Author: Patty Tomsky
Whether you’ve been reading Tarot for years or just a few weeks, you know the “busyness” of your mind can get in the way of a great reading for your querant.
Some days, even a 3-card reading in the morning using your Writual Tarot planner can feel rushed and shallow.
Meditation acts like a clarifier for all your spinning thoughts. It allows you to remain present, and introduces a sense of centeredness that can act as a compass for your Tarot reading.
The seminal book on meditation by Ram Dass — Journey of Awakening, A Meditators Guidebook — includes many opportunities to begin your meditation practice. To introduce the benefits of meditation, Dass writes:
“This network of thoughts has been your home since you can remember. Your home is safe and familiar. It may be sad and painful sometimes but it is home…Because this structure has always been your home you assume that it is what reality is—that your thoughts are Reality with a capital R.”
Meditation allows you to find space between the thoughts that have been your reality. “It gives you moments of sunlight—of clarity and detachment.”
When you introduce meditation into your Tarot practice, the images of the cards will freshen before your eyes. The reverberations between the images and their meaning will multiply.
Below are 3 simple steps to introduce meditation into your Tarot practice so you can find a deeper connection with the cards and with yourself.
Step 1: Create a Sacred Space
Starhawk, one of the OG pagan writers in this country, provides many ways to create a sacred meditation space for. Although her directives are of a specific lineage, I have adapted them for my Tarot meditation practice.
At the beginning of her meditations in her book, The Spiral Dance, Starhawk urges the practitioner to “ground and center.”
“Now imagine as you sit your spine is the trunk of a tree. At its base roots extend deep into the earth into the center of the earth Herself…Feel the power rise up your spine…from the crown of your head you have branches that sweep down and touch the earth…returning the power to its source.”
If you feel comfortable with this visualization, it can lift your energy and create what Starhawk calls, “starlight vision” — perfect for meditating on Tarot.
If you have a Tarot altar, sit in front of it or in any other comfortable place. Have your Tarot cards nearby. Sit comfortably with your shoulders back, legs crossed (no need to lotus, unless you like it!).
Take a deep breath in through your nose, and breathe out through your mouth. As you breathe in, think of a word that’s meaningful to you and repeat it in your mind. Love, peace, strength, energy, release, or any other word that resonates.
As you breathe out, release the thoughts of what you need to do today — your worries, plans for the weekend, whatever is taking up space in your mind.
As you take 10, deep full breaths, sit quietly and imagine the earth beneath you as solid and affirming. If you’d like, picture a ray of pure energy rising up through your spine and bursting from your crown, growing branches of light that then return to your sides, creating an arbor of light.
Step 2: Introduce a Tarot Card
Breathe in and out deeply as you look at the Tarot card you pull. Consider what is happening in the card:
- What is the scene?
- What does it feel like to look at the card?
- Are there elemental energies present?
- Lions, suns, moons, dogs, crabs, flags, wreaths?
If you like, choose the main element represented by the Tarot suit. Wands are fire, swords are air, pentacles are earth and cups are water.
Close your eyes, and see the card in your mind’s eye. Breathe deeply and allow your attention to settle on the card’s images. Try to keep the meaning that you may have learned about this card in the past separate from the meditation for now.
If the elemental energies of the card speak to you, you can tune into those:
- Feel a cool breeze on your skin (air)
- See a sparkling star of energy in your mind’s eye (fire)
- Feel and hear the ocean waves crashing (water)
- Feel warm, soft soil in your hands and smell loam in your nostrils (earth)
Breathe quietly into these sensory experiences until you’re ready to open your eyes. I find 3-5 minutes is usually sufficient, but feel free to rest here for longer if you desire.
Intrusive thoughts will come to you. Nod and smile at them. Don’t fight them. If it’s useful, picture yourself next to a running stream. As a thought comes, gently send it along its way in the water.
Step 3: Journal About Your Meditation
As you release your visualization, continue to take long, deep breaths before you open your eyes. Wiggle your fingers and toes.
If you’re using the grounding visualization from earlier, picture the light of energy from your branches sinking down to the earth, without pulling up any additional energy from the base of your spine. Breathe here for a few seconds.
Next, open your eyes. Look around the room, and get centered in your environment.
Try to rest your gaze calmly on solid objects to reorient yourself in space and time. Take time to do this so you don’t trip over things, or drop coffee mugs—trust me, I’ve skipped this step, and have bumbled clumsily into my day, wreaking mild havoc.
Next, grab your Tarot journal and free write about your meditation experience.
Allow yourself to circumvent logic as you emerge from the meditation and begin writing. You can get awesome insights when you allow your post-meditation subconscious to reign on the page.
Once you feel finished, you may look up meanings in your Tarot library, or grab the same card from another deck and look for correlations.
I like to use a separate notebook for free writing and then take the highlights from there and put them into my Writual Tarot planner.
Sit quietly for a minute before rejoining your day. Enjoy the space you’ve made for self-care through meditation and your Tarot practice. You may find yourself bringing the energies of the card with you to center you during your day!
What to Do When Dark Tarot Cards Arise
A quick note—the “darker” images in the Tarot may be difficult to meditate on at first. I often call these cards the “shadow” cards, similar to Carl Jung’s definition of “a being instinctive and irrational” who lives inside of each of us.
These cards show a part of me that I’m not all that keen on exploring. But they also represent natural and normal parts of human nature that we all possess to some degree.
Integrating my shadow side into my Tarot meditation can be a useful way to shine a light on these reactive, less positive aspects of myself. While meditating, I try to use the symbols in the card as points of focus.
For example, the Devil card has chains and thrones and stars. While sitting with these images, I might ask myself: “Where are you feeling held back?” “What is ruling your life that you’re uncomfortable with?”
Because the Devil Tarot card often means addiction, I might also ask, “Where are you misusing people, places or things and why?”
Sitting quietly with these questions and free-writing afterward can yield wonderful insight — even if the original image feels a bit off-putting.
Go Deeper with Your Tarot Practice
Your Tarot meditation may reveal all sorts of deeper meanings as you use the deck for divination, or to provide centering energies as you begin your day.
My Tarot meditation practice has helped me stay more in tune with the cards in general. It helps me get better as a Tarot reader, and expands my spirituality, too.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with meditation and the Tarot. The Writual Society group is a powerful place to share your story and connect with other Tarot users.