Way back in "Revitalizing Your Tarot Practice, Part I," we began this series by visualizing a horrifying scene: you shuffle your beloved cards, lay them out, stare at them, and suddenly see…nothing! Or worse, you don't even feel like picking up your deck. Or perhaps you lay out the cards and you feel uninspired and bored. The cards don't seem like familiar friends full of wise council; instead, they feel like a rerun of Seinfeld that you've seen sixteen times. These are all signs of what some people call Tarot Reader Burnout.
To recap, Tarot Reader Burnout happens to most tarotists at some time or another. Just as a friendship or relationship can become dull and stagnant, your reading practice or study can become routine. Luckily, just as there are plenty of tips and tricks to revitalize a relationship, there are lots of ways to reinvigorate your tarot practice. So far, we've covered shaking things up with deck choices, new spreads, and further modalities and study.
Tarot is all about getting answers…and yet so much depends on the question. Maybe it's time to start asking different sorts of questions. Like what, you wonder? Read on and find out. Getting out of a rut is as easy as changing something. Find out why and how in the paragraphs below. Finally, if you are reading this, it is likely that you are already looking around for new tarot ideas. Letting in fresh air is always effective in blowing away the cobwebs. We'll end with a handful ideas to do just that.
Ask a Different Question
We have all heard the phrase, if you want the right answer, then you have to ask the right question. So much depends on that all-important part of the tarot equation. The question controls the tenor and direction of the entire reading. So, if you want to shake things up, radically change your questions. There are two approaches to this that I like, each representing opposite ends of the question spectrum.
The first is to ask the silliest, most mundane questions you can think of. Keep your cards handy and whenever you have to make a decision where the choice likely won't have much of a long term or major affect on your life, pull a card for the answer. Should you have tea or coffee? Go out to a movie or stay home and watch the game? Chicken or tofu? Rice Krispies or Cheerios? Red sweater or blue jacket? Questions like these are not hugely important, so the answers really don't matter that much. The benefit to using the cards in this situation is that there is no pressure to "get it right." These are great opportunities for you to practice reading intuitively. Ask the question, pull a card, look at it, and say the answer immediately. You don't even need to explain why or how you came that answer.
The second type of reading is far more serious in subject matter, although a sense of playfulness wouldn't be inappropriate. In her book Tarot Wisdom, Rachel introduces us to what she calls Wisdom Readings. These are questions that go beyond the usual "will I find my soul-mate?" to "what is the soul?" One of my favorites that Rachel writes about in her book Forest of Souls is that one time she asked the tarot to "show me the reading you gave God to create the universe." Think about the deepest, most puzzling, unanswerable questions that interest you and ask the tarot. Many people think of a tarot deck as a collection of seventy-eight friends willing to share their wisdom and advice; take advantage of the collective knowledge you hold in your hand. Shuffle them up and ask…anything.
Years ago, in my college Psych 101 class, the teacher told us that couples fall into routines and one way to add excitement to relationship that was feeling stale is to interrupt those routines. Even small ways, he said, would have big effects. This same principle can be applied to your tarot readings. Just like a romance, it doesn't take much to spice things up.
You needn't overhaul your entire routine, just something. If you always read in the same place, try somewhere new. If you always pull a card in the morning or read at a certain time of day, try a different time. If you've developed a ritual around your shuffling, cutting, and dealing of the cards, test drive some new techniques. If you want to read some interesting alternatives, check out this blog post and in particular all the comments. Try adding or changing a starting or ending ritual. Or, if you feel really stuck, meditate on the Tower card.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Tarot can sometimes be a very solitary practice, especially if you read mainly for yourself. Working alone has advantages, but chatting with others, sharing ideas, having your ideas questioned, hearing different points of view, and listening others' experiences all have a way of inspiring the mind. There are, thanks to the internet, plenty of ways to connect with other like-minded people. Here are just a few: