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Learning to Read Tarot Cards - The Tarot Journal

By Carolyn Naiman  |  

Perhaps the most effective method for learning the Tarot is to start a Tarot journal. A Tarot journal enables you to explore your own personal associations to the Tarot cards. It is also helps you to identify the key tarot symbolism that you are personally drawn to. As you become more comfortable with the Tarot's imagery, the easier it will become to identify and remember the various Tarot card meanings. Ultimately, as you become more comfortable with the Tarot cards, you will be able to perform your own Tarot readings with ease and confidence. The best Tarot readers are the ones that have developed their own system of interpretations. Books can be quite useful, but by developing your own associations to the cards, the Tarot interpretations become much more meaningful.

I always suggest using a three ring note book. This allows you the freedom to move the pages around or separate them into categories. Some people, however, would prefer to keep their journals on their computers. In either case, both approaches are valid. The important thing to remember is to find a process that you are comfortable with. Keeping a Tarot journal is merely a process that helps you keep track of your thoughts, ideas and feelings about the Tarot cards. You are free to get as creative as you want. You may wish to illustrate the cards in a sketchbook. This method certainly helps you become familiar with the cards. It also helps you retain the Tarot's imagery. As you start to do you own Tarot readings, you will come to appreciate the nuances and reflections you explored in your journal.

I always recommend starting with the Major Arcana cards. The Major Arcana are the non-suit cards, which make up the first 22 cards of the Tarot deck. The Major Arcana Tarot cards refer to the important life challenges and spiritual lessons we must face on our journeys through Life. They represent our levels of self-development and reveal major life transitions. In Tarot readings, the Major Arcana reveal the karmic and consequential lessons you must grasp in order to move forward.

To begin, separate the 22 Major Arcana cards out from the Tarot deck. Although the Fool Tarot Card is associated number is zero, he can be placed in the beginning or end of the twenty-two Major Arcana Cards. As you grasp the Fool Tarot card, allow yourself to explore the image. What stands out for you? What message does he wish to tell you? Here are some helpful questions that can help you in this process.

• What are the colors? What do these mean to you?
• What symbolism sticks out to you? What do these mean to you?
• What does the landscape reveal?
• Is there any vegetation? What does this mean to you?
• What is the "feel" of this card?
• Are there any animals?
• If this card had words, what would it say to you?
• If you could imagine yourself in the picture, where would you be going? What would you be doing? What would you be feeling?

The list of question can go on and on. In time, you will develop your own system of exploration. The important thing to remember is to let the cards speak to you. Your Tarot journal is there to record your thoughts and feelings. As you gain a deeper understanding of the Tarot cards, your own associations will begin to make perfect sense and, ultimately, your ability to perform tarot readings will become second nature.

For more on Tarot Readings and Tarot Card Meanings please visit Carolyn's blog.

Caroyn Naiman is a professional Tarot Reader and the Webmaster of She has a Masters in Psychology and has been a Tarot advisor since 1998.

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