Questions and Exercises from “Tarot for Yourself” Chapter 1

I started to study this book back in 2001 and the first half has lots of notes. This year I’ll finish it. The Tarot Profile I posted earlier today largely comes from this book, though I did a lot of supplementing with Angeles Arrien’s “The Tarot Handbook”. So following are exercises and meditation notes from this chapter.

What is Tarot? (Write your own definition as if you were explaining it to a friend.)

I think tarot cards are a useful tool for both divination and personal growth. The symbols on the cards are for the most part universal and tell a story to the reader. There are 78 cards, divided into 22 major arcana, 16 court cards and 40 minor arcana categories. The court cards and minor arcana cards are divided into four suits: wands, cups, pentacles and swords. Wands are about identity and spirit, cups are about our emotional worlds, pentacles are the physical manifestations of our spirit, our emotions, our thoughts and actions, and swords are about our mental world.

The major arcana cards are universal archetypes, representing life teachers and situations. The court cards are about mastery of the suits and are sometimes representative of people/teachers in our lives. The minor arcana tell stories about challenges and lessons in our lives. These cards are shuffled and dealt into various arrangements, called \”spreads,\” in which the placement of a card has some significance to the person receiving the reading (usually called the \”querent\”). For example, a three card spread may have positions representing \”Body,\” \”Mind\” and \”Spirit.\” The cards are shuffled thoughtfully and three are chosen and placed face down in these positions. Once turned over, they are interpreted according to their position, so that the card in the Body position is relevant to issues around the querent’s body. There are as many different spreads as there are imaginations, but the most familiar to most is the Celtic Cross.

Tarot cards speak in symbols and metaphors. Pulling the Death card doesn’t mean someone is going to die any more than pulling the Devil card means someone is possessed by the Devil. Readings can be eerily accurate and I believe there is something of the Divine in the cards that guides their appearance and placement in a reading.

What do you feel is the purpose of the Tarot Cards?

I think tarot is a useful tool for clarifying life events and behaviors. I think it can be therapeutic and enlightening. They help people learn about themselves.

What do you want to learn from the Tarot?

I want to learn more about myself and the world around me. I want to help others do the same by reading Tarot for them.

What are you hoping to gain from this workbook?

Tools to learn about the tarot and its symbology. I want to learn more about reading for myself and others.

Ask one of the images in your Personality or Soul Card what you need to learn from it in this lifetime. Write down your impulsive, uncensored responses. Pick a specific image to address your question to.

Note: I’m working with the “Tarot of the Old Path” for this exercise, and I’m using my Soul Card, the Magician, and I am addressing my question to the horned one in the image, who is casting the runes.

Do not be afraid to use the tools that are around you. You are sometimes afraid of the skills you have and hold back. Know that when you are burning bright, you cast a shadow. Be aware of the shadow, but don’t be afraid of it. You have an obligation to respond to people who are in your shadow, but not an obligation to respond for them. There are signs all around you right now that are pointing you in the right direction — you need to examine them with each element. Spend time in the wild world. It will soothe you and offer lessons.

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