Tarot Tips: Memorization VS. Instinct

How do you memorize the cards? It’s a common question with a simple surface issue. However, if you dip below that surface, you will find a darkness lurking there in the waters. What are we really asking when we say, “How do I memorize the cards”? Is that truly the question or is the actual thought “How do I trust myself”?

I believe that it is more of a self trust issue than it is an actual learning problem. Our challenge is to understand that “gut instinct” can and should be listened to. The Tarot is a tool of opening. See the cards as 78 keys to your own subconscious. Each one opens a door to our own inner guide who will help us see what we need to see. That voice in our heads that we have all been told makes us crazy if we listen to it is actually what many people refer to as “psychic power”.

I firmly believe that each of us is psychic. It is how we approach that idea that individualizes us. Perhaps you were raised to think of psychics as that crazy old lady down the street with too many cats who reads cards and burns candles. Or you see a willowy woman wrapped in scarves wearing enough bracelets to start up her own jewelry kiosk in the mall. But when you look in the mirror, do you see yourself as psychic? I didn’t think so. It is rare that any of us do.

We’ve been taught that it’s “just a fluke” when we know who is calling when we pick up the phone. It’s coincidence that you brake going over a hill in case something is there and you narrowly miss a deer. It’s luck when you choose one lottery card over another and win five dollars. It’s cheating when you know what card someone just picked up in the poker game. Ok, so that IS cheating even if you can do it.

But when you look at a piece of stiff paper brightly colored depicting a young man with a dog at his heels and a smile on his face stepping out over a cliff, you probably think “Good gods, man! Look where you are going”! Then you might imagine that he is so happy, so full of joy that anywhere he goes will be a good place for him. Just look at him with his clothes on his back. He must be heading somewhere! He’s so young though. Does he know all the problems that may face him?

Now imagine that you are sitting across a table from a young woman who has told you that she is having problems in her job. She doesn’t know if she should move on or try to fix where she is. What does your gut tell you when you see the card above?

Synthesizing the information in the cards with the question is hard enough. But to then layer that with what your own instincts are telling you confuses even the best of us at times. But learn to listen to that small shouting voice. Remember that the cards are a tool. They are keys, but you have to pick them up and turn them. You still have to open the door that they have unlocked. If you stand outside wondering if you should go in, then you are giving in to that self-doubt. That question “do I trust myself” is the one you must defeat.

But how do you defeat it? There are several methods I would like to share with you. My personal favorite is a game I play with myself. I will ask a friend to pull one card. Then I interpret it for them as rapidly as I can. I don’t stop to think what it “should” be. I tell them what it looks like to me as it might apply to them.

For instance if I see the Ace of Swords, I might tell them that it looks like they are being called to pick something up. That there is a project that they need to apply themselves too. This is because my deck shows the Ace of Swords as a hand rising up out of a lake with a sword in it. It is very reminiscent of the Lady of the Lake handing Arthur Excalibur.

Another exercise I use is to pull a card before I go into a meeting. I do the same rapid-fire interpretation just trying to grab symbols and write them down. Then I pay attention in the meeting (a bonus side-effect for my manager!) and compare what happened with what I saw.

You should also utilize the daily card method. Pull a card in the morning and write down what it looks like to you. Imagine you are in the card and try to put down smells and sounds and textures if you can. Write what you get from the card. Do NOT look at the LWB (Little White Book). Do NOT read the interpretation of the card. Just let your mind go free. At the end of the day, go back to this card and journal about your day. See what your morning interpretations picked up on. NOW and only now go to the book interpretation and jot down key phrases from the book. What was accurate from the book that you missed? What was accurate from your interpretation that the book missed?

Learn to believe in yourself. Learn that trusting your own inner voice is the most significant step you can take to opening yourself up on a psychic level.

Previously published on Tarot By Arwen

    Cards featured:

  • 2 of Waters, Vision Quest Tarot
  • 2 of Cups, Chinese Tarot
  • 2 of Cups, Rider Waite Smith Tarot
  • 2 of Cups, World Spirit Tarot

Author: TarotByArwen

Arwen is a published romance author writing as Marilu Mann as well as author of non-fiction like the Fairy Tale Lenormand (art by Lisa Hunt). As past president of the American Tarot Association (2007-2014), Arwen worked with an actively engaged board to rekindle that organization. A professional joy seeker, Arwen helps her clients find their joy again in jobs, relationships and life. "Seek joy, y'all" is a motto known to many because of Arwen's heart-felt desire to help others.

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