When students consider learning Tarot as a divination system they are sometimes overwhelmed by its 78 cards, especially if they come from traditional 36 card systems. Majors, Minors, Courts... It seems never-ending! Add layers upon layers of information that you can incorporate into a single card and you have a titanic job in front of you.
Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to make your journey to learning Tarot easier and more accessible! My goal when teaching Tarot is to make it as uncomplicated and direct as possible, leaving aside some of the mysticism and “woo” so that you can truly use the many advantages of a system that, from my perspective and experience, seems to be a bit misunderstood! However, that’s easily a subject for another blog post entirely, so without further ado, let’s jump into my top three ticks to learn Tarot easily.
1. You are a beginner, and that’s okay.
Accept that you’re a beginner, embrace it. This is one of the best things that you can do to go somewhere in your journey as a reader. Don’t expect to get it right! It takes a long time to truly get the hang out of a system and that’s nothing to be embarrassed about. When you are a beginner, nobody expects you to give a super complex, life-changing reading, throwing in all astrological associations, Kabbalah, colour meaning, and all the bells and whistles! Actually, my advice is that you forget about all that for a while and focus on the very basics!
There are pages upon pages of information about Tarot and an unholy amount of knowledge that you can amass about a single card. The problem is that when you try to incorporate absolutely everything that you learn about a card without having developed the experience and criteria to do it and select what applies were, you are very likely to end up with a bunch of gibberish that means nothing at all.
Work on creating your foundation and don’t rush it! You will be glad in the long run, and once you have a solid foundation it will be much easier to build on that and to incorporate what you learn as you go, making your journey much easier and satisfactory! You can still give a good reading with the tools that you have!
2. Use keywords right.
Keywords can be frowned upon, and it is true that many readers never go past the keyword stage and you can difficultly give a quality reading if all you’re doing is throwing keywords left and right without truly delving into the subject, right? However, keywords can be of great help if you know how to use them to your benefit!
The secret to using keywords right is to develop a concept around it! For instance, let’s work with The Magician for a bit. One of my keywords for The Magician is “manipulation” and in my opinion it is a great way to start. Sure, when you hear manipulation you’re going to associate it with evil intent, but the meaning of manipulation goes well beyond that! Manipulation is not just trying to influence a person or a situation to your advantage, but is also what you do with your hands, as is changing something into a different thing or working with it in a way. That’s exactly what The Magician does!
The Magician has all four elements at his disposal, a connection with the earthly and the unearthly, and the skill to use that to his advantage. This can work in a positive, or negative way, depending on the situation, and when looking at it from this perspective, you can see the card in a round way, with its lights and shadows. Now, what does that keyword mean in the context that you have been given? That’s the next question to ask yourself to keep on perfecting your understanding of the card!
3. Learn Minor Arcana the easy way.
A bit of numerology and knowledge of the elements can go a really long way when you’re learning the Minor Arcana! If you are seasoned in this, it will be very easy for you to get comfortable with these 56 cards that can be so intimidating at the beginning!
All you have to do is blend the element of each suit - in case you’re not familiar, that would be Earth for Pentacles, Air for Swords, Water for Cups and Fire for Wands - whether it is an active or passive energy - Earth and Water are considered passive elements, while Air and Fire are regarded active - and what the numerology value adds to it.
This is very easy to see using the fives as an example. Number 5 is a number of challenges, and we can see how in all suits, the five is not a particularly amicable card.
If we simplify it for the sake of the argument (let’s not forget that this is oriented to make your journey as a beginner easier!) both 5 of Wands and 5 of Swords represent an active conflict, the first in a more tangible aspect, the second in a more intellectual or mental aspect.
The challenge of Fire is a challenge to your actions, not finding a way to get things done, being possessed by drive and passion but having no plan as to how to follow through. The challenge of Air has more to do with an inability to convey your ideas, argue successfully, or find a way forward where there’s a conflict.
On the other hand, 5 of Cups and 5 of Pentacles are a passive conflict, they are more “brought to you” than created, so to speak. The 5 of Cups represents the challenge of Water, which is of an emotional nature. What’s the challenge of our emotions? The most natural challenge to our emotional stability is usually grief and loss, represented by the card. The 5 of Pentacles, on the other hand, is the challenge of Earth, what a greater challenge to the material than poverty and lack?
This way of looking at your Minor Arcana is incredibly useful if you are having trouble interiorizing the meaning of each card!
By applying this into your Tarot practice as a beginner you are likely to see great improvement, or at the very least, increase your level of comfort with the cards! Don’t forget that if you are learning Tarot, our Facebook group TAROT with World Divination Association is always there to support you in your learning journey! As well, if you want to learn Tarot with me, you can give a look to my courses Tarot Tableau Techniques Level I and II, as well as Exploring Sexuality through Tarot and Tarot, Death and Grief! You can get them individually here or as a pack if you click here! Happy Taroting!
This post has been authored and brought to you by Maria Alviz Hernando, WDA Tarot Teacher and Reader and Blog Coordinator. You can learn more about me and my work at www.thesibylstarot.com