“Hey…come on in, get some warms by the fire. Let me take your hat and coat – your muffler – I’ll hang 'em for ya.
“So - you want to learn Tarot. You know, learning what the cards mean, and learning how to read, are two very different things at the beginning; they come together in the end.
“Can I get you some coffee, cocoa or both at the same time? Good choice, I won’t be a second, follow me into the kitchen if you want…
“I can chat
with you about both starting to learn, and starting to read, but I can’t teach you…learning is a process that you must do for yourself; it takes a lot of hard work. It does not matter which path you choose, the gestalt, the intuitive, the realist, the art interpreter – magical or mundane…if you begin with the toolbox I lead you to, and use it with discipline, your path will appear… If you re-write the guidelines I provide, you might simply achieve mediocrity.
“No, it won’t be like my path, you will never read like I do. You will read differently. You will read like you.
“Let me tell you how I began. I bought a deck. This was back in ‘72; I just went out and bought a deck. I think it was a Swiss IJJ. It had a little white book with these meanings in it, and it made no sense. I could not even tell the wands from the swords, and I was supposed to learn to read with it? I was young, and had no guidance. I wonder what happened to that deck? Then, I bought a Waite-Coleman Smith deck.
“Back in ‘72, there were no books on Tarot. I bought the Waite book, and it was a nothing but a big - little white book.
“I’d learned about journaling back in high school. So I began journaling. I made a page for each card.
“Here you go, coffee with chocolate...
“I recommend you to read “A Wicked Pack of Cards” and “History of the Occult Tarot”. You will be told elsewhere about Carl Jung and archetypes…and the truth is, modern meanings do not go back further than 1770. What Le Fou meant in 1350, is not what Le Fou meant in 1770 or 1910.
”There was a difference in “just coming out of the dark ages” and “the age of reason”. The 400-year span in meanings has never been adequately rectified; further, there is a profound difference in how the archetypes were, and are perceived.
”Jung was filled with his own ideas and knew little on pre-Christian Europe, or Europe before the plague years. His entire upbringing was colored by the church, being a pastor’s son.
Waite re-wrote Levi’s stuff from 40 years prior. Little is new, most books are re-writes of something that went before. And what went before can be called into question. So we will shun the so-called experts and authors, boil away the fat, and begin with my fundamentals.
"Who was Levi? The father of western occultism, He was writing back in the mid-1800's. At this point, he's not important...especially since there was no historical basis for most of his beliefs...let's move on.
“We will use you own life basics as a starting point. While you are learning, you will write everything down. Every spread, what the card means this time...here and now. You will see that meanings change over time based on spread location and experience.
“Modern books are usually written with the attitude that meanings are static...this card means this, that card means that. You will find that card meanings are supple - for they reflect life, not the other way around.
“Learning classical card meanings can be a good starting point. They may give you a general idea of archetypes and general characteristics. However, there is more to being a good reader than simply using the classical meanings.
“Allow the cards to speak to you. Look at them, and see what the images trigger in your mind. That thought that crosses into your consciousness is significant. Compare that thought to the classical meaning - chances are similarities.
“Every so often I pull out my old journal and compare my notes with the meanings in a book. Mine match.
“But here is the crux…my meanings were discovered – in my own way – in their own time. So they mean much more to me – they are close to my heart – they are my meanings; as yours will be yours. In the end, your meanings will match those of the books – but they will have true meaning and not rote memorized words told to you by someone else…your meanings will resonate within you. Does that make sense?
“Hand me that leather pouch…yes, I am going to roll a cigarette – then go outside and smoke it as an offering to Raven…
“So you will begin with a large spiral-bound notebook...no, not a legal pad...and pencil, not pen. You’ll be referring to your journal for years, ink can run, and pencil can be erased. Your journal will grow as you do.
“Don’t say you’ll begin with a legal pad and transfer it onto a computer – it’s an excuse, you’ll always be ‘doing it tomorrow’. Use a pencil and a spiral back notebook. Start a page for each card. Do not write your journal on a computer.
“Your first deck? Start with the Waite-Coleman Smith deck. Some folks call it the Rider-Waite; Rider and Sons were the original publishers.
“Most decks are clones of the Waite-Coleman Smith deck, the Crowley Thoth Deck, or a Marseilles deck. In the latter, the pip cards, the three’s – fours – and fives – et cetera, do not have scenic illustrations. It is more difficult to learn on. The illustrations on the Waite-Coleman Smith deck help make learning easier.
“Later, you can begin branching out and buying a deck that suits you better…but for now, you are learning, you are to think of yourself as a student.
“Follow me outside – bring your coffee. Watch your step, I don’t use a porch light – it spoils your vision. We will be dry here…the rain is singing beautifully tonight…
“That’s a good question. A lot of folks wonder about that first deck – should it be a present? Is it okay to buy my own? Should I sleep with it?
“It’s just fine to buy your own decks. There are a lot of mumbo-jumbo myths about tarot, buy into them at your own risk. I do not. Sleep with your new deck if you choose. Your conscience mind tells your subconscious about the deck and your dreams may be affected. It does nothing to the deck. 30 years of reading, and I have never re-ordered a deck, done cleansing rituals, or anything like that. Other folks shuffle my cards...the real magic, and there is real magic...happens inside me - and soon...you.
“Now don’t tell anybody this, but the deck? It’s made of a paper product and ink. That’s it. The magic happens inside your head when you look at and use the tarot.
“Inside your head…they become powerful. As we continue on this journey, you will find other things can do the same thing, open doors, in the mind...and the soul. Later, I will show you the magic toothpicks.
“No, don’t spend money on books. Spend time with the cards. The more time you spend reading somebody else’s opinion, stated as fact, the more time it will take to flush it out of your system and find your own heart.
“Doing a daily draw of one or two cards a day is fine for yourself. I like a daily draw of two and only two cards. The first is the challenge or issue of the day. The second is what the challenge brings to you; your lesson or what you must do to overcome the challenge.
“When folks are new, they have a tendency to ‘over read’. If they do not like the reading, they do a second ‘clarifying’ reading, and then perhaps another ‘clarify the clarification’…
“The Shaman Zorya said, “If we are too attached to a perceived outcome, we may miss opportunities, or what is truly meant for us”.
“You want to learn how the cards speak to and for you; not how your ego speaks for the cards.
“One full reading a week is just fine when you are new. Too many readings, and they get clouded by bias…and you learn nothing.
“It is easy to become too dependent upon oracular devices, to use them for every thing that arises. If you become too dependent, they may show you what you want to see, rather then what you are looking for.
“Let us go back in, no...I only smoke the part I want, the rest is for Raven.