Tarot cards are perhaps the most famous method of divination, next to crystal ball scrying and runes. But there’s another use for tarot cards-- it works with oracle cards, too-- that will help enhance your divination practice.
You can use your cards to meditate. Meditating on your cards builds a different sort of understanding and connection to them--it increases the energy exchange between you and the cards, and deeper understandings of the cards’ meanings happen.
Even if you’re not a serious practitioner-- maybe you just like the art and the idea of having a spiritual tool-- you can benefit from these tarot meditations. We’ve included a meditation for you, too.
Ready to zen out with your tarot cards? Let’s get started.
Preparing to meditate isn’t exactly a science, nor will you always find it 100% necessary-- there may be times when you don't have the ability to do so. But it does help to signal your brain that it’s time to get into that headspace, and it helps to alert family members too. In fact, if you’re at home with the family, we suggest that you tell them not to disturb you for the time you’ll be meditating. If you can use a seperate room and put up a Do Not Disturb sign, we’d recommend that too. Turn off your cell phone-- or at least turn it on silent.
It can also help to put on music to set the mood, and light any candles or incense that pleases and relaxes you. A common scent used to do this is lavender, although cinnamon, frankincense, and cedarwood are also useful. If you like, you could also smudge your space with sage, palo santo, or mugwort. It may also be helpful to have a cup of lavender or chamomile tea to sip-- they’re nervines and signal the brain to relax without causing sleepiness. If you’re an anxious person, we particularly recommend you try the tea trick.
It also helps to cleanse and shuffle the deck for a fresh “read” every time. Cleansing the deck can be done with smoke from incense or smudge sticks, running a piece of selenite all over it, or leaving it in sunlight or full moon-light for a full 24 hour cycle. There are many methods for shuffling-- just use the one that’s easiest for your hands.
If you have a fresh deck-- or any deck with which you want to reconnect after a while of disuse-- you can also work with a card a day until you’ve gone through the whole deck in order. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself, or get reacquainted.
Journaling may not seem like meditation-- it’s an activity, after all-- but it’s actually a rather powerful form of it. Journaling allows you to focus and settle into your thoughts in a very complete way.
To do this with tarot or oracle cards, cleanse and shuffle your deck with your preferred method. Then select a card-- either shuffle the deck and pick the top card, or spread them out and select one by intuition-- and lay it out in front of you.
Then grab the guidebook that came with the deck. Find the section that discusses the card you chose. Read it. Not in depth, just read it and put it down. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes. Then pick up your pen and start writing.
We prefer an old-fashioned pen-and-paper approach with this method because it helps connect you more to the moment and the process, but if a computer works for you then go ahead and use it.
What we want you to focus on when you write is what comes to mind. In Creative Writing, this exercise is called Free Writing. It means that you write whatever comes to mind, without judgement, editing, or stopping. Writing without grammar or analysis frees you up to let thoughts bubble up that normally you might dismiss as silly or pretentious or nonsensical. It allows the unconscious to break through and reveal unrealized connections.
Allow the words to flow.
Give yourself permission to write down all of your thoughts until the time is up. Then put down the pen-- or stop typing and save-- and walk away. Later, maybe before bed, take a few moments to read down what you wrote and the guidebook. Maybe even sleep with the card under your pillow to further connect with the card’s energy.
In the morning, be sure to cleanse the deck before doing any further work with it.
Prepare your space and deck in your preferred method. Shuffle, and draw a card-- or you can pick a specific card to which you’re drawn.
Leave the guidebook out of this one. This exercise is about developing your intuition and connection with each card.
Look at and study the artwork. What symbols do you see? What is the focal point of the artwork and why do you think that is? What emotions do you get? Are there people? What actions are happening-- or not happening? Are there animals or plants?
Study the card for at least five full minutes. Let ideas percolate.
Then write them down. All of them. No editing or judging yourself. Some of the symbolism you may know, but many people never grew up learning mythology or religion and so they may not be familiar with them. That’s okay. Just do the best you can. Write down what you think this card means, based entirely upon the artwork.
Put it away. Go about your day. Come back a few hours later, and look up the different meanings of the things you noticed in the artwork. Record them on a different page, or beside your own impressions in a different color of ink.
Remember that if there are differences, it’s not that you are “wrong,” it’s that you have a different perspective on the card. Each deck-- no matter how traditional it is-- is it’s own unique thing that each reader will connect to in their own unique way. So while there is the traditionally accepted “meaning” of each card, the symbolism of the artwork on the card may not match the energy typically associated with that card.
Write a message to yourself about this card’s meaning, based upon your own intuition. Revisit this anytime you feel called to, or when you’re confused about how the card fits into the story a reading is trying to tell you.
This meditation is not necessarily specific to the Court Cards, but it’s easiest to start with them because they are the easiest to visualize due to their fairly concrete imagery.
Prepare yourself a space to sit or lie down comfortably, and choose one of the court cards. Study the card’s image. If you wish, you can read the guidebook’s interpretation of the card.
Then lie down or sit comfortably, holding the card. If you’re lying down, we suggest placing the card either over your heart chakra or your third eye chakra to more thoroughly connect yourself to its energies. Alternatively-- or in addition to-- you can add some crystals such as amethyst (it increases psychic awareness and opens neural pathways). If you really work well with crystals, there are charts on tarot card and crystal correspondences that may be helpful.
Close your eyes, and hold the court card personage in your mind’s eye. See them reaching out to you, inviting you to walk with them.
A path appears before you-- or a hallway-- and you walk with them. Ask them questions, if you like. Or just listen to see if they have anything to say. What are they showing you? What are they wearing? Spend time with them, observing.
When it feels right, thank them for their guidance and walk away. Come back to yourself, and journal about your experience. Write yourself a message that the court card figure had for you. If you find yourself confused in a reading, this message should prove insightful.
This is both the simplest and most difficult tarot meditation, which is why we’re discussing it last. You can do this meditation anywhere, at any time.
All you need to do is prepare yourself as best you can, and choose a card. Glance at it, then close your eyes. Try to see that card in your mind’s eye. Again, we recommend that if you have the deck with you that you try to hold the card. If you’re on lunch break and don’t have that option, it’s not a deal breaker.
Focus on keeping the image of the card steady in your mind. If your attention wanders, gently bring it back. Do this for five minutes.
Open your eyes, and if you like you can journal about the experience.
The point of this exercise is one part mindfulness and one part energy connection. The mindfulness because you are deliberately focusing your attention intently, and the energy because you’ll find it easier to “see” the card with your eyes closed once you start building an energetic connection to it. (This is also why we recommend you touch your cards often.)
The skills developed by any meditation are helpful in reducing stress levels, controlling anxiety and emotional reactions, as well as productivity and attention span. We like adding the tarot cards to our meditations because they provide both a more spiritual aspect to the practice, and because we like how they help us enrich our understanding of the cards’ messages. Try it and let us know what you think!