What can you use tarot cards other than readings and telling fortunes? Lots of things as it happens. The cards are much more versatile than you might think. We’re going to explore a range of uses for tarot cards, including creative and spiritual development.
First of why are we able to make tarot do so much? The answer is simple: tarot reflects the whole of human life, from birth to death, from good to bad, from satisfying and fulfilling to challenging and traumatic, from the trials of everyday life to divine spiritual lessons. There’s nothing you can think of that you couldn’t connect to a tarot card or combination of cards. It’s the original game of life.
The cards themselves are just that—cards. There’s nothing intrinsically special about them. However, the images they carry are conduits to our subconscious. Those images, and the symbolism within, connect memories, impressions, mysteries, psychic awareness and intuition.
Tarot for Creativity
Whenever you are in need of inspiration, whether it is creating art, music, writing or anything else that requires free-flowing ideas, turn to your cards. Ask some questions to get the creative juices flowing. You can be as specific as you like by asking about your current project or you can ask tarot to point you in a new direction. Pick a random card or two, or flick through the deck until an image leaps out at you. Here are some examples:
- What do I want to create?
- What’s the next plot point in this story?
- What is this character thinking?
- What does the figure in this card say about art?
- Is there an aspect of my creativity I am neglecting?
- Is there anything I should do to develop my creativity?
What practical step can I take to kick-start new ideas?
- How do I connect with this work emotionally?
- What if I were to create my own version of this card?
- How would this card express itself in music?
- And so on… think about your creative crossroads and make up your own pertinent questions.
Shuffle and turn cards as you wish. Don’t worry about traditional meanings. Pay attention to the figures in the illustrations. How do they look? What are they doing? What could they be saying to you? Look at the colors, numbers and any details that catch your eye. Write down any ideas that come to mind. Try doing some free-writing (writing without thinking about the actual process of writing—let it flow) using the card as a prompt. Let the words come out and see where it takes you.
Using Tarot to Manifest Your Desires
My favorite way to use tarot to manifest things I want and events I’d like to happen is a tarot vision board. You can do this by simply choosing a few cards to represent your wish. Focus on them, perhaps light a candle or meditate on them. It’s a good idea to place a small crystal on each and leave them where you can see them.
If you wish to make it more complex, then get an actual board or large piece of card. Find and cut out magazine images, words, and/or do your own drawings. Make the board as beautiful and inspirational as you can. Leave some gaps. Choose some appropriate cards and place them in the spaces you left. You’ll have to keep this vision board flat, unless you photocopy the cards and stick the copies to the board.
This technique worked really well when my partner and I were looking for a new house 17 years ago. We got everything I put on the board. And we’re still here.
Self-understanding with Tarot
Understanding where you are in your life path, your emotions and actions, is tarot’s forte. You can approach this as a normal reading, like this:
Shuffle your deck and lay out five cards in a row:
- What are my hidden motivations? Don’t flinch. Be prepared for anything and have the courage to explore what the card has to say to you.
- What are my best qualities? Take all the positive aspects of the card and make a list. See how they apply to you.
- How am I deceiving myself? If the card doesn’t give you a clear answer, use it as a focus for meditation. Put the card to one side and, when you have time, do a meditation to see what is revealed.
- What life lesson is facing me? This may involve an in-depth exploration of the card. Research it and find out all you can.
- Guidance for moving forward: what do I need to accept, or what actions should I be taking?
Tarot is perfect for learning and understanding those tricky life lessons that are thrown at us. Those challenges, however they manifest, are all opportunities to assimilate a spiritual lesson. Whether it be falling out with a friend or having a fight with your partner. Select cards that best represent the situation and explore their messages, from where you are right now, to where this might take you. Try to look for the positives and ways to bring courage and forgiveness to the situation. Then draw a single random card for onward guidance.
A fun way of developing your intuition is to draw random cards for any situations: real, fiction, drama, TV news, celeb gossip, etc. Then, putting aside what you know about the card intellectually, make up a completely new interpretation for the situation you’re reading about. Then see how it develops and unfolds to see if you were right. Start with single cards then work up to short spreads, maximum of five cards.
Tarot is renowned for being a helper in meditation:
- Choose a card or pull one at random.
- Sit still. Bring yourself to a state of relaxation using whatever technique works best for you. I find imagining myself slowly descending down levels of color helps. I visualize traveling down a moving staircase, going through the colors of the rainbow in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and finally at the lowest level, violet. Allow the colors to glow and envelop you in their energy.
- Walk through a doorway and along a beautiful path. Enjoy the physical sensations of smell, touch, sight as you walk. Eventually you come to a clearing where you meet your tarot card. This might display as a huge card, or the figure/s in the card.
- Ask the card/figure to give you the best advice it possibly can in this moment. Listen to the answer. Ask any other questions that occur to you. After a little while, you’ll feel that you are being pulled back to full consciousness. Gently allow the vision to fade. When you are ready, write down what you can remember.
Working with the Elements
Tarot is the best tool for gaining an understanding of the spiritual elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Examining how the suits progress; advancing or decaying with the increase in the energy of their elements is fundamental to a good grasp of tarot, and of life. Practice associating real life events to a tarot card, whether Major or Minor. This is fun thing to do, and pretty soon, you will have an ‘inner deck’ firmly ensconced in your mind.
Don’t let your deck sit on a shelf, give it some work to do. See if you can discover other uses for tarot cards.