Tarot for Yourself Study #3: Reading the Cards

“Oracular knowledge represents a way to escape the anxiety of risk. However, there is danger of illusion here, because it is only through your own individual encounters with life and chance that you evolve. It is the clarity and perceptiveness with which you view the events around you that heightens self-awareness and personal growth, and this is where oracular information will help you.”

Tarot for Yourself, Mary K Greer, Chapter 3

Chapter three starts off by going a bit into why we read the cards and then into how by looking at the four suits and reversed cards. Before I move on with Chapter 3, though, I wanted to acknowledge that Chapter two ends with a discussion of patterns of year cards—Greer gives an excellent chart in which you can figure out what your year cards are for each year (both past and present) of your life and mentions the importance of years in which your soul cards match your year cards. Did anyone else chart their year cards? Did you find anything interesting in the intersections of major events and year cards? I’d love to hear! I hope to do this myself when things slow down, but haven’t gotten to yet.

Ok, back to chapter 3. In this chapter, Greer says that “The Tarot encourages you to look at life symbolically—to look deeply into its simultaneous levels of meaning” She argues that ideally, Tarot gives us opportunities and choices, not closed-down determinations about our futures or identities. She goes on to give the steps necessary to do a reading:

1. Deciding the purpose of the reading

2. Deciding the most appropriate spread

3. Recording the reading (on paper, recorder, etc.)

4. Dating the reading

5. Purifying your cards

6. Centering and grounding

7. shuffling, cutting, laying out the cards

Greer spends some time discussing how to ask a question of the Tarot, something that I personally find a bit difficult. Along with finding the right spread, asking a question in a way that can get an intelligible answer is sometimes difficult for me. I often avoid asking specific questions at all, which, though useful, is often just because I can’t think of a clear way to frame my thoughts. When it comes to questions, Greer breaks them down into 4 categories:

1. Questions about the most appropriate action

2. Questions of choice: which option is the best?

3. Questions asking “why”?, such as “What is this situation trying to teach me”?

4. Questions that can be answered yes or no

Greer says “It is worth spending as much time as necessary to clarify your questions, looking at its different aspects and deciding what you really need to know to resolve it”. As I mentioned above, this part is often difficult for me in my own personal readings. Although I feel I’m pretty good at re-framing querant questions, my own questions are often too complex and muddled to get me anywhere.

The book then goes through the four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles or Coins. Since I assume we are already pretty familiar with these suits and associations, I’ll just ask if any of these were interesting or surprising to you or if they reminded you of any aspect of the suit you had forgotten about or neglected. For me, I was reminded that the wands are “future oriented”, something that makes sense, but that I had not really considered deeply in my own readings.

So, what did you all learn from this chapter? I’d love to hear your thoughts, contentions, or anything that sparked your curiosity!

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One Response to “Tarot for Yourself Study #3: Reading the Cards”

  1. Minnah says:

    I love to read about this (tarot).

    Keep up the good work and greetings from Sweden.


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