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Umbrae's Avatar
Join Date: 20 Mar 2002
Location: Upper Left-Coast, USA
Posts: 8,847
Cool The Process: Beginnings

“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 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, 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

“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.

Last edited by Umbrae; 11-07-2006 at 08:20.
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Old 07-01-2003 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #1
Umbrae's Avatar
Join Date: 20 Mar 2002
Location: Upper Left-Coast, USA
Posts: 8,847
Cool The Process: Beginnings (part 2)

“In the beginning, a Celtic Cross is too much. You should be doing smaller spreads…three cards. ‘Ever notice that the folks who invented numbers place the number three, before seven which comes before ten?

“Begin using only three card spreads ...and read for others.

“There is no need to advance to a five card spread until you have at least six months of reading under your belt.

“Three card readings are versatile, and accurate. More cards do not mean better readings but they look good on TV.

“What? Music? Are you going to be singing their reading? I want you to focus on the cards. No distractions – it’s just the cards, the sitter, and you; and none of this is about you. It is about the sitter.

“Read for yourself only? If you truly want to learn about yourself, you do so by helping others. Zig Zigler said, ‘If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.’

“In readings, other readers will ask the sitter to, ‘focus your mind on the question’. Then the sitter dang near gets a cerebral hemorrhage thinking on it. Sometimes the cards will indicate a deeper issue than the one asked…so how do you back them up? Have a sitter think lightly on the issue, and circumstances surrounding the issue…this also enables you to plug in to their needs on a much higher level.

”Sometimes parts of the reading are not for the sitter, but for the sitter’s higher self, the super-ego, whatever…so some parts of the reading will not make sense until hindsight is possible.

“Why do folks come to us to have us read the cards? It has nothing to do with their question, they could get that answered on the internet, by a doctor, lawyer, or priest; but they come to us. It is something you should spend some time pondering. With all the science, they come to us.

”The answer is important...because no matter how good you are, how much truth you reveal...the quality of your reading will be nil if it does not meet the sitters expectations.

“…And in order to meet those expectations, your craft must be firmly based on you own world-view fundamentals…so that you can communicate well. We will discuss meeting expectations later. Right now, I want you firmly grounded in basic reading.

“Hand me your little white book that came with the deck – Oh, you have that book? She’s a lovely writer…I’ll take that too. Thank you. Since the fire is going nicely, we will dispose of them both. You won’t be needing them to learn.

“You have your deck out – good, here’s a spiral back notebook and pencil. Let’s begin…

“Card 0, The Fool…”
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Old 07-01-2003 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #2
Kazz's Avatar
Join Date: 03 May 2002
Location: NSW, Australia
Posts: 986's finished!
Umbrae........This is makes me want to learn Tarot all over again!
So now I am the raw, keen and eager student thats wants to learn the tarot..
*gets out her deck and comes across the Fool (O), pulls it out to begin her study*


Every time I close the door on reality it comes through the windows.
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.
..........."same author"
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Old 07-01-2003 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #3
believer in magic
Sulis's Avatar
Join Date: 03 Feb 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 23,141

Thank you Umbrae

Love and light

Crystalmynx xx

Handmade tarot bags and reading cloths, tarot readings by email:
Tarot Sulis
Sulis Creations - Etsy shop

'I'll leave my mind beneath the mat so you can let yourself in, if you can stand the mess then stay but I'm not entertaining' Peace Repackaged - Lionrock

'Be excellent to each other'
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Old 07-01-2003 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #4
fairyhedgehog's Avatar
Join Date: 12 Aug 2001
Location: Surrey, UK
Posts: 2,411

That is so amazing, Umbrae. It makes me want to rush to pick up my cards
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Old 07-01-2003 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #5
Khatruman's Avatar
Join Date: 11 Oct 2002
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 1,554

What a wonderful introduction to tarot. I especially enjoy your conversational motif and how it makes things comfortable for the reader (though I am too much of a newbie to be on the inside for the Raven reference). I also write to support this thread at the top of this forum because I think it is grandly helpful to many now entering the dialogue. So many are caught up in correctness and so forth that they are not hearing the inner voice.

Though I do support material that can be found in accompanying books, I understand your "burn the books" philosophy. I would be less radical in saying lock the books up in a time safe for a few years, since I think books can be supplemental to understanding symbolism, though definitely secondary to one's own inner knowledge. Your words remind me of Emerson in The American Scholar talking about the dangers of too much reliance on books for one's understanding of the world.

In any case, I wish you were there 16 years ago, when I felt a pull towards Tarot, bought a book called The Tarot Workbook by Emily Peach, and read the first few pages which required me to memorize correlations to the planets, astrology, kabbalah, et al, ad nausuem, before I even looked at the cards!!! I, at that time, stored the decks I had enthusiastically bought away in a closet, and took another 11 years to find my way back, via the William Blake tarot. You are a gem and I look forward to more of this in the future.


"Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed."--C.S. Lewis

Last edited by Khatruman; 08-01-2003 at 03:39.
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Old 08-01-2003 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #6
keeper of the toaster
firemaiden's Avatar
Join Date: 07 Jun 2002
Location: Poitiers, France
Posts: 10,821

Thank you Umbrae, she says, pulling out her spiral journal, flipping through the blank pages numbered for each card....ahh, now what.......
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Old 08-01-2003 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #7
bec's Avatar
Join Date: 11 Oct 2001
Location: Denmark
Posts: 1,064
Thumbs up

eagerly searching for the fool , paper and pencil in lab.

bec. You can do it - simply because you dare try
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Old 08-01-2003 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #8
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Join Date: 16 Sep 2002
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1,209

Hmmm, Umbrae. I have my journal. I even pasted little RWS cards on each page (Majors get 2 pages). But I love my books. I've started to fill the pages with meanings from Greer, Pollack, Sharman-Burke, the ones that I relate to. Then I've left plenty of space for my own take on meanings. I record my spreads. I look for new meanings, new relationships between cards. But I love reading Pollack, reading Greer. Can I still come to class?

Life is just a game You fly your paper plane There is no end.
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Old 08-01-2003 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #9
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Join Date: 10 Mar 2002
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 4,172
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Wonderful, Umbrae

I'm running to find the journal I've sadly neglected lately.



'And the lives of a man are strung like pearls on the thread of his spirit'............Dion Fortune
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Old 08-01-2003 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #10
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