Alchemical Thoughts

Archive for January 5th, 2020

Prompt for Day 5: What has using the Tarot taught you in 2010-2019?

As I’ve mentioned previously, I formally started my Tarot and cartomancy journey in 2016. Certainly nowhere near the many Tarotistas out there. Still, I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. I’ll just list a few things I have learned in the journey so far.

  • The deck you use has to work for you. This sounds very simple, but I learned it early in my journey. I started out with a Tarot de Marseilles (it was a gift). Over time, I found it difficult to use. “Pip” cards did not offer me a way to expand my intuition. So I switched to a different deck, the Gilded Tarot (link to my deck interview of it), and my learning took off. I later learned there are methods to read Marseilles style decks, and I’ve acquired some good books on the topic, but I am staying mainly with Rider Waite Smith (RWS) system for now. Down the road, I will likely go back and give Marseilles decks another go.
  • I tend to prefer decks with more pagan elements. Yes, I get the history and Medieval/Renaissance background of Tarot, which is where you get that Pope card (what is usually called the Hierophant these days). Having left behind the religion imposed on me as a child, becoming now a happy heathen (I use the term broadly here, not as reference to specific Norse heathens or such), I prefer as little non-Christian elements as possible in my decks. A little more teacher, a little less bishop.
  • It is very easy to build a large collection. Once I started the journey, I also started collecting decks. I’ve got a pretty healthy collection at this point in time. I do have one rule: if I add a deck, it also has to be one I can use and read with. It can have gorgeous art, but if it is not readable for me, I do not acquire it. Also, I do not chase fancy, high end, and expensive and/or super rare decks. I am on a modest librarian’s salary (this is similar to why I do not chase after fancy, high end, expensive, and/or super rare bottles of whiskey, but that is another post for another day). At this point in the journey, I still acquire new decks (or new to me), but I do so very selectively. Overall I am happy and grateful for the collection I have now.
  • Buying used and second hand decks is fine. If a deck is complete and in good condition, buying “pre-owned” as car dealers say is fine. Many of my decks were bought used. Just give them a good cleansing as needed.
  • Tarot has helped me be more reflective about myself. A lot of the reading I do is for myself, and the practice has been helpful to be more reflective and thoughtful.
  • There is always more to learn. This is part of why I this fascinating. Continuous learning appeals to me personally and as librarian. However, be careful not to get overwhelmed. So for me, focus on mastering one or two lessons at a time, then pick the next lesson and go from there.
  • Yes, I read the books. Here, I mean books that may come with a deck. If an author made the effort to write one, I read it at least once if nothing else to get a deck’s context. In addition, I do seek out and read other books on Tarot and related topics as well.
  • This goes with the learning element. Studying other topics like mythology, symbols, numerology, astrology, so on can be helpful and useful. Having said that, integrate what works for you in your practice.
  • Like any other community, this community has good people and it has jerks. I stay away from jerks. I try to listen and learn from the good ones, especially if they are humble and generous.
  • I’ve found that I do have intuition, and for me the cards are a good way to explore it.
  • Practice is important. The more you practice, the better you get. Put in the effort, it pays off.
  • I enjoy reading for others, at this point informally. Over time, I’ve gotten more confident about reading for others. I tend to read for advice, development, reflection rather than predictive.
  • Tarot and cartomancy gives me a bit of a ritual. I do a morning daily draw during work days. It gives me some focus for the day. Now I also display the card in my very improvised “altar” shelf in my office.
  • It has helped me explore a pagan/heathen path, but that is another story.


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You can find the original prompts by Ethony Dawn here.




January 2020
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