Welcome to The Divination Nation blog!
We are Pleasant Gehman and Crystal Ravenwolf, a duo of divination divas, “spiritual sisters from another mister”. We’re life-long Tarotistas, obsessed with all things esoteric and paranormal. We’d love for this blog to be relevant for metaphysically-inclined peeps at every stage of development from beginners to professionals, so our posts will range from basic concepts and info that many of you are undoubtedly familiar with, to interviews, how-to’s and reviews on events and products.
We hope this blog is as fun for you to read as it is for us to write…Enjoy!
As most card readers will agree, Tarot isn’t “just” an incredible divination system that’s been around for centuries… it’s an obsession, a lifestyle, and a never-ending journey. But often, the mere though of embarking on that journey- or picking up where you left off years ago when the road forked- can be a little intimidating. To begin with, there’s seventy-eight cards- and they each have a variety of meanings. That in itself is daunting. Then there’s the multitude of card spreads, what the cards mean in various positions, and how they influence each other…not to mention the connections to the elements, numerology and symbolism. It’s a lot to absorb! We jokingly refer to this overwhelming feeling as So Many Cards, So Little Time …but seriously, we’ve all been there at some point! Nobody was born knowing how to read Tarot.
The good news you don’t have to download all this info into your brain at once. Tarot is like a relationship- and every relationship is as individual as the people who are involved. Some connections develop instantaneously; the affinity is quick and the bond is strong. Others take a little more time getting started, but wind up growing into a significant soul connection you never imagined in your wildest dreams.
So, how can you become acquainted with that shiny new pack of cards you just bought and are all gung-ho about mastering?
The good news is that there’s a wide range of ways you can connect to your cards, and each of them is effective. Your goal is to develop a working relationship with your cards, familiarizing yourself with each card’s look, the meanings behind it, and the feelings, situations or people each card can potentially represent.
It’s important to remember that everyone learns differently, and that Tarot- as we stated before - is a lifelong journey. You’ll never stop learning! Some of these methods may resonate with you better than others, but they’re all worth a try. Often, by combining a few of these techniques and playing around with them simultaneously, you’ll absorb pertinent information much more quickly.
Pretty soon, you’ll notice that you’re feeling awfully warm and fuzzy with all seventy-eight of your new best friends.
There’s a boatload of books on Tarot out there. Amazon.com in particular has tons of them, both new and used, hard copy and in eBook form, and all quite affordable. Many books- even older ones that might look slightly cheesy- are jam-packed with knowledge. Some are geared towards general interest while others are specialized, covering a particular deck (such as Rider-Waite or Thoth) or focus solely on a particular subject, like Mary K. Greer’s Tarot Reversals or Megan Skinner’s Essence Of The Tarot, which covers only the Major Arcana.
Many decks come with their own instructional booklets, often affectionately known to Tarotistas as LWBs, or “Little White Books”. These are hit-or-miss: some are terrific, others are mere newsprint pamphlets with semi-useless info. No matter what, if you’re in the process of learning, read them anyway.
One great example of a well-written, beautifully illustrated book accompanying a deck is the 152-page high quality paperback by Kim Huggens that accompanies Erik. C. Dunne’s Tarot Illuminati. Though written specifically for that deck, her prose is gorgeous and her interpretations are fairly universal.
Read whatever you can get your hands on, contrast and compare, and absorb as much information as you can. Ultimately, there’ll come a time where you just have to toss all the books aside, and formulate your own opinions.
Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t refer back to them- or read and collect even more books!
Classes, Workshops And Online Courses
While it’s great to learn as much as you can on your own, there’s truly nothing like being able to study with a master reader who’s also a skillful instructor. If there aren’t in-person classes in your area, perhaps you can find a respected local reader to coach you.
There are several classes and workshops available online too, ranging from weekly courses to private Skype sessions, or one-off workshops on distinct subjects. Hugely respected Tarot scholars teach many of these. Sort through the many classes offered, read up on the instructors, and see if their philosophies and presentation jive with what you had in mind as a learning experience before signing up.
The UK-based Tarosophy Tarot Association has a number of pre-recorded seminars and workshops available to members, and they offer live lectures and classes at pre-appointed times as well. Additionally, they host a number of Tarot conventions globally. We attended their TarotCon Denver this past June, and it was an incredible weekend, jam-packed with relevant workshops, master classes, lectures, panel discussions, after-hours Tarot-inspired fun and networking opportunities.
Though the word “research” sounds somewhat formidable, it’s actually a fun process that simply means, “finding out as much as you can about a subject you’re interested in".
Research can be as simple or extensive as you like. Of course it’ll include reading- as in books- but it can also mean getting a reading.
Book a reading with a professional (in person, on Skype or the phone) and see what they have to say. Listen carefully to the way they interpret and explain the cards as well as how they approach the client, which in this case, is you. Ask questions. Take note of their reading style, the deck they use, the way they lay out the spread, and the tone of their voice, their advice. If you can’t afford a reading, suggest trading readings- many pros are open to trades, or even barter.
Doing online research also includes perusing Tarot blogs. Again, there are many out there. Some are general, others very personal…but they’ll all have something to offer. While you’re online, sign up for some newsletters, or even better, join a few of the (seemingly zillions) of Tarot pages or news feeds on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. This is fun and simple way to see the opinions of many readers at all levels of proficiency. Be careful though- it can be quite addicting!
A great way to connect with your cards is to develop your own series of memory cues. We’ve heard of people scrawling memory prompts in the border of the card itself…that we wouldn’t recommend, if just for the fact that you might want to use these cards to do a reading for someone in the future!
But a great way to learn is to stick Post-it notes on the back of each card in your deck with a couple of key words or phrases associated with that card. Randomly pull a card, and see what you can remember before checking the note on the back.
Visual, Emotional and Intuitive Association
At first, you might need to rely on your written key word notes or looking the cards up, but eventually, you should start making your own associations. Some questions to ask yourself: What does the card say to you visually? What’s going on in the picture? How does it make you feel?
As far as using intuition for card interpretation goes, there’s a myriad of opinions…and it’s a hotly debated subject on all the Tarot forums and pages we discussed earlier! To put it bluntly, there are basically two camps on the subject; those who read intuitively, and those who think using intuition is utter bullshit. There are folks who think there can be no such thing as a truly psychic or intuitive reader. Sometimes, those are the people who tend to read cards in a dry, memorized, textbook fashion. And sadly, there are also many so-called intuitive readers who just blithely picked up a deck, and with no study, experience or consideration whatsoever, just hang out their shingle as a “professional” and spout nonsense, giving a bad name to those who really are psychic or intuitive.
However, all of this is relative, and there is a happy medium to be found– pun very much intended!
Learning the various generally accepted meanings and key words for each card and then putting your own intuition to use can help you reach this place of “neutrality” or balance.
Starting to trust your intuition can be tricky. Usually the very first thing that pops into your head is spot on, no matter how crazy it seems…but this isn’t always the case. Often, our initial reaction to a card seems outré or bizarre and we’ll second guess it, only to find out that our first thought was, in fact, the correct interpretation.
Play around with your intuition, get comfortable with it. There’s no right or wrong here, some people are gifted intuitives, and others, well…not so much. There’s absolutely no hard and fast way to read the cards accurately, it’s all about whatever works for you.
Sooner or later, you’ll want to put yourself on an active work/study program. A good way to begin is with Dividing The Deck into Major and Minor Arcana. Go through each card in the 22 Major Arcana cards and see how each one relates to the cards before and after it. Go through the 56 Minor Arcana cards suit by suit, and do the same. Many readers like to use
Meditation as a way of connecting to the cards. Randomly pick a card and concentrate on it’s meaning, see what images or thoughts come into your head.
Doing Single Card Pulls (without intense meditation) for yourself each morning or evening is also a good method of getting to know the cards and seeing how that card relates to the energy you felt or the situations that unfolded for you. After awhile, you can do these pulls for other people too. It’s a simple way to see how each card works for you in the context of interpretation, as well as a good way to familiarize yourself with the individual meaning.
Graduate to laying out simple spreads and interpreting them for yourself, eventually working up to spreads that incorporate more cards. After you become comfortable with a few of these, offer readings to family members and friends. It’s a fantastic way to practice, and we can assure you that very few people will turn down a free reading, no matter what level you’re at! People have been fascinated by fortune telling for centuries, and today it’s no different.
Keeping A Tarot Journal
Through every step of each process listed above, you’ll definitely want to keep a Tarot journal- its an invaluable tool for learning. It doesn’t matter if it’s hard copy or on an electronic device- it just matters that you keep it. By writing down your thoughts and associations on each particular card, they’ll become ingrained in your mind much sooner.
Examine single cards and jot down the impressions you get before relying on looking up the possible meanings. Take photos of spreads you’ve done, combine them with your notes on the reading (whether it’s for you or someone else) and refer back to it as needed. You’ll begin to notice patterns, cards that routinely come up, and start seeing through-ways from older layouts that you may have missed upon first glance. Your Tarot journal will be fantastic way of connecting with your cards, and it’s also a wonderful way to check your progress.
Think of it as a scrapbook that documents the growing relationship with you… and your seventy eight new BFFs !
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To find out more about Pleasant click here: http://www.pleasantgehman.com/
For more on Crystal’s background, click here; http://crystalravenwolf.com