no set way of doing this. Like every intuitive process, every tarot reader will probably have a different approach towards different subjects. Experiment and find out what works for you. 🙂

What happens when you can’t find a point of reference? 

When you can’t seem to locate the point of reference, it’s okay–because sometimes you may not need to for the inherent message of the tarot card to be delivered. Listen to your intuition–if you have this nagging feeling that you need something to focus on, or the card is trying to tell you something but you can’t seem to pinpoint the “source”–then you might be subconsciously searching for a point of reference. Again, this does not have to happen every time, nor is it mandatory in the readings you do. Go with whatever works and whatever feels right. Everybody’s reading process is different, so don’t feel pressured when you can’t seem to find a focus point. 🙂

In conclusion…

(I really suck at writing conclusions, because I don’t like summarizing. I’ve had enough pain doing that when I was an English major….this is why I never write a standardized blog post, but here it is.)

The point of reference is something I discovered when I was doing readings for others and myself. It’s been very effective in extrapolating meaning and creating a more detailed, in-depth and contextualized reading. It gives you the opportunity to explore a particular card and its themes, as well as to discover and rediscover the many messages it holds.

Tarot never gets old, as I like to say. 😉

More Resources

If you are interested in reading more about viewing tarot cards through the lens of storytelling as well as cultivating an intuitive tarot practice, check out my e-book: Tarot Beginnings: An Introduction to the Story and Study of Tarot. 

Establishing a relationship with tarot

Developing Intuition, Tarot Study

Sure, I am blogging about each and every tarot card (muffin knows when that will be done…don’t think the muffin will know because it will be in my stomach), and there is a set of universal definitions associated with each tarot card and everything…but the whole thing is all quite arbitrary because they are my personal interpretations. Essentially everything I’ve written has been in and out of my digestive tracks. I am sorry this is blog post is getting weirder by the wordcount…

The point is, I think we all need to establish our own relationship with tarot, otherwise our interpretations will without a doubt become extremely canned. It’s kind of like knowing someone by the stereotypes versus really getting to know the person’s individual quirks as well as his/her beauty and flaws. Each of our perception will be different, you know? And that’s quite wonderful because this is what makes the experience of tarot enriching.

For example, for me, I have a slightly unusual take for the Empress. The general definition for the Empress is that she is the bountiful earth mother, and she has to do with nurture, maternal instincts, creativity, and abundance. Because I’m a poet and I like to write creatively, I connected more with the creative side of her. The Empress for me is the ultimate poetess and artist. She’s “all art”, as opposed to the Emperor, who is “all science and logic”–if you know what I mean. She sees the beauty in everything and that is why she has an infinite inner well of blessings and love because her relationship with the world is basically an eternally reciprocating cycle of love. (That is such a great sentence. I’m so proud of myself.)

Oh, and if you’re wondering where did that “request free readings” page go, I removed it because as soon as it went live….it got kind of weird and I was immensely uncomfortable with it. I think it might be because it didn’t make sense for me to offer official readings via a tarot blog with all those incomplete links…I haven’t even finished blogging about major arcana yet. It just felt like I published the page at the wrong time. If you are interested in free readings, however, you can find me on Aeclectic Tarot Forum. It’s practically my second (cyber) home.

Anyway. Back to the original topic! Connecting with your tarot cards is important because ultimately, what will carry our readings through is our intuition, and intuition is a highly personal thing that needs to be nurtured organically and with care. In a way the tarot meanings have  to be personal because how else are you going to interpret it fully?

Having that said, we should also contextualize our own interpretations and refer back to the widely accepted definitions of each card. This is mostly because I believe in collective consciousness, and these meanings exist in the ever-flowing matrix of meanings that we are all part of–and I believe that each card that shows up after we shuffle is a result of the incredible synchronicity and interconnectednss, and it is brought to us for a reason. Knowing those widely accepted definitions gives you access to that collective consciousness, and after you acknowledge the universality of tarot, you then absorb it and make it your own. It’s really a never-ending process of circular understanding, discovery, and elicitation of meaning.

I know this to be true because once, I worked with a very unique tarot deck called Dark Fairytale Tarot, which reinterpreted the Rider-Waite deck in the world of the Faery, or in the context of dark fairy tales. The Queen of Pentacles is basically a superficial, materialistic bitch   person who judges you by the weight of your purse. She showed up in a reading but the results of that reading didn’t really resonate with my querent. As it turned out, the card itself was trying to tap into the collective definition of Queen of Pentacles, since my querent happened to be a confident,  financially independent woman. That’s how I came to believe that collective consciousness does affect the outcome of your reading.

So! At this juncture, allow me attempt to wrap up this series or distracted ramblings with a unified conclusion. There are many “standards” ways of interpreting tarot and eliciting meaning available for everyone to study and look at, and many of them are effective while others may not be as effective as we would like. I stand by what I said earlier: tarot is a never-ending process of circular understanding, discovery, and elicitation of meaning. No matter how many years you’ve been doing tarot, each reading you do takes you to a different place of your journey. You’re always finding out more about yourself as well as the way you read and engage with tarot. The most important thing is to pay attention to what you are doing, know yourself, and know what’s best for you. And of course, know your cards! Know how you feel about each card and know what they mean you personally. Having that knowledge is what’s going to make your readings authentic and true. It is what makes your intuition flow.

So know yourself, and know your cards, man!

What to ask during a tarot reading? 5 types of questions for consideration

Developing Intuition, Tarot Study

Recently, I have been reflecting on the various types of questions that I can ask during a tarot reading, and how the difference in phrasing can affect the answers you receive. I think this is because the kind of answers you receive depends on the attitude you position yourself in as you go into a reading. Your mental orientation, emotional state, and certain expectations will inevitably affect the outcome of a reading. That is why I think asking the right kind of questions is important…so I decided to come up with a list of questions in order to examine each type and their various implications.

 

  • “What do I need to know about…?” This is a great question for general readings or to begin a series of readings that you do for yourself or for others. For example: “What do I need to know about this particular career decision?” or “What do I need to know about the upcoming move?” The nature of this question is informative, and you are trusting the tarot cards to encapsulate your present reality in order to provide you with a general picture of what you are asking, along with certain details that you are not currently aware of. Once you have gained more information, you can start another reading asking for advice, or for more clarification.

 

 

  • “Why?” Starting your question with “Why?” is a great way to be self-reflective. For example, “Why am I angry when so-and-so did this to me?” or “Why am I always so nervous in front of a crowd?” The question “Why” allows you get to the bottom of things. However, I do feel that the focus should always be on the self instead of others, because the moment you start to question the actions of others, you are entering a mode of passivity that is not really helpful because ultimately, you want to be able to move forward from a negative experience. You are limiting yourself to be the “receiver” of the actions of others, and the mentality implicated by this question is that you lack control of your own life. I think it’s crucial for us to understand that… “I” am the only one “I” can control, and everything beyond “I” is beyond our control. To recognize that, I feel, is the first step towards empowerment, self-knowledge and healing.

 

 

  • “How?” The nature of this question is explorative and constructive. For example, “How should I deal with the stress I am experiencing?” or “How can I achieve a better relationship standing with so-and-so?” I love the “How?” questions because it allows the cards to offer you insights and practical steps towards improvement and empowerment. Asking “how” also conveys an attitude of determined and a desire for results. It is more action-oriented and it is more about the attempt to navigate through your current situation in a constructive, positive way. It also allows you to explore your own skill set and capabilities and reveals to you what you are able to do–that you may not have known before you started the reading! More often than not, we are not as powerless as we think we are.

 

 

  • “Should I…?” The nature of this question pertains to decision making. It speaks to a current hesitation or dilemma that must be resolved. For example: “Should I accept this job offer?” or “Should I tell my partner about my past?” etc. I do have my doubts about this question, though, because the process attached to this question seems to lack an explorative and reflective component. It is essentially a yes-or-no question, and I tend to shy away from questions of that nature because I believe a definite “yes” or a definite “no” cannot be communicated through the tarot cards, and that, instead, a confidant yes or a confidant no has to come from within. It has to emerge internally and consciously and from a place of understanding as well as self-knowing. Tarot can show you the pros and cons of your options, help you reflect logically and intuitively on the decisions you have to make, and offer you different perspectives. The one thing I feel you cannot expect tarot to do is to make your decision for you.

 

 

  • “Will…?” Even though the nature of this question is predictive, I don’t use tarot cards to predict the future in any way, because I believe in the power of the Now. Like the “Should?” questions, “Will?” questions have the risk of becoming a yes/no question. There is nothing wrong with wanting a definite answer, but it can become limiting because, more often than not, a yes/no question fails to challenge one’s perspective and offer more insight. That is why when I ask this question, it involves logical and intuitive speculation of the future “direction” based on the Now. It involves a person-centred approach in which, once again, we focus on the “self” instead of factors we cannot control. For example, I will ask “Will this job bring me more opportunities to improve my interpersonal skills?”  instead of “Will my coworkers be nice to me in this new job?”  While I do not believe in predicting the future, I think it is good to be prepared and be aware of the road ahead, as well as the possible outcomes of your plans and actions.

 

Lacking a well-rounded, conclusive ending. But given that this is a list, I think I can get away with it…haha.