Close your eyes and think about tarot, what do you see? Chances are you imagine images of Gypsies, fortune tellers, and mythical beings. If this is indeed what you were able to…divine…then you’re not alone. Popular media often portrays tarot and other forms of divination as plot devices to aid in foreshadowing and to move a story along.
While it’s a common retort to the mention of tarot, this is far from all that tarot has to offer.
Ultimately, divination is an idea beyond knowing. Rather than telling us the future, the goal of divination is to help us humans understand ourselves and the world around us. It is through understanding who we are and how we got here that we can make projections of the future and how to alter course should we wish to do so.
This aspect of tarot is useful not only for future- and fortune-telling, but for self-healing. When used with this intention in mind, the cards may act as therapist, spirit guide, and friend.
Since tarot is such a personal, connective force we choose to honor this by telling our personal stories of struggle and the power in overcoming those very struggles. So sit back, relax, and open your mind as Wing and Dana open up and share what tarot means to them.
Wing’s family emigrated from Hong Kong to a small city in Canada when she was seven. Her parents were stereotypical Asians who wanted her and her sisters to stay home and study. They weren’t allowed to go to sleepovers and it took a lot of begging and crying to be able to go out at all. This made it incredibly hard for her to make friends and adapt to Western culture.
Her sense of belonging was made more difficult because she didn’t feel like a typical Asian. While she performed well in school, her mind was always somewhere else. She’d get lost for hours inside her own mind. Although she understands now that this might have turned into creativity had those daydreams been properly nurtured, back then, she just thought she was weird. She felt alone and believed that this feeling was inevitable until she discovered tarot.
Dana suffers from depression, chronic anxiety, and PTSD as a result of growing up in an abusive household with a mentally ill parent, bullying at school, and battling chronic illness. Because of this, she has always had a difficult time expressing and labeling her emotions. Tarot has been pivotal in her growth as a form of therapy and in processing emotions. Her therapy team introduced her to dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and a skill called emotion regulation which encourages the use of tools such as tarot for self-discovery and self-care.
Tarot and Healing
After seeing Wing and Dana’s personal experiences with tarot, it’s time for you to see how tarot can become a part of your own healing and life path…
1. Journaling with cards
First, find a journal that you love and calls to you. Dana’s favorite is the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted journals because you can customize them to anything that suits your moods and needs. If you need some inspiration for layouts, check out the hashtag #bulletjournal on Instagram for ideas.
To make journaling a habit, set up a daily practice in your journal. Start with the Card of the Day and then add more prompts and spreads as you become more familiar with your cards and comfortable with your daily practice.
2. Card of the day
Set your intention for the day by shuffling your deck and pulling a card. Look at it closely for a few minutes, then answer this question to set your intention: What do I need to work on today?
At the end of the day, journal with the following question in mind: What can I learn from today?
Use this method to pause, reflect, and make a mindful decision to focus on your day.
3. Meditation with cards
Meditation is about more than sitting in silence. It can be about your practice of choosing to give your focus to a single, important idea. By focusing on this idea you can better understand what it means to you, your spirit, and your well being. To get you started, here’s a sample of one of our favorites, called the Grounding Meditation with Tarot:
To do your own, pick a card from your deck. View it for one minute. Pull out your journal and write down what you see. Remember, this isn’t just what you “see,” but what your mind sees, too.
Now write how you feel after the viewing. Using a tool like this emotion wheel is a wonderful way of being as descriptive as possible while not overthinking it. Trauma can affect how we use words and describe our feelings, so using a method like this can help us all speak our truth.
Next do the following meditation for 10 minutes:
- Find a comfortable spot to sit in where your back is straight and supported.
- Close your eyes and take three deep, long breaths.
- Imagine a beam of beautiful white light running from your belly button through your bottom to the ground.
- Now imagine that same beam of white light coming back up from the ground through your bottom, your belly button, up your spine, and then up through the top of your head, up into the sky. The light from your body brings a gentle connection with the sky above.
- Feel the energy flow throughout your body as you ground deeper into the earth below you and radiate light into the space above. Breathe. You are are now fully connected.
- Now for the next ten minutes focus on your breath and your belly button. Just notice what images, feelings, and colors come to mind as they float along with the breath.
After you’ve grounded yourself with this meditation, reflect back on the card for a minute. Write down what you see and how you feel. Refer back to the emotion wheel if needed. Notice and make note of any differences from earlier.
Please note the following about the importance of this grounding meditation you just did with your tarot card: Grounding invites you to sense your body, notice your tension patterns, and surrender the weight of your physical body into gravity to feel the support of the earth. As a resource for trauma recovery, grounding can help you reclaim a sense of safety, feel rooted in the present moment, and strengthen your resilience. These are all important ingredients for healing and processing your emotions.
4. Specific spreads
There are specific spreads that have helped both Wing and Dana over the years. The Gratitude Spread is one of Dana’s favorites. She specifically likes reaching for this spread when she is battling depression.
- What am I grateful for?
- To whom do I owe gratitude?
- How can my intuition/feelings guide my gratitude?
- How can I be thankful when I don’t feel it?
- Why is it important to be thankful?
Gratitude is the beautiful practice of finding and giving joy by showing how abundant our lives truly are, no matter who we are and what life has given us. In a society of perfectionism, focusing on gratitude helps us counteract these inadequacies by tapping into our true abundance and joy. Gratitude not only helps us accept that the world is imperfect, but that we are too and that is perfectly normal and okay. When we feel the fullness of gratitude, we accept life just as it is, however messy, complicated, or down-in-the-dumps that may be. This enables us to then be in a position to be open to the true joys in life.
Things like the kind smile of a stranger, the brilliant colors of a sunset, the cooing of a small child, the smell of flowers on a warm early summer day, the feel of soft grass under foot, or the smooth and uplifting sound of a favorite song. The list is endless if you sit and start contemplating it. Try the spread for yourself to see what feelings of gratitude it brings.
The Three Card Spread – the spread of versatility
Another healing spread that is easy to do with your cards is the Three Card Spread. This one is easy to change up with placements of your own. Here are some combinations which have been the most therapeutic for Dana and Wing when working through their own healing journey.
Working through an issue:
- The Challenge
- An Opportunity
- How can I best work out this problem/issue?
Being more mindful:
- Mind – My attitude
- Body – My actions
- Spirit – What can I learn from the situation?
So there you have it! You now have four different tools to try with your tarot deck when you are having a rough day or if you want to start up a daily practice to work through unresolved issues or be able to help process emotions better. Not too many people think of tarot cards when they are on their healing journey. But it is something that is becoming more of a popular tool for therapists to CEOs alike for feeling better.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this special guest post! To see more from these amazing writers, you can find Wing at TheMechanicsofTarot.com and Dana at MagentaStartdust.com. Plus, you can find their tarot deck reviews and lots of other amazing stuff over at Indie Deck Review.