Reading for Yourself - Getting Started with Daily/Weekly Readings
Learning to read for yourself is a key part of using tarot and can become a valuable tool for personal growth. Many people do not use tarot at all for divinatory purposes and choose instead to study tarot as a spiritual tool, learning about the cycles of life and our personal journey through the physical, mental, and spiritual planes. Reading for yourself is also a very good way to become familiar with a new deck and learn how the symbols and visual images manifest themselves in your own personal life and in the world around you. If you follow this practice consistently, eventually you will build up a series of associations with the cards and everyday events, problems, and issues that will serve you well in conducting readings for others. For example, science and technology and problems associated with it are not represented pictorially in most tarot decks or in their associated books. However, if you consistently do small daily readings, you will eventually come to associate certain cards with this important part of modern life.
Doing personal readings is also a great way to gain additional perspective on your life. Not only will you learn what the cards represent, but you will also gain greater insight into your own life since the patterns and cycles in the cards are just reflections of patterns and cycles that actually exist. When something truly terrible and earth-shattering happens in your life, you now have a new tool to say, "this is a Tower experience – and I know that this has a purpose." Not only will you have a way of discovering what the purpose is, you will know that the Star follows next, and you can have hope for the future. It is immensely comforting to be able to see the tarot archetypes in action in your life, and be able to recognize what they mean for your future and your spiritual growth. Learning the lessons of each card will help you deal with these events in your own life. Doing personal readings and gaining practice linking the tarot to your daily life will bring the tarot alive for you in ways that reading books never will.
Some books you may have read actually state that you cannot or should not read for yourself. This is an old superstition that has no basis in reality. Many readers do have trouble reading for themselves, for lots of very good reasons. However, this creates a block in their ability to really live and learn the tarot, and it is something that is important to work on and overcome. At the beginning, it helps to start small, with one-card daily or weekly readings, which is usually easier for most people to learn than doing large personal readings. If you find that you ever have difficulty reading for yourself, try the second half of this article - common problems and helpful solutions - or the article on overcoming reader's block.
Spreads: One-Card Daily or Weekly Readings
The quickest way to get used to reading for yourself is to do one-card daily or weekly readings. You could do a weekly reading each week, a daily reading each day, a few daily readings whenever you feel like it during the week, or any combination that works for you. This is also a great way to learn a new tarot deck before using it in readings for others.
Pick a time when things are relatively quiet and you have a moment of peace – if possible, make it a routine. It doesn't take much time, because all you have to do is choose one card – you can think about what it means all day long, rather than doing a reading then and there. Take out your journal and write down the deck and the card, leaving some space to write in later. If you are going to be around the house, keep the card out in a prominent place where you can see it. If not, take a minute to fix as much of the card image in your mind as you can.
There are many different ways you can use the daily or weekly reading, and it is helpful to choose a specific method each time you do it. Also decide whether you want to use reversed cards (it might be better not to at first unless you are already practiced with this). Here are some ideas for ways you can use the reading and questions you can ask before you pull the card:
- Predictive: "What kind of a day/week will I have?" This is great for learning how the cards manifest in everyday activities.
- Helpful: "What energy or approach should I take to successfully accomplish xxx today?" or "What mental attitude will help me talk to my teenage son about his late nights out without getting into a fight?" This is good when you have certain things you need to get accomplished, or you are expecting an unpleasant or difficult event and want help getting through it.
- Healing: "What healing energy will help me feel better today?" or "What can I do to cheer the kids up?" This is great when you need a pick-me-up and especially good when people are feeling sick or down. Works great with healing decks like Herbal Tarot, but any deck will do.
- Living the Tarot: "Which card do I need to experience more thoroughly?" When you choose your card, think about how you can use the energy of that card during the day, and consciously try to act in concert with what you understand about that card. See if it helps you with anything you are doing.
- Setting Priorities: "What is the most important thing I should be focusing on right now?" This is helpful when there are too many things going on and you need to set priorities. Especially good as a weekly reading.
- Lessons: "What can I learn from what is going on right now?" This can be either general or with regard to specific things you are dealing with.
- Specific: Ask any specific question that you want about the coming day or week. For example, "What do I need to know about this upcoming meeting?" or "How can I make up with my sister after the fight we had last night?" or "What's the best way to get my daughter to do her homework?"
As you go through the day or week, notice how aspects of the card come into play. At the end of this time, take a few minutes to think about the card and how it manifested, and write down any observations that come to mind. If you have learned something new about the card, or how it may relate to typical situations, add these meanings on the page for that card in your tarot journal. Notice especially if you get the same card over and over, or if you get a series of the same number or the same suit. This is most likely a message to you about something important going on in your life. Above all, have fun and enjoy the new insights you will gain!