This morning, I had the idea of writing a post about using the Tarot as a liberating practice. Before I started to write my thoughts down, I decided to Google ‘Tarot as Liberating Practice’ and came across THIS ARTICLE by Liberation Theologian Mike Rivage-Seul. Please read the whole article. It is extremely thoughtful and to the point. And if a blog post about the Tarot was ever worthy of a virtual ‘mic drop’ this is it. The irony that it is written by someone who is new to the Tarot has not passed me by.
To inspire you further to read the full article, I include the following quote:
“In its light, I saw tarot cards as representing valuable attempts to draw together common mythological elements found in religions across the planet (…) and in various historical periods, for purposes of making sense of shared human experience. That in itself made the cards precious.
More than that however, I perceived their power to lead practitioners to either surrender to (political and spiritual) forces beyond their control or as empowering them to resist those forces precisely as subjects challenging control by concepts of “normality,” by scientific determinism, or by narrow moralities, legal restrictions, emperors, or popes.”
My Own Fool’s Journey
Though I almost hesitate to add my own thoughts now that I know someone who is better able to say what I wanted to convey about the power of the Tarot to liberate the soul, I want to share some of my own experiences with the Tarot, both from the point of view of reading for myself and from the point of view of reading for others.
As some of you know, I used the Tarot to recover from Religious Trauma Syndrome earlier this year.
I recovered by creating the Wyld Godde Tarot Major Arcana in combination with EFT Tapping and learning about Religious Trauma Syndrome. The book I used was ‘Leaving the Fold‘ by Marlene Winell. The workbook for Leaving the Fold is available on her site journeyfree.org. All three components were vital in my recovery. However, because the Tarot has been my first love for decades, it was crucial for me to reclaim and liberate both it and myself this way.
The Right Approach
So how come I wasn’t already free? Had I not been using the Tarot for decades? Yes, I had. But the Tarot cannot liberate the soul if we approach it mainly as a divinatory tool or if we do so mindlessly. If we view the future as somehow fated, we can very easily give our personal power to the cards rather than allowing the cards to act as mirrors for the soul and nurture our psychospiritual development.
Many of us come to the Tarot reading session full of fears about the future. We want the Tarot to soothe us and tell us that everything will be okay. The big secret that Julian of Norwich already knew back in the Middle Ages is that of course everything will be okay. All shall indeed be well.
But even so, the immature ego that is still not in service to Spirit (and incapable of seeing the bigger picture) wants reassurance. So how do we turn this around?
How to Use the Tarot as a Practice of Liberation
There are three things that are needful if we wish to use the Tarot as a practice of liberation. The following three components prevent the Seeker from becoming dependent on the cards and clients from becoming dependent on their readers.
- Slowing down and reading mindfully
- Continued learning and curiosity
- Acting on the guidance
Slowing down and reading mindfully
Just flipping cards for a quick answer when we are feeling anxious about a situation leads absolutely nowhere. I know because I have been guilty of this myself in the past. So here are some tips for how to slow things down.
- Make the question the centre-piece. You do this by writing the question down in your Tarot journal before you begin shuffling the cards. And you formulate a question that puts the honus for creating change on yourself rather than on circumstances.
- Less is often more. You do not always need a full spread to answer a question. Try pulling just one card at first. You do need to sit with the card imagery and let it speak to your soul. If you just flip the card over and pull some memorised keywords out of your left brain, you will not benefit from true inner guidance, nor is it possible to allow the card to act as a portal to universal consciousness.
- Write the reading down in your Tarot journal. That way you can revisit the reading with any additional insights you gain after the reading. This, in turn, will add to your inner library of symbols and help you integrate the reading into your own energy system.
Continued learning and curiosity
The Tarot is a life-long journey. That is one of the things I love most about it. The more I learn, the more I find that there is yet to learn. Essentially, everything in life (and beyond) can be sorted according to the 78 Keys of the Major and Minor Arcana.
Staying curious will allow you to use the Tarot for magic, healing, co-creation and innovation.
I find it especially useful to be curious about how the cards relate to the body’s energy system since the body itself is a Key. This kind of intuitive learning can open up portals to new universes.
Acting on the guidance
“Particularly when precisely as conscious subjects combining feminine and masculine loving energies, they join their complementary powers.”
~ Mike Rivage-Seul
The Tarot never fails to provide excellent action advice. We, however sadly fail to act on this guidance at times. When we randomly flip cards to self-soothe because we feel anxious about a certain situation, this is the number one pitfall to look out for. Within a few days or hours, we will have forgotten about the reading but not about our perceived problem. So we do another reading and confuse ourselves further.
As a female Tarot reader with her Moon and Mars in Pisces, I have often been guilty of this. But I’m learning to slow down, be mindful and not do another reading until I have followed through on the original reading. Taking action relies on our inner Magician (animus) and mine has often been a bit of a wet squid. Naturally through no fault of his own. He was just submerged and I refused to let him come up for air.
Reading for Others
If you are already doing client readings, the guidance above can transform the way you read for your clients. Remember, it is all about making the question the centrepiece of the reading, even in the mind of the client. Remind your client that they are in possession of the answer within themselves already. You are basically just using the Tarot cards to tease that answer out.
As for the action advice part of the reading, ask them to specify how they can best apply this guidance in their own lives in a specific and practical way. That will motivate them much more than if you tell them what they should do. Essentially, this is the heart of what I refer to as Tarot Soul Coaching.
Click HERE to read about my name change.