There are over 500 Tarot Decks in print. For the Tarot Introductory Course you are strongly encouraged to study a deck that fits with your spiritual and philosophical background.
Organize a binder with dividers to separate subjects in a way that makes the most sense to you. Examples of subjects for your dividers include:
Answers to course quizzes.
Exercises recommended throughout the course. There are exercises included in each lesson to deepen your understanding of the cards.
Personal interpretations of the cards based upon your first impressions of cards and experiences gained through reading for yourself.
Recalled dreams that relate to your Tarot study.
Record of personal readings.
Notes on specific cards you have difficulty remembering (which may point to a hidden or denied aspect of you!)
Personal growth experiences while studying and working with the Tarot.
binder will be your guide to the Tarot and the best book you'll
ever own on the subject. Upon completion of your courses you
will have created a record of your study and psycho-spiritual
development and you'll have a record of your first client
Sacred Cards Versus Sacred Text
Rachel Pollack in her book, Forest of Souls, Llewellyn, 2003,
presents a uniquely fascinating exploration of the Tarot as
a spiritual journey. On page 262, Pollack hypothesizes in
a whimsical style,
Let us imagine, for the moment, that the Tarot indeed comes
from the God of Everything Worth Knowing. If Thoth (Egyptian
God) had wanted to give his original disciples a fixed sequence
of symbols, he would have handed them a single table, or a
sewn book. Instead, he gave them cards, and cards, unlike
most sacred texts and/or divine messages, do not have to remain
in their original order. What new, or alternate Major Arcana
might you get if you take the twenty-two Major Arcana cards,
shuffle them, and lay them out in a new sequence?”
In fact, this is something we do every time we lay out a
reading. The order is determined by the shuffling, cutting
and laying out of the cards. This is what profoundly distinguishes
the Tarot from other sacred texts. The Fool’s journey becomes
personalized to the client at every reading!
A Tarot reading provides a unique perspective from which
to regard our lives and our selves. In the moment that we
lay out the cards to derive an answer to a question or issue
troubling us, we are presented with a sequence of pictures
that position us at this moment, in relationship to that question.
It might validate a feeling we've been having about a situation
that hasn't been fully acknowledged. The barriers to acknowledgement
may be related to having to make a difficult decision. The
reading may be just the nudge we need to make that decision
and act upon it.
A Tarot reading can open the doors to our unconsciousness,
allowing more information to flow between unconsciousness
and consciousness. We may for example, receive messages that
point out how we are sabotaging our success in an area, or
ignoring something, which is putting enormous pressure on
us internally or externally.
Dreams and the Tarot
Dream interpretation also has a long and erudite history
within all the mystical traditions of the world. In the Bible
for example, by successfully analyzing the Pharaoh’s dream,
which prophesied seven years of bounty and seven years of
famine, Joseph was granted freedom to return to his homeland.
There is a connection between the study of dreams and the
study of the Tarot. Both studies draw us into an active process
of translating images, feelings, impressions and insights
from the unconscious, archetypal world to our mundane waking,
conscious life. In psychological language this is a process
whereby contents from the unconscious are invited to influence,
and transform the conscious mind.
When we actively engage with messages received from our
unconscious mind, whether through dreams, Tarot, meditation,
or other spiritual practices, we make decisions which are
in sync with the invisible energy forces that envelope us.
To use your Tarot deck for dream interpretation, follow
this dreamwork process designed by Gail Fairfield in her book,
2. List the parts or design a layout using those significant
3. Lay out a card to show who the “I” is in the dream.
4. Lay out a card that shows the overall message of the
dream for you.
5. Interpret your dream messages using the meanings of the
cards you’ve laid out.
6. Journal your insights in your workbook. REMEMBER to date
your dream and your interpretative work!
Playing with Your Deck
Journal the insights you gained by regarding the relationships
in this Tarot tree – one card to another. Observe the cards
adjacent and above and below each other.
Remember to continue journaling any feelings you have with
respect to your memorization card/s in your Workbook
Classic Three Card Spread
This spread is a classic layout used by readers. Do this
spread using ONLY your Major Arcana and journal this reading
in your workbook:
(Always remember to include) Date:
Position One in the Centre is the Present.
Position Two on the Left is the Past
Position Three on the Right is the Future.
Randomly choose a card from your deck and begin a story based
on the picture. When you reach an exciting moment, turn over
the next card and continue the story from this new picture.
This will help to develop your story-telling skills, learn
your deck, and generate more connections to the meanings of
Determining Your Personality, Soul and Year Cards
Angeles Arrien, author of The Tarot Handbook developed a
system that demonstrates how the cards reveal your personality
and soul. You can also use it to find the Major Arcana card
for any year.
Write down your date of birth in numbers and do it in three
lines, then add these numbers together vertically and their
sum add together horizontallyJanuary 22, 1950,
1973 Total 1 + 9 + 7 + 3 = 20 Your personality card would
be Judgment, now add 2 + 0 = 2, your soul card is 2 The High
Another example January 6, 1962.
1969 Total 1 + 9 + 6 + 9 = 25 There is no Major Arcana #25
so add these together again 2 + 5 = 7.
Number 7 is the Chariot and because the first sum needed
to be added together a second time (2+ 5) both your personality
and soul numbers are the same. This means you are doing soul
work in this life and your personality will express your soul.
For your year card, you use the same method, except exchange
the year of your birth for the year you wish to determine,
For example, (Date of Birth) January 6, (year you wish to
2011 Total 2 + 0 + 1 + 1 = 4 The year card for the coming
year will be the Emperor.
Angeles Arrien describes the personality card as a reflection
of your expression in the outer world; your talent, gifts,
resources, and how others see you. Your soul card reveals
the deepest core of who you are; your true, authentic and
timeless inner being.
One woman’s year card was the Death card. Throughout the
next year she will need to prepare herself to let go of significant
aspects of her life. It might mean a job, relationship or
move, or all three! She said she had been an accountant for
a number of years and she had recently sent in pictures of
herself and her daughter to a modeling agency.
If the agency were to accept her portfolio, this would mark
a huge change in career, lifestyle and relationship. She would
be working with her daughter on a new project, and her life
partnership. She said she was very happy to see the Death
card because she felt clearly ready to make big changes in
One woman calculated her year card to be the Justice card
and the night before had been her first night to sit on the
Aboriginal Justice Circle when she met with her first client.
(a) Determine your personality, soul and year cards. Journal
how these Major Arcana cards apply to you. What story about
you have these 3 Major Arcana cards revealed? What are the
differences between your soul and personality cards?
(b) Record your dreams in the morning and record what you
remember of the card’s meanings that you studied the previous
(c) Pick your favourite Major Arcana card and copy it onto
a paper or a card. Draw it exactly the way it appears and
use coloured paints, crayons or markers to colour it. Now
imagine doing all 78 cards!
(d) Go to Tarot sites on the Internet that depict full colour
pictures of Tarot decks. Compare and contrast your chosen
deck with 3 other decks.
Read Cynthia Gile’s The Tarot: History, Mystery and Lore over
the next three weeks.