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Tarot Games

Here are some games that you can play with the Tarot cards. These games are fun ways to deepen your understanding of the cards and increase your experience with them.

** The Tarot Story **

(I don’t remember where I first saw this game, but it is a rather common one that I
have heard of from several sources.)

The first person pulls a card and uses it to start a story. Then the next person pulls a card and continues the story. Etc. It’s a pretty simple game, but it’s fun. Each person is free to use what’s on the card either literally or not. Some people pick up on a bit of the symbolism, which they use to incorporate some concept into the story.

You will generally end up with a rather interesting story, but more than that, it’s illuminating to see how people interpreted what is on their card and use it to further the story — it often says a lot about them, whether they realize it or not. Also, there are often insights about the cards that are brought out that you may never have thought of before.

For people who are mostly Tarot-naïve, this is a fun, non-threatening way to expose them to Tarot cards.

** The WHO, WHAT, and WHY Tarot Story **

The first person goes through his/her deck until s/he finds a Court Card. This will be the WHO of the story. Then s/he will keep going through the deck until s/he finds a pip card. This will be WHAT. Finally, continue through the deck until s/he finds a Major Arcana card, which will the WHY card. Note that this person should NOT tell everyone else what cards s/he picked.

S/he will then make up a story for the three cards that s/he picked. The story should be told in first person, with the narrator being WHO, and keeping in character for that Court Card. The story should involve an event indicated by the WHAT card. The WHO character should learn a lesson from the story, which is WHY s/he needs to have the WHAT experience.

After this person has told his/her story, the other people will try to guess what cards were picked. In other words, WHO was s/he? WHAT happened? And WHY did it happen.

Then it is the next person’s turn to pick cards and make up a story.

(Note that a simpler alternative is to just use two cards — WHO and WHAT — and not worry about WHY.)

** Court Card Characters **

Each person in the group takes turns coming up in front of the group. This person, who we can call the Presenter, thinks of a fictional character. It may be someone from popular media, such as a TV show, a movie, or a book, or it can be a character out of mythology or folklore. Whoever it is, it should be someone who with whom the group is somewhat familiar.

The Presenter then decides which Court Card would best suit this character. Once s/he has made that decision, s/he tells the group who the character is, but not which Court Card s/he associated it with. The group then has to guess the Court Card.

People can ask yes/no questions about the character to be able to understand better what the Presenter thinks about this character, which should help the group see which Court Card s/he would assign to it.

For example, if the character is Homer Simpson, some good questions might be:

“Do you think Homer is emotionally immature?” A yes answer to this question might imply that to the Presenter, he is the Page of Cups.
“Do you think Homer is overly impulsive, letting his whims take him in unpredictable directions?” A yes answer to this question might imply that he could be the Knight of Wands.
“Do you think Homer is a better provider for his family than he is a leader for them?” A yes answer might imply that the King of Pentacles had been selected.

To make this game a better learning experience, the Presenter should explain his/her selection once it has been guessed (or if the group gives up guessing).And if you want to keep score, the Presenter who is asked the most questions before the group guesses his or her Court Card wins.

** Tarot Rummy **

I use the following game courtesy of Mary K. Greer

For this Tarot game each person is dealt as many cards as there are people. Then going around the circle of people, one at a time, each one must give one card to each person (while telling them why) and keep one for themselves. Each recipient must also state why a card they received is appropriate. Alternatively, you can have one person start by giving a card to one person (state why & have them state why it is appropriate to them), then that person gives a card to someone else, etc.

Continue until in the final round each person describes the card they kept and why. If you want, at the end you could comment on the set of cards that each person received. (I was taught the game as being called “Tarot Rummy” but I’ve heard of other Tarot games with the same title.)

**  Tarot Prosperity Game  **
© 2005, James Wells

The following is a game that James Wells described in the January 2005 issue of his newsletter, The Six-Rayed Star.  (For information on James’s work see his blog.)

In this card game, there’s no pitting brother against sister or any need to cheat. It’s about sharing, insight, and having fun while learning about ourselves and each other.

The Tarot Prosperity Game addresses something that haunts the minds of a good chunk of the North American population — our relationship with money and abundance.  This Prosperity Game will help to dissolve barriers and open doors to a more prosperous path. Be sure to play it with people who are supportive, caring, and fun to be with!

So, get out your favorite deck of tarot cards, some friends, and a few munchies. Set aside an afternoon or evening to just hang out and enjoy each other’s company as you explore abundance through the cards.    Here’s how to play:

1. Each player at the table is dealt four cards.

2. One at a time, each player lays down a card (any one from his/her hand) and talks about it in terms of “My challenges with regard to financial prosperity”.

3. Next, each player, in turn, lays down a second card and talks about it in terms of “What prosperity really means to me.”

4. Third, each player, in turns lays down a third card and talks about it in terms of “What I can do to achieve greater prosperity over the next [agreed upon time frame].”

5. The fourth card each player offers is given to the person in his/her left and completes this statement: “My prosperity wish for you is…” Each recipient can also comment on the card s/he receives from his/her neighbor and its appropriateness for him/her.

6. Complete the game by talking about common themes, recurring symbols, insights gained, resources and contacts for one another, steps you’ll take to grow in prosperity, and so forth.

Remember to turn your insights into concrete actions, no matter how small.  Do one of these actions over the next 24 hours to show yourself you’re willing to walk the prosperous path.  All of you will walk away from this game a winner!

** Comparing Tarot Snapshots **

This is a game that I created inspired by the book, Back in Time Tarot by Janet Boyer.  Here are the “rules” of the game:

1.  The group decides on a person or event with which they are all familiar. This may be something or someone in the news, in pop culture, or within their common set of experiences.

2.  Each person looks through their deck to find a card that (for them) resonates with their impression of this person or event.  Choose the first card that you find that does this.

3.  Going around the circle, each person shares what card s/he picked and why.  Other people can then discuss what significance they see in that card.

4.  When everyone has taken a turn, the group may compare and contrast the various cards that were chosen.

Note that this is an excellent way for a group of people to explore their individual perceptions of an event that they were all involved in.

** Tarot Texas Hold ’em **

I heard about this Tarot game indirectly via Rachel Pollack, who said that she couldn’t recall where it originated nor where she first heard about it. Consequently, I have assumed that it is part of the general Tarot folk lore, but if anyone knows who invented it, please let me know and I’ll post the proper attribution.

Here are the rules:

One person is designated the dealer. This person may also be considered the Reader, but after a very short period of time everyone has some input on what they see in the cards. Or each person does their own reading with possible input from everyone else. Play the game as you deem best.

Deal out two cards to each person. (You can play with as many people as you want, but it seems to work better with groups of 4 – 6.) These are their “hole” cards and are face up so everyone can see them. They are read similar to the first two cards in a Celtic Cross reading. I see them as 1. Situation and 2. Problem or Challenge, but you can make your own determination for this two card “spread.”

Dealer then deals one card to herself, facedown to be used later. This is called “burying” a card.

Dealer then deals three cards to the center of the table, face up. This is called “the flop”. These three cards are to be read as Past-Present-Future. Everyone uses these same three cards, but they apply them to the two “hole” cards they were originally dealt. (It is amazing how the meaning of “the flop” changes when applied to different “hole” cards.)

Dealer then “buries” a second card.  Remember these cards are kept facedown and are not to be looked at until the end.

After everyone has “read” their cards, the Dealer then places a fourth card, face up, next to “the flop”.  This card is called “the turn” and is indicative of any turn of events the players may experience. (Again, this is a card that everyone uses and applies to their own, individual reading.)

Dealer then “buries” a third and final card, facedown.

A fifth card is placed in the row after “the turn” card. This card is called “the river” and each person interprets it for their particular reading as being indicative of the flow of energy.

After all cards have been read, if any player wants to expand on her reading the “buried” cards are then turned over.  Each player can use any or none of the buried cards as further explanation of their reading.

** FORTUNE COOKIE / TAROT GAME **

This is a game I created one night after a Chinese dinner.  You can read about it in the blog post I wrote at the time.

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PS: Cait Johnson wrote a book called “Tarot Games” which you all might like that too.

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3 Comments
  1. I’m considering doing “tarot parties” and wonder if would be appropriate to play one of the story games with a small group in a “party” setting either before or after individual readings. I love the games! Thank you!

    • Thanks! Glad you like them.
      Tarot Story and Tarot Rummy are both great for parties. Tarot Rummy usually takes longer as it stimulates a lot of discussion, so you can choose based on time constraints.

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