Tarot and the Craft: How I Use the Cards in My Spiritual Practice

Hello, Beautiful People.

For those who don’t know (although my blog is positively dripping with evidence), I’m a witch. Generally speaking, it means I’m a crystal-loving, goddess-worshipping, intention-manifesting practitioner of the craft. For me, it also means that I’m a yoga-practicing, mantra-chanting meditator. Anyone who identifies as a witch knows that there are as many forms of witchcraft as there are witches, and that the collective elements of an individual’s unique practice are vast and varied enough that you could write a book on it. Thankfully for all of us, I’m not quite that ambitious today. What I would like to share with you, however, are the ways in which I incorporate tarot into my spiritual practice. Feel free to try and share as you see fit!

Intention-Setting

Part and parcel of being a witch is defining what you want and using physical and metaphysical means to bring it into being. When I’m having trouble defining my intentions (read: I’m confused af), I bring my tarot deck to my altar and throw down some cards. Sometimes, I create sacred space with a spread in mind (this one’s great for intention-setting). Others, I shuffle until I feel ready and I pull cards one by one, taking note of what they seem to be telling me in light of my circumstances. I mention that I do this in ritual because it’s instrumental for me in terms of finding clarity when I’m confused–a more casual tarot environment failed to provide answers, and I need to get into an alpha head-space so I’m more receptive to messages from my subconscious.

Spell-Crafting

Tarot spells are some of the most fun and unique spells that I cast. Rather than imagine specific intentions coming to pass within the context of my actual life, I internalize the imagery, tone, and symbolism of a chosen archetype to help me embody the change I wish to see manifested. The primary way that I do this is through pathworking–projecting myself into the landscape of the card and imbibing everything that it has to offer. If I wanted to cast a spell to help me strengthen my work ethic, for example, I’d place the eight of pentacles on my altar. Given time (and guided meditation practice), I’d imagine myself hunched over the work bench, hammer in hand striking the metal of the pentacles to fashion them exactly as I saw fit. I’d imagine the jarring I’d feel when metal met metal, the sweat that would sprout from my brow and the callouses forming on my palms. I’d watch a droplet of sweat hit the finished pentacle, and I’d breathe deeply, both exhausted and proud. This way, I internalize the effort before I even begin the project, helping me push through when things become challenging and obstacles arise.

Meditation

Whether I plan to use them or not, a deck of tarot cards is ever present on my altar. When I sit to meditate, I place a cleansing crystal (usually clear quartz or selenite) over my deck and “share” some of my meditative energy with it. It’s as if I’m making myself a conduit of cleansing, and am connecting myself to my deck so that it can benefit from the energy. When I’ve finished my practice, I perceive my deck to have a fresh, new energy–one that prepares it for my next round of readings.

Communing with Deities

I’m one of those witches who has a matron, and I’m one of those witches who chats with her matron. I often go through periods where each time I’m sat at the altar, the goddess whose guidance I need almost instantly appears to me and begins sharing her wisdom. I also go through deity “dry-spells”: periods where the goddesses are speaking only in the form of synchronicity. During these periods, I often ask the goddess questions and allow her to answer through the wisdom of the 78 cards. Is this any different than traditional divination? Honestly, it is for me, because I interpret the cards in relation to the tradition and tone of the goddess I’m working with. For example, Brigit would interpret The Emperor very differently than the Morrighan would.

Affirmation of Intended Magickal Working

Casting a spell takes a fairly heavy amount of concentration and focus. Some days, I’m not sure whether or not I succeeded in “charging” the spell. If I’m having that feeling, I’ll shuffle my deck and pull a card and interpret it as either affirmative or negative given the nature of the intended spell. If affirmative, I leave the working knowing that the universe received the message. If negative, I go back to the drawing board and try again later.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the witchy tarot-ness I’ve shared here today! If you try anything out, I’d love to hear about it! Likewise, I’d love to hear how you use tarot in your spiritual/magickal practice!

Much Love,

Jessi

Want a witch to read your tarot for you? Book a reading today : )

 

Deck Interview With The Wild Unknown

I’m late to the party.

I’ve always been skeptical of this hipster deck–The Wild Unknown–because it looked so damn simple. Too simple. Like, where’s the symbolism?  Where are the people? How will it interact with more in depth, psycho-spiritual readings? Will I be able to bond with the animal imagery (I have my totems, but otherwise, animals generally don’t speak to me in terms of the collective unconscious)? And seriously, where are the people?

As time passed, it rose in popularity. I bided my time. And then Kim Krans began mass producing the deck, and I thought, The Wild Unknown is iconic. It’s the gold standard for the new age of tarot. Get over yourself and buy the deck and see what all the hype is about.

And so I did. And when I clicked “purchase”, a funny thing happened–I felt excited. Giddy, even. Okay. I’m listening.

When it arrived to the tune of our earsplitting doorbell yesterday, I ran down the stairs with anticipatory glee. The fact that it arrived with my husband’s Christmas presents (a clear, plexiglass ukulele and a slack line, because I’m an awesome wife) made me even more excited. I guess you could say that I’d fallen under its mysterious, pervasive spell.

And of course I did an unboxing video. It started off normal enough, but as I thumbed through the deck, I became curiouser and curiouser. I realized that I intuitively gleaned its meanings quite easily. Also, I was having a hell of a lot of fun. There’s something about this deck that lifts the deep and heavy cloak of tarot right off. And I immediately understood why so many are drawn to this deck in the first place–it’s accessible.

Halle-freakin’-lujah.

I realized that I wanted to give my first official deck interview, and so I went to the place you go to when you’re looking for amazing tarot resources–Little Red Tarot. Seriously, if you haven’t gotten over there yet, do yourself a favor and do. Beth Maiden has a simple, yet surprisingly encompassing Deck Interview Spread that I’ve been looking to try out, and I knew that this was the perfect time to do so. Why do a deck interview, you might ask? For the very reason we sling cards in the first place–to get a handle on something that’s a little confused, foreign, or unorganized and to use the overview as a foundation from which to proceed. With this in mind, I attuned myself to the positions:

1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?
2. What are your strengths as a deck?
3. What are your limits as a deck?
4. What are you here to teach me?
5. How can I best learn and collaborate with you?
6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

 

Okay: the first three questions have the deck as the subject, and the next three questions have me as a subject. The first half infers static information, the last half dynamic. Got it. Let’s throw some cards.

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I took a moment (like you do) to process the cards as a whole. Four majors in a six card spread is A LOT of majors. Most of the spreads I’ve thrown recently have been saturated with majors. For the laymen among us, that means that intense shit is circling around me right now. Take Note: If your spread is mostly majors, PAY ATTENTION. It’s kind of a big deal. This spread also seems to be dealing out some serious yang energy–The Emperor, the Five of Wands, The World, and The Wheel of Fortune are definitely action, and not reflection, cards. As such, this spread let me know that this deck would generally be a good deck for readings addressing creativity, manifestation, and active transformation. In other words, this deck will help me and my clients to get up and go. I’ll leave the work of reflection to The Mary El for now. So, what does the spread mean positionally?

1. The Emperor

This deck is definitely no bullshit. It’s clear about what it wants, it’s unremitting in taking what it believes is its right, it’s fair in terms of logic and it has a definite code of conduct that it operates from. It’s meant to give straight, clear, actionable advice in the face of uncertainty and confusion. It possesses a certain protective quality that embraces those whom it reads for; it will make them feel as if that which threatens them cannot harm them. It will place its querent and its reader firmly in the seat of their power and will help them see the situation with the needs of the self in mind. It also infers that it is a “seeing” deck–it surveys the situation from a position of knowledge and authority, so trust its word when it’s speaking clearly to you!

Quote (and all those that follow) from The Wild Unknown Guidebook:

“It suggests reconnecting with the part of you that stands strong and tall and knows just what to do.”

2. The Eight of Swords

This deck’s strengths lie in acquainting you (and more importantly, those you read for) with your limiting beliefs. It will reveal some painful truths and let you know the ways in which you shoot yourself in the foot so you can let go of unhelpful behaviors and make room for helpful ones. It will coax you out of your chrysalis so you may face the psycho-spiritual threat lurking in the subconscious in an empowered, proactive way. Yawp.

“The Eight of Swords demands an answer. You cannot hang here much longer.”

3. The Empress

Ah, some feminine energy. Yet, she occupies the position that points to limitations. Given this, it seems that The Wild Unknown (in my hands, at least) is not a deck for nurturing and guidance, and it’s not a deck for the receptive creative process (think gestation and rebirth rather than getting your hands dirty). It’s a deck that moves you towards action, gives you some “tough love” guidance so you can get off the couch and back into the driver’s seat. It’s not particularly inclined to hold space in the traditional sense.

Duly noted.

4. The Five of Wands

So, this card called me the fuck out. I knew exactly what it was speaking to as soon as I laid the spread, and it made my lips curl up at the edges with this beautiful slyness I inhabit when I get called out and I was like, “I think we’re going to get along just fine.” Basically, this deck will teach me how to be more focused, more organized, more clear, more concise, and more straightforward. I’ve just recently overcome my struggles with paper planning, and I’m seriously ready to get shit done and it seems that this deck will be my copilot in that endeavor *high-fives The Wild Unknown*.

“Take this card as a warning: find ways to bring calm and focus to your mind, or these troubles will only increase.”

5. The Wheel of Fortune

If I’m able to suspend my disbelief and let go of my pre-conceived notions regarding the deck, we’ll work pretty damn well together. I’m also moved to interpret this as an indication that the strengths and purpose of the deck may very well shift as I become better acquainted with it, so I’d be well-served to keep an open mind despite this reading. Well played.

6. The World

I was so pleased to see this card in this position. I don’t read tarot in a bubble–as much as I enjoy reading for myself, I find purpose and fulfillment in reading for others. Since The Wild Unknown is such a well known deck these days, it will help me bond with others who are familiar with it and/or use it as their primary deck. I feel the swell of community like a warm blanket (thank you, Beautiful People), and The Wild Unknown promises that that amazing goodness will grow and grow. What an awesome parting fortune.

As above, so below.

Much Love,

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