Is there something you do regularly that you consider a sacred practice? Some people pray every day; others have meditation or yoga practices that they consider sacred; while others go to church or temple each week. Do you do any of these things or something else? Or have you at some point in your life? If so, what are the benefits? If not, what do you think the benefits would be?

Maybe you’ve heard it said that nothing is sacred in this world anymore. While I don’t agree, I understand the sentiment. We’re constantly bombarded with advertising designed to make us feel inadequate, social media that makes us less social, and all kinds of other pervasively negative or mind-numbing influences. It can feel like modern life offers nothing truly special, much less transcendent. Meanwhile so much of what we experience is through a screen, and not even real. You may suspect this is not the natural order of life, which is why we thirst for the sacred. Looking back to the time before I started using tarot, I wanted so badly to feel connected to something sacred because I just didn’t see it anywhere around me.

If you thirst for more sacred in your life too, then I highly recommend developing your own sacred practice for working with tarot. In this chapter I’ll show you how. Your practice is how you’re going to learn tarot, and it’s how you’re going to slowly but surely open your mind and heart to intuition.  It’s where you’re going to experience all those little “aha!” awakenings that eventually add up to the bigger, transformative process of spiritual awakening. I guarantee it’s going to become a treasured time of each day.

Why Establish a Daily Sacred Tarot Practice?

A Daily Sacred Tarot Practice is not the same as merely practicing tarot everyday. Rather, it is the “sacred in, sacred out” philosophy in action. The sacred practice is a special time of day for a little personal ritual that carries the power of intention for spiritual awakening. It is a way of living mindfully and engaged with life.

The sacred practice has profound benefits, especially if you’re new to tarot or if you don’t use some other intuitive method each day. A primary benefit is that you will add more sacredness into your daily life. In other words, your daily sacred practice becomes a sanctuary of pure connection and communication with the essential sacred part of yourself. The rest of our waking lives are filled with distractions and media, but our daily practice is pure “me” time. It’s the one time each day we can rely on to slow down, get centered, and be truly present in the moment. It then becomes a source of daily healing, inspiration, and goodness.

Another benefit is that you’ll learn tarot much faster with daily practice. You’ll build up that “intuition muscle”, and in the process tarot will feel easier as you gain more confidence. Your intuition will pick up on the meanings of the cards more easily, getting you out of the logical “figuring it out” left brain and into the flow of your intuitive right brain. Nothing gets new students to quit faster than slow , frustrating results. Look, I get it. We have a lot of things competing for our attention, and no one wants to waste their time on something that doesn’t work. So commit to doing this daily (yes, there’s that commitment again!) and  see the results come faster.

Is it required that you establish a daily sacred tarot practice? Of course not; learn and engage with tarot anyway that feels right for you! But I’m going to be honest: learning to use tarot effectively takes some degree of time and effort. Of course it’s not like toiling away at some awful job: it’s wonderfully rewarding and fascinating  work. But the truth is you won’t get anywhere close to the full benefits right away.  Especially to those who are not accustomed to intuitive methods, it takes a while to break down the barriers of awkwardness and learn to hear – and then actually trust – your intuition. I’m a firm believer in the daily sacred practice because I know I wouldn’t have learned tarot without it. And if you sincerely want to awaken using this beautiful mystical method called “tarot”, then I want very much for you to succeed.

If you’re still resistant to committing to a daily sacred practice, I understand. It’s hard to fully buy in to something new, especially something that hasn’t proven itself yet. But remember from the last chapter the key role that COMMITMENT plays in spiritual awakening. Without it we can easily and unwittingly sabotage our own efforts and results. But with genuine commitment, we empower our intuition to come out of its foxhole and reveal itself. If you’re concerned you can’t devote 15-20 minutes per day, there’s a Zen proverb that feels appropriate: “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day. Unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”

When to Conduct Your Daily Sacred Tarot Practice

In a previous chapter I suggested taking a mindful look at your current morning and evening routines. I hope this helpful exercise got you to see how you spend these important times of the day. As you may recall from that chapter, we looked at how mornings and evenings are natural times of the day when our minds are more intuitive. Compared to most of the waking day, when our brains emit high-intensity (and ego-producing, intuition-blocking) beta waves, the periods just after and before sleep are when we’re most naturally relaxed. During the early morning and evening we’re more typically in a quieter state of mind, when our brains emit alpha waves and we have greater access to our subconscious. It makes sense, then, that we would want to create a daily sacred tarot practice at a time that is a natural fit for intuitive work.  It’s like swimming with the current instead of against it.

What time do you feel will be best to engage in 15-20 minutes of daily tarot? For many, like myself, this is in the morning. I love to wake up, grab my first cup of coffee, and sit down with my tarot before I do anything else. My mind is fresh and unaffected by any daily distractions yet. If you already have a healthy morning routine that includes meditation and/or exercise, for example, you may choose to fit tarot in with these other activities. If you’re accustomed to rushing in the mornings to get ready for work, you may need to commit to waking up a half hour earlier to make your sacred tarot practice fit in the morning. Believe me, it’s worth it.

The main benefit of a morning sacred practice is that your entire day is built on the foundations of healthy, mindful, intuitive time. It’s normal for the morning sacred practice to provide an energy boost that affects your entire day, including easing stress, encouraging creativity, and aiding you in better decision making, just to name a few. A quick word of advice though: do your tarot work before checking emails and social media feeds. Many of us wake up by an alarm on our cell phone, and are sucked in by the “notifications” before we’ve even gotten out of bed yet. Those notifications will quickly have your brain jump out of the flow of the alpha state, and into the stress-inducing beta state. This is YOUR time; use it wisely. That stuff can wait!

Maybe you’re not a morning person and evening feels like a better fit for your sacred daily practice. Evening is a good time of day for intuitive work because it’s often easier to be relaxed then: the workday is finished and we have fewer responsibilities to be concerned with. You might consider devoting 15-20 minutes after eating dinner, or perhaps shortly before going to bed. Just be careful not to wait until too late: Being relaxed is good for intuitive work but being sleepy is not. It can be hard to tell the difference between them when you’re starting out.

Maybe you’re just not feeling mornings OR evenings. If you want to try an afternoon sacred daily practice, then go for it!  Although most of us tend to be the least naturally intuitive during the midday, that is certainly not the case for everyone. Besides, 20 minutes for tarot in the afternoon can be an excellent way to infuse greater intuition and heart-centered wisdom into the center of your day. If you go this route, I recommend spending a little extra time getting centered before drawing your cards. (There’s much more on how to handle and work with the cards in the next chapter.)

HOW I LEARNED TO EMBRACE A (VERY EARLY) MORNING RITUAL

When I started on my tarot journey, I realized that I would need a daily practice to get the most out of it. The reasons were twofold: I was committed to having a sacred part of my day for connecting deeply with my intuition; and I didn’t want to have to make a decision every day whether to do tarot or not. Without an established healthy routine it’s easy to make excuses not to do something you know is good for you. Anyone who’s quit a diet or exercise routine knows this is true.

My intuition told me morning would be a good time for my sacred practice. I was a morning person and felt mentally sharper early in the day. The problem was that I was working as a mail carrier and was already waking up at 5:30 each day. Nonetheless, I toughed it out and got up a half hour earlier each day to practice tarot. It worked great and I loved it. But after a few months I thought I would try different times so I could get that half hour of sleep back each day.

So I tried my tarot practice in the evenings for a while, just before going to bed. I quickly discovered the subtle but crucial difference between being relaxed and being tired. My body and mind were fatigued at the end of the day. My mind would drift, and my intuition didn’t speak to me as clearly as it had in the mornings. Journaling felt like hard work. Clearly, for me tarot had become less effective and less fun.

Next I tried late afternoons for my daily practice. I generally got home from work by 3 pm, so I had plenty of time for good tarot work before my wife got home for dinner. I quickly realized this wasn’t a good fit for me either. It’s not that I felt tired like I had in the evenings; it was the opposite. My mind was very active, and I struggled to quiet it. While journaling I found myself growing impatient with the process, and just wanting to get to the point. I often found myself analyzing the cards instead of just listening for my intuition to speak. This made it difficult to access my heart space, and so my readings were more stilted and surface-level. This was not a good substitute for the magic I’d felt when doing my tarot practice in the mornings!

I was running out of options. I was too tired in the evenings and too active in the afternoons. All that I had left was going back to waking up at 5 am to have enough time before going to work. It was a difficult realization, but I decided to fully embrace it. Getting up so early to read tarot cards felt a bit crazy, but if it meant making heartfelt intuitive connection I knew it was worth it. Besides, I always had coffee.

Mornings proved to be the perfect fit for me. The benefits of my daily practice gave me plenty of reason to be excited to get out of bed so early every morning. The intuitive message of the cards came easily for me at this time of day, and journaling was a fascinating, mind-expanding adventure. My heart space was surprisingly easy to access, compared to other times of the day. A special bonus was discovering that the cards often resonated with me throughout the day, creating synchronicities and enriching even the most mundane of days.

This story illustrates clearly why I’m such a proponent for mornings as the best time for the daily practice. Simply stated, I think it’s a magnificent way to start the day. Having said that, I understand that for some a morning sacred practice is not the best fit. Experiment to find what works for you. Regardless what time you settle on, please do yourself the service of establishing your regular daily practice. It is the gift that will give back to you every single day.

Where to Conduct Your Daily Sacred Tarot Practice

Now that we’ve determined a time of day for our tarot practice, let’s consider the location. Do you have a place in your home that has a particularly positive feel for you? Some of us have a back patio, den, or special area they like to go for their morning coffee or to curl up with a good book. These are good options for a daily practice. I recommend choosing a location that is mostly free of distractions, except perhaps for a place to observe nature. My first sacred practice location overlooked a pond where I would see and hear ducks and other wildlife. This contact with the outdoors enhanced my intuition.

In addition to the location for your practice, consider the surface for where you’ll be working with the cards.  It was recommended earlier to use a tarot cloth to turn any surface in your home into a sacred space for tarot working. You may consider converting a small accent table just for your tarot work, or even setting up an altar. An altar is a designated sacred space to keep items of special significance and to do spiritual working. If you have the space and feel called to create an altar you’ll have an excellent place for your sacred tarot practice. Please keep in mind this is not necessary. Do what feels right; it’s always okay to keep your sacred practice really simple and easy.

Once you’ve established where to conduct your daily practice you’ll want a way to keep your supplies stored there. It’s helpful to keep a small storage chest that can hold your cards, journal, guide books, and any other items you plan to use daily. Remember that if you are the least bit concerned that others in your home may tamper with the items or look through your journal, be sure to lock them up.