Over the past week or so, I have been working with the archetypal images of the tarot for contemplation and meditation during my daily devotional. So I thought I would share a simple devotional Christian tarot practice for going deeper into God’s word and applying it in practical ways to our lives.
I find this practice works well first thing in the morning, as part of my morning devotional and after spending time in the Word. It can provide a faith anchor in words and images for the day ahead. But there is nothing stopping you from doing this in the evening instead if that is when you have more free time.
Please note that this is not a form of fortune-telling. Nor is it a form of works-based practice to attain something that Christ has not already achieved for us. It is simply a playful means of gaining intuitive insight into how we are living out the grace of Christ in practical ways and how we can grow in this grace.
Meditation vs Contemplation
Christian meditation is not an emptying of the mind. It’s using the imagination to ponder a passage of Scripture. Combining meditation and contemplation in a daily practice of lectio divina can be very powerful.
Christian contemplation is a gift from God and it’s about resting in God’s embrace. We cannot force a connection with God through this practice, we can only choose to be still by focusing on our chosen word. This practice has many names in the Christian tradition. Prayer of the Heart, Simple Regard, Centering Prayer and Active Recollection are but four of the names.
As part of a daily practice of lectio divina, contemplation is usually the final stage. And it is important to not miss out on what I like to think of as just basking in God’s loving presence. But as you come out of this quiet contemplation, a question or insight pertaining to the Scripture passage you meditated on earlier might arise. This is where the use of tarot cards and a journal can be added on.
The Question and the Lesson
For instance, from the passage above, the question about how to increase in godliness might arise. Let’s say you randomly but prayerfully pull The Lovers to reflect a lesson you need to learn (or have learned recently) connected with this space. This means that discernment and always choosing love can act as focal points throughout the day for practical ways in which you can grow in godliness.
You can choose to stop at just one card, especially if pulling more cards feels overwhelming or you need to get on with your day.
Release and Embrace
However, two more cards can be chosen. You can pull all cards randomly face down or choose the images that most speak to you. After pondering the lesson, choose one card for what to release. Here we have Judgement as an example. This can lead to some musings about how judgment is different from discernment. It can be helpful to journal any insights you gain.
Then choose one card for what to embrace. This can be a call to action, especially with a card from the dynamic suit of wands as in the example above. In the 7 of Wands, we see the need to stand up for the rights of those who are oppressed.
If you do this devotional tarot practice in the evening, the first card represents a central theme relating to the Scripture passage you are working with. You can then choose to either look at what unravelled or fell away during the day, depending on whether you feel you need to release something or not.
Or you can choose to do what Brittany Muller does in her contemplative tarot examen and pull a card on what has drained you of energy that day. That is then something you can hand over to God in prayer. The embrace card can instead represent a blessing you received during the day or something you engaged in that was life-giving.
Close with a Prayer
Once you have finished journaling what you are learning about the Scripture passage you have chosen to meditate on as relating to yourself in practical ways, seal in the devotional with prayer and give thanks for God’s wisdom and guidance.
Let me know if you find this helpful. Using cards for a Christian tarot practice is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea but you can work with any set of images that are rich in symbolism and that speak to you.