What is it with us humans? We always like to over-complicate things and make them seem a lot harder than they need to be.
Tarot is no exception.
There are thousands of Tarot spreads, thousands of different types of decks, multiple ‘systems' that can be applied to the Tarot, and book after book about ‘the next big thing' in Tarot. Yet where do we store (and use) all of this information? Is there really enough space in our heads to full comprehend and get comfortable with this knowledge?
There are even Tarot professionals who want Tarot to be super complicated, so that they can be seen as the ‘all-knowing expert' and can keep newbies out of the ‘mysterious art'. They want that those new to Tarot will always remain in the ‘fog' of not being able to “crack the code” and “unlock the hidden mysteries of the Tarot”. (Cue fog machine and spooky music.)
But here's the deal.
Tarot doesn't have to be hard. It doesn't have to be complex. And you don't have to learn complex systems, memorise copious amounts of privileged information and get ‘initiated' into a secret group or association.
You'll get the most out of the Tarot when you keep it simple, Seeker!
If you're new to Tarot, don't overwhelm yourself with complexity. You've got enough on your plate with learning how to read the Tarot cards to worry about things like Kabbalah, elemental dignities and how there are ‘secret' symbols scattered throughout the Tarot deck. (Sure, these are all fascinating when you have mastered the basics, but if you're still building your confidence – fuh-ged-ubout-it!)
And even if you're a seasoned Tarot reader, I bet you'll find that when you keep things simple, you'll be able to focus on what you do best – reading Tarot.
So here's how to keep it simple, Seeker…
Stick to 1-3 Card Spreads
Nearly every beginner book on the Tarot includes the 10-card (or sometimes more) Celtic Cross. Yet this is one of the most challenging spreads to use, especially when you're starting out.
What beginner books should be encouraging is that new Tarot readers build confidence with 1-3 card spreads first, and then build up from there.
Talented Tarot readers can even create hour long readings with just one Tarot.
So next time you do a Tarot reading, challenge yourself to keeping it simple and using 1 to 3 Tarot cards. Even for those complex, multi-question requests, push yourself to whittle it down to just 3 cards. Be merciless! I dare you!
Most of us will have a Tarot card meaning reference guide up our sleeve somewhere, whether it's taken directly out of one of our favorite Tarot books or we've come up with it through our own study. (Obviously, creating your own is much more effective than just using someone else's, but if you're just starting out, grab one from a book for now.)
Use your Tarot card meaning reference guide to help you in your reading. Forget about detailed Tarot card meanings for now – these are great for your longer-term learning, but when you want to start getting reading quickly, keywords are the go. Use those keywords to trigger your personal connection with the cards in your readings. You'll find that even just one word that has been personally selected will bring up a raft of concepts and in-depth meanings that will then help your reading.
If you're a seasoned Tarot professional, try this. As you do your reading, write down the keywords against each card. Then, come up with one sentence only for each card that uses the keywords and that relates to the position of the card according to the spread used. You'll get a concise and succinct story that you can deliver to your client easily and quickly.
Here's one I prepared earlier…
If I was to summarize the key message, it would be:
“The wealth and financial independence you've gained in the past will help you to successfully navigate this current period of indecision and choices in such a way that you will redefine your personal identity in the context of your business and will allow for further personal growth.”
Stick to the One Tarot Deck
There are literally thousands of Tarot decks available – all gorgeous and special in their own way. However, if you want to keep it simple, I recommend sticking to the one deck (and maaaybe having another one up your sleeve). This way you can master that deck, get to know it in such a way that you don't even have to remember what every card symbolizes – you just know.
Me, I'm in love with the Radiant Rider Waite deck (what you see on the website). I've tried other decks, and while I really enjoyed working with them, I stick to just one for simplicity.
Clarifying cards can suck you in BIG time. You're not sure what one particular card means in a reading, so you draw another card to get some more insight. But then this new card adds a whole different perspective that you never considered and you're wondering, “What on earth does that mean?” so you find yourself drawing another clarifier… and another… and another… and another… until there are another 10 cards laid out in front of you.
My advice? Save the clarifiers for when you are really, really unsure about the context of the original card. I'm talking one clarifier for every 10 readings (or thereabouts).
Ditch Complicated ‘Systems'
It seems that almost every spiritual ‘system' has been overlaid with the Tarot – astrology, numerology, Kabbalah, elemental dignities, alchemy, Myers Briggs (OK, not exactly a spiritual system), hieroglyphics, magick, neuro-linguistic programming, Wicca, the list goes on.
Don't get me wrong. I love seeing the connections made between Tarot and these different systems and often helps to deepen my understanding of the Tarot cards. And, for some people, these systems actually make things more simple and easy to learn, often when there is an understanding of the system to begin with.
But when you're just new to Tarot or still trying to master the basics, these systems create system overload! There's just too much to take in.
So, to keep it simple, Seeker, and focus on the basics first. Once you feel 90% confident, open yourself up to learning a new system to apply to Tarot. Keep checking in with yourself – is it helping, or hindering? if you're trying to learn a fancy system and you're just not getting it, put it back on the shelf and go back to basics. If it is working for you, then keep doing it! Don't feel like you have to know everything to be a great Tarot reader. You don't.
P.S. Want to Learn Tarot The ‘Simple' Way?
I love to make things simple and Tarot is no exception. If you want to learn to read Tarot with confidence in just 31 days, following a series of daily lessons and fun, creative activities, then you'll love “Intuitive Tarot: 31 Days to Learn to Read Tarot Cards and Develop Your Intuition.” There are no complicated systems, confusing esoteric language, or secret handshakes. Just a simple and easy way to learn Tarot.