Here is my outline that I create for the class on January 13, 2009.
I want to thank you all for coming and I look forward to a great time of exploration and discovery. It is our hope that is the first of many classes where we can get together and learn about Tarot together. I think it is safe to say that everyone in this room is on a road of learning and growing understanding of the Tarot. It is a subject and an object that continually rewards those who invest time in understanding its depth and meaning.
I wanted to start with an introductory session. I also wanted to start with a chance to be active and experiential with the cards. I want to be looking at decks, cards and images and sharing together. It is my hope that no matter where you are in your journey in understanding the Tarot that you are able to learn more about yourself, your deck, and how you communicate together. There are many, many, many books, websites, podcasts, audio books, newsletters filled with card meanings. I want to start by doing a couple of exercises that do not include these hints at card meanings. A good deck will speak for itself.
Tonight we will be only using the 22 cards of the Major Trumps or Arcana. Take your deck and separate these cards from the rest. If you need help figuring out which cards those are then just ask.
Tarot is in many ways similar to a regular deck of playing cards. The greatest, most important difference is the addition of the Trumps. The Trumps, Major Arcana, are twenty-two cards that act as a seperate suit in the deck. The twenty-two card of the Major Arcana can be used on their own for a reading or reflective work.
First things I want you to do is order the deck.
How do we order the deck? This exercise may seem simple enough but there is a lot to it when we think about it. We may or may not be people who in our lives are overly ordered but when we put a tarot deck in order we set ourselves a path of understanding. To come to understand the Tarot it is important to know what your path is going to be. Not mine, not Kris’s or anyone who has written a book but your path is the one that will bring you the best understanding.
There is a chance that most of you put them in numerical order. Right? If not then what order did you put it in? There are some decks out there without numbers on the Major Trumps how would that make a difference to how you order the deck?
Now look at how you ordered your deck. Which is the most important card in the deck based on your order?
* 0 The Fool -- he does stand outside the numbering
*1 The Magician -- he is number one, the eternal striving of all who are ranked.
*21 The World -- In the game of the Tarot this is the Trump that trumps all Trumps.
Does it matter how you order your deck? Maybe, if it matters to you.
Now separate them into three categories of your own choosing. Look at the cards and decide which ones are the most alike somehow?
The understanding the Tarot will require you to start to see patterns and correspondences. You will be the one who will judge what matters and what doesn't so the patterns and trends you see are essential. Cards in readings will work in differnet ways. You will be the one who will judge what matters and what doesn't Seeing patterns and reinforcing cards can help shape your understanding of a reading.
Look through the deck and find four pairs of opposite cards.
If Tarot is to work at all it will need to accurately represent the full spectrum of the life experience. Seeing contrast and conflict will be important and almost always present in a reading. Already you are starting to see what cards are conflicting messages.
Pick the Three Trump cards you like the best? (follow the steps and don't read ahead)
*Now for each card I want you to write a few words or a phrase on why you liked that card.
*Now look at these cards and try to determine what they mean. Write this meaning below your reason for liking the card. (No looking at the books!)
*Let's look at these three cards as a reading answering the question, “What draws you to Tarot?"
Select four cards:
1 for an ambition you have
1 for a fear, concern or mystery you have
1 for a life lesson that you have learned
1 for an quality in an ideal mate
There are many choices to make when we start to look at the cards. What they mean when we use them is one of the choices that we make. In many books there are written meanings, but they are not the only ones that can be chosen. If you draw meaning from the image on the card and you see meaning in it then it will be an authentic meaning for you. What you see when you work with the cards is personal and will connect more in your mind and give your readings more depth.
Each card can represent an emotional state, a bit of wisdom, a warning, a quality in a person. Some of these are easier to see than others but with practice you can see them with more clarity.
Pick a Major Trump to use as a blessing for the person on your right.
The Emress: "I want to bless you with the Empress, may she give you prosperity, comfort and growth.
The Emperor: "I bless you with the Emperor, may he give you order, structure in your days next week.
The Tower: "May you be the agent of change in areas where they have stood too long in opposition to what is right and good."
Here are some of the exercises I prepared for the first class but we never got around to using.
You can consider this the online bonuses!
Sort through the Majors and I want to pick out cards that you think best represent three important people in your life.
Which card in the Trumps would you say represents your idle self or greatest quality?
Which card/cards holds the most mystery to you?
Draw out one card from the Trumps.
*Look at it and write down a noun (person, place or thing) that this card represents.
*Look at it again write down a verb (action) that this card represents.
*Look at the card again and write down an adjective (descriptive word) that this card represents.