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The Tarot can empower you to create the future you want and transform your life by providing you with insights about yourself and the world around you.

Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques:  Your Own Fool’s Journey

When doing a Tarot reading for ourselves, we often find that the chatter of our hopes and fears invariably intrudes. Because of this, it is important to find out how we can silence the voice of our rational mind long enough to enable us to hear our intuitive wisdom. To enable you to do that, I have created a variety of non-divinatory techniques for using Tarot cards to empower you to create the future you want. Here is one that I call “Your Own Fool’s Journey.”

Note: Before reading this, you might want to read my introduction to Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques.

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Many Tarot authors have related accounts of the Fool’s journey of spiritual development through the Major Arcana cards. (In fact, my Tarot Coloring Book relates a simplified Fool’s Journey also.) Usually in these stories, each Major Arcana card represents a lesson for the Fool to learn in order to facilitate his psychological growth and spiritual transformation, and typically these steps are presented sequentially, beginning with the Magician (1) and ending with the World card (21).

But this orderly progression is basically a storytelling convenience, an over simplification to make the point easier for the reader to grasp. Our lives, for which the Fool’s Journey is both guide and metaphor, are never so simple or orderly. Each of the Major Arcana cards represents many layers of psychological and spiritual lessons through which we progress in a manner both recursive and seemingly haphazard. Thus, for example, at one point in time we may gain a valuable insight about materialism as represented by the Devil card. Then perhaps later we might learn something of what the Empress has to say about nurturing. Next, we may grow through experiences represented by several other Major Arcana cards, and then find ourselves having to deal with a substance abuse problem that makes the archetype of the Devil our lesson and teacher once again. Consequently, our lives are a continuous string of challenges faced and lessons learned (or not, as the case may be) as we journey through a psycho-spiritual landscape populated with an infinite number of variants of the archetypes represented by the Tarot Major Arcana cards.

Some of these experiences, however, may stand out as being more critically vital or noteworthy to your development than do others. For example, a first love, the death of a parent, or the challenging discovery of a new spiritual belief system — any of these experiences may be singularly unforgettable and seminal in your growth process. A valuable exercise in self-exploration, then, is to sit down with the twenty-two Major Arcana cards and write your own “Fool’s Journey” to explore the story of your life — past, present, and future.

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STEP 1: Find an association.

For this procedure, consider each of the Major Arcana cards one at a time. Get into a relaxed and contemplative state of mind, and as you consider each one, meditate on it in whatever way feels right to you. Allow the card to speak to you about your life, and eventually you will see how it represents or comments on some aspect of your life. This may be an event from your past, an experience you are going through now, or a goal or aspiration you hope to fulfill in the future.

If nothing of this nature comes to mind, do not worry about it. You can set the card aside and come back to it later. Perhaps during the remainder of the day while you are not trying to think about it, a flash of inspiration will strike, bringing to mind an event that reminds you of the meaning of this card. Or maybe at night a dream will reveal such an association.

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STEP 2: Explore these associations.

Once you have found an aspect of your life that a card represents to you, write about it. First describe the event or situation and explore its significance to your life. Then note why this card called that aspect of your life to mind, and discuss what the imagery, symbolism, and meaning of the card say about this. What insights about this experience does it yield? What lessons does it say you can learn from it?

As you do this exercise, remember that in your life’s journey, each of the twenty-two Major Arcana cards will be your guide and teacher often, and rarely will they appear in the sequential order in which they are presented in a Tarot deck. Thus, the ordered Major Arcana cards need not represent chronologically ordered events in your life, and some of the cards may call to mind several disparate events or aspects of your life.

As an analogy, we can consider the twenty-two Major Arcana cards to be the guests at a cocktail party, which represents your life. As you mingle with these guests, you will converse with one for a while, and then another. You may engage in a conversation with several at once, you may return to one you spoke to earlier, and sometimes you may spend a moment or two by yourself, absorbing and assimilating what you have talked about with these guests so far.

The point of this analogy, and of this technique, is that the significant events of your life can be illuminated by the energy of a Major Arcana card. Thus, a valuable result of this exercise is that it will help you review and reevaluate your past as well as purposefully envision your future in order to both heal and empower yourself in the present.

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There are a couple of alternative ways to use the Major Arcana cards to bring understanding to your life. The first is to do the preceding process in reverse. In this alternative process, begin by considering a chronological sequence of milestones in your life, whether they be tragedies, victories, joys, sorrows, or opportunities lost or gained. Make a list of such milestones, and considering each in turn, write a quick paragraph about it. Then for each one, look quickly through the Major Arcana cards, and use your gut reaction to choose the one that best relates, illustrates, or corresponds to that event. Carefully consider that association, as you did in Step 2 above.

The second alternative was inspired by a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” For this process, consider each of the twenty-two Major Arcana cards in turn (in whatever sequence you prefer). Meditate upon the card, considering how it may comment on the question, “Who am I at this time?” Alternatively, instead of meditating on each card, you can do a guided visualization into the card to ask a figure in it that same self-exploratory question.

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Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques:  A Tarot Vacation

When doing a Tarot reading for ourselves, we often find that the chatter of our hopes and fears invariably intrudes. Because of this, it is important to find out how we can silence the voice of our rational mind long enough to enable us to hear our intuitive wisdom. To enable you to do that, I have created a variety of non-divinatory techniques for using Tarot cards to empower you to create the future you want. Here is one that I call “A Tarot Vacation.”

Note: Before reading this, you might want to read my introduction to Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques.

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Do you need a vacation, but you don’t have the time or finances to go on a cruise in the Caribbean, go skiing in the Alps, or just lie in the sun on Waikiki beach? A mini vacation using your Tarot cards may not be the same thing, but it can be fun and relaxing enough to tide you over until you are able to get away for a real vacation.

For this process, you will be choosing several cards using your intuitive reaction to them. Thus, for each choice you should look through your deck, cards face up, as fast as you can, relying on your gut reactions (versus a reasoned analysis) to pull cards that feel right.

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STEP 1: A traveling companion

A vacation is often more fun when you have someone with whom to share it, someone you like and whose company you enjoy. Consequently, the first step is to choose a card that depicts someone with whom you would like to take a vacation. (This step is optional. If you are the type of person who likes to take a vacation alone, ignore this step and all mention of a companion in the subsequent visualization process.)  People often choose a court card for this, but it certainly can be any card in the deck.

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STEP 2: A destination

Next you will need to choose a destination for your vacation, so go through your deck and select one to three cards that suggest a place where you would like to go on a vacation. This may turn out to be a real location, or it can be a fictional or mythical place; it can be a place that existed in the past, it may still exist now, or it could even be a location that does not yet exist.

If you have chosen more than one card as your destination, you can arrange these cards in some order that depicts a scene to you. For example, say you chose the Nine of Pentacles, Three of Wands, and Four of Wands from the RWS deck. You might arrange them in this order: Three of Wands, Four of Wands, Nine of Pentacles. This might depict the following scene:

There is a festival in progress at a castle that is built on a hillside. A short walk from this castle brings you to a cliff overlooking a bay where boats are sailing on sun-glistened water. If you walk a short distance in another direction from the castle, you will come to a lush garden where grape vines grow and a soft breeze brings you the sweet scent of the season’s first crush at a nearby winery.

Note that you also can use this particular step to help you decide where to go on a real vacation if such a choice is up in the air.

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STEP 3: Get acquainted

Before you set off on this Tarot vacation, you will want to get to know your traveling companion better. To do this, first relax as completely as you can. Then closely examine the card that represents your companion. Describe him or her physically and consider what kind of person he or she seems to be. For example, what is his general temperament and personality? Is he excitable, passionate, quick to anger, or romantic? Is he intelligent, witty, charming, or adventurous? What is he thinking right now? What is he feeling?

Then consider how you expect the two of you to interact with each other. For example, will you be traveling as friends, or do you think there will be some romantic interest as well?

Now you are going to do a guided visualization with this card. Once you have put yourself fully into this card, approach the figure in it that you want for a traveling companion. (Do not be concerned if she or he changes appearance from what was originally depicted in the card. This happens occasionally.) Tell him or her where you two are going on vacation, and enter into a conversation about it. For example, you might want to ask her for suggestions as to what to do on this vacation. Or you can ask her if there is anything else she wants to tell you in preparation for going on this vacation together. Your conversation may cover these and other topics.

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STEP 4: Bon Voyage

Now turn your attention to the destination card (or cards) that you chose. If you selected more than one card, choose one of them now to be the primary focus of your trip. Make a careful examination of all the cards you picked, but the focus card will be the one you will initially enter in the guided visualization.

Now do the guided visualization with this card. Once you have successfully entered it, move around the scene and examine anything to which your attention is drawn. As you acclimatize to this setting, imagine your traveling companion joining you, and then continue to explore the scene with him or her. As you see anything or any place of interest, investigate, explore, and experience it. (Remember to travel to the scenery in the other destination cards, if you picked more than one such card.)

As you do all of this, feel free to talk to your companion about what you both are doing. For example, does he or she have any suggestions about other places to explore or other things to do where you are? When you encounter other people, interact with them if you want to. It can be diverting and illuminating to talk to them and to do things with them. They may take you to unexpected places or have interesting comments about where you are and what you are doing. Also, do you see any fun souvenirs that you want to bring back with you? This may be something you find, something you buy somewhere, or a gift from someone you encounter.

When you feel you have seen everything you want to see and done everything you want to do, exit this card as described in my “Tarot Visualization” blog post.

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STEP 5: Thanks for the memories.

This step will help cement the experience of this vacation into your memory, making it seem more real and long lasting.

After you have taken this Tarot vacation, jot down notes about what happened, such as:

  • Where did you go?
  • What was it like there?
  • What did you do there?
  • Whom did you meet?
  • What souvenirs did you get, if any?

You may also want to consider the significance of any of these things, especially in the context of this experience. Your unconscious mind has just taken you on a little trip, and maybe it tried to give you insights or messages in a symbolic form along the way.

If you are at all artistically inclined, you may want to make a quick sketch of one of the scenes you visited. If you do that, post it somewhere (perhaps on your refrigerator) to remind you of your vacation. Alternatively, you can post the destination card that you chose. Either your sketch or the card itself can be like a postcard that you brought back from your vacation.

Note that you can revisit this vacation spot any time you want to. You may want to explore other parts of the scene that you did not get to see, or further explore areas that you did go to. You can also visit your traveling companion to discuss your experiences on this vacation. To do either of these things, just do another guided visualization into the destination card or the companion card.

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Feel free to modify this procedure as the inspiration strikes. This Tarot Vacation is intended to be enjoyable, so have fun with the process as well. The following are a couple of modifications to the procedure that you might want to consider.

First, in “Step 1: A traveling companion,” I noted that you do not have to chose and include a companion if you tend to be a solitary traveler. However, if you are a very gregarious sort of person, you might want several friends to accompany you on this Tarot vacation trip, instead of just one. In that case, feel free to chose several cards in that step. If you do, you may either repeat “STEP 3: Get acquainted” for each companion, or you can do one all-encompassing visualization to meet and get to know all of your new friends at once.

Next, considering that there often are surprises on a vacation, you can use a Tarot card to add a bit of the unexpected to your Tarot vacation. Before you begin the guided visualization into your destination card, you can randomly deal yourself a card to represent a “surprise” card. Just keep the image of this card in the back of your mind as you set out on this Tarot vacation. Then at some point during the visualization, recall this card and consider it for a moment to see what unforeseen development it adds to your vacation. For example, the Strength card might bring a circus to town in the midst of your vacation, it may mean that a lion will wander into the scene, or it might indicate that you will meet a strong, beautiful woman. Just let the image on this card evoke whatever experience it will, and it can bring an unexpected twist to your Tarot vacation.

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Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques:  Follow Your Dreams

When doing a Tarot reading for ourselves, we often find that the chatter of our hopes and fears invariably intrudes. Because of this, it is important to find out how we can silence the voice of our rational mind long enough to enable us to hear our intuitive wisdom. To enable you to do that, I have created a variety of non-divinatory techniques for using Tarot cards to empower you to create the future you want. Here is one that I call “Follow Your Dreams.”

Note: Before reading this, you might want to read my introduction to Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques.

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What do you truly want to do with your life? Questions like this one are critical to our happiness and sense of fulfillment, yet we rarely consider them. We are often told to follow our dreams, but rarely are we told how to accomplish that feat. While some select few seem to know exactly what they want in life, for most of us, our understanding of our hopes and dreams is well illustrated by the Seven of Cups — a multitude of conflicting options about which we are confused and uncertain. Indeed, in order to follow our dreams, we must first know what they are, and differentiating them from the expectations of our parents, our peers, and society in general — not to mention the dictates of our egos — can be a formidable task.

Finding your life’s true path, then, requires you to open up to your soul’s guidance. Since Tarot cards can serve as a divine doorway, the technique described here uses the cards to help you find the spiritual path along which you can follow your dreams.

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STEP 1: Find your dreams

The first step in following your dreams is to find out what those dreams are. To begin that search go through your deck, cards face up, and use your intuitive reactions to quickly pull every card that may indicate what you want to do with your life. This may be in terms of any aspect of your life, such as your career, your hobbies and passions, charitable work you want to do, or your relationships.

Next, spread those cards out in front of you. If you picked more than a dozen, you may want to narrow your choices down to a manageable number. Also, if any of the cards you chose seems to duplicate the message of another chosen card, keep only the one that best expresses this message.

List the cards you drew, and for each one, write down what it suggests you want out of life, or that you want to do with your life. More important, however, is that you also write down why you think you want what this card represents.

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STEP 2: Choose your path

Now you will test those reasons to find out which of these goals come from your soul and which do not.

Line up the following cards above the cards you just chose:

  • The Empress and/or the Emperor. These cards represent the voice of your parents (or of parental figures, in case you were raised by someone other than your biological parents).
  • The Hierophant. This card will provide the voice of your peers and of conventional society.
  • The Chariot. This card will be the voice of your ego.
  • The Fool. This card will speak with the voice of your soulful purpose.

I call these cards your “voice cards.” Note that you may use different cards than I have listed here if there are other cards that better represent these voices for you. For example, you may feel that the Sun card represents the voice of your ego better than the Chariot does, or that the Judgement card more accurately portrays your spiritual voice than does the Fool. Use what works best for you, but be sure to have a card to represent each of the voices indicated: parents, peers and society, ego, and spirit. Also, in case you chose any of the cards noted above as one of the things you want in your life (in Step 1), feel free to use that card as both a life purpose card and a “voice card.”

Now, for the life purpose cards that you chose in the prior step, imagine each of the voice cards in turn saying the reason that you wrote for wanting what that card represents. Listen carefully to hear which voice card is able to speak the reason credibly.

Can the Empress or Emperor say this reason convincingly and with conviction? If so, this card may represent parental expectations. Does it sound like something the Hierophant would say? If it does, this aspiration may be born of peer or societal pressure. Does it ring true when coming from the Charioteer? Then perhaps it is of the ego.

Discard any of the chosen cards whose reasons for being selected seem to come naturally from the lips of the Empress or Emperor, the Hierophant, or the Charioteer. Keep those cards whose reasons for being selected sound right and realistic when spoken by the Fool. You will now be left with none, one, or several cards, and the next step will discuss how to handle each of these possibilities.

If you find you still have quite a few cards left, you might want to prioritize them, keeping only the three or four that seem most important to your happiness. This is, of course, a highly intuitive process, which I explain to people by telling them to select those cards that make their heart sing.

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STEP 3: Find your Fool’s path

If you are left with no cards, do a guided visualization using the Fool card, and ask the Fool’s advice. The following are some questions you might ask the Fool:

  • What is my spiritual path?
  • Why am I here in this life?
  • What will bring me fulfillment?

Alternatively, you may want to ask the Fool to suggest a card that might be a good representation of your hopes and dreams for your life.

If you are left with one card, do a guided visualization using that card to further explore what it suggests is your spiritual path. Before you begin this visualization, it will help to intuitively consider how you want to approach this. Will you ask for clarification of what path this card suggests you take? Will you ask for advice on how to travel that path? Will you ask for a gift to help you along that path? Use the approach that feels right to you.

If you are left with more than one card, line them up under the Fool card. Get a clear mental image of this cluster of cards, then do a guided visualization to take you into the Fool card. Once you are there, explain what each of the other cards represents in this context, and ask him (or her, depending on how you see the Fool) for advice as to which one card to choose. Then do a guided visualization with that card, as described above.

It is possible that two or more of these cards will indicate things you want in very different aspects of your life. For example, one might be in the arena of your career while another might deal with your love life. Thus, if you would want to, you can repeat the following steps for each of those cards.

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STEP 4: Prepare for the journey

Over the next few days spend some time with this card, since it describes your hopes and dreams and is both seed and essence of the path your spirit is calling you to take. Place this card (which may be the Fool card if you ultimately chose no other card) somewhere such that you will see it often, letting it soak into your consciousness. You may want to meditate on this card from time to time.

It may also be helpful to look at or visualize this card before you go to sleep at night, telling yourself that you will dream about it and that you will remember such dreams. Then in the morning, write down whatever you can recall of your dreams and consider what they reveal about your spiritual path.

It may help to create an affirmation based upon this card and to then recite that affirmation often while visualizing or meditating on this card. You may want to do a guided visualization into it to ask for an affirmation specific to your life’s journey, or you can find an affirmation for it in my book, Tarot Affirmations.

Another possibility is to do the “Scouting Ahead” technique described in another blog post. In that case, use this card as your “goal” card.

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STEP 5: Begin the journey

When you feel ready to start traveling along the path suggested by this card, sit down with it and relax. Consider what this card suggests, along with any other insights you have gained while working with it. Then quickly write up a list of actions or steps you can take to start your journey. (If this is a path on which you feel you are already traveling, make this a list of steps you can take to improve or accelerate your journey). Do this as a brainstorming exercise wherein you write anything that comes to mind without censoring any ideas.

Once you have a list of ideas, choose at least one of them and commit to doing something, no matter how small a step, to work toward accomplishing it within the next twenty-four hours.

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STEP 6: Use a compass along the way

Create a journal of the following notes about this card and the path you feel called to follow. Keep this book in a special place so that you can add to it and refer to it at anytime.

  • The name of the card you chose.
    You may want to include a photocopy or sketch of it.
  • A description of what this card suggests your spiritual path is, and the reason why you chose it.
  • Any ideas or insights you may have come across while doing the Steps 3 and 4.
  • The list of actions you wrote down in the Step 5.
    In that step, you committed to taking an action in the next twenty-four hours. Note what that action was, and describe your progress with it. From time to time, review this list of actions, updating it with new ideas, making new commitments to taking actions based upon it, and noting your progress in accomplishing those actions.

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Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques: Scouting Ahead

When doing a Tarot reading for ourselves, we often find that the chatter of our hopes and fears invariably intrudes. Because of this, it is important to find out how we can silence the voice of our rational mind long enough to enable us to hear our intuitive wisdom. To enable you to do that, I have created a variety of non-divinatory techniques for using Tarot cards to empower you to create the future you want. Here is one that I call “Scouting Ahead.”

Note: Before reading this, you might want to read my introduction to Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques.

This technique is like a scout from an expedition party who is sent ahead to explore the terrain —its geography, its resources, and its impending dangers. It shows you how to overcome potential pitfalls on the way toward reaching your goal, and it helps you see how to reach that goal. It also leads you to a better understanding of what to expect when you finally get there, which is valuable since often our expectations prove to be unsound or unreasonable, and if they are, we may want to adjust them or alter our course so that we will arrive at a different, more satisfactory, destination.

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STEP 1:  Your goal

Consider an area of your life (such as your love life or you career) that seems to have stalled or stagnated. Then quickly go through your deck, cards face up, and use your intuitive reactions to the cards to choose those that depict in some way where you want to be in that area of your life. Next compare the cards you chose and pick out the one best card for this purpose.

Once you have done that, describe what that card says about your goal and consider the ramifications of that description. Is your description of where you want to go what you expected? Is it what you really want? Based upon what you have described, do you want to adjust your goal, your approach toward attaining it, or your expectations of it? On the other hand, does the message of this card merely strengthen your resolve to attain this goal and affirm your line of attack?

Also, write down several words that describe what attributes, qualities, and characteristics this card depicts or indicates. Then write an affirmation that you have those qualities. Use this affirmation with this card for the next week or so.

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STEP 2:  Where you are now

Go through your deck again, choosing cards that somehow depict where you are right now in the area of your life that you chose to consider. Then, as before, narrow it down to the one best card for this purpose. Once you have done that, describe what that card depicts or says about where you are now.

Place this card in front of the one that you chose in Step 1, and compare and contrast these two cards. Write a paragraph discussing what the two cards together have to say about how far you have yet to go and about what problems or blocks you are experiencing in reaching your goal.

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STEP 3:  The road between

Choose a card to suggest how you can reach your goal. For this card, you can either use the divinatory method of shuffling the deck and dealing yourself a card, or you can pick a card intuitively as you did in the prior steps. I have found both methods to work well, although they work in different ways. You may want to experiment to see which way works best for you, or you can even use both methods, which will yield two cards to help you find “the road between.”

Place the card you picked between the two cards you chose in the prior steps. Consider what this card suggests you can do to get from where you are (as depicted by the second card you chose) to where you want to be (as depicted by the first card you chose). List a few specific, concrete actions you can take, as suggested by this card, and make a commitment to do at least one of them in the next 24 hours.

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STEP 4:  Visualize your goal

Relax and do a guided visualization into the first card (i.e., the goal card). Once you have entered this card, approach the character with whom you most closely identify as exemplifying the attainment of your goal. Imagine yourself melding with this person, becoming one with him or her. Then consider the following questions:

  • What are you thinking and feeling?
  • What are you doing? What do you plan or expect to do next?
  • What thoughts or ideas occur to you about what you need to do? For example, what obstacles to your goal do you perceive? What specific remedies for them come to you?

If there is another character in the card, you may want to discuss these issues with him or her as well.

As an alternative to melding with the person in the card, you may want to converse with him or her, asking the questions indicated above, or merely asking for advice on how to achieve your goal.

After the visualization, write down all that you can remember about this experience. This is to keep the experience from evaporating from your consciousness like an elusive dream.

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Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques:  The Incredible Lightness of Your Being

When doing a Tarot reading for ourselves, we often find that the chatter of our hopes and fears invariably intrudes. Because of this, it is important to find out how we can silence the voice of our rational mind long enough to enable us to hear our intuitive wisdom. To enable you to do that, I have created a variety of non-divinatory techniques for using Tarot cards to empower you to create the future you want. Here is one that I call “The Incredible Lightness of Your Being.”

Note: Before reading this, you might want to read my introduction to Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques.

There is inside each of us a bright spark of the divine light of the Universe. Unfortunately, however, most of us have lost sight of it. It has become obscured by all the problems we face, all the mistakes we have made, all our presumed shortcomings, and all the handicaps that seem to cripple us. This technique helps us see past those problems to the eternal light that shines at our core.

STEP 1: Identify your lightness

Quickly go through your deck, cards face up, and choose every card that somehow depicts something about yourself that you love, are proud of, or think is delightful. It can be anything, from something small, like your ability to arrange a beautiful bouquet or your sense of humor, to something big, like your efforts to end world hunger or the fact that you cared for your aged mother in the last years of her life. Make your selections using your intuitive reactions to the images on the cards.

After your first pass through the deck, when you probably will end up with anywhere from three cards to one third of the deck, pare down your selections to the three best cards, however you want to define “best”. Once you have done that, write anywhere from a sentence to a paragraph describing what each card depicts or says about you. Make the statements specific, about you, and in the first person, present tense.

For example, let’s say you chose the Six of Pentacles. Instead of “This card shows someone who is kind and generous,” you might say, “I do volunteer work at a homeless shelter, where we provide food, shelter, and compassion to people in need.”

This is an important point to keep in mind because we often have a strong resistance to saying something good about ourselves. Perhaps in our youth we were admonished not to brag or not to be conceited. Perhaps our sense of self-worth has been battered so often that we habitually act with diffidence now. Perhaps we have internalized the shame that parents often use to control their children. (Note that religions also do this to us.)

Whatever the reason, it is important to understand that this technique is not about self-aggrandizement. It is about regaining a sense of pride and self-respect. And it is about regaining our recognition of the divinity from which we were born, and of which we are made.

STEP 2: Celebrate your lightness

For each of the cards you picked, describe some action you can take to celebrate the aspect of yourself that it indicates. It is a good idea to make the celebration relevant or meaningful to what you are commemorating. If possible, tell whoever else may be involved with the festivity what it is that you are celebrating and why. But whether or not you tell anyone, keep it in mind as you rejoice.

This celebration might be the creation of a wonderful bouquet to brighten up your home. It might involve renting your favorite movie to share with someone special. You could go out to dinner with friends to celebrate some achievement in your work to end world hunger. You might write a letter to your deceased mother telling her how much she meant to you, after which you can set this letter in a special place for the rest of the day.

Pick at least one of the celebrations you thought of and make a commitment to do something within the next twenty-four hours to set you on the path toward it. Even if it is just a small step, taking it within twenty-four hours generates momentum to ensure that you will eventually complete this celebration.

STEP 3: Redefine your being

This step involves doing a guided visualization into a card. Begin by choosing one of the cards you picked in Step 1, which you will use to do the following process. (Try to choose the one that seems dearest to your heart.) In this visualization, you will ask a figure in the card for a sacred name for you. This is a name that you can call upon whenever the dark clouds of doubt, fear, hate, anger, sorrow, guilt, or shame obscure your vision of your true divine nature. It will help you remember the brilliant star that shines in your heart.

Relax and then visualize yourself entering into the card. Introduce yourself to a figure in the card and tell him or her the wonderful thing about you that this card has suggested. (Don’t be modest!) Ask this person for a sacred name and, if necessary, ask for any clarification of what that name means.

Upon completion of this guided visualization, you may find it valuable to say to yourself, either in front of a mirror or while looking at the card you chose, words to the following effect:

“I, <sacred name>, am a being of light and love. I commit to doing <the committed action from step 2> to celebrate <the wonderful aspect about yourself from step 1>.”

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Too often we define ourselves by what is wrong or broken in our lives. When we do that, we let those definitions create who we are. To overcome that darkness, we need to define ourselves by the divine light of our soul instead. This exercise will help you do that.

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Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques: Making Relationships Work (Part 2)

When doing a Tarot reading for ourselves, we often find that the chatter of our hopes and fears invariably intrudes. Because of this, it is important to find out how we can silence the voice of our rational mind long enough to enable us to hear our intuitive wisdom. To enable you to do that, I have created a variety of non-divinatory techniques for using Tarot cards to empower you to create the future you want. Here is one that I call “Making Relationships Work.”

Note: Before reading this, you might want to read my introduction to Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques.

Relationship problems are probably the most common reason why people seek guidance from a Tarot reading. Consequently, I have developed a couple of techniques for using Tarot cards to heal relationship issues. I recently posted the first one; here is the second one.

Typically, our relationship problems are reflective of problems within ourselves, and so the solutions are within us as well. After all, if we are in a relationship that is problematic, we cannot change the other person (although many people try to do that). Ultimately, all that we can ever change is ourselves, and when we fix our internal issues, we usually find that our relationships end up improving as well.

Note that the technique presented here is not limited to dealing with romantic relationships. It can also help you heal non-romantic ones, such as your relationship with a parent, a child, a friend, or a co-worker. Also, not all relationships are salvageable; some are toxic and should be abandoned. This technique is not designed for such relationships.

Healing a Relationship

This exercise is intended to improve your ability to deal with a relationship you are in. Again, this relationship can be with anyone from your significant other to a co-worker. This “other person” will be referred to here as your “partner.”

As you do the following steps, try to focus your attention on the most challenging aspect of this relationship. If there is a particular problem that is bothering you about your relationship, use that. If not, it might help to consider what you would most like to change about this relationship or what issue causes the most conflict within it.

A:  You

First, quickly go through your deck, cards face up, intuitively choosing cards that depict how you view yourself in this relationship. Remember to avoid lingering for long over any one particular card. Once you have pulled several cards, narrow your selection down until you have chosen the one card that best describes you in this relationship. You can weed out cards that are redundant, that are subordinate to another card, or that you have changed your mind about. Write down the card you finally settled on (you can use the chart at the end of this post), and then consider the following questions:

  • What does this card say about how you affect this relationship?
  • What does this card say about how this relationship affects you?
  • Are you happy with how this card depicts you in this relationship? Why or why not?

B:  Your partner

Go through your deck and choose cards that depict how you view your partner in this relationship. Again, do this quickly, then narrow down your choices as explained above. Write down the card you settled on, and then consider the following questions:

  • What does this card say about how you see your partner in this relationship?
  • What does this card say about how you feel your partner affects this relationship and vice versa?

C:  Interaction

Go through your deck, quickly choosing cards that depict how you and your partner typically interact, and narrow down your choices as before. Write down the card you settled on, and then consider the following questions:

  • What does this card say about how the two of you relate to one another? Concentrate on how you feel about this interaction?
  • What does this card indicate that you may want to change about how you interact with your partner?

D:  Ideal Interaction

Go quickly through your deck and this time pick cards that depict how you would like to have you and your partner interact. Narrow down your choices as before. Write down the card you settled on, and then consider the following questions:

  • What does this card indicate that you want to cultivate in your relationship?
  • How does it suggest you make that change?

Based upon the above, note several “ideal” qualities that you would like your relationship to have, such as “fun”, “sharing” or “passion.” With words that you used in that quality description, write a statement affirming that your relationship has those qualities. Now you need to send this affirmation into your unconscious so that it can become a habit of thought. While looking at the card you chose for this step, or while holding a mental image of it, say your affirmation out loud three times.

This step, along with the affirmation you created for it, is intended to create openings in the wall that may have grown up over time between you and your partner.

E:  Actions to transform your relationship

Go through your deck choosing cards that depict qualities or abilities you have that can help you transform your relationship into the ideal relationship indicated in the prior step. Again, do this quickly and narrow down your choices as before. Write down the card you settled on, and then consider the following question:

  • What actions does this card recommend you take to transform your relationship?

Think of a specific and concrete action, no matter how small it may seem, that you can do within the next twenty-four hours based upon the above recommendation. Then commit to taking that action.

F:  The Ideal You

Go through your deck looking for cards that depict the person you would like to be in this relationship. Do this quickly, and narrow down your choices as before. Write down the card you settled on, and then consider the following question:

  • What does this card indicate that you want to change about yourself?

Based upon the above, note one or more ideal qualities that you would like to have in this relationship, such as “strength” or “understanding.” With words that you used in the above quality description, write a statement affirming that you have those qualities. Now you need to send this affirmation into your unconscious so that it can become a habit of thought. While looking at the card you chose for this step, or while holding a mental image of it, say your affirmation out loud three times. Do this as often as you need.

G:  Actions to transform yourself

Quickly go through your deck to find cards that depict qualities or abilities that can help you transform yourself into the ideal relationship partner depicted in the previous step. Narrow your choices as before. Write down the card you settled on, and then consider the following question:

  • What actions does this card recommend you take to transform yourself?

Think of a specific and concrete action, no matter how small it may seem, that you can do within the next twenty-four hours based upon the above recommendation. Then commit to taking that action.

Now lay out your cards as indicated in the diagram at the end of this blog post. When these cards are viewed all together in this way, what do they imply about the dynamics between you and your partner, and about your relationship? What do they reveal about how you can transform yourself and your relationship?

Another way to do this technique is for both of you to do the above exercise separately, which will result in you ending up with two layouts. (The logistics of this are best if you each use a separate deck, although this is not necessary.) Compare them and the corresponding interpretations that you both came up with for the cards chosen. Then consider the following questions:

  • How do your views of your current relationship (i.e., both your “C” cards) differ? What does this say about your conflicts in this relationship? On the other hand, how are your views of this relationship the same or complementary?
  • How do your goals for your relationship (i.e., both your “D” cards) differ? What does this say about the differing paths you two want this relationship to take? How might you reconcile these differences? On the other hand, how are your relationship goals the same?
  • How do your views of each other compare? (Compare your “A” card to his or her “B” card; your “B” card to his or her “A” card.)

H: Ideal Partner (Optional)

You each may also pull an eighth card to represent what you want your partner to be like, and then compare your ideals of each other. In other words, compare your “F” card to their “H” card and vice versa. The purpose of this is to provide additional perspectives on the cards you each picked for your ideal selves, giving them a “reality check” by comparing them to your partner’s ideal of you.

Note that if you are doing this technique by yourself, it is not a good idea to pull this last card (the “H” card). The reason is that the resulting temptation to consider how you can change your partner to conform to that ideal can be quite compelling. You can change yourself, and thus change your relationship, but you cannot change someone else.

Here is the layout for this relationship technique:

Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques: Making Relationships Work (Part 1)

When doing a Tarot reading for ourselves, we often find that the chatter of our hopes and fears invariably intrudes. Because of this, it is important to find out how we can silence the voice of our rational mind long enough to enable us to hear our intuitive wisdom. To enable you to do that, I have created a variety of non-divinatory techniques for using Tarot cards to empower you to create the future you want. Here is one that I call “Making Relationships Work.”

Note: Before reading this, you might want to read my introduction to Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques.

Relationship problems are probably the most common reason why people seek guidance from a Tarot reading. Consequently, I have developed a couple of techniques for using Tarot cards to heal relationship issues. Here is the first one. (I will post the second one soon.)

Typically, our relationship problems are reflective of problems within ourselves, and so the solutions are within us as well. After all, if we are in a relationship that is problematic, we cannot change the other person (although many people try to do that). Ultimately, all that we can ever change is ourselves, and when we fix our internal issues, we usually find that our relationships end up improving as well.

Note that the technique presented here is not limited to dealing with romantic relationships. It can also help you heal non-romantic ones, such as your relationship with a parent, a child, a friend, or a co-worker. Also, not all relationships are salvageable, and some are toxic and should be abandoned. This technique is not designed for such relationships.

This process is designed to help you open up communication with someone in your life, which may be your “significant other” or anyone else with whom you share a close relationship. Being geared toward communication, it involves the participation of both you and your partner. The two of you may use the same deck, or you can use two decks, a separate one for each of you.

The first step is for one of you to look through your deck quickly, cards face up, and intuitively pick the first card that illustrates this relationship or how you feel in it. As you go through the deck looking for a card, be alert for any sort of reaction. If you chuckle when you see a card, pick it. If you cringe, sigh, or wrinkle up your nose, pick it. Even though you may not think your reaction is relevant to your relationship, you will be surprised at how much relevance you will find in it.

Next, the person who chose the card should tell the other person what that card says about your relationship. Describe your initial reaction to the card, and discuss how that might relate to your relationship, how you feel in it, or how the two of you relate to each other.

Then examine the card closely to see additional nuances and meanings beyond your initial reaction. For example, in the Seven of Wands (in the RWS version of the card) look at the guy’s boots. They don’t match. It is as if he dashed out of the house unprepared and in a hurry. What might that say? Maybe you were not prepared for this relationship. Or it may indicate that you rushed into things too quickly.

Now let this examination of what the card says about your relationship open up a conversation between the two of you, but try to remain non-judgmental. Just let the cards express how you feel about the relationship rather than judge or condemn how the other person acts in the relationship. For example, try to say things like, “In this relationship, I feel hurt when you do such-and-such,” instead of, “You do such-and-such all the time, and it makes me mad because you should know better!”

Also, allow yourselves to engage in free association with the images on the cards. For example, the Seven of Wands may indicate that you feel defensive; the Eight of Swords, that you feel trapped; or the Emperor, that your feel dominated and controlled by your partner.

In this discussion, try to focus on the relationship and how the two of you interact in it. Tangential discussions, especially theoretical ones about relationships in general, open up easily, but they tend to be an excuse to avoid the real issues at hand. If you need help keeping this focus, the following suggestion is a valuable technique.

To help you initiate this dialogue or keep it on track, you can try discussing what is going on in the image of the card. Forget about your relationship for a few minutes and just tell a story, as if this card were an illustration for a tale. Let it become as wild and fantastic as your imagination wants it to be. Consider how the character in this card got into this situation. What are they thinking, feeling, and doing now? Where are they going from here? (Note that it might help to record this so you can listen to it later.) Then repeat what you just said in the first person, present tense. How well does what you are now saying resonate with how you feel about your relationship? Let this lead the two of you into a discussion of how all of this may relate to what is going on in your relationship. (This part of this technique was inspired by work that I did in one of Mary Greer’s workshops. For more information about her Tarot work, you can check out her website, https://marykgreer.com)

When you have gotten as much as you can out of the card you chose, let the other person choose one, and repeat the procedure. You can iterate the process of picking a card and discussing its relevance to your relationship as often as you want.

Note that it is also useful and interesting to use this general procedure in a group setting, such as an entire family, a class, a club, or a work group. It can stimulate discussions about the group’s interpersonal dynamics and how each person feels that they fit into the group, or not, as the case may be.

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Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques: Animating a Card

When doing a Tarot reading for ourselves, we often find that the chatter of our hopes and fears invariably intrudes. Because of this, it is important to find out how we can silence the voice of our rational mind long enough to enable us to hear our intuitive wisdom. To enable you to do that, I have created a variety of non-divinatory techniques for using Tarot cards to empower you to create the future you want. Here is one that I call “Animating a Card.”

Note: Before reading this, you might want to read my introduction to Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques.

Any Tarot card can act as a focal point for allowing your intuitive mind to speak to you. Doing a guided visualization is one way to use a card to do this for you, and this technique is a quick and simplified alternative to doing that. In it, you will tell your rational mind that a figure in a Tarot card will be giving you words of wisdom. Since your rational mind is usually more willing to sit back and listen to someone else than it is to listen without interruption or criticism to the quiet voice of your own intuition, this is an effective way to access the subtle, intuitive advice of your higher self.

STEP 1: Pose the question

The first step is to think of an issue on which you want guidance. Carefully consider the nature of the problem or issue at hand and formulate a question about it that will (hopefully) lead to an empowering discussion of possible solutions. Here are some key considerations for a well-phrased question.

First, does it focus on you and not on other people? Since, in the long run, you can only change yourself, a question is most helpful if it focuses on you. For example, questions like, “Is my boyfriend cheating on me?” are not nearly as helpful as something like, “What do I need to know in order to improve my relationship with my boyfriend?” or, “What do I need to know about how to manage my relationship?” In addition, questions like “Is my boyfriend cheating on me?” tend to encourage your rational mind to intrusively speak up on behalf of your ego, championing your hopes or defensively expressing your fears.

Next, does your question reflect your responsibility for your life? For example, “Should I …?” questions are designed to avoid responsibility for making your own decisions. Thus, a question like: “What do I need to know about my career choices in order to help me make the best decision?” is more responsible, as well as more empowering, than a question like, “Which job should I take?”

Finally, does your question empower you to positively affect your future? Asking whether or not something is going to happen implies that you are powerless to affect your future, and ultimately it is of limited use. Knowing that something you want is going to happen does not ensure that you will be able to deal with it appropriately, and knowing that something you do not want is going to happen does not help you cope with it. Ask instead, “How can I make this happen?” (or “How can I keep this from happening?” if it is something you do not want to happen). This will empower you to create the future you want.

STEP 2: Pick a card

The next step is to choose a card with which to do this process, and there are several ways to make that choice. You can logically consider which card would be most appropriate, you can intuitively pick a card while quickly looking through the deck (cards face up), or you can use the divinatory method of dealing yourself a card at random.

A caveat about choosing a card, however, is that this particular procedure works best if the person depicted in the card is facing out toward you. This is not necessary, but until you get proficient at this process, you might want to ensure that you choose such a card by using a rational approach.

STEP 3: Form a mental imprint of the card

Begin by getting a clear mental image of this card, everything from its physical details to its mood and atmosphere. This step will focus your concentration on the card by forcing you to pay attention to all the details in it.

Start off by describing the people depicted in the card. How are they positioned? What are they doing and wearing? What are they holding? Describe any other objects such as props or animals, as well as the background scenery. Also, make note of the predominant color in the card, and consider what objects or symbols seem to command your attention.

Next, describe the mood, atmosphere, and feeling of the card. How do you feel when you view it? Does it make you fearful, melancholy, depressed, cheerful, excited, or peaceful? What is the overall ambiance of the card? Is it one of celebration, contemplation, conflict, or sorrow? What emotions do the figures in the card seem to be expressing? Are they happy, sad, miserable, triumphant, or blissful? Considering these questions will bring you deeper into the spirit of the scene in the card.

STEP 4: Activate the image

Once you have made the image on this card as real to you as possible through the description process in the prior step, relax and gaze at it. Explain your problem to the person in the card and ask for his or her guidance. Then wait a moment for them to reply.

This is the tricky part. To make this process work, it helps to imagine that the card is like your television screen displaying a paused image from a movie. Then imagine that you have “unpaused” the video so that now it is playing again.

The result of this technique varies from person to person. Some actually see and hear the figure in the card speak to them, as if they are in a hallucinatory trance. For me, the result is that I know what the figure is saying without actually hearing it, although there is often an accompanying vague notion of movement in the figure. Experiment with this and see how it works for you. You can also engage in a dialogue with the figure in the card, so feel free to ask for clarification of anything that she or he says.

When your conversation is complete, thank the person in the card. Then imagine that you have once again paused the video, and see this person return to being a static figure in a card. Finally, take a few deep breaths and refocus your attention on yourself and on your immediate environment.

STEP 5: Record the experience

Upon completion of this process, it is important that you immediately write down as much about it as you can, including your thoughts about what it meant to you. This is because a guided visualization is similar to a dream, and like a dream, if you do not write it down quickly, it will soon begin to evaporate, forever to elude your conscious grasp of it.

First, write down a narrative of the experience. Include mention of what you saw, heard, smelled, felt, and tasted, as well as what happened around you. Next, note the results of your interaction with the figure in the card. For example, what advice did you get? Was there any further discussion about that advice? How does the advice relate to your life right now or to the specific problem or issue you wanted addressed? Did your discussion with the figure in the card reveal any positive qualities that you want to have? If so, write a statement that you already have those qualities, and you can use this affirmation to reinforce your acknowledgment of this fact.

Finally, what else came up in your conversation with the figure in the card? Did anything interesting, noteworthy, strange, or surprising happen? If so, what do you think that might mean?

So there you have it — a quick and effective way to use a Tarot card to access the subtle, intuitive advice of your higher self.

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Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques: Introduction

When doing a Tarot reading for ourselves, we often find that the chatter of our rational mind invariably intrudes, calling out its hopes and fears and shouting down the soft, subtle voice of our intuition. Because of this, it is important to try to find out how we can silence the voice of our rational mind long enough to enable us to hear our own intuitive wisdom. Can we somehow trick our rational mind into letting go of its ego defenses so that it will listen instead of speak, if only for a little while?

It was in consideration of this question that I created a variety of non-divinatory techniques for using Tarot cards to empower people to change their lives and create the future they want. In some future blog posts here, I will explore some of the results of that effort.

These procedures are designed to use the Tarot cards as a bridge between your rational mind and your intuitive mind, and to let the cards be a translator between those two minds. To understand how the images of the Tarot cards can do that, consider the differing natures of your rational and intuitive minds.

Your rational mind tries to process information linearly, which, for example, is the way you read a book. You start with the first word on the first page and progress word by word, page by page, until you reach the end. Your intuitive mind, on the other hand, tends to think holistically, which, for example, is the way you look at a painting. You let your attention wander randomly about it, considering how the compositional elements all work together as a whole. You view it as an entirety.

Your rational mind uses reason and logic (sometimes successfully, sometimes not), while your intuitive mind is insightful and perceptive, relying on instinct and gut reactions.

Your rational mind talks to you incessantly while you are awake, whereas your intuitive mind whispers its insights to you when you are relaxed and have quieted your thoughts, and it talks to you in your dreams.

The distinction that is perhaps most germane to this discussion, however, is the fact that your rational mind typically communicates using words, whereas your intuitive mind communicates most effectively using images and symbols, which is what we find on Tarot cards. Since Tarot cards are also concrete and not ephemeral like the dreamlike images of your intuitive mind, they are well suited to function as an interpreter that can facilitate communication between your rational mind and your intuitive mind.

I plan to present a variety of procedures for using Tarot cards to help you hear your own intuitive wisdom and to communicate your wishes to your intuitive mind so that its power can be turned toward manifesting your desires. These procedures will incorporate elements of affirmations and visualizations, but they also add some more active ways of interacting with the cards.

While these techniques are intended to provide you with tools to improve your life, they also may be viewed as examples of ways to use Tarot cards that are very different from doing typical Tarot readings. Hopefully, reading about these techniques will inspire you to devise your own unique and creative ways to use Tarot cards to solve the problems you face and to enrich your life

Most of these techniques will involve choosing cards by going through a Tarot deck, cards face up, as fast as possible and picking cards that resonate with how you are feeling about something. That process is described as follows:

While considering an issue at hand, look quickly through your deck with the cards face up, until you find a card that feels right for this situation. Try to thumb through your cards as fast as you can, relying on your gut reactions to the cards. If you find that you are gazing at a card, wondering if it is the right one, then you are letting your rational mind have a say in this selection process, instead of relying on your intuitive mind to choose the card for you. When that happens, either pick that card, assuming that your rational mind is trying to second-guess your intuitive choice, or discard it as not calling strongly enough to your intuition. Then move on to the next card. Either way of breaking through your hesitation is valid as long as you make sure that you do not continue to ponder this card.

Some people have a hard time narrowing down their choices to a select few cards. If that happens, here are some suggestions of how to pare down your selections to a manageable number.

If you find that you have chosen far more cards than the technique you are using calls for, then use the cards you have selected as a new pool of cards. Quickly glance through them and intuitively make a more refined selection. In such cases, people are usually able to weed out a significant portion of their selections.

You may need to narrow it down further though. Let’s say that you want to end up with only three or four cards, and you have narrowed your selection to less than eight or nine cards. Lay the selected cards in front of you and try to find pairs that seem to say approximately the same thing. Typically, one card in that pair is better than the other at depicting that idea. Keep that one and discard the other. If you still need to limit your selections further, look for pairs of cards that depict very different ideas and choose the one that expresses a concept that is more relevant to the issue at hand.

While people often pick too many cards on their first pass through the deck, I have never found anyone unable to pare down their selections to a manageable few using the methods noted above.

Another thing to note about some of the techniques I will be presenting is that they may involve visualizations that seem rather long or complex. In that case, you can record the visualization script and play it back to yourself during the process.

So there you have it — an introduction to several Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques that I plan to post here on my blog over the course of the next few weeks.
Here are links to ones that I have posted so far:

Animating a Card

Coping with the Death of a Loved One

Follow Your Dreams

The Incredible Lightness of Your Being

Making Relationships Work (Part 1)

Making Relationships Work (Part 2)

Scouting Ahead

A Tarot Vacation

Your Own Fool’s Journey

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