If you’ve been reading this book from the beginning, by now you’ve done plenty of preparations. You’ve read about the concepts of spiritual awakening and intuition, and how the two are so intimately linked. You’ve learned a brief history of tarot and taken a glimpse at the perfect structure of the tarot deck. You’ve gathered your supplies, consecrated your deck, and mindfully considered the Eight Primary Virtues of Spiritual Awakening. Finally, you’ve taken the time to plan when and where to establish your own personal sacred tarot practice. Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished so far.

Your daily sacred tarot practice is your special time each day to awaken to the divine gifts of wisdom and love inside of you. It is the time to be fully present with yourself, free of outside distractions and influences. It is within this practice that you will learn what the cards mean, develop your intuition, and experience the “Aha!” moments of epiphany that will awaken you. With your daily practice you will develop your “intuition muscles”, meaning that you’ll become stronger and more confident in hearing your inner voice. With some time and patience, your voice of intuition will be heard and trusted more fully and easily.

By now you’re probably feeling more than ready to start working with your cards. Okay, now it’s time to have some fun! In this chapter I offer suggested procedures for your tarot practice, including how to handle the cards, how to start selecting and interpreting them, and how to use this information to awaken to your divine source of wisdom and love.

Now let’s do this!

TAROT PROCEDURES

Working with tarot may feel a little awkward at first. I remember for at least the first few weeks I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing with the cards. What’s the best way to shuffle? How do I cut the cards? How do I interpret them? AM I DOING THIS RIGHT??

Since I was so new to this method, there was a lot of second guessing. Maybe you can recall a time you first started to learn how to do something, and how it felt like you were too much in your head. Maybe it was learning to cook a new recipe, or how to play a musical instrument, or even how the controls work on a new video game. You’re in your head because you’re trying really hard to “get it”. During this intense learning process our left-brain “logical mode” of thinking is highly active. As a result, we feel stiff and our intuition is blocked.

I want to help you minimize the early awkward stage so you can start feeling confident and make progress as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to create the conditions for you to feel relaxed while using the cards. Having an optimal time and place for our sacred practice certainly helps with this. Now it’s time to develop our procedures for handling the cards. Our aim is to feel a regular sense of ease and comfort with the cards. This helps activate our right-brain state of creativity and flow.

Please feel free to follow my suggestions exactly as I offer them here, or make any adjustments that feel right for you. It’s normal when learning something new to follow the instructions exactly. For example, when making a recipe for the first time and using all the ingredients precisely as instructed. But at some point when you feel more comfortable you likely will want to put your own personal touches on it. Maybe cut down on the salt, add some sugar, or make it a little crispier on the edges.

For now, I suggest settling in, getting comfortable, and having fun. If you do, you’ll hear your intuition speak more clearly and more quickly .

1  APPROACH TAROT WITH LOVE, NOT FEAR

The first procedure to consider happens before you even pick up the cards. It’s about your frame of heart and mind when you approach tarot. When you’re about to work with your deck, take a moment to notice how you’re thinking and feeling. Are you happy and maybe even a little excited, or does it feel too much like work? Do you feel optimistic about what the cards will reveal, or do you dread getting bad news? Are you approaching your deck from a general place of love or fear?

Tarot is always much easier to learn and work with when we approach it relaxed and in a general inner state of love. This doesn’t mean you can’t use tarot if you have any stress in your life, of course. But we don’t want those stresses to adversely affect how we interpret the cards. It’s good to be mindfully aware of all that’s going on in your life, both the positive and negative. But don’t feel poisoned by stress when you pick up your cards. If you do you’ll probably struggle to make sense of the cards. And whatever insights you do intuitively receive are likely to be fear-based, and not love-based.

It’s important to cultivate a faith that the cards – and therefore the Universe – supports us in this sacred work. They’ve “got our back”, so to speak. This is why we take a “sacred in, sacred out” approach to tarot: we trust that whatever cards we receive can be embraced as messages of goodness. The cards don’t look to “punish us” and make us feel badly, ever. Rather, the messages we receive through our intuition are there to guide us and help us live better lives, more in alignment with the intrinsic goodness of life itself.

So please, take a loose and relaxed approach to your cards. Enjoy it! Pick up your deck in a spirit of curious optimism and love.

2  GET CENTERED

When you sit down to use tarot, take a little time to center yourself. First take out your tarot cloth and deck, along with any other items you like to include in your sacred practice. I light a candle to calm me and to formally introduce the intention of spirit into the work I’m doing. When I light the candle I like to imagine I’m lighting a little spark of flame deep within myself as well.

Next, sit comfortably in your chair and take a few deep, calming breaths. Doing so prepares your mind for intuition. Remember from an earlier chapter that our minds automatically default to a busy, beta brainwave state. It’s going in many directions at once, looking for the next problem to solve. But by taking some mindful breaths our minds get calmer and shift into an alpha brainwave state. In this quieter inner space we’re much better prepared to hear our voice of intuition.

As you take these centering breaths, visualize light and love entering your body with each inbreath, and any darkness, fear, or stress to exit your body with each outbreath. Don’t be afraid to really visualize the movement of light and dark passing each way through your body. Feel the light in your nose, throat, and lungs. You may notice refreshing feelings and sensations of goodness after doing this.

If you like to meditate you can also take a couple minutes to do so. But if this isn’t your thing, don’t force it. Remember to always make it as easy on yourself as possible until you feel inspired to branch out. Inspiration, not perspiration!