Understanding Tarot

CALYN

I have been trying to learn Tarot for about three years now, and pick them up quite often and do a daily reading everyday, but I am still having trouble in deciphering the cards. I still have to refer to my books for meanings of cards. Can anyone recommend a technique which will help me grasp reading the cards or some handy hints. I truly want to be able to do this.
 

Pollux

What I do - I'm learning too, even though from less than three years :) - is a card a day. The journal, you know.
You pick one, look at it, think of it while in the bus or in the toilette (I'm joking, right? ;p )...
At home you write down things, what you feel, what events of the day may be related to the influence of the card and so on.
I'm not good at explaining, as I'm learning myself, and someone, the honest one, will tell you that Tarot Study takes whole lives! ;D
For more stuff on journals, look at www.learntarot.com, which is where I took the specifications from ;D .
Or look up in the other posts.
 

Greenman

my advice is... forget the tarot!
learn the symbols, the universal archetypes that make up the bulk of the symbolism in the good tarot decks. that way you'll be able to understand all the different decks, regardless of 'theme'.
and a good way to do this is to pour through the books that deal with symbolism.
one good one is J.E. Cirlot's 'A Dictionary of Symbols'. this is an excellent reference, but rather hard to find. another great book is J.C. Cooper's 'An Illustrated History of Traditional Symbols'. this one gives an interpretation of all kinds of symbols as seen through many different cultures.
Sallie Nichols 'Jung and Tarot' is very good too.
 

truthsayer

i think both pollux and greenman make excellent points. it really depends on what way you learn best and what fascinates you the most. pollux's way is that learning tarot thru self-exploration. greenman uses his love of symbolism and archetypes.

personally, my love of symbollism, mythology, psychology and archetypes is how i learned tarot. i read quite widely. i never know when i'll pick up a tidbit that'll impact my reading. i journal but i don't journal exclusively about tarot. i keep a creative journal. i keep track of any drawings, dreams, poetry, quotes or anything i find thought provoking. i love watching shows on archeology, medicine, history, art, religion,etc. i practice doing readings often. there are fun games to play with the cards like writing down what i think a card means just by looking at the imagery, writing it down and then comparing it against a book.

most of all make tarot so much fun that you'll want to spend your life studying and learning it. imho, the more exposure you have to world wide thought, the more you will be able to dip into the universal consciousness. so i have to agree with greenman. forget the tarot! expose yourself to lots of imagery. go to art museums and learn how to sense the mood and atmosphere of paintings, sculpture, etc. listen to a variety of music. stimulate your mind and your senses. try to relax the need to make judgements about things and let your intuition guide you instead.

as you grow and evolve, so will your ability to read tarot. i've been reading 27 years and i will never feel secure that i know everything i want to know about tarot. tarot is an art not a science. there isn't a formula for learning it except living life to the edge of all your potential!
 

divinerguy

One way that helped me learn was to just dive in and start doing readings. Keep the results to yourself until you feel comfortable disclosing to others. Then do some for people on the net. There's no lack of people wanting free readings.

You can also visit your local coffee house. Break out your cards and studythem while you drink your coffee. People will be curious and will ask you about them. Be honest, and tell them you're new at it, and need to do practice readings.

Some will say no, but some will help you.

Have fun,

Gary
 

Original Destiny

There isn't an easy way that suits all. I have been using the Tarot for nearly 30yrs and have found that with use the Tarot has tought me it's meanings. I originally learned from several books but over the years the cards have taken on personallities of their own. I know this isn't much help but its a Journey and as long as you stay on the road, so to speak, you will learn
 

Thirteen

Quote:CALYN (26 Jan, 2002 17:26):
I have been trying to learn Tarot for about three years now, and pick them up quite often and do a daily reading everyday, but I am still having trouble in deciphering the cards. I still have to refer to my books for meanings of cards. Can anyone recommend a technique which will help me grasp reading the cards or some handy hints. I truly want to be able to do this.

The Key Word system. It works and works fast. It's a nemonic devise to help you remember the cards.

Pimpin' my forum here--go to Tarot Basics and read through the cards (you may have to tell it to go back 180 days). I used this system when I discussed the minors. Or you can get the book (little paperback, I *think* it's still in print: "Tarot: The Key Word System").

The system works like this:
1) Memorize the major arcana. Just all the cards in order--like going through flash cards.

2) Focus on the meaning of cards 1-10 (magician-wheel of fortune).

3) Use key words for 1-10. Example, Magician is "I make" or "I create." So each one of these cards has a simple 2-3 word sentence to describe it's meaning.

4) All "1's" (aces) relate to the Magican. All 2's to the High Priestess, all 3's to the Empress, etc. Up to all 10's connect to Wheel of Fortune.

5) Memorize the meanings of the 4 suits (again, using only two or three words)--example, pentacles = health/luck/work

6) Connect key word of the number to the meaning of the suit. Ace of pentacles: "I create new luck/health/work."

This is a very practical and barebones method, but it's the very best method, I think, for getting the cards down in your mind so you can then start to develop as a reader--and stop having to flip through books.

Note, however, that it does leave the rest of the Major Arcana and Court Cards for you to just memorize. But from what I've seen, these become easier once you begin to see the connections.
 

Michelle

(Helping Thirteen pimp her forum...smile)

I have found Thirteens posts on card meanings to be the best / no nonsense key words that I have found.

Thanks Thirteen !!!!

Love and Light,
Michelle
 

DeLani

Thirteen (27 Jan, 2002 06:01):
Quote:CALYN (26 Jan, 2002 17:26):
I have been trying to learn Tarot for about three years now, and pick them up quite often and do a daily reading everyday, but I am still having trouble in deciphering the cards. I still have to refer to my books for meanings of cards. Can anyone recommend a technique which will help me grasp reading the cards or some handy hints. I truly want to be able to do this.

The Key Word system. It works and works fast. It's a nemonic devise to help you remember the cards.

-----------------------------------------
Hey all,
I don't want to start a holy war here, but I would disagree with this method. I generally advise my students not to use the cards like flash cards or to use "keywords." This is because this type of learning is rote memorization - it keeps you stuck in logical, left-brain thinking. I would recommend the method given earlier - to learn the symbols, and allow the meanings of the symbols as well as your emotional/intuitive reaction to the colors and images in the card - to guide you.
Example: The Emperor. He's usually wearing a crown, holding a scepter, seated on a throne with the world in his hand or at his feet. All these are symbols of power and authority. He is also usually bearded, as a symbol of maturity and wisdom. There are also usually rams somewhere on the card - alluding to it's correspondence to the sign Aires, but also to the charecter traits of being agressive and hard-headed.
Get it?
Hope this helps.
DeLani
 

Thirteen

DeLani, I know you don't want a "holy war" and neither do I, but I've never met anyone who used Key Word system who ended up "left brained" etc. because of the method--only because they were that kind of person.

To the contrary, ESPECIALLY, with people who have been going over the cards for years and it hasn't clicked yet, the Key Work system can work like a dream. It gets rid of the "Can't remember the cards..." problem, and reveals the way the cards relate.

Which, I think, is the major problem with most other methods. While they may help or not in getting the meaning of the cards, they do NADA in teaching how the cards relate. So you get exactly what you're afraid of with Key Word. The reader knows what the cards mean, but has no idea how to read a spread.

Key Word *can* unlock the tarot door. Mystic depth, the music, the interconnective dance, the "right brained" meaning comes after that with more study. Point is, if they can't get through the door, then it does no good to tell them, "There's music on the other side!"

That's how it worked for me and students I've taught. I've been told again and again by some students, frustrated to tears by other books and tarot teachers, that nothing else ever made the tarot clear to them, allowed them to finally "get it" and move on.

If you have testamoninals from any of your students to the contrary, evidence that this method kept them "stuck in logical, left-brain thinking," preventing them from developing, growing or learning how to make the tarot more than that, I'll be happy to conceed otherwise. But my evidence is that Key Work can and does work just fine. It's certainly nothing to be afraid of, or to warn students away from.