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So You Want Work with Tarot? You Have Some Magic In You: A Primer

A tarot spread with candles.
Tarot puts you in touch with your magic.

If you are new to Tarot-- but starting out-- chances are there is some magic in you that is drawn to this modality. There is a part of your soul that needs a language to talk to you. Lindsay Mack, of Tarot for the Wild Soul, calls it wildness. This is the pureness of your energy, pre-domestication. This is your bodhisattva self, the ball of energy that you came forth as, the wisdom and beauty of your newborn self. You weren’t meant to stay statically this; you were meant to have challenges and obstacles, and trauma to help you expand. Then say your first trauma is your trip through the birth canal, or when you first find yourself outside of the womb.

So there is a pure energy– again, a wildness inside of you that is looking for a voice. It does not speak in well formed sentences, and often we have been told how to suppress it. Capitalistic and patriarchal systems have done this to everyone, no matter where on the gender spectrum you sit. Women were burned at the stake for this knowledge. We have a hard time listening to the call inside because bills, food, work, family, exhaustion, illness, trauma, etc. And yet, this part of you IS you.

Tarot called me first when I was in my 20's. I wanted a Marseilles Deck (don’t know why) and I started to play around with it, but found it hard to learn because I was in university, and dealing with many of the things I mentioned in the last paragraph. I then was called to it in my 40's after doing some deep medicine work– this time I went for a Smith-Rider-Waite style deck, which is easier to learn on.  The call was very strong this time, and I would spend hours asking questions, trying to get concrete answers. This was early times, and I would say this was when I started to really just trip out on the images and feelings. I started to get to know the cards, but I was looking up meanings online a lot. Only after a couple years did I take training, and that’s when I felt more confident to read for others. As of now, I’m still learning these cards and what they have to tell me. It will be a lifelong journey and relationship with my inner self.

If you are called to start working with tarot, and you are a beginner, this tells me that you have some magic in you that is trying to find a voice. So congratulations for that. The world NEEDS your magic. It might feel like a desperate call; like I don’t know what to do and this is the only thing I can think of. That is normal. That is how I felt it. And if you are just curious, that’s cool too. There is no right way to come to this work. Part of the lesson of the tarot is that there is no right way to do anything. I say this knowing that there are plenty of tarot readers that will confidently tell you the future outcome, or warn you of something or someone. That is not the kind of tarot that I do, and not the kind that I find helpful. I am an astrologer, and although I can predict things for people based on planetary alignment, I can’t really make a "call" on something unless I’m feeling it energetically and strongly. It’s not the tarot or a chart that tells me this, it’s my wildness. And the more I have worked with tarot, meditated, worked with medicine, and given my soul a voice-- the louder that voice has gotten.

Part of what I encourage you to do if you start working with tarot is: fuck around with it. I like Smith Rider Waite decks because they all have pictures on them, and when you are learning, you can develop a relationship with the images. Once you have developed that relationship, you can work with any deck. But that’s just a suggestion. Some people are deeply attracted to the hermetic, Golden Dawn, Thoth way. There are different schools of tarot, and part of finding your wildness is trusting your own jumping off point.  I also encourage you to find a deck that really calls to you: research them if you can. I buy my own– I’ve heard that the deck needs to be gifted to you, but I wasn't going to wait around for that, and never have. I have two gifted decks and six I bought myself. They all work for me. 

Another thing to advise on– is that you want your guides with you. That wildness that is IN you is also around you. There is energy that guides you everyday- from the impulse to take a different route home, or to talk to a stranger. That energy-- benevolent energy-- is there to be harnessed and to help you. 

Learning to trust your voice and soul is not an easy road. Tarot will confuse and piss you off. You’ll find yourself in interesting conversations with yourself, or actual tears because a card just won’t leave you alone. But the reward is a deeper self knowing. A link to the actual you, its guidance, and its path for you. When I read for people, I find a coalescence between what I feel coming from them, and my own path. It’s a deep and intense (and highly rewarding) exchange. It feels good to connect on this level. 

If you are guided to take this journey, please do. The world needs you, and you don't need to feel confident and put together to know that. You may want to check out my article Working with Tarot Cards: 10 Tips for Beginners for more insight. 

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