I have already talked about easy ways to learn how to read tarot cards in a previous post. I discussed imagery and how it is key in understanding the meanings of the cards on a personal level. It was only today however that it first dawned on me that you technically don’t have to learn the meanings of the cards at all! in fact you could technically read tarot cards without ever having looked up a card.
I learned to read tarot cards by learning all of the meanings of the Rider Waite deck and then looking at the imagery and adding to the meaning in my own little way. I’d make notes about what each card meant to me personally, but it was still based on the meanings which I had learned about from reading articles and books on the subject. It is only now that I realise it might not have been necessary to research it so much. I don’t regret doing it, and I will continue to read more and more about the tarot, I love it! however it might not really be important to learn the meanings from someone else, even if they’re a lot more experienced than you are.
The reason for coming to this conclusion was that my new tarot deck arrived today. All of my previous decks had followed the same imagery and symbolism of the Rider Waite deck, and this new one does to a certain extent but there are some huge differences too. I’m talking about the Light Visions tarot deck. It is a stunning deck with lots of little details, they’re beautiful!
I am still in the learning process of understanding and getting to know each card in this new and exciting deck. It was while I was studying them that I came across the ‘six of swords’ and thought, hang on a minute! this card is giving off a different vibe from the ‘six of swords’ in my other decks. In the Rider Waite deck, the’six of swords’ shows a man rowing a boat with a woman and child on board, there’s six swords in the boat and it looks like it’s being weighed down slightly by the weight of the swords. The boat is travelling from rough waters to calmer waters which indicates the end of troubled times. The weight of the swords could mean that negativity from the troubled past will travel with them to the calmer waters and that even though the bad times are over, they may still suffer mentally from what has happened. In the Light Visions tarot, the ‘six of swords’ depicts some butterflies flying from one side of a bridge to the other. The bridge is made out of swords and the trees bend in the direction of the other side of the bridge. I realised that I’d have to assign a new meaning to this card. In a way it has a more positive meaning. It is similar to the traditional meaning but I think it implies that the butterflies are going to smoothly cross the bridge of swords (the obstacle) and emerge on the other side in tact and without anything negative attached to them.
For many other tarot readers and enthusiasts, it might not be an unusual thing to assign new meanings to cards that don’t fit in with the traditional view. There are so many tarot decks that look nothing like the Rider Waite deck. There are endless meanings to each and every card and a lot of tarot readers know this.
As I mentioned in my other post about learning the tarot, looking at the imagery on each card and figuring out what it means to you and how you feel about it is the best way to go. I often see in the description of some tarot decks that it is not recommended for a novice tarot reader. Whenever you see this, it basically means the deck is nothing like the Rider Waite deck. One of the main reasons the Rider Waite deck is classed as a deck for beginners is because most online guides are based on that deck.
I have come to the conclusion that someone who has never even seen a tarot card could buy any deck they fancied and still become a good tarot reader using this simple method; writing your own tarot guide book! When you first get your tarot deck, look at every card and write down what you see and feel about each card. Once you have an emotion attached to a card, it becomes more memorable. If you think back to your earliest memories when you were a child, all of them will have an emotion attached to it, that’s why you remember it. No one says ‘On the 21st May I have a memory of walking from my bedroom to the living room’ and that’s because most people have walked from their bedroom to the living room plenty of times, it has no emotion behind it, it is a trivial thing. Humans remember things better when it means something to them. By attaching your own thoughts and feelings to the cards, you’ll start remembering what they mean to you very quickly.
What you’ve got to remember is that your higher self or universal energy doesn’t care what some guy believes the meaning of a card is, unless he’s the guy reading the tarot at that point in time. When you’re conducting a reading, your higher self knows what you think of each card, so when you ask a question, it knows which card will best represent the answer you’re looking for. You could even give a negative card like ‘The Tower’ a positive meaning and you’re higher self would understand that and use it in the way you intend.
A few weeks ago, I was doing a reading for someone and she asked me if her mother was behind a lot of the recent events in her life, she told me that if it is her mum, the ‘high priestess’ would come out because in her mind the ‘high priestess’ represents her mother. I asked her to pick the card as I knew that her higher self needed to be in charge of this reading and sure enough, the first card to come out was the ‘High Priestess’ This goes to show you that you can attach anything you want to a tarot card. They can represent people in your life, memories you have, emotions you have experienced and even films you’ve watched. I know a few tarot readers who associate certain cards with certain scenes in films they’ve seen as it helps them to form a bond with the card.
I urge every tarot reader who buys a new deck or newbie who gets their first deck to write their own little guide book. I’m aware that most tarot readers write down notes about certain cards and attach their own individual meanings, but my message here is that if you choose to only write your own guide book instead of looking up the meanings of each card, you won’t go far wrong.