Arrange for some time to be alone and undisturbed; an hour would be about right. If you have music available, put on something that is calm, serene, and meditative. Take a relaxing bath, imagining strongly that you are cleansing not only your body, but also your soul and spirit as well. Dress in costume, or wear jewelry that has a particularly "magical" feel for you.
You will need a clean, flat surface to use as an altar to lay out the cards for your spell. An out-of-the-way table or dresser top that will remain undisturbed for as long as you need it will do.
The illustration to the right gives an example of how you could set up a Tarot card spell with cards and accessories. Set out an incense burner, two or more candles (with colors appropriate to the work you are doing, as suggested in the individual spells), and your Tarot deck. Other magical implements may be suggested in conjunction with various spells. You may also make your arrangement more elaborate by setting out flowers, crystals or gemstones, and by using colored cloths on which to lay everything.
When all is in readiness, pause for a silent meditation, placing our mind in a serene, receptive state. Hold this quiet, contemplative state for as long as seems appropriate. Then light the candles. Now hold your hands over the layout in an attitude of invocation or blessing and say these or similar words:
Pause for the length of five heartbeats, then pick up the Tarot deck and remove the significant cards for your spell, saying in these or similar words:
"Reaching far into the archaic past
At this point, turn to the specific spell you wish to perform and lay the cards out according to the diagram provided. Use the visualizations provided as you lay out each card.
After you have laid out the cards and made the appropriate meditations and visualizations, carefully and with as much feeling as you can, read aloud the affirmation provided by the spell for the subject of your magic.
To close this rite, you may add more incense to the burner, and summarize in your own words the matter that you are working to accomplish. Once again, consider the cards and visualize the event as happening. Do this for a period of at least twenty-five heartbeats. Time is not important here as the complete and total concentration on that which you wish to accomplish. Do it, and do it well!
Then hold your hands out over the cards, as if to charge them with the Power that you visualize being drawn through your entire body and out through your hands and you say in these or similar words:
Remain before your card arrangement for a period of at least twenty-five heartbeats, contemplating the cards and visualizing the subject of your spell as being accomplished. Put all of the candles out. Then kiss your hand in salute or render some other such salute to the powers, and depart.
Excerpted from Tarot Spells by Janina Renée
Janina Renée is a scholar of folklore, psychology, medical anthropology, the material culture of magic, ritual studies, history, and literature. Her books include Tarot Spells, Tarot Your Everyday Guide (winner ...