There are lots of ways to read a tarot card. The other day, I was rereading Whatâ€™s in the Cards for You? by one of my favorite people on the planet, Mark McElroy. The book provides exercises (each one is about 15 minutes) that you do each day. One exercise, 15 minutes a day, 30 days. At the end, you assess your experience and find out what your best aptitude and inclinations are for using the tarot: educational, magickal, psychological, creative, predictive, or planning. Itâ€™s a clever book. I think a group that meets once a month could have fun with this, with each member doing the exercises and then coming together to do the assessment.
But I thought one of the exercises would be useful in another way. I like this method for working with a new deck, especially one that is not a RWS clone. It helps me get intimate with cards very quickly and also helps me leave my RWS lens at the door, so I can see the new deck on its own terms.
- What elements do you notice in the card illustration?
- Which element stands out to you the most?
- What numbers are associated with the card?
- What text, titles, or keywords appear on your card?
- What emotions do postures or expressions suggest?
- What meanings have others assigned to this card?
- What are the characters on this card doing? What were they doing just before this? What will happen next?
- If the characters on this card could talk, what advice would they offer you?
- If this illustration appeared on the outside of a greeting card, what would the message on the inside be?
- Based on what you discovered above, what are the best possible, worst possible, and a middle-of-the-road meanings for this card?