How to Use Tarot as a Tool for Self-Reflection and Meditative Therapy

Ready to discover how to use Tarot as a tool for self-reflection and meditative therapy?

Ready to discover how to use Tarot as a tool for self-reflection and meditative therapy?

According to the Pew Research Center, 48 percent of American adults define themselves as both religious and spiritual.

However, a considerable number claim to be spiritual but not religious.

The non-religious spiritual sector is rising, up to 27 percent in 2017 from 19 percent in 2012.

Among the spiritual practices of the secular population exists the use of tarot cards.

In a study on those who used tarot, researchers documented that subjects used tarot card readings during challenging times.

The users of tarot cards reported that the readings reassured them about things ending up well.

Being Open-Minded to Tarot

Author Benebell Wen has said, “Fear is dangerous, not the tarot… The tarot is a storybook about life, about the greatness of human accomplishment, and also the ugliness we are each capable of.”

The idea of tarot’s usages is where so much of the debate between believers and cynics exists. Tarot readings do not have to be a literal telling of your future, but rather a tool for introspection and self-reflection. Similar to how psychic readings can be used to foretell events in a variety of ways.

Beneficial Regardless of Predictions

In an experiment conducted by writer and lecturer Susan J. Blackmore, students from a parapsychology course were given readings from an experienced tarot reader and rated their sessions on a scale from one to seven. With seven being the highest score, all students rated their turns highly.

With none scoring less than four, most students marked their readings around a six out of seven. While it is not noted whether the students felt the readings were accurate predictions, they still scored them as beneficial.

Where Did Tarot Originate?

The origins of tarot are not known for sure and up for debate.

Many claim tarot found its roots in Eastern civilizations, pulling from the Chinese I-Ching. Some think it dates back to similar card type games from Egypt. Other academics claim tarot might find its origin in India with the card meanings entrenched in the concepts of deities.

Contemporary Tarot via Europe

How tarot made its way to Europe is disputed.

However, it became fashionable with Europeans as a party game around the mid-15th century, especially in Italy and France.

The word tarot originates from the French version, whereas the Italians called it tarocchi. Around the early 1700s, Protestant clerics began using the cards as tools of divine inspiration.

The Tarot Deck

The major arcana or trumps are the 22-card suits in a deck of 78 tarot cards.

Every major arcanum features an image often of a person or more than one person. These images are said to have symbolic elements.

For example, the high priestess, the devil, and the fool. The contemporary stigma, of course, is that tarot is in-line with black magic. However, tarot was not initially invented as a device of divination, nor magic.

The Use of Tarot as Reflection Rather Than Prediction

In a study done to test believers and non-believers of their perceived results after a tarot reading, researchers found that the tarot reading tended to reinforce the subject’s initial belief.

For example, if the person did not trust that a tarot card reading could predict their future, they walked away from the study with a stronger conviction that it was a false fortune telling.

Tarot is more than just predicting the future, it can also be used to reflect on the past.

Tarot is more than just predicting the future, it can also be used to reflect on the past.

Discard the Stigma of Fortune Telling

Tarot card reading, however, does not need to be viewed as a precise fortune telling.

As evident from the card deck’s history, it was not originally meant to be used to forecast events with precise accuracy. Regardless of what cards you pull and what your reading states, you can walk away in more profound contemplation about the issues you wanted to cover.

Tarot and the Memory

A few who study tarot state that one of the purposes of the tarot deck is to aid in the training of memory.

Seeing images often supports people in remembering and can stimulate different parts of the brain.

Visual associations can help a person hold an idea longer, remember a new thought about a subject, or even help problem solve by activating a different lobe of the brain.

If tarot can spark an original thought or idea in an area that is causing stress, the art of tarot card reading is worth using for that alone.

Remembering Inner Self-Reflection Better with Images

Sometimes a visual memory connected to an idea sticks with a person several years after an event more than thought alone.

If you are self-aware, you can mentally keep a check on how that area of your life is progressing. Similar to recalling events attached with strong visual memories, recollecting the sight of cards and the thoughts that connected with those images can help you retain self-reflective thoughts longer.

Self-awareness is an important part of living a healthy life.

Self-awareness is an important part of living a healthy life.

Tapping into the Subconscious

One of the potentially powerful benefits of tarot and self-reflection is that of the subconscious.

A large part of the practice of tarot reading, or tarotology, involves the deep psyche.

Whether it works by way of vibrational manifestation, a personal interpretation of the cards or by spiritual guidance is debatable. Regardless, a reading can spark the subconscious and help deeper thoughts surface.

The Collective Unconscious

Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung coined the term “collective unconscious” when describing the concept of a joined unconscious mind shared among creatures of the same species.

Some theorize that the collective unconscious could be a driving force in tarot readings.

If this is the case, naturally the person who is evaluating their life during a tarot session would be tapped into this collective unconscious.

Meditating on Your Subconscious Thoughts

A lot of intriguing thoughts can arise during a tarot reading if you allow yourself to tap into your subconscious and meditate on these thoughts.

With your everyday thoughts often clouding your mind and distracting you from your intuition, sometimes writing down and speaking about your first gut reactions to cards can pull up those subconscious answers.

You can use Tarot cards to reveal answers from your subconcious.

You can use Tarot cards to reveal answers from your subconcious.

Utilize the Serene Environment of a Tarot Reading

With tarot usually being a one-on-one experience or even a solitary one for an experienced reader, it can offer a quiet space much like therapy to ruminate on areas of your life.

Use this time to do such pondering without the opinions of several others or the outside world guiding your thoughts.

Even if you encounter tarot readings at a large party, take time when you have a quiet moment to evaluate the cards and meditate on what you got from your session.

Reflective Questions and Finding Clarity with Intuition

So, it is certain that reflecting on a tarot reading can bring up issues or even answer questions from your subconscious mind.

In Mary K. Greer’s book, Tarot for Your Self, she states that you can use tarot cards to help you make decisions and find clarity. Interpreting a card reading does not have to be taken in the most literal form. You can contemplate the cards to open your mind to new solutions your life.

For example, Greer outlines questions like, do you notice any significance in the cards you’ve chosen?

Questions in Approaching a Tarot Reading

A few additional ideas to reflect on your reading for clarity could include:

General Situations in Your Life

  • If you draw a card for a specific situation, take a moment to contemplate how that life circumstance came to be.
  • Did it happen by your own choice? Alternatively, was the decision made for you?
  • Did you feel in control of what happened?
  • Do you notice any patterns in the cards that make sense in your life, yet you ignored before?
  • If the card reader says you will decide one way or another about something, what is your gut reaction? Listening to those feelings can illuminate how you genuinely want to proceed or not. You can change your path if you do not like where it’s headed.

Upsetting Card Readings

  • Were any severely adverse issues addressed? Distressing topics can arise if you pull the devil card, for example. They do not always mean the worst case scenario but can be helpful as a warning of caution.
  • If the reader did not explicitly say what vice or negativity the card was about, do you know in your gut what it might be?
  • What actions can you take to change the course of a potentially harmful path? Speculating on the unhappy cards can help you take responsibility for your actions and shine a light on parts of your life that need to change.

Regarding Relationships

  • If the tarot reader mentions “someone close to you” regarding a particular card, this can bring up immediate intuitive answers or emotions concerning that relationship. What are those feelings?
  • How can you improve that relationship and its potential trajectory?
  • How can you take responsibility for your share in that particular bond?

Positive Readings

  • Even with an overtly positive reading, when you heard everything you wanted, take time to consider what you must to do if you desire that particular outcome.
  • What steps do you need to take to get there?
  • How hard will you need to work to achieve the things you want? Getting a good tarot reading does not mean it is time to be lazy and wait for things to happen. You still must act to make progress.
Asking yourself the right questions is a powerful tool for improving your life

Asking yourself the right questions is a powerful tool for improving your life.

Do Not Ignore Your Intuition

Your intuition can help your subconscious clarify feelings about relations, personal dilemmas, or nagging situations you’ve tried to ignore.

Even the most skeptical person can walk away from a tarot card reading and gain insight.

It’s even better to write these thoughts down as soon as you get a chance. That way you can go back and reflect on them in a month, in six months, even in a year and see how events happened or benefited from any acumens you gained.

Tarot and Healing

Regardless of how tarot began, many suggest the practice is an excellent tool for therapy and an instrument to help heal the human psyche.

The healing process needs more than science. Healing, from both physical and emotional issues, entails activating a patient’s optimism and their confidence in the treatments of physicians.

Placebo Can Be Priceless

Some denote it as the law of attraction, while others give credit to prayer.

The terminology does not necessarily matter. Even science has well-documented the placebo effect to be shockingly useful with many conditions, some as severe as Parkinson’s Disease.

If a person believes and expects something to happen, the mind can perform amazing feats. So, if a tarot reading gives a person strong hope for their future, a belief in health, or a reason for emotional healing, tarot is a profound therapeutic tool.

Try Tarot with a Journal

If you’ve never had a card reading, or have tried a tarot session before and shrugged it off, you can attempt writing your evaluations in conjunction with a tarot session.

Get a card reading from a reputable tarot expert and journal about the cards that you pulled afterward.

Write down what initial questions you had, document the cards and what the reader said about them. Then jot down your intuitive thoughts on the session.

Did it give you hope? Did it upset you? If you are upset, why do you feel that way? Do you feel like there are any actions you should take after hearing what was said?

Meditate on Your Insights

The insight you gain from a Tarot reading may be surprising so keep an open mind.

The insight you gain from a Tarot reading may be surprising so keep an open mind.

After writing down your thoughts, set a timer—whether it’s five minutes or a half hour—and meditate on the feelings you received from your card reading.

Write down any further insights you gained from contemplating your situation. Revisit what you wrote a week later and then a month later.

You might be surprised to find you gained more perspective from a tarot reading than you ever would have thought. If nothing else, you at least spent some time in self-reflection, and that is almost always helpful.

Forget Your Preconceived Notions

So, perhaps you view tarot as a vibrational predictor of the course you are on.

You might see it as a fun party game.

Alternatively, you might have always judged it to be a useless act of trickery.

It’s a difficult thing for a genuine tarot reader to prove themselves to a cynic who refuses to believe in something, after all. Whether you’re a believer or not, however, you can gain valuable new understandings about your life with tarot.

Even if you only see it as a therapy tool to help you answer questions, you can learn much from this sort of rumination.

Anything that opens your mind to new ideas or solutions is worthwhile. Moreover, if a tarot card reading gives you hope when you desperately need some optimism, that alone is priceless.

If you’ve never tried tarot, or you’re a cynic, try it with a more mindful approach. You may be pleased with what you uncover.