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Help for Newbies

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  • Help for Newbies

    I've been busy this past week and haven't been able to contribute much here so I thought I'd make up for that by starting a thread on help for newbies. This would include help doing readings, sharing of tarot websites, stuff on how to cleanse your cards, etc. that would be beneficial to beginners.

    Please feel free to share.

  • #2
    Getting to Know Your Cards

    When you first obtain a deck it is recommended that you spend some time getting to know your cards. This is a simple process but will help you in the future when you're doing readings.

    What you'll want to do is set aside some time for yourself - maybe an hour, maybe several, or maybe half an hour everyday till you are done. Whatever time you can spare will work, as long as you do spare some time!

    During this time you will want to take the phone of the hook, lock the door, and maybe light some of your favourite incense and candles. The scent here is not important; just use what you enjoy. You may wish to have only candle light, or dim your lights, or if you have to just have your regular lights on. Find a comfortable spot - your bed, a comfy chair, curl up on the floor, it doesn't matter. You just need to get as comfortable as possible.

    Then open up your deck and take a look at the box and the back of your cards. Notice colours, designs, feelings you get, etc. Don't try to judge these things, just observe. Turn your deck back over so you can see the faces.

    Now, one by one, gaze at the face of a card for however long you need. You may wish to take 10 minutes for one or 30 seconds, it doesn't matter. Don't rush yourself. Look at the colours - are they bright, pastel, dark, light, strong, simple, black & white, or..? What do the colours make you think of? Do they relate to the meaning of the card (you can check the book if you like, or you can just think about it. there's no right or wrong answer here)?

    Examine the designs - swirly, straight lines, circles, squares, sharp defined shapes or blurry shapes etc. What do they make you think of? Do they relate to what the card is trying to say?

    Now look at the characters in the card - are there none, one, many, few, several,...? Are they together, standing apart, looking at eachother, looking away, holding eachother, playing together...? What do the people seem to be thinking or saying?

    Now look at the suit of the card, and how it relates to what you think of it. Cups usually represent emotion - so if there's a character standing away from a crowd of people and looking sad on a cups card, maybe this person represents the querent (the person you're doing the reading for) feeling alone and sad. Wands usually represent work and intelligence - so if there's one character in the card carrying a whole bunch of wands and building something that could very easily mean the querent is working very hard to build something. Similarly, swords often point to conflict or strength, and pentacles or coins usually represent money or power. This is because of their elemental influence - ie. cups often symbolize water and the west which relates to emotions, pentacles/coins with earth in the north which relates to money and power as well as stability, etc.

    Now that's ok for the minor arcana, but what about the major? Minor arcana (the suit cards) usually relate to influences, undertones, thoughts, etc. Meanwhile, the major arcana cards usually mean important things - they are very strong and clear and if you get many in a reading it could mean the querent cares very deeply about the subject. Going through the major arcana is like going through a journey through life. This is a very important concept and I encourage you to think and meditate upon it when you go through your major arcana.

    Lastly, note the royalty cards of the suits. Pages, knights, queens, and kings, often represent people. The page is usually a younger man or woman, the knight usually someone near the querent's age or a peer, the queens and kings are usually older or wiser or more experienced. They often represent the people or environment around your querent.

    The most important thing in this exercise is to familiarize yourself with your cards. You might also sleep with one under your pillow each night, or meditate on only a few a day. You will become familiar with their faces, and their meanings will become clearer. It's important to remember that their meanings can vary from reading to reading, but it's a good idea to take a look at each and form some initial ideas to build on. You might even keep a journal and write down your conclusions! Good luck!


    • #3
      Cleansing Your Cards

      Many people like to cleanse their cards before using them. This can get rid of the negative energies that might be clinging to them from other people handling them. From the factory, to the store, to your home - how many people have touched them? Some people like to cleanse them after every reading too, just to get them cleared off and fresh for the next. In fact, some people won't even let others touch their cards, period, because they want to make sure only their energy comes into contact with the cards. These are personal choices.

      However, it's likely that you will want to cleanse your cards at least once. There are several ways to do this, just as there are several ways to cleanse any tools.

      You can pass them over incense smoke, lay them in the sunlight for a few days, lay them in the moonlight for a few days, bury them someplace safe for awhile, leave them on an amethyst bed, etc. Whichever method you prefer will work. Don't worry about how long you leave them in the sunlight, moonlight, or ground - whenever they feel "done" to you is right, just trust your intuition! That also holds true for holding them on an amethyst bed - amethyst is good for cleansing and is often a good place to lay any tool. One of my best friends cleanses her cards between each reading by banging them three times on the table. This "knocks" the energy off and seems to work well for her.

      Cleansing your cards at least once in awhile is a good idea. If you get a lot of negative readings or readings that don't seem to make sense it may be time to cleanse your cards again. If your cards seem to growl at you when you walk by they may need a cleansing. Trust yourself to know and don't be afraid to try it!


      • #4
        Using Spreads

        When you first decide to try to do a reading, you may be overwhelmed by all the spreads to choose from. There are the classic ones, like the horseshoe and the celtic cross, as well as dozens of others - the major arcana spreads shared here at MW, elemental spreads, etc. Which do you choose from?

        Well, it might help you to know that there are dozens of spreads because there are many different kinds of readings. Some people want a reading done on a new venture they're starting, and you might thus choose the fool spread. Someone might want a reading on a relationship, so you might try the lovers spread. Then again some people just want a general reading - so you might try the horseshoe spread or elemental spread. If you're like me, you'll learn how to do one spread really well (like the horseshoe) and almost always do it. But sometimes you might want to try a different one for fun. Don't feel you have to know 10 different spreads, or that you even have to have memorized one. If you're just learning, carry a cue card with your deck with a spread drawn on one side, and the meaning of each card in the spread written on the other.

        In the beginning, you may even wish to do a simple past/present/future spread, or just pull one card from the deck! Sometimes you will even just get an idea in your mind to pull out a certain number of cards and lay them a certain way - don't be afraid to listen to that little voice! Nothing says you have to do a formal spread each time. Sometimes your querent needs to see 5 cards and that's it. As you learn to trust this intuition it will come even more easily.

        You could even decide to design your own spread. Perhaps you will decide that 6 is a number often related to Venus and love, and do a spread that is 6 cards laid in the shape of a heart for someone who wants to know about their love life. Don't be afraid to try something new. Have fun!


        • #5
          Your First Reading!

          Whew, take a deep breath, you've finally decided to do your first reading! You're probably kind of scared - what if you're totally wrong? You just started out!

          Well, first, let me say I understand exactly how you feel. We all started out with our first reading too, and we've all had a few readings that didn't work out or didn't make sense. For this reason, you'll probably feel most comfortable trying your first few readings for close friends or other tarot card users who understand (like the people here at MW!!!!). No one is going to call you stupid - really, think about the worst thing that could happen. The querent could go "hm I'm afraid that doesn't make much sense to me right now". The world won't end! The truth is that your tarot deck is a tool. The tarot cards can't tell what they mean by themselves - it's you who do the reading. Try to remember that the power is inside you, that the cards only help you bring out what you already know. This is true for any divination tool.

          When you set down to do the reading, try to find a comfortable spot. You may want to have your favourite incense to light, or wear your lucky shirt, or whatever. Feel comfortable and happy in anyway possible.

          Sit down in your chosen spot, and try to ground and center. If you don't know what that means, just try to put your feet flat on the ground, take a few deep breaths, and relax your body. Take a moment to smell your incense if you have some. Try not to be hungry or thirsty, cold or distracted. Take a few moments to settle yourself. You may wish to recite a prayer to help your divination, or to take a few minutes to greet your cards and ask for their help. Be receptive to your cards - if you can imagine them feeling angry or not wanting to do the reading don't do it. Sometimes your querent isn't ready for what you have to say!

          Take a few moments to lay out the cards as you like. Do this calmly and happily - don't rush yourself! When you lay them out take note of how many of each suit you have (ie. if you have lots of cups it could mean the querent is very emotional about this), how many minor and major arcana (lots of major arcana usually mean the querent feels strongly or this is a very strong subject), how many court cards there are (remember, knights, queens, kings, and pages can represent people or the environment). Take a few moments to see the reading as a whole in this way. Also note colours (lots of dark colours could mean negative stuff surrounding the querent), shapes that are repeated, characters in the cards, etc. You can then use the book to help your reading if you like, or let the meanings jump out at you. Trust me, when you get more adept at this you won't need the book anymore, or sometimes the book meaning just won't be the right meaning at the time. Trust yourself.

          Please note that some suggest your querent must draw the cards, some suggest you must. If you feel the querent can shuffle the deck or draw the cards, let them, if not, do it yourself. What you feel is best IS best!

          When you are reading go slowly, ask questions, get input, and relate cards to eachother. Some cards will have different meanings depending on the cards that surround them (for example the fool card surrounded by lots of fertility cards or cards with children or family in them could suggest a new family member on the way, meanwhile the fool card surrounded by lots of wands and swords could represent a new business venture on the way).... Don't be afraid to ask your querent "does this make sense to you" - sometimes they will see the meaning in the cards even if you do not. Sometimes you will have to say "I see a new beginning - are you thinking of starting a new job or expanding your family, or starting new projects, or something like that?". This will help your reading come clearer to you, so don't be embarassed to do it.

          The most important thing to remember here is that with practice you will get better, and most likely you will be fine in the beginning anyway. In the beginning you might be the book more, don't feel embarassed to carry it with you or have a look at it. Doing a reading for a friend or online can be better in the beginning just in case you get nervous. Just try it, and have fun!


          • #6
            Listening to Your Cards

            Sometimes you will hear someone talk about their cards "being grumpy" or "giving off bad vibes". This concept may be alien to you, especially if you're a beginner - how exactly is an inanimate object "grumpy"?

            Well first, perhaps you should consider your beliefs on energy and life. A lot of Pagans believe that all things are in essence living. Energy can collect anywhere, and if you listen carefully you will often understand plants or even stones and trees. Some believe everything has a Deva or nature spirit that looks after it, and perhaps it is this Deva that is the one sharing feelings. This concept is not completely understood, but is experienced by many people.

            When you first get your cards you might not feel anything from them. This is ok. In fact, even if you never get feelings from them it's ok. A lot of people will find with repeated use that their cards give off feelings.

            For example, if you pick up your cards and suddenly get a strange feeling that there's no way a reading you're about to do will work, it could be your cards admitting they are upset and need a cleansing, or that the querent just isn't ready for the reading. This comes down to trusting your intuition (again), and don't feel crazy for doing it. Sometimes you will also swear your cards are whispering to you - you'll feel drawn to them and very excited to get them out. Don't discount this; even if you can't do a reading perhaps take them out and look at the pictures, shuffle them, or meditate on a card you pull.

            Similarly, sometimes you will sit down to do a certain spread and suddenly get an urge to do a different one. Perhaps you will just get the idea to draw 3 cards instead of doing your normal horseshoe spread. Maybe your querent only needs to see the 3 cards.

            Your cards will accumulate your energy and that of the environment. Don't discount intuitive feelings you get from them. It could be your subconscious coming through, or the Deva of your deck, or who knows what else. Just be reassured that you aren't crazy


            • #7
              Thank You

              Thanks for all of the information on the Tarot, it was very well met.

              I received a deck of Tarot cards from my mother during my last visit. It was a kit, actually, and came with a book and a cloth that had a particular layout already on it. I think it was the elemental layout, if that is the basic layout.

              I did do a cleansing on them, but I never thought that I should do it every once in a while. I did the cleansing a day before the full moon because my girlfriend said that I didn't need to have a specific time of the moon or anything relating for a cleansing.

              Again, kudos to the information.
              I must shed light on the rampant stupidity of those who would enslave the free thinker!


              • #8
                Cleansing a new deck...

                ... and also making it one of your personal divination tools...

                Here is one way of doing it:

                An easy way of cleansing your deck is simply to cleanse it with incense and if you got Sage, use that one.

                Or you could if you like cleanse buy using something from the elements... like salt water to sprinkle on it and smoke from incense... let it lay in the moonlight for a couple of nights, and also in the sunlight if you wish...

                When you have cleansed it you perhaps want to make it one of your tools, make it you own. Here comes an easy ritual for that:

                Sit down, and take the deck in your hands. Relax and breathe deeply, let go of all tensions. Focus your mind upon what is to be done... let go of all other thoughts, you can think of other things later, so just let go...

                Visualize your inner powers awakening in your solar plexus, it looks like a crystal ball, very glowing, and for each breath you take it expands, it gets larger and larger and it still glows with an intense light. Feel it fill you, all of you, every little part of you gets filled with the light. When it has filled every part of you visualize four openings (doors), one on your forehead, one on your solar plexus and one in each palm. See the energy flowing out of you and on to your deck, let the energy flow all around it and through it... Feel it getting loaded with your energy. When you feel it has been loaded say something like this:

                A part of my energy now lives in thee,
                from now on your powers will serve me.

                Relax, lay down the deck in front of you, feel your energy getting smaller again, shrinking down and again moving back into your solar plexus.

                It is done.

                If you wish you may also introduce your deck to the goddess in a circle or in some sort of ritual....

                ~ As above, so below ~


                • #9
                  Thankyou Willow, it seams that most books ive read puts one straight into the deep end.

                  You were very helpful as i have bought a deck but have been to overwelmed to start studying them because of the huge amount of cards.
                  But at least now i can start off slowly.

                  I thing i am going to battle with relating the cards to each other in a spread, but i guess patience is a virtue.

                  Last edited by mythril; October 8th, 2001, 02:52 AM.
                  In nature and inside of each one of us, that is where...


                  • #10
                    Great posts!

                    Myst, you definitely should write a tarot book or something. You've covered so much!
                    ~Sage Witch

                    "We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another." -Johnathan Swift


                    • #11
                      learning your cards

                      I know I'm a little behind on this, but here goes.
                      I got my deck last year and it is the Witche's Tarot.
                      I just started what I call a Tarot Journal.
                      Every day I pick a card and I write down the date, day of the week, and moon phase.
                      Then I write down the interpretation of what the book says and the reverse interpretation.
                      Then I also write down anything extra that I may think goes with the card or links the picture to the meaning so that I can learn them easier.
                      I take the journal with me to work or wherever so that I can read it throughout the day and kind of get them into memory.
                      Since I have written them in a journal, no one knows what is in there and it can also be inconspicuous(sp.).
                      Anyway, does that sound like a good idea to you people that already know the tarot?
                      I have not done any readings, and do not plan to do any until I have finished the whole deck in this fashion.
                      How does that sound?
                      Any more advise would be appreciated.
                      Blessings to you and be well.


                      • #12
                        Tarot Cards

                        I also feel overwhelmed because there are so many cards. I have the Ryder Wait cards, but I don't really feel I have a bond or a relationship going with that normal for a beginner?
                        Does it matter what cards you use or should I try a different pack?
                        I also get frustrated because I have so much to learn and start feeling really thick and stupid. I read palms and pick things up from people, but I really want to be able to read the cards and read them well!
                        Thank you so much for the lessons Myst!! and for all the helpful input from everyone! I do feel much more positive after reading your lessons should write a book because you make more sense than the books that I've read so far!!!




                        • #13
                          MM All,
                          Really good info there and really helpful for us beginners with the Tarot. Thankyou very much.
                          BB Blue
                          Smiles don't cost anything.... So go on, share them out... You know you want to....


                          • #14
                            Re: Tarot Cards

                            Originally posted by Gypsy Raven
                            I also feel overwhelmed because there are so many cards. I have the Ryder Wait cards, but I don't really feel I have a bond or a relationship going with that normal for a beginner?
                            Does it matter what cards you use or should I try a different pack?
                            Sorry I didn't see this and answer it earlier.

                            If you've tried to use the deck for awhile and it didn't feel "right", you should feel free to see if there's another deck out there for you. Also note that changes in your life can also cause you to "lose the connection" with your deck - for instance, I started reading some fiction books related to the deck I was using and because of how the characters were depicted in the book I could no longer use the deck. I gave it to my best friend.

                            You are the best one to know what just feels right, and if your deck doesn't, try a new one. Sometimes you may keep a few decks and when you go to do a reading find that a certain deck just feels right for it. Trust your instincts!

                            Lastly, don't feel that you aren't smart just because you're starting out. We all have to start somewhere, and it helps to have a deck that speaks to you as well. Give yourself lots of time and patience, and be proud that you're looking into new practices and beliefs and constantly bettering yourself spiritually!


                            • #15
                              P.S. I'm glad you guys are getting use of this stuff. I know I was a little bewildered on a lot of it too until I started getting help from friends here at MW and off the net.