Studying the Tarot can be a daunting task for newcomers. There are 78 cards, packed with symbolism, with many different interpretations. Furthermore, how do you even know your readings are accurate? If you need to look up interpretations in a book or online, you’re not exactly a gifted reader. Tarot meditation solves this problem.
Tarot meditation in the context of this article is when you use a Tarot card for inducing a vision or OBE. This way you create a deep and lasting spiritual connection with your Tarot cards. Not only will you be able to perform readings and divination, but use them as a spiritual practice.
Tarot as a spiritual practice
The history of the Tarot is fascinating. It began as a series of card games in early 15th Century Italy. The basic rules of this card game first appeared in a manuscript of Martiano de Tortona, written before 1425. In 1781, Court de Gébelin associated the Tarot with ancient wisdom in his Le Monde Primitif. This is the earliest recorded instance of this type of spiritual association. The Tarot was used for divination ever since.
Many professional psychics object to these findings because they believe it undermines the Tarot’s value. I disagree very strongly. The Tarot may have started as a card game, but artists and mystics shaped its meaning for over 200 years. It has proven its effectiveness repeatedly, making it the standard in Western divination.
The Tarot’s symbolism is meaningful, flexible, and varied. It also has many uses that go beyond divination into the realm of mysticism. The Tarot opens up a number of options for spiritual exploration that transfer onto any other divination system This makes the Tarot an all-round great choice for a beginner.
How does Tarot meditation work?
There are different theories on how divination works. But they can be placed roughly into two groups. The traditional view on divination sees it as a means of talking to spirits. Whether they be gods, ancestral spirits, spirit guides, or any other spiritual being, you can communicate with them using divination.
Traditionally, divinations were performed by the priestesses and priests of various deities. In classical Rome, an augur was a priest who examined the flight of birds to interpret the will of the gods. He would look at what kinds of birds they were, whether flew grouped or alone and what sounds they made.
According to this traditional view, the Tarot is a tool for talking to talk to spiritual beings. This can range from spirit guides to angels. The skill of a Tarot reader is determined by how effectively they can communicate with these spirits and get accurate answers from them.
The other view on why the Tarot works is psychological. This view is very popular among advocates of Jungian psychoanalysis. This interpretation sees the Tarot as a tool for communicating with the unconscious mind.
The symbolism of the Tarot is believed to be a key for activating unconscious archetypes. These archetypes then communicate with the conscious mind through the Tarot reading. This view on the Tarot is considered more “rational” than the traditional view.
Regardless of which view you take, in order to have a powerful connection to the Tarot requires meditation of some kind. Whether you, want to talk to spirits or archetypes you need to be able to connect to them.
Sure, you can learn Tarot through rote memory and lots of readings, but by using meditation your Tarot skills will improve enormously. This is where astral meditation comes in. Astral meditation is the practice of using Tarot cards to steer or guide a spiritual experience. This gives the practitioner a very strong intuitive understanding of the Tarot when the spiritual experience ends.
This is a long-term practice, so don’t expect to complete it in a few days. It involves three steps:
- Finding a Tarot deck and researching the cards’ symbolism and divinatory meanings.
- Choosing and practicing a visionary meditation to create a spiritual connection to the cards.
- Applying what you’ve learned.
If you’re starting from scratch, I recommend purchasing the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. It’s the most commonly used deck, so researching the cards are easy. If you already have a deck, your research options are more limited. This is fine, it’s your deck so use it.
Some of my readers may have heard the fable that a Tarot deck must be given to you, not purchased. This is nonsense, buying a deck is fine.
Learning the cards
After you’ve obtained your Tarot deck, separate the 22 Major Arcana cards from the Minor Arcana. For the time being, we won’t be using the Minor Arcana. You can study them later as an option.
Look at the central figures on the cards. You will notice that they follow similar themes. Some cards contain people; the Fool, the Magician, the Priestess, etc. Others are natural phenomena; the Moon, the Sun, the Star, etc. There also cards that include virtues; Strength, Temperance, Justice, etc.
Divide the deck into groupings of cards with these types of similarities. Look in books or online at the various meanings and interpretations of the cards. The more the better. In divination, there are no facts, only interpretations. There are better and worse interpretations but still comes with time.
The practice of scrying
Among the more interesting techniques I learned, was how to use Tarot cards for scrying and astral projection. You don’t use the Tarot card to induce a vision, but to steer it. This is very important if you want to explore Tarot symbolism. The technique is relatively straightforward and very powerful.
If you’re a beginner to serious mystical practices, then I recommend practicing scrying. Scrying is the Western world for the practice of inducing visions. Scrying is an extremely effective tool for connecting with the unconscious. This makes it very good for practicing Tarot meditation
Scrying in its modern form involves holding your eyes on an object for an extended period of time. Do this long enough and visions start to form. Unfortunately, most books are terrible at describing scrying, so I need to remedy this.
The most well-known forms of scrying in the Western world are crystal gazing and black mirror scrying. Most books describe the procedure as follows. You sit in a candlelit room with your scrying tool in front of you. Then you gently gaze at the crystal ball or black mirror until it begins to fill with clouds. You may also see patches of color or sparks of light while you do this in your scrying tool. These phenomena will then be replaced with visions.
I need to clear one thing up: a black mirror isn’t a TV screen, and a crystal ball isn’t one of the Seeing-Stones from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. You don’t actually see visions “in” the scrying tool like it’s a screen. Scrying visions are more like waking dreams.
While you gaze at your scrying tool, your eyes relax and the tools begin to blur away. Then the surrounding environment also blurs away. Your vision begins to swim and you might see colors, clouds, or sparks. Then dreamlike visions begin to form in your mind’s eye that feels like a light waking dream. At this point, the size of your scrying tool doesn’t matter because you’re looking with your mind’s eye.
The visions are far more vivid and detailed than simple fantasy, and they have a strange dreamlike quality to them. When you’re just starting out scrying images are mostly random. These memories and other “junk” in the shallow end of your unconscious. However, as you keep practicing and the visions intensify, they start to acquire a deep symbolic significance.
Tarot Meditation for Scrying
If you’ve practiced scrying you would’ve noticed that the visions tend to have little structure. They tend to be random, strange, and hard to interpret. Your mind is mostly making use of various thoughts memories, and ideas that are in your unconscious.
You can create more structure by creating scrying symbols. Scrying symbols are visual images that you use to guide or steer a scrying vision. This lends structure to your visions, enabling you to interpret them more easily.
For example, if you want to have a vision that’s about love or relationships, the Lovers card is a good choice. Similarly, if you want to have a vision that teaches courage or fortitude, the Strength card would be useful.
This form of astral meditation allows you to create a far deeper mental connection to Tarot symbolism, than simply reading about them. There are also elaborate systems of angels, gods, and other beings that connect to different Tarot cards in the deck. All of these are potentially useful for scrying.
How to use Tarot cards for scrying
Prepare your scrying room and select your Tarot card. Make sure you know the card’s symbolism well.
Contemplate the Tarot card for several minutes. How much time you spend contemplating your card, the better. Make sure your mind is as focused as possible on the symbolism and meaning of the card.
Begin to scry. When you start to see images take shape think about the Tarot card and mentally state its name. Look at the images that take shape. You might see people or other entities, landscapes, or themes. Pay attention to these and see how they relate to your Tarot card.
To perform astral meditation in its entirety takes time. Start with the Major Arcana cards you like the most and slowly scry each one of them. Over weeks go from one Major Arcana card to the next, building up your repertoire.
Once you’ve worked through all 22 Major Arcana cards, you can start doing readings. By performing Tarot meditation, you have a massive advantage over most Tarot readers. With your ability to spiritually connect to the Tarot, you will have a far deeper understanding of how it works. Reading about the tarot is one thing, experiencing it is something else.