Tarot: Trusting Your Intuition

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot
Image by Victoria Constantino

When it comes to interpreting tarot, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend throwing out the guidebook, but trusting your own intuition above all is important. It’s best when you have a working knowledge of the usual meanings of cards and can then draw from that tradition as a springboard to further your understanding. A deepening of understanding comes when you tune into what your intuition is telling you the cards mean—for you in particular, or for the specific querent you are reading for. 

Decks that include symbolism (in contrast to minimalist decks) provide a rich tradition from which we can draw. The symbols themselves—which can be represented by figures or archetypes, animals, what we would traditionally think of as symbols (such as planetary representations), and colors—provide a rich depth of meaning we can use to create interpretations that are unique to us or the querent. Do butterflies symbolize something specific to you, or does the number four hold a certain meaning that only you would know? Those are influences that can factor into your interpretation of the cards. 

If the guidebook says X about a certain card, but you are feeling Y, always trust your instinct. Cards carry messages that impact us where we are, in the moment in which we are interpreting them. Whether a card is a reflection of your current energies or station, represents future possibilities, or what is at the end of the path you are currently on is something a guidebook cannot tell you. This is where your intuition becomes key. The same card could mean something completely different to you depending on when you draw it and where you are energetically at the time.

When you are first starting out with tarot or trying to strengthen your connection to your intuition, writing down your thoughts about each card in a journal can yield insights. Try doing this before consulting the guidebook—you may surprise yourself. When you’re done writing out your interpretation, you can then review what the guidebook says about the card and look for any common threads. This can assist you as you are learning about the cards and can help you develop your eye for symbolism as well as your interpretive capacity. It can also help you to trust yourself more as you confirm your insights with the guidebook’s interpretations, realizing, however, that you may produce deeper insights about the card and its meaning that the guidebook does not delve into.

Trust—that is, trusting our own wisdom and understanding—goes a long way toward improving our ability to obtain meaning and significance from a reading. As with most things, time, commitment, patience, and continued practice will help you to strengthen your connection to your intuition.

Tarot: The Journey Within

Decks: Soul Cards Tarot & Blue Bird Lenormand
Image by Victoria Constantino

Tarot is a reflection of ourselves. When we hold a deck, a sort of energetic transference takes place. It is a connection that takes place all day, every day, and it is as natural as breathing. Anytime we hold something, we are connecting with its energy. It may not be a conscious connection, but it happens nonetheless. When we consider that everything is energy, this isn’t so surprising. Those who are sensitive to energy can connect with objects in this way and obtain any information they may hold.

Anyone who has worked with energy tools, like pendulums and tarot, for any significant period of time will tell you that you can get a skewed or false reading if your energy is off, or not aligned. If you are upset or impatient or having a bad day, for example, or if your thoughts are scattered or you are experiencing anxiety, the cards will reflect this. That is why it is so important to breathe deeply or otherwise connect in to a place of peace before entering a reading, whether you are receiving it or performing it, for yourself or another. Many practitioners develop their own rituals around this, and often, those may include prayer or calling on higher guidance or allies for a message. It can simply involve calling on the highest truth and light to assist with the reading. This is a way of ensuring the truth and accuracy of the cards and interpretation, and that it comes from a place of light to bring clarity and wisdom to the querent.

The way we approach a reading is also connected to the expectations we have for it. If we enter a reading with doubt that it will be of any value, then the cards will reflect that. However, if we enter the reading in a place of trust or positive expectation, expecting clarity to come from it, then that is what the cards will deliver. In precisely the way that the cards reflect our energy, they are also a powerful reflective tool that allows us to peer within. Of course, we can ask the cards anything, which opens up infinite possibilities of exploration for us. If we are examining what we need to release that we may not be aware of, or anything that may be coming up for clearing and healing, or even how best to go about doing the work of healing, the cards can be a valuable tool that allows us infinite insight into our interior landscape.

When we are attuned to our intuition, we can gain exponentially greater value from a reading. In this ideal interpretive space, we can go far, far beyond what the guidebook says to find the meaning and interpretation that is meant especially for us and our specific situation and experience. Certain symbols on the cards may catch our eye, for example; those can hold meanings that we can interpret in ways that are particular to us and, in this way, provide us with unique value. Trusting our instincts when it comes to the interpretation is key, as it opens us up to a greater flow of information. As soon as we doubt, we put up blocks to anything that might want to come through. Overall, tarot provides a medium through which we can tap into deeper and deeper layers of healing, awareness, and understanding that bring us further in our journey into the interior.

Gaining Perspective

Pagan Otherworlds Tarot by Uusi
Image by Victoria Constantino

Like The Hanged Man in the tarot, we could all sometimes use a change in perspective. But this can present its own challenges. How do we know when we need to step back from something, think outside of the box, gain further clarity? The short answer is: when we feel stuck or stagnant, when we aren’t progressing, when we feel the excitement and enthusiasm for something we once celebrated or looked forward to has vanished. When the ideas aren’t coming or the next steps aren’t presenting themselves.

Tarot can be helpful when it comes to seeking advice or guidance. If you’re here reading this blog, you probably know that already. Beyond that, finding clarity can be a phone call (or text message, or email, or visit) away. Conversations with others can open our eyes to things we never considered before. That one friend (you know the one) who helps you figure things out just through asking questions or making casual observations. Talking with people you know less well can also be eye-opening, as they may be able to offer insights more objectively.

Gaining perspective is usually simple—and often, the simpler, the better (or more effective). Getting out in nature, going somewhere you’ve never been before, spending time away from your usual environment can do wonders. Something like this is often the catalyst that gets the ideas flowing again. After time away from the usual scenery, especially if you’ve been confined to a certain locale due to the pandemic, you tend to come back with fresh eyes.

If we’ve been holding onto a problem for a while, it can be hard to let go of the need to find the solution, but that is often exactly what is needed for it to make itself known. When we shift our focus to something we can appreciate or we otherwise get into the receiving mode, we create a path that allows what we’ve been asking for to flow to us. Followers of the Law of Attraction know this well. Let go to receive. It’s usually when we stop looking for the answer that the answer comes.

For all you seekers, here’s a spread you can use to support your process:

Image by Victoria Constantino
  1. What am I not seeing?
  2. Where could I use some perspective?
  3. How can I gain perspective?

Ritual and Intention

Image by Victoria Constantino

When we want to create a certain outcome, we begin by focusing on what we want. This is a way of setting intentions. Because we are powerful creators of our own reality, and our thoughts become things, intentions are a key aspect of manifesting change. The more deliberate we are about what we want and the more carefully we choose our thoughts, the more streamlined our focus will be, which allows our desires to materialize more rapidly. We may choose to supplement our intention with ritual because it is a part of our practice, or because it is a means of honoring our allies. Some choose to perform rituals because it is a way of working with intention in the physical world. Writing down what we desire, for example, on a sheet of paper and burning it releases our intentions to the universe.

Most of us participate in rituals in some form. Holiday traditions are often accompanied by rituals like specific songs or foods. Performing these rituals shifts our energy and the energy around us by helping us to focus in a certain way. When we express our gratitude during Thanksgiving, for example, we are honoring and appreciating certain things by giving them our attention, which draws more similar energies to us. Certain holiday dances are ways of expressing joy. Sports rituals can honor a certain team and can focus on a specific desired outcome for a game. Rituals can be elaborate or bare-bones simple; they can be timeless or created in a sudden burst of inspiration.

Accoutrements like tarot and oracle cards are simply tools we can use to tune into the universal energy that is all around us. In ritual, we often use objects like specific colors, crystals, and incense as ways of helping to shift the energy, concretize our intentions by making them physical (like writing down goals and desired outcomes), and to set a mood or create a sacred space. Because physical objects have certain energetic properties, they can support the energy behind our intentions as we work toward making them manifest in the physical world. Cinnamon and bay leaves are associated with wealth; rose quartz brings self-love; sandalwood supports us in protection and healing. Whether or not you choose to supplement the energy of your intention with physical objects and actions is a matter of personal preference. Ultimately, all we really need is intention and intuition.

Daily Tarot Draws

Image by Victoria Constantino

Pulling a card at the beginning of the day can offer a glimpse of what lies ahead. Just as you might choose to begin your day with a few quiet moments spent in reflection or meditation, doing breathwork, connecting to divine guidance, journaling, or repeating affirmations, tarot can support a practice of mindfulness. The beauty of tarot is that it is as versatile as the intention you apply to it. We can ask the cards anything, after all.

If you practice meditation or yoga, you may find it helpful to do those first before tuning into the cards. If yoga, meditation, or some other method of quieting the mind is not part of your routine, you may find it beneficial to first sit with quiet intention as you hold the cards. You can ask a specific question, and you can also pull a card that reflects the overall energies of the day ahead. It is important to remember that the information you receive isn’t set in stone; it can change just as your choices can change. The card you draw is a reflection of one possible outcome. Remember that you are a powerful creator of your own reality, so if you receive an answer you’re not satisfied with, set the intention for what you would like to see happen. You can always ask for further guidance by pulling more cards after setting your intention and fine-tune the unfolding as you plan your ideal day.

Following this practice with visualization can be helpful. Sitting for even 5 or 10 minutes imagining—really seeing and feeling—the outcome you desire can be so powerful. Doing this daily can be life-changing. We can focus on a long-term goal, and use every day to take one step closer to that goal. A day at a time, a step at a time, we move closer to realizing our goals. Tarot can be valuable in answering our questions about possible outcomes as well. But it is important to remember to always tune into your intuition above all. How you feel about something is your emotional barometer and tells you whether something is a good idea or not.

Ultimately, we can never precisely predict the future, but we can prepare ourselves energetically. Setting intentions for what we want to happen is a powerful tool that we all have at our disposal. We can look at tarot like an ally, much like crystals are allies. Tarot can support us in tapping into the energies at hand as we make use of the power of our will to create the change we desire.

Using Tarot to Deepen Your Spiritual Connection

A Jane Austen Tarot Deck
Image by Victoria Constantino

Tarot is a wonderful tool for understanding ourselves and the world in which we live, work, and play. We can use it for guidance on any conceivable subject. While I am a firm believer that it should be approached with trust and respect, we can use it to consult on anything that genuinely matters to us and for more general guidance in a given situation. It can help us to navigate with confidence and from a place of understanding the energies that are to come in the days and weeks ahead. In this way, it helps us to better prepare for what is on its way and to make any necessary adjustments.

Now more than ever, we have time to sit with our thoughts, to examine our lives, and consider where making changes would benefit us. Many of us have the opportunity to connect with ourselves and with our spirituality on deeper levels than perhaps ever before. There are many ways to strengthen our spiritual connection, including systems, beliefs, and practices that we may find beneficial to varying degrees. Meditation and yoga can help us practice mindfulness, center our thoughts and being-ness, and open to receive messages, guidance, and wisdom from the divine.

The beauty of using tarot to deepen that connection is that we can ask a question and receive an immediate answer, albeit one we may need to sit with for a while to fully comprehend. Tarot is a medium through which we can tap into understanding and wisdom that is only as limited as our capacity for interpretation. Best of all, when we approach the cards with reverence, trust, and from a centered state in which we intend to receive guidance that is for our highest good or to receive messages from the divine, our guides, or allies, we can connect with energies linked to source and draw from the well of infinite intelligence.

There are so many questions we can ask, depending on our needs and situation, that can help us strengthen our connection to source, our allies, the higher self, and to our own spirituality and intuition. Some of those might be, What guidance is available to me? How can I deepen my connection to source/my allies/my higher self/my intuition? How can I strengthen my trust? Tarot’s strength is in its versatility, which allows it to speak to us on many levels throughout our lives. Because it is based on archetypes that speak to the whole of human experience, it is a guiding light we can turn to anytime we need it.

Sympathetic Magic and Tarot

Pagan Otherworlds Tarot by Uusi
Image by Victoria Constantino

Sympathetic magic is based on the law of attraction, whose tenet is simple: like attracts like. This can serve our manifestations and sacred practice through the simple use of representational instruments, such as coins for prosperity and pomegranates for fertility, to name a few examples. The idea is that objects with energies related to what you are seeking to manifest help draw more of the same; placing these items in a sacred space or throughout your home (especially in the related feng shui guas) is common practice. Tarot cards are wonderfully various in their pictorial representations of many fundamental facets of life, such as happiness, abundance, family, strength, and so on, which makes them ideal for use in sympathetic magic.

As many of you know, I do a daily card draw through my social media accounts for the collective. Often, this is a single card, but sometimes the universe delivers more. Today’s card turned out to be the Nine of Cups, a card often associated with windfalls, inheritances, and lucky winnings. Being that it is in the suit of Cups, it is also linked to the emotional realm. And because nines are associated with completion, this card carries an aspect of emotional fulfillment, happiness, harmony, and generosity. The image of the wealthy tavern keeper is often associated with this card, especially in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. In the deck I use primarily for readings, the Pagan Otherworlds tarot by Uusi, the Nine of Cups features a frog sitting on a riverbank. Frogs can symbolize a leap into something new, as well as abundance, fertility, purification, rebirth, and renewal.

If I drew this card and wanted to set up a ritual or spell around it based on sympathetic magic, I might begin by placing it in an area of significance or sacred space, along with objects associated with what I am looking to draw in. I could light a candle to meditate on my intention and goals, visualizing the outcome I want to manifest in as much detail as possible. When visualizing, if you find yourself getting hung up on details, it’s best to keep it general and focus on the feeling of what you’re after, i.e., the feeling of abundance, fulfillment, happiness, and so on.

Sympathetic magic can be as simple or complex as you like; you can set up a single card or include numerous objects, herbs, crystals, and whatever else you like. As always, you should trust your instincts. It’s nice to have the energetic support of corresponding objects, but ultimately, all you really need is intention. The most important energetic component of all is always going to be what is in your vibration, as that is the ultimate determination of what you attract to you.

Choosing a Tarot Deck

The Supra Oracle and the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot by Uusi
Image by Victoria Constantino

When being drawn to a certain deck, one has to wonder: do you choose the deck or does it choose you? With the many and varied types and styles of tarot and oracle decks available, there is something to suit every taste. Often, it’s the artwork that captivates us, or the theme (cats, anyone?). Some oracle decks have pithy interpretations printed on the cards, like “It’s your lucky day.” Intrigued by mystique? No pre-loaded interpretation necessary; decks featuring artwork-only leave the deciphering to the reader and may reward a greater depth and variety of interpretive nuance.

If you’re undecided and searching, it can be useful to first get clear on what you want to use the deck for. Are you going to use it for general, everyday readings, doing readings for others, for meditation or journaling? Different decks tend to support different purposes. You may not want to use the same deck you use for your own readings to give readings to others (it’s an energy thing). You might also have one that you use for visualization purposes and to support your manifestations that you employ solely for that purpose.

Sometimes, when we’re tuned into our internal guidance, we may be steered toward one deck or another, and on occasion, we don’t quite know why—it’s not always a deck we would normally choose. In my experience though, it’s always a good idea to trust your intuition. There may be a message or some wisdom in it for you that turns out to be invaluable or leads you on a path of self-discovery.

Other times, it’s love at first sight. You know that deck, it’s the one… You’ve never seen anything so gorgeous in your life. You have to have it. My advice? If you like it, get it.

Ultimately, it’s really a personal decision. If you get a deck and after using it for a while, decide it doesn’t resonate with you anymore, you can always exchange with someone who has a deck you like that they’re willing to part with.

Divine Timing

Divine timing is a commonly used term that can mean different things depending on where you are on your journey. Abraham-Hicks teaches that when you ask, it is given. To a large extent, when something comes to you depends on you and your degree of allowing it to come into being. Are you blocking it with resistant thoughts, actions, or beliefs? If so, then you are holding it at bay.

It takes the nonphysical very little time, according to our linear understanding of time, to assemble all of the cooperative components for the things we want. Sometimes, manifestations come about as the result of a progression of events, and we are meant to enjoy the unfolding and witness it in appreciation for all its magnificence, for the extraordinary way in which is it is assembled, revealed, and delivered to us.

When we are in alignment, we are in a place of receptivity that allows guided action to come to us. These actions can be seemingly inconsequential, but can lead to a truly uncanny unfolding of events. Something as simple as calling a friend can generate powerful momentum that ultimately has us standing in the middle of a manifestation.

We are divine beings, and divine timing is often about how much we are letting in. Because we are co-creators of our reality, we are also working in concert with other divine, nonphysical beings who, from where they stand, have a bird’s-eye view and can see the bigger picture that is hidden from our limited perspective. This is why so much of our experience is about trusting—remaining steady in the knowing that things are working out for us to our greatest and highest good. If we stay strong in that belief, because we create our own realities, then it will be so.

Sometimes, we have to do inner work like healing and clearing old energies and beliefs and replacing them with energies and thought patterns that bring us into a place of allowing and receptivity, so that we are a vibrational match for what we want to bring into our lives. In this case, divine timing becomes about our readiness to receive.

It could be that we need to be in the right place at the right time to propel events into being. It can be about meeting a certain person or making a certain contact or any number and combination of events and components that will lead us to the place we want to be, and to the things and situations we want to manifest. When we are in that place of readiness, we allow the guidance to come through and receive it, sometimes as thoughts and ideas, and other times as suggestions, ideas, or opportunities from outside sources.

This is where trust becomes really important. Trusting that inner knowing, that little voice of guidance that comes through to gently suggest action steps, can be so powerful. Try following through and see what comes about. Keeping a journal of these events and the guided action that led to them can be a powerful tool for reflection later on. As you read through the unfolding of events, you may notice patterns and details that help strengthen your belief as well as your understanding of the way the divine works, both with us and through us.

The Wisdom of Tarot

Not surprisingly, The World card comes in for the collective today, coinciding with this weekend’s new moon. New moons are a time of seeding intentions, a time that supports the writing out—and speaking aloud—of the things we wish to breathe into being. This card aligns with the new moon energy perfectly. It tells of promising new beginnings and a new cycle coming into existence. This is a time in which we are powerfully supported by these universal energies—in which success, accolades, honors, and achievements can all be ours.

So often, the cards we receive align in this way, so perfectly with the supporting energies, whether those energies are universal or personal. This tells us something. Tarot holds a particular wisdom. It reveals the unseen, the energies and hidden dynamics that are working on our behalf behind the scenes, and the groundwork that is being laid for us. It holds up a mirror to show us where we can improve and where we are headed, given the current circumstances.

Looked at another way, everything is attraction. We live in an attraction universe. The tenet of the Law of Attraction, a sibling to the Law of Gravity, is simply this: that which is like unto itself is drawn. The cards we attract show us where we are, reflect our current vibration, revealing to us what we are attracting into our lives.

That is, perhaps, tarot’s highest purpose. This form of divination is a mirror reflecting back to us our own state of being. The beauty of knowing where we currently stand is that we can shift our vibration, our focus, at any time. We can always redirect, reroute, and change course. We can always change our minds. We are never locked into any specific endeavor.

Life is a palette of contrasts, a magnificent artist’s toolkit with seemingly infinite variety. We get to sift through all the materials at our disposal and determine what it is we want to create, where we are headed next, what we are reaching for as we grow, change, and evolve.

It is an infinite dance we are participating in, one of continual seeking and finding, desiring and receiving, as we climb the ladder of our own growth and evolution. And we can thank the tarot for being a guiding light along the way.