Using Mind-mapping to Study Tarot
Anyone who has read through the articles on this site will know that I am strongly in favour of journaling the cards, readings and anything else that excites you, puzzles you or you simply want to record. That’s because I’m primarily a writer and writing stuff down is natural to me. However, writing long passages or lists isn’t what rocks everyone’s world, so I thought perhaps a different method might work. Sorry to say, it still involves writing. Just a little bit. We’re going to mind-map the tarot.
I expect most people know what mind-maps are, so I’m not going to explain in detail. The really, really great thing about mind-maps are that they lodge information into the brain easier and faster than reading or writing about a topic. They also promote new connections, both within the topic and inside your brain as well. Sounds like a fabulous way to improve your tarot reading skills as well as your ability to reach for new and intuitive meanings.
There are several ways you can do this. You can use paper and coloured pens, or plain old pencils or use a software version. There are lots of free ones out there. Because I am writing this in Scrivener, I’m going to use ‘Scapple’, which is Scrivener’s baby sister. It hasn’t any bells and whistles, so apologies for the lack of artistic content.
I’m using the Eight of Cups from the Robin Wood Tarot. It’s close enough to the Rider Waite version to make no odds.
If you are mind-mapping on paper, then use a blank card to draw around to create the centre image. You can write the name of the card down and place the card there temporarily while you are working. Alternatively, print out the card image and stick it in place. You can make this as pretty as you want.
Click on any image to view it larger.
So the card itself is ‘level one’, the starting point. Level two is its basic meanings and observations of the image. Pick out any other details that catch your eye.
Level three consists of questions that Level two’s observations ask. I would suggest that you keep them short and general.
Level four is where it gets interesting. And messy. This where you get to make detailed notes, explore connections, express your personal thoughts and feelings about the card. If you like you can refer to your own life experiences. Don’t forget any relevant symbolism, elements, numerology – any and all that resonate with you.
Go into as much depth as you like. You can always come back and add more. Play around, make the connections (either by drawing lines or using the connections in the software)
So that’s the basic mind-mapping technique for studying a card.
Reading Tarot with Mind-Mapping
Now to the really exciting part. Reading the cards with a mind-map can reveal all manner of fascinating detail. In fact, when you do it for yourself, you’ll be inundated with ideas.
For the sake of brevity and clarity, I’m restricting this reading to two main cards plus taking the base card into consideration, but you can do as many as you like. I’m not sure about mind-mapping a Celtic Cross. It would be a really complex, yet fascinating exercise, don’t you think?
Okay, I have a TABI reading request lined up (Tarot Association of the British Isles members get to practice their skills on people who happen on the website and request a reading). Obviously without going into details, I can say this is a general question about career options. So I am going to draw a couple of cards and mind-map for some insights on the question. Later, I’ll take what I learn from the mind-map and turn it into a straight text reading.
Using the Robin Wood Tarot again, I’m shuffling and drawing two cards for… let’s call her Kate. Kate has asked if there’s anything she needs to know or do in connection with her career.
Kate’s cards are Temperance and Strength. I check the base too, which is the Six of Swords. The base card – the one at the bottom of the deck after I’ve cut and drawn the top two gives me a clue why Kate is asking her question.
I have images of the cards saved, so all I have to do is drag and drop them into Scapple.
I’m picking out details and known meanings of the cards for Level one, the inner layer. Then in Level 2, I’ll add what this could mean in relation to the question and then I’ll add more details as things occur to me. You can go as deep and detailed as you want to. I’m keeping this one quite simple, so that you can see the process clearly and because TABI readings are necessarily brief.
So here are the final stages of the mind-map that I’ve prepared for Kate’s reading. As you can see there is more than enough information to be going on with. As I added each note, I looked for connections, which spawned more connections and ideas. This was a fun and very easy process. Mind-mapping tarot makes you look deeper and inspires so many new thoughts. It’s like going on a little journey.