The Nine Desires Spread was inspired last night by the many quandaries I’ve had regarding how torn I feel with which direction I really want to take (or should take) with the many opportunities which the universe has presented me.
Real example using the Retromix Lenormand:
- Gentlemen → I fear my partnership with my significant other after some private matters have added stress onto my life.
- Mountains → What I once wanted but lost probably was the success I was obsessed with regarding my novels, mysticism books, and my Tarot career. It’s sad, but I believe I’ve chosen to focus mostly on my other career in Real Estate.
- Lady → A dream I constantly wish would come true is that my friend I lost would grow up and make serious changes in her life. She chose a lifestyle which was incongruent with mine and when I tried to better myself, she didn’t make the transition with me.
- House → What I naively feel I need but don’t happens to be the trivial things which truly don’t matter at the end of the day. It’s important for me to reduce stress and focus on me at this time. I once thought I didn’t need a menial job for now, but sometimes, you have to crawl before you can walk.
- Magician → What I desire most at this time is to manifest the perfect career where all my desires come true, and with this card, I know it is possible and within my grasp if I stick to it without distraction.
- World → What I don’t know I need happens to be more interactions with the world around me. It’s time I become a productive member of society in getting myself out there more so people notice what I do in my career.
- Moon → How I feel about my life altogether? I feel caught in a dream where I need to be awakened sometimes, like I am confused and under the spell of my own sub-psyche, but even though I feel lost and caught in the swings of the mystical sometimes, I know I can pull through as the moon is ever reflecting the light of the sun.
- Bazaar → My power source lies in how much I know and what information I can procure. I have at my fingertips a skill or talent which allows me to communicate with the world to obtain my desires. The world is a market and I am a salesman who knows the game of success.
- Ring → What will improve my life? Being steadfast to my relationships as is, even for those who have wronged me or recently hurt my feelings. I can’t throw people away over mishaps.. and you can only forgive and work on problems.
Is our fate in the palm of our hands?
Who really knows, but this is fun and easy to try.
Ofcourse none of this is scientifically backed up, but my mother used to tell me the story of how a fortune teller in her village read her palm and told her how she would be one of the lucky few to leave South Asia and travel to America.
She didn’t believe it at that time, because something like that was one in a million at the time. But it happened, and here she is now with a family.
Winter-Is-Dark-And-Depressing-Where-I-Live-And-My-Bedroom-Is-Like-Ice Sun Mirror
1·Get yourself a mirror
2·Cleanse it if you think it’s infused with bad shit
3·Wait for a relatively warm or sunny day
4·Burn some herbs that make you feel warm (cinnamon, cloves [they might go pop], ginger, chilli peppers) and hold the mirror in the smoke, or burn it on top of it. Whatever man.
5·Take the ashes/leftover bits and rub them into the mirror, focus on getting their warm energy into it.
6·Find the sunniest place you can. Tell the mirror to soak up the happy, hopeful, content vibes from the sun. Let the mirror sit there as long as possible.
Done. Hang it up for constant goodness or keep it tucked away and take it out when you need a boost.
Anonymous said: hello, I just started following you but I had a question about tarot cards. I have the same deck that you do but like you did, I have problems connecting. I have three other decks that I don't really connect with either. What do you suggest for getting the cards warmed up to you?
DISCLAIMER: My way is not the only way to read tarot cards! I read from a mix of intuition, personal symbolism and general knowledge of the card and situation. It works for me! I’m only speaking for me here, and it’s totes cool if you disagree. You can read your way, I’ll read mine.
I got two asks on this subject last night! I think I’m going to answer them together since the questions are so similar. The other ask reads:
"What is your process of "working" with a deck, per se? like, getting it accustomed to you. I have the hardest time getting personal readings out of my Gilded Tarot deck, but I have no problem reading others with it. Do you have any suggestions?" — blakedandan
Okay, so! The way I look at it there are basically three steps in connecting with a deck.
- Learning the imagery and shared symbolism between you and the deck
- Learning to trust yourself with the deck
- Building a “relationship” with the deckAnd it’s not like that’s a hard and fast order. They’ll all happen over time.
If you haven’t listened to my audio post about my advice and thoughts regarding tarot decks, I’d suggest that. I may cover all the relevant bits in this answer but I can’t be sure.
So, let’s break down some things I do!
Calibrate Your Deck
This idea comes to us via Gordon over at Rune Soup and his post “How to Calibrate your Oracle”. This is how I’ve been working with the Shadowscapes. This hits on #1 and #3 of the connection steps.
Now, personally, I do this more the intuitive way, although I do have knowledge of the “standard” meanings of the cards and so I can’t help but let that come into play. But I don’t put the card into the “got it” pile unless I can look at the picture and come up with meanings. It’s not enough for me to be like, “Okay, The Empress, I know what this card means!”, I want to look at the picture and feel things. (An example of what I mean by that is in the audio post, where I talk about what I wrote down from the imagery of The High Priestess in the Gothic Tarot of Vampires.)
Also, a tip: if you get stuck, start writing down what you’re stuck about. And it’s okay to just write “ASDFGASDF” if you’re having a really bad go of it. With the Nine of Cups in the Shadowscapes, I was like, “BUT I JUST DON’T GET THIS CARD ASDFASDF” and on my second pass through I added, “But what do all of these fish mean?” and realizing that’s what I was stuck on, I was able to break through.
Tell Tarot Stories
So, I guess this would be #1 mostly, but parts of it hit each step. Use your tarot cards to tell a story. You can pull one card and tell a story about what’s happening in it, or pull several. I was introduced to this at Tarot Forum (here are 1, 2, 3 threads started by the person who got me into it), which, by the way, is a great resource and I’m probably going to bring it up again.
You don’t have to be a writer to get something out of this, because really, when you’re reading tarot cards, you’re telling a story about someone’s life. So this is good practice!
So, basically, this helps you understand how to pull meanings out of the cards, it helps you connect the cards to each other, and it helps you “bond” with your deck. And it’s funny because sometimes (as you’ll see in the threads, and I’ve also experienced this) when you do a story for someone else, it can turn into a reading about them.
Sleep On It
Okay, so, this is one of those things that when I first read about it, I was like, “Haha, whatever.” And I’ve been reading tarot for 11 years and honestly only really tried it last month. That’s how little I cared for the idea, haha.
But when I started sleeping with my deck under my pillow, I noticed a pretty intense impact it had on my dreams, and I did feel closer to it. Obviously, this one is for step #3. This and a condensed version of the Intensive Deck Study I’ll mention later were solely responsible for me clicking with my International Icon Tarot, finally.
Read For Others
So, this one is flexible, and mainly targeted at step 2 (although it’ll exercise step one and build step three…these things are related!). There are no shortage of people in the world who want tarot readings done for them, and for some, the pressure of reading for someone else helps them kick into gear with their deck. If you’re too nervous to do that, then read for fictional or even historical people! I do it all of the time because I have a lot of fandom feels, but reading for fictional people is low-pressure.
(If you’re into reading books about things, James Ricklef has a book called Tarot Tells the Tale, which has been revised as Tarot Reading Explained, that shows readings he’s done for fictional/historical people. You can also likely find that sort of thing at Tarot Forum as well.)
So, this is purely step three. Shuffling a deck, even if you’re not using it for a reading at that moment, makes it feel more like your deck. You can think of it in terms of charging the deck, or putting your energy into it, or whatever idea works for you. When I buy used decks, for example, I don’t worry about ~cleansing~ them or anything like that, usually. I just give the deck a few good shuffles. And there’s something to be said for the familiar feeling of a deck in your hands.
Join a Study Group
There are study groups on Tarot Forum for almost every deck there is (check the Index of Study Groups sticky). The Gilded Tarot has its own subforum, as do several other popular decks. If you’d like to add your thoughts about the cards, when it comes to the Study Group, thread necromancy is okay, so don’t worry if the last post was a few hours ago or a few years ago! Being around other people studying the same cards in the same deck that you are can make it easier for you to come up with, and share, your own insights. This goes well with steps 1, 2, and 3.
"Enter" The Card
So, there’s a type of visualization people do where they will enter the cards and interact with the environment and figures within the cards. I think that’s actually a really good method with tarot cards, especially since I’m so big on the idea of personal symbolism. These are images your brain is using to talk to you, and it’s okay to talk back!
This can be especially helpful with certain problem cards, and I’ve done this during actual readings in order to clarify meanings. Actually entering into the High Priestess and just asking her, “Hey, what’s the deal here?” is fun. (She usually doesn’t answer, though. Typical.)
If you’re not sure how to do this, a really simple method is just to study the card for a bit so you have a good idea of what it looks like, and then close your eyes, keeping that picture in your mind. Make it bigger in your mind’s eye, and then just…step into the picture. Or you can think of it like the chalk drawing scene from Mary Poppins!
But once you’re in the card, look around. How do you feel? What is the atmosphere like. Are there people? What are they doing? Talk to them. Ask them questions.
When I’m done I just turn around, walk back out, shrink the card back down (I like the closure of it) and open my eyes again. (I suppose if you’re doing the Mary Poppins thing you can just get rained on?)
Another one for steps #1 and 3, then.
Do A Daily Reading
So, this is mostly #2 and #3, but it helps if you do a reading for your day. You could do a single card that you may meditate on for the day, or a three card spread (mind/body/spirit is a popular one, but I usually do challenges/opportunities/things to keep in mind), or any one of the many daily tarot readings there are. Shorter is better in this case, I think. Sometimes long readings are intimidating and you’ll procrastinate.
Now, you can either do it at the beginning of the day, and then compare at the end how it went (even if your interpretation was wrong, look at the cards and see what you may have missed), or use this method as an end of the day reflection.
You can see how your deck actually reflects the events in your life to you this way.
Intensive Deck Study
So, this is an idea that cropped up on Tarot Forum, sprung from the One Deck Wonder. I won’t go into all of that (I won’t even link you to the threads, because there are a few of them. But you can google the phrases “One Deck Wonder” and “Intensive Deck Study” and they’ll show up on tarotforum if you want to know more).
The idea behind Intensive Deck Study is to work with one deck, and get to know those cards inside out. Longer terms are better, such as six months to a year, but I got good results with even just one month with my International Icon Tarot. Many people won’t even look at their other decks, or buy new ones during that time. It’s all about your single deck.
With IDS, you’re going to want to actually study the cards though. It’s in the name, after all! If you’re using a deck set in a particular time period, learn about that time period, for example. Study the flora and fauna of the cards, all the while keeping track of your own personal symbolism alongside it.
IDS is great for #1 and #3 on the list.
Make Sure You Actually Like The Cards
So, this one seems kind of obvious, right? Like, if you didn’t like it, why would you have gotten it? But it’s possible to like the idea of something and then get it, and it’s not so great. It’s also possible to really love the art of a deck but not get much out of it for reading. I’ve been guilty of that more times than I can count. Variant of #3.
Ask Good Questions
Now, I don’t really focus on the question too much these days, but for some people THE FUCKING QUESTION, IT’S EVERYTHING MAN. Mark McElroy wrote an article called “Ask A Better Question” for one of Llewellyn’s old Tarot Reader almanacs (2006, I believe), and he says that a good question will lead to action (what/how), incorporate personal responsibility (use the word I), explore options (don’t just focus on one goal and ignore other possibilities), and seek guidance and not control.
Personally, I think that’s a whole lot of fucking rules for a fucking question, but if you find yourself getting stuck, rephrasing your query — or at least being clear on what you’re asking — can help. I suppose this technically doesn’t fall under any of my steps though, does it?
Draw Face Up
So, typically, when doing a tarot reading, you’re going to choose your cards face down (although I know of some people who don’t, for the record). Well, flip them over and pick your cards while looking at them. It’s okay to break the “rules”!
Pick cards that you’re drawn to, or that you think accurately portray the situation. (And then ask why! Always ask why!) This hits all three steps in a way.
Make a Deck Mix
So, this is #1 and #3, and it’s something I started doing on accident because I’m almost always thinking of music. (I mean, I made a tarot spread based off of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme, so clearly that’s just something I do) It’s a thing people actually do though, and if you google around, you can find other people making tarot playlists or talking about songs that remind them of tarot cards. This can be step one, but really it’s all about step three. It doesn’t really matter if your song ideas are full of deep symbolism that connects to the cards and reveals them in a way you’ve never thought possible. It’s mostly about hanging out with your deck and having fun. (Although you’d be surprised by what the insight a song can have into the cards once you start making the associations. The Housewives Tarot introduced me to the concept of The Tower as Liberation, for example, and Vienna Teng’s The Tower really got that to hit home for me. Which is a bit of a dramatic song for a “silly” deck, but there you go!)
Take your deck and compare it, card by card (or reading by reading) to another deck. Maybe one you own and already have a good connection with, or even just something like the Rider-Waite-Smith where you can get the images online, and the symbolism is well mapped out if you need help with it.
Now, compare and contrast. How are they similar? How are they different? Usually both of these cards are “supposed” to mean the same thing. What are they using to accomplish that? Two very different decks might have the same feeling to you, although one may accomplish it by colouring and mood and the other does so through detailed images with obvious symbolism.
But the idea is that one deck will help you understand the other, and help you understand yourself and how you process the meanings. Basically a #1 step, although, like most of these, it will hit into #3. And it’s a good one to help you connect with two decks at a time (although I’ve personally found it helpful to have one deck that you’re really trying to focus on).
Let Others Interpret Your Cards
I don’t know if there’s a place here on tumblr to do this, but if you have any tarot reading friends, or better, if you’re a member of Tarot Forum, you can hand the cards you pulled off to other people and get their take on it. Now, at Tarot Forum you have to give it a good faith effort to interpret the reading yourself, which I encourage even if you’re just handing it off to a friend.
This is, oddly, a #2 step. Because letting other people interpret the cards can help you get some confidence that you’ve picked the right one, and there’s something to be found in there to help you interpret it.
Also, and this is just me, but whenever I have people interpret my readings, I like to pick apart all the ways they’re wrong, using what I’ve pulled from the cards myself to back it up. Do you ever ask someone to help you pick between A and B and it isn’t until they pick B that you realize you wanted A? It’s kind of like that. You know more than you think you do and someone challenging that can bring it out in you.
Keep A Tarot Journal
Don’t think that this being all the way down near the bottom of the list makes it less important. I’ll admit that I rarely keep a tarot journal because…I’m lazy…but this can really help.
You can keep a log of all the readings you’ve done, which allows you to go back and track your progress and accuracy. I’ve looked back at readings from years ago, with hindsight being more or less 20/20 and I’ve been amazed at what I see now that the cards were saying that I didn’t see then.
It can be helpful, especially if you feel like you’re not really getting what your readings are saying, to make a record of the reading in the journal and then come back to it later.
But, tarot journals can also be used to record your insights about the cards. This is something I talked about doing in the audio post with my Gothic Tarot of Vampires. And it can be helpful to look back on your own insights when you get stuck. And just knowing that, at some point, for some cards, you had insights is helpful.
And though I’m loathe to admit it, I can’t tell you how many brilliant thoughts I’ve had about tarot cards (well…decent thoughts, at least) that have been lost forever in my brain.
This is a way to collect your stuff from #1 and help #2 along.
Try New Spreads
So…I used to be a complete tarot spread addict. Most of my tarot journal, in fact, was devoted to storing my spread ideas. The first spread you might want to try, if you haven’t already, is a “deck interview” spread. Here is the one I use. This can give you insights into the relationship you’re going to have with the deck.
(This probably could have been a separate point, but some decks are just better suited toward certain things. Sometimes a deck is just going to be the deck you use to read for others. If you have a deck that you keep trying to use for your daily readings and it’s not working, it may tell you that it’s best saved for special occasions. For questions that require a finer touch. Or maybe the ones that need to be blown wide open.)
But, in general, any new spread can help. For a really creepy analogy, think of it like taking your partner out somewhere new. Something you and your deck are trying out together. Which maybe makes me sound crazy? This is clearly a #3 step. But if you think of it that way, then you’re looking at your deck as being with you and not something that’s working against you. And in the same way that rephrasing your question can help clear up an issue, finding a different spread helps as well.
Okay now I definitely sound crazy. And it’s sort of like, the anti-step-three, if you think about it…I’ve only done this once, when I was about 15 and I was very frustrated with my Mythic Tarot. I yelled at it. I told it that if it didn’t start making sense to me, I was going to cut it into pieces. I even took a chunk out of the cover of the book, just to show I was serious. Then I yelled some more.
…uh, don’t deal with people like this, by the way. But if you get to the end of your rope and you’re mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore, it’s okay to let out some steam and frustration.
But hey, it worked!
Oh, last one! Finally, oh my goodness. If all else fails, try a new deck. Okay, yeah, that’s…kind of a last resort, and a little depressing. But not every deck is for everyone. And sometimes you just have to start over with something else.
So, there you go. 19 techniques to connect with your cards…it’s an odd number, but I made the list right before going to sleep. I imagine I could have come up with more today, but uh…I’m at over 3200 words right now so I think it’s probably for the best if we stop here. Hopefully some of these will be of use! Feel free to let me know how they work!