Tag Archives: try this at home

A Daily Draw

One of the common techniques for learning the tarot is the daily draw.  The most common version is that the tarot reader draws a card each morning and then journals about the card’s possible meaning or perhaps just reads up on it.  In this form, the practice is a learning tool.

Some readers continue to do it as a part of their personal practice.  Until earlier last year, I have confession to make: I never did this type of draw.  But when I started this blog, I started to do this as I saw this as fairly common on twitter.  I enjoyed the practice, but I enjoyed it less as a spiritual practice and more as a personal challenge.  How do I distill the meaning of a card into the (then) 140 character limit of Twitter? Then I found #amtarot and #pmtarot as well as #tarottoo, which are ways of participating with readers all around the globe by sharing your take on the same card. I really enjoyed it and enjoyed readings how others view the same card.

During this practice I tried a couple of ways of staying engaged with the practice.  I started a tag of my own, called #badtarot in which I used the daily draw as a way of giving a bad (in a funny way) reading.  Truthfully, I learned a lot about the cards this way as it let me open up my brainstorming and find meaning in the cards I hadn’t seen before.  I also added a set of meanings about hipster tarot readers (e.g. I read with a really obscure deck, you’ve probably never heard of it), which was a lot of fun and way to poke fun at myself as much as anything.

While I do a lot of straight forward predictive readings, I have really been feeling called to explore the power of tarot as a contemplative or mindfulness tool. I would like to restart the process, but one of the things that I’ve been working a lot with in my personal tarot practice are using the cards to find thing to bring to my consciouss awareness. For example, instead of drawing the Lovers and making a prediction about my day, to use it to ask a question. How is my relationship to my partner?  How have I been expressing love or affection in my life?

Here are a few more examples:

5 of Wands: Who do I express frustration or anger in my life?  Am I do it assertively? Aggressively? Or am I numbing?

8 of Pentacles: What is my relationship to my job or other tasks? Do I resist what is before me or embrace it?

Justice: How do maintain my boundaries? Do I hold people accountable in a fair way? Do I under- or overreact when people say or do hurtful things?

While one can generate and then journal these kinds of questions, just holding that question in mind during the day and just observing how these kinds of things occur in one’s daily life can be enough.  An alternative way to this kind of practice is generating an intention or affirmation for the day.

5 of Wands: I will handle conflict with grace and calm today.

8 of Pentacles: I will embrace my work with vigor and excitment today.

Justice: I will treat others fairly and evenly.

As a third way of working with a daily card draw is act on the information in way that supports the life you that want to live.

5 of Wands: I will take a step to resolve the  conflict I have with Jane Doe today.

8 of Pentacles:  I will work deadly on my goal of getting the basement cleared out.

Justice: I will talked to my husband about the balance of housework today.

So these are some ideas to invigorate your daily draw practice and to bring it to a mindful place. Enjoy!





There is a conversation going on in the tarot blogosphere regarding cards that jump or pop out while you’re shuffling.  It was started by Barbara Moore on her Llewellyn blog.  Another blogger, Barbara Graver, also weighs in on the topic.  Catherine, at Tarot Elements, posted a reading in which she addresses a jumper card.

Barbara M. gives a wonderful overview of the different ways of approaching those readings and I don’t have anything to add.  Barbara G. mentions that “[j]umpers may mean that you are headed in the wrong direction or asking an incorrect question.”    Catherine seamlessly integrated the card into the rest of the reading, illustrating the way that that a jumper can be used to add depth and meaning to a reading.

Of course, many opinions and techniques can make life difficult for someone learning to read.  Which is the right way?  There isn’t one.  Try one method out and see what works for you.  As time goes on you may naturally gravitate to a different technique.  Follow your intuition to determine how your deck is speaking to you.

I would caution a reader from ignoring the jumper entirely though.  One of the features of tarot is that we initiate the divination.  It is not a dream the arises within us or a sign given to us by Spirit.  The tarot is a way of connecting with mystery that begins at our request.  One of the few exceptions is, arguably, jumpers.  Generally a jumper only happens when we’re shuffling, so technically we’ve started that conversation with mystery already.  Still, a jumper is a message that defies the structure of a spread and may defy the question entirely.  Tarot unfiltered!  It’s worth considering.

Yes or No?

3 ways of getting a yes or a no from the tarot and why you shouldn’t use any of them!

Flip it on over and reverse it:  Shuffle and lay down three cards.  If two or more are reversed, the answer is no.  If two or more are upright, the answer is yes.

Cut to the quick:  Shuffle and cut the deck.  Is is a major?  Your answer is yes.  An ace through 10?  Your answer is no.  A court card?  Your answer is maybe.

The Elements have it:  Shuffle and lay down two cards and see what the Elements have to say.  Air (Swords) and Fire (Wands) feed each other and indicate a strong, rapid yes.  Earth (Pentacles) and Water (Cups) also indicate yes, but a slower one to manifest.  Fire and Water indicate a no.  Earth and Air also mean no. Any other combination shows a maybe or mixed outcome.  You may be asking how to handle the elemental nature of the majors.  I will point you in the direction of Paul Hughes-Barlow’s page on card meanings.  Scroll down and to the heading “Major Cards” an click on the Air, Fire, Water, Earth or Planetary to find the element associated with the Majors. And stick around his site to learn much more about elemental dignities.

So why shouldn’t you use any of these?

I don’t think it is necessarily wrong to use the any of these techniques.  At the same time, I see these techniques as crutches.  It can be hard to pull out an answer from a spread, but it is important skill to acquire.

Example question: Should I start my own business?

Some example one card draws (or using an outcome card by itself) and a yes/no answer:

Ace of Pentacles – Yes, now is a good time start something new.

5 of cups – You may have some initial losses and disappointments, but won’t lose everything.  You may find your way to a solid business eventually.  Be cautious and make sure you are well-capitalized or don’t bother.

Knight of Swords – Yes, but be prepared to work very hard and deal with conflict.

5 of Wands – No, the business may fall apart due to in-fighting and conflict.

Magician – It may be better to freelance for a while or keep your office small.  But you’ve got the skills to make it happen.

The Lovers – Yes, but it will take a lot of networking and relationship building to be successful.

7 of Cups – No, you’re not ready yet.  Work on a solid business plan and do some market testing.  You may be seeing what you want to see rather that making a dispassionate evaluation of your market.

So why is that better than one of the 3 yes or no techniques?

One word: context.  It gives you (or your client) additional insight and information on the issue.  A simple yes or no can be done with a flip of a coin or using a pendulum.  The tarot can give a much richer answer and lets you know why yes or why no.  Knowing the why allows you to suggest  possible solutions for turning a no into a yes.  You can also prepare yourself or your client for possible challenges.  Ultimately it adds a lot more value and helps empower you or your client rather that just giving a simple yes or no.

Good luck with your reading!