My vision for this podcast, Healing Thru Tarot, is to cover the entire arc of a tarot journey. So, I will get to the more advanced spreads and methods in a tarot practice shortly, but I feel the need to start this podcast series with a few episodes addressing the very early questions and obstacles that beginner readers encounter.
I want to start from a position of assuming that there will be listeners who don’t even own a tarot deck yet and who may be curious about hearing more about tarot and how to get started.
The goal of this episode will be to dispel the top most talked about tarot myths and to discuss some stigmas/fears that may be stopping individuals from exploring tarot as a whole.
I want to start with stigmas around tarot. Much of this seems to me to come from religion and how tarot is portrayed in pop culture. We have all watched movies where the tarot reader drops the death card or the devil on the table and everyone gasps in horror. The assumption of the audience is that the death card is foretelling of a person’s death or the devil card represents Satan, or demons or dark forces.
These pop culture references are part of the reason that many people may associate the tarot with fear or anxiety and of course religion is one of the reasons the cards are associated with evil and dark energies.
Neither of these are true representations of the tarot system. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding tarot and divinatory systems. I feel these stigmas are a large part of why people are hesitant to learn more about tarot, which allows these misconceptions to continue. My goal is to destigmatize tarot to reduce misinformation that supports these societal fears.
So, the first thing I want to point out is that the cards themselves hold no magic or powers within them. They are in fact a tool that helps awaken the magic within us. The cards are just paper and ink. There is nothing to fear when holding the cards. Just like you wouldn’t fear holding a book, and their materials are the same. It is the intention that you set when using the cards that is the most important factor here.
And, sure, people can use any tool for malevolent purposes, but that doesn’t have to taint the tool for everyone. I, for one, have never had any issues or concerns with using any of my tarot or oracle decks. I have had the opposite results. I have used the tarot for healing and personal growth purposes, which have been completely positive experiences for me. And I have tarot decks all over my house, in my office and in my bedroom, and I never worry about anything being attached or attracted to them.
So, if you have any fears about working with tarot cards, I would ask you to explore where that fear comes from. What is it rooted in? Is it related to religious beliefs, anything you’ve been told from others or how tarot was portrayed in any movies or shows you watched growing up? See if you can trace where those associations came from.
And if you are concerned about energies with the decks, I would encourage you to buy your first decks as new decks that no one has handled instead of used decks. You can always cleanse those second hand decks if needed, but if you have anxiety about it just make sure to buy a deck that no one has handled to help alleviate that fear.
Once you start working with the cards, those fears should fall away pretty quickly. I actually shuffle the cards when I am anxious to calm my nerves, so they help me with anxiety. They don’t cause stress for me. It is very relaxing to just shuffle over and over again. It feels very meditative for me. Much of the time I can’t put the cards down. That is why I stash them all over the house, so I have easy access to them when I feel like shuffling.
Regarding religious views on the tarot, I also wanted to point out that people all over the world from all faiths read tarot. I have met readers who are Christian (like me), Buddhist, Jewish, Mormon and Muslim. I have even had a fellow reader tell me that their rabbi told her they read angel oracle cards when she had asked how they felt about tarot cards. A lot of fear has been stirred up about tarot from religious groups, but I urge you to make up your own mind about this tool and give it a try if you feel curious about tarot. There is nothing scary about the cards themselves.
I want to discuss 8 Common Myths about Tarot
Myth 1: I want to start with the biggest myth or misconception that “You need to be psychic to read tarot” – This is a big NO from me. Now some psychics do use tarot cards at times to trigger their psychic messages that come forth, but I believe anyone can learn to read tarot. If you are interested in tarot and willing to put in the time to study the meanings and connect with the cards and put in the practice, I think anyone can find value in their readings. Now that is not to say that everyone will become good enough to read for others professionally.
Myth 2: You can’t read cards for self. Obviously, this is not my position because this entire podcast is about empowering others to learn how to read tarot for themselves for personal development and healing. Though I have encountered readers that read for others that say they can’t read for themselves, so some people find it just doesn’t work for them. Maybe it is because it is too emotional, or they can’t be objective. But, in general, I feel this myth is wrong because a lot of readers CAN read for themselves. I myself do read for others, but the vast majority of my readings so far have been for me.
And pulling spreads daily for yourself is a great way to learn all the card meanings. Thus, I encourage people to read daily. If you feel too emotionally attached to a specific outcome, then I would suggest having someone else read for you for that particular topic.
Myth 3: You have to be gifted your first tarot deck. FALSE. Most people would never get the opportunity to read if they waited for someone else to buy a deck for them, especially if they grow up in religious families. So, I encourage you to just go out and buy yourself a deck and not worry about this myth. I see no truth to this one.
Myth 4: You will hear this next myth a lot in the spiritual community. You have to cleanse your deck regularly. Some people do cleanse with palo santo, sage, crystals or moon energy. But you don’t HAVE to. I think you will know if you need to cleanse your deck, maybe after a particularly negative reading or stressed out client who touched your deck. I knock on my decks as I am posing a question and shuffling and that clears the deck and infuses my energy into the deck. I find that is all I usually need to do.
Myth 5: Don’t let others touch or shuffle your deck. I worried about this when I first got my decks but quickly, I realized this didn’t matter. It didn’t impact my readings when others handled the decks. Again, if I feel I need to cleanse them after handling, I will. It is just not something that I worry about anymore.
Myth 6: The client has to always be the one to shuffle the deck and split the cards. This is different for every reader. Some readers have the client shuffle and some readers always shuffle and pull the cards for the reader, especially if they do most of their readings over email, phone or skype. Just go with what fits your reading setup and your preference.
Myth 7: You have to store your decks wrapped in silk or wooden boxes. This is usually thought to protect the decks from negative energies. I don’t feel this matters, and it would get expensive. I leave mine out on my desk as I change my decks out often (seasonally). The rest of the time they are stored in their boxes in drawers or closets.
Myth 8: And that brings up to our last myth – that you have to have all the cards memorized before you start to read. This is absolutely false. I think the best way to learn is to start pulling cards on day 1 and then look up card meanings as you go.
This is how I learned. I couldn’t wait to pull cards when my first deck came; so, I just learned one card pull at a time. Jump right in when your deck comes. It is an interactive and immersive way to learn. I would pull 1-3 cards, and then look up meanings right then online. If you google the tarot card you pulled, the first google result is usually on biddytarot.com a free tarot reference site online. I used this site to learn a little bit each day.
Before long you build up a knowledge base of the card meanings, and as you go you can delve deeper into the card meanings with different tarot resources.
Don’t let anyone intimidate you about the tarot learning process, if they insist that you have to know it all before you can start to pull card spreads. Your journey is unique and doesn’t have to look like any one else’s journey. This process doesn’t have to be an intimidating one.
Let it be fun and enjoyable from day 1. Explore and experiment with it. That is what drew me to tarot in the first place.
It is my position that there are no hard and fast rules for tarot. I advise people to go with what feels natural to you. You can pick up a tarot deck and go straight into the reading without any sort of ritual or routine. Others cherish the ritual aspect of clearing a deck and setting intentions when reading and shuffling a certain way.
The best way to find your own style with tarot is to practice and experiment with different ways of holding the cards, shuffling, pulling cards, and working with spreads. Go with what you feel drawn to. Tarot is a personal practice and what works for one reader may not feel right or practical for another reader.
Within my own style I even shuffle and pull cards differently with each of my different tarot decks because the cards feel differently to me so I work with the decks intuitively and go with what flows best for me. So that for me even varies. So, practice and shuffle the cards as much as you can. This builds your connection with the cards and helps your energy align with the deck.
Now that we have dispelled some of these tarot myths and worked through some of the fears that keep people away from tarot, let’s discuss how tarot can add value to your life. I have found that people read cards for different reasons. I find most people are drawn to tarot to increase their intuition and to delve deep into themselves for the answers they seek for those burning questions we ALL have related to our life purpose and direction in life.
Tarot taps into our inner wisdom, and it also pulls from our shared cultural and collective knowledge. So, the insights that come from tarot are drawn from that ancient wisdom. It is a tool that helps to illuminate the answers we are searching for but could have easily missed in our busy world. Tarot helps us to slow down and to receive the inner messages we need to hear for our own personal or spiritual development. The cards help us to discover the innermost parts of ourselves. In today’s modern world it seems that many of us have lost that connection with our authentic selves and feel directionless. Tarot helps you find your way back to your true north, and as I see it, tarot helps us find our way back home.
Fortune telling is only a small fraction of what tarot can do. Tarot can push us to grow in areas we didn’t even realize we needed to push ourselves. It is a spiritual and psychological tool that can help expand our personal awareness and open us up to a broader perspective. Working with the tarot can be enlightening and empowering.
The journey of learning and studying tarot leads us through a process of personal growth and self-discovery that can span years. It helps us unlock hidden knowledge about ourselves and leads to increased self-awareness.
The journey you take with the tarot can lead to a soul awakening, and it empowers you to face and overcome your current blocks and shadows so that you come out the other side with a clearer vision of who you really are. The shift I experienced over the past 2.5 years of working with the tarot has been monumental and life changing.
It’s all up to you to decide what you want this journey. Everyone has their own path and their own goals for this inner work. Take this time to reflect on what you would like to experience as you begin to delve into the cards. There is no limit. Anything is possible here.
If you need to purchase your first tarot deck, the deck that I suggest using to first learn the tarot system is the Rider Waite Smith Tarot deck. You can find this on amazon or at barnes and nobles for around $15. There are a few different versions with different backs. Just find the ones that you feel most drawn to. Here is a link for the typical RWS deck on amazon.
In my opinion the RWS system is the best to learn the traditional tarot meanings because any resource book you read will most likely teach the cards using this deck or a clone of this deck. There is a good deal of symbolism in each card, and once you are comfortable reading tarot you can branch out and choose decks that are more artistic and that may vary in their interpretations of the cards. I find it easiest to learn the traditional cards then go from there. Different decks will call to you throughout your tarot journey through their images and colors palettes. That is one of the best parts about tarot. There are so many decks to play around with. It’s so much fun!
Join me next time in episode 3, as we learn about tarot resources for learning the card meanings along with a variety of shuffling and card pulling methods. So, order that deck if you are ready to begin your tarot journey and I’ll see you then.
Books and Decks shown in this blog or recommended are below: click on title to go to the product. Some of these are amazon affiliate links and it helps me out if you use these links. Thanks for your support.
Decks shown in photos in this blog: Rider Waite Smith Tarot Deck, Light Seers Tarot, Dark Mansion Tarot, Way Home Tarot, Everyday Witch Tarot
Link to Podcast Episode 2 of Healing Thru Tarot on Anchor Click here
*If you would like to support this podcast monthly, please consider signing up for a small pledge to help me be able to continue to produce these quality episodes every two weeks. Use the link below to sign up to support through anchor.