There are zillions of tarot sites and articles around, most of them are about learning to read the tarot, what the cards mean and how to interpret them. Indeed I have written many such articles myself. However, what often gets left out is how to use tarot in your everyday life, how to apply all the things you’ve learned and make tarot work for you.
In this article, I want to explore some of the ways to make tarot part of your daily experience. Instead of keeping them safely wrapped in silk or in that kinky little black bag, I want you to have a deck that you have with you all the time. A comfortable, scruffy deck, that you can reach for whenever the need arises. I want to make tarot your best friend… or one of them at least.
All images are of The World Spirit Tarot and photographed by the author.
© This page was created by TheRaggedEdge. All rights reserved.
Tarot myth busting
Very often, we feel that a tarot reading is almost a sacred ritual, and of course, it can be that. Many believe that the cards themselves hold power and must be treated accordingly. Some are fearful of tarot, thinking that by using them or by having readings it will attract the unwanted or even evil spirits.
Let’s bust a few myths – the cards are not evil entities; they hold no power. They are printed in factory conditions, often in China and other industrialised countries. They are not carefully laminated by a witch in a cave, wrapped in magical cellophane and distributed to the ‘special ones’ via Broomstick Logistics. They are pieces of cardboard with pictures on them. That’s all they are. You don’t have to wait until someone gifts you a deck. They are not ‘stronger’ if you sleep with them under your pillow. In fact, all the usual superstitions about tarot are, to put it bluntly, claptrap. However, if lighting incense and candles, using a gossamer silk cloth and wearing a robe woven from the tail hairs of a herd of silver unicorns is your cup of tea, then go ahead. Anything that helps you feel connected is good.
How and why does tarot work?
So what makes tarot interesting and mysterious, I hear you ask? Well, you do. You take these cards with their, often, beautiful images and you imbue them with meaning. They offer symbols of everything that enhances and plagues humanity. They reflect personalities, events and energies. They are only meaningful in the way that you apply them to your (or someone else’s) life. The images offer themselves to you to make connections.
It is natural for humans to infer meaning constantly. 99.99% of people are not dispassionate observers. We look for meaning in everything – always have done, always will, from flocks of birds, to patterns of seaweed washed up by the tide. We learn by teaching ourselves stories, by passing them on, together with all their meanings.
Tarot works because you, or your reader, are able to apply the visual images of the cards to aspects of your life. It doesn’t matter what cards show up, they will always have meaning for you.
So how can tarot benefit me every day?
This is the fun part, but before I start, I want to emphasize that the tarot should be used in conjunction with your normal mental faculties, not instead of. Choose a deck that you find easy to use. One that feels comfortable. You don’t want something with complicated, convoluted symbolism, neither do you want one that is too plain. You won’t go far wrong with a Rider-Waite or a RW clone. Keep them in a plastic box or container that is easy to get to, together with a small cloth – you will only lay out one or two cards at any one time.
You certainly don’t have to do all the following suggestions, in fact, it will be better if you don’t, or you won’t get anything else done.
1. Take on a Court Card persona
Which court card will you be today? First thing in the morning, split out the 16 court cards from the deck. Shuffle them and draw a card. This is your ‘personality of the day’. For example, say you draw the Page of Pentacles. Today you will make it your task to learn one new thing. You will question everything, including the most ordinary objects and experiences. Pretend you are seeing the world through the eyes of the curious Page of Pentacles. Perhaps you drew the Queen of Swords? You will be direct and incisive. Cultivate a mind of steel. Be efficient in all that you do.
This is a fun way to get inside of the tarot and also to explore different aspects of your own personality by giving weight to them. Today, I am the Knight of Wands – I shall be enthusiastic and energetic. I will be charming. I am open to all opportunities. I am looking for new ideas and I am going to smile – a lot. However, I may not finish everything I start. Get the idea? Carry the card somewhere where you will see it through the day, such as your wallet. Or prop it up on your desk.
Make a decision
Use the tarot to help with routine decisions. At the end of the day, draw a card to help you decide what to wear the next morning. You could go with the colors in the card. Maybe the character is wearing a red cloak. You may not have a red cloak, but you might have a red coat, jacket, blouse or shirt.
Draw a card to help you decide whether to attend a particular event. You can get an idea immediately whether the tarot advises if you go or not. The Three of Cups – go! And have fun. The Four of Pentacles – no, you won’t enjoy it. The Five of Wands, – go if you want, but try to avoid confrontation. The High Priestess – definitely stay home and meditate.
By all means use tarot to help you with insights into more challenging decisions but don’t base your choice on the turn of a card. Instead, turn a card or lay out a spread to inspire some pertinent questions. For instance: The Seven of Cups – am I spending too long on this problem? The Nine of Swords – Can I find the solution within the problem? Eight of Cups – maybe I could walk away from this situation?
3. Use tarot for inspiration
Perhaps you are trying to rustle up some ideas for a project or article? Maybe you have a short story to write? Or you’ve started a piece of fiction and not sure where it’s going? Tarot can help with your work in lots of ways. Draw a card to inspire some ideas – example: Seven of Wands: your character is feeling under pressure, she’s on her own and could be about to capitulate. Something happens to help her maintain her resolve.
Four of Pentacles: your character is stubbornly holding onto his point of view. He is not going to change his ways. He is like a brick wall. Draw another card to see if there’s anything that might persuade him in another way. Strength: Ah, you need a completely different approach. Persuasion will work better than a head-on confrontation.
If it’s not fiction and you are desperately casting round for ideas for an article, turn a card. King of Swords – politics. The Hermit – philosophy. Ace of Wands – write about writing. Six of Swords – paranormal. Draw more cards to drill down to discover more detail. King of Swords – Politics, followed by Ten of Pentacles – historical context, followed by Two of Cups – a liaison or affair.
4. What should I do with this hour?
You’ve got some time to yourself. Should you clean the house or bake a cake (Queen of Pentacles)? Should you relax in the garden (Nine of Pentacles)? Should you go for a walk (Eight of Cups)? Maybe your dog needs exercising (The Fool)? How about some quality time with the kids (Six of Cups)? Study tarot (Eight of Pentacles)?
More daily tarot ideas
Okay, so you’ve got the idea now. You can access your bank of stored meanings about the cards or you can take them literally and go on the image alone. Here’s some more suggestions of how to incorporate tarot into your day.
- Choose my route to work.
- Help a friend with her dilemma.
- Suggest ideas for my child’s homework project.
- Is my diet going well, or should I make adjustments?
- Write a blog post about…?
- Deal with conflict in a relationship.
- What’s really going on with this news story?
- What do I need to know about…?
- Should I act now, or should I wait?
- Ideas to increase my income.
- Why isn’t my house selling?
- I’m bored…?
- Is this class I’m contemplating going to improve my life?
- Shall I choose to read this book or this other book?
I’m sure you can think of lots more situations that could be eased or enhanced with a little help from your friends, the tarot cards. Don’t be precious about them, just whip ’em out and turn a card, wherever you are.