In the previous two posts we covered choosing a Tarot deck and how to learn all 78 Tarot card meanings. In this post, we are going to take our growing recognition of the different Tarot cards and combine them into two card readings.
In the last post, I tried to encourage you not to go beyond learning more than two keywords per card. I think it’s appropriate for me, at this time, to explain why. A strange phenomena occurs when people try and memorise lots of different information on a single Tarot card; their minds lock when it comes to combining them into a Tarot reading. I don’t really know why this is but I have witnessed it enough to know that less is more.
If I was to speculate, I would say that their mind goes into a type of ‘rational’ overdrive; sifting through hundreds of different possibilities for each card, resulting in a kind of freezing effect where it becomes very difficult to allow their minds to flow. Fortunately, if this is the beginning of your Tarot journey, you are doing yourself a massive favour by avoiding the information out there that encourages excessive study of one card.
This is where the benefits of not trying to memorise hundreds of different keywords and symbols will really start to pay off; your mind will be freed from all that information and you will be able to interpret and combine the cards in a free flowing style. I would even speculate that this will allow you to have confidence in combining the cards in non-traditional ways. This is a very good thing because in a Tarot reading we are trying to go beyond the cards to help the client; both in terms of ‘seeing’ what’s going to happen but also in terms of ‘seeing’ different possible futures. This can, on occasion, although certainly not all the time, empower the client.
One final point before we launch into looking at some examples: try and avoid doing readings for yourself or other people you know, at least in the beginning. The reason I mention this is because I want you be as creative as possible. Not only will this help your connection with Tarot but also allow confidence to develop within yourself as a Tarot reader.
When I was first learning I did readings for both myself and friends. The problem with this, on reflection, was that I knew my friends! I knew that the Emperor did not indicate an employer because they were not employed and I knew that the Universe (World) card didn’t indicate an emigration to another country. In other words, because I knew my friends, I automatically learned not to be intuitive with the cards.
This caused two major problems for me when I started doing Tarot readings professionally. The first problem that I experienced were the expectations of the clients, in the sense of what the clients hoped the future would bring, being different from my friends. In other words I reduced everybody’s experience of life into what my friends experienced. The second problem is actually a continuation of the first; I had to unlearn these bad practices. That is why I want you to start off the right way, by only learning a few keywords per card and to avoid the temptation to do ‘actual’ Tarot readings as a replacement for spending time going through these exercises.
What I’d prefer you to do would be to practice both learning the divinatory meanings of the Tarot cards and combining them into two card readings as a study exercise. Spend time each day doing as many of these exercises as you can. The key is to do it so often that it slowly becomes an unconscious process. Try and challenge yourself by imagining all the different expectations people can have and let that guide your learning process.
Let’s look at some examples:
We know that the Three of Swords represents a separation of some kind which usually accompanies a feeling of great stress. We know that Disks are usually associated with Money and the seven often indicates a period of time before things start to improve. When I combine these two cards I would say: profound debt!
We know the Four of Wands indicates a celebration and the Hierophant on some decks is represented as a Pope. When I combine these two cards I would say: Marriage!
The Fool indicates something new and when combined with the Universe card I would be inclined to say that this person will be moving abroad.
The Prince of Cups indicates an approaching lover and the Seven of Swords indicates deception. When we combine these two cards I would be inclined to say we cannot trust this man in matters of love.
The Eight of Swords indicates limitation and the Six of Wands indicates a success. When combined this might indicate new found independence; possibly this also indicates that other people recognise that they were ‘wrong’ in relation to the newly independent person.
The Four of Cups indicates boredom and the Five of Swords indicates a betrayal. Maybe the person in question doesn’t appreciate what they have; we are looking at (destructive risk taking behaviour) somebody who will betray the ones closest to them.
The Four of Swords indicates somebody who has retreated from the world and the Eight of Wands indicates rapid events. Perhaps we are seeing somebody who is being forced from their isolation.
These are just a few examples to help you with your practice.
To conclude, this is how I would recommend you practice:
- Continue to practice the speed in which you can recognise a Tarot card
- Continue to practice the speed in which you can state two keywords for that Tarot card
- Practice dealing out two Tarot cards and
- name the two cards
- state two divinatory meanings for the two Tarot cards
- Do a two card reading
- Try and practice regularly
- Keep an eye out for any dreams at this time
Although I have called this exercise a two card Tarot reading, it is much more than that. It is the foundation upon which all Tarot readings are built. In many ways these exercises are the hardest in the whole tutorial series because there are only two cards; it is much easier to validate the ‘meaning’ with more cards present. Tomorrow we will look at Elemental Dignities and this lesson, along with that one, will lay very strong foundations for you to grow as a confident and competent Tarot reader.
This post is part of the Beginners Tutorial To Reading Tarot Cards.