Nothing is as difficult and frustrating as trying to memorise Tarot card meanings from a book.
Since 2006, Tarot students from all over the world have worked with me to discover a better – easier – method to connect with the cards.
If you are just starting to learn the Tarot or find it hard to remember card meanings, here are my tried and tested powerful ways to connect with the Tarot without ever having to look at a book again:
1. Choose a Tarot deck that speaks to you
The best beginner’s Tarot deck is one, where all cards are fully illustrated, each image tells you a story and you find the artwork appealing.
The most famous and popular Tarot deck of all, the Rider Waite Smith (RWS), is one I do recommend, but you may prefer the Sharman-Caselli deck, which has been specifically designed with the Tarot novice in mind.
On the image here on the right you can see both decks together with the Crystal Tarot, on which the Minor Arcana cards are illustrated with just the symbol of the suits.
Which images do you find easier to connect with? And what different stories do they tell?
2. Describe the images
Yes, this requires you to actually LOOK at the image carefully and explore the scene. Give me your first impression: is it positive, neutral or negative?
Then tell me why. What do you see? What is happening?
Go into more detail. Are there any people in the card? What are they doing? How do they look?
Notice their body language. What is the landscape like? Can you see buildings, plants, animals?
Some cards are easier to read than others. Don’t be disheartened, if you draw a blank with some of them. You will learn to read them in time. Build your confidence by focusing on the easy cards first.
3. Be the person in the card
This is a fun yet insightful way to connect with the cards. Imitate the posture of the person in a card.
Stand with open arms just like the Fool, sit like the High Priestess, kneel like the woman in the Star image – will you take it as far as being naked? 🙂
You can personify the Hanged Man by doing a headstand, perhaps against a tree, or if that is too strenuous for you, lie down and lean your legs upright against a wall or a tree.
Replicate as much of the image as you can.
For example, stand by a field and look at the crops just like in the Seven of Pentacles. What goes through your mind? Harvest? Hard work? Reaping rewards? Sowing new seeds and a new cycle?
How do these postures make you feel?
Close your eyes and imagine the landscape of the card surrounding you. How does it affect your mood, dreams, ideas or imagination?
4. Connect each card with your own life experiences
The archetypal images of the Tarot live in all of us. For example, we have all been a Fool more than once in our lives, but that doesn’t necessarily mean in a bad way 🙂
The Fool suggests amongst other things new beginnings. This is how some of my students associate the Fool with events in their lives:
“My first day at school. I can remember being so excited.”
“When I went backpacking to South America. I was naive when I started but so much wiser when I came back.”
“My first marriage. We were too young.”
“Starting my business. I didn’t have a clue, just jumped in, and it was quite a learning curve. But I loved it.”
All these statements are short, but they tell you so much more.
By linking the cards to your life, you will find it much easier to remember their meanings, because you connect them to feelings, lessons and advice you have experienced.
5. Start A Journal
When you start exploring your Tarot deck, make notes of your observations and new discoveries about the cards. Writing things down helps your memory, too.
Be a Fool today and start your Tarot Journal by downloading my Tarot freebies.
You can add your own pages as you continue to work with the cards, and over time you will create a unique Tarot reference book full of your personal wisdom and inspiration.
By signing up to my mailing list, you will also receive more freebies in the future and learn about exciting new journalling products available soon!
6. Play with the cards every day
Even if it’s only for five or ten minutes, spending time with your cards every day will help you learn the cards more quickly.
Pull a card on an evening and make a note of it. How does it reflect the events of the day you’ve had? Or what message does it offer you for the following day?
Even if you cannot think of anything, at least you are looking at the card, begin to memorise its image and associate it with its name. Soon you can picture the images in your head without having to look at them, e.g. you will know by heart what the Six of Wands looks like.
7. Card meanings can be found in the Name
The names of the Major Arcana images all trigger some associations you have stored in your head. Quite often, Tarot novices are not aware of them. They see the name written on the card but don’t take it further.
One of my students couldn’t make sense of the Hermit. So I asked: “What is a Hermit? What does a Hermit do?”
Her answer: “It’s someone, who lives on his own. Far away from civilisation.”
We have then talked about the archetypal Hermit personality, and how it fits into our modern lives and in readings.
So, what does an Emperor do? Well, I suppose he rules and makes decisions. And what does Justice mean? It makes me think about the law, and how we associate it with objectivity, truth and fairness.
As you can see, the names of the cards already tell you a lot about their meanings, so they are worthwhile exploring further.
8. Music and Quotes
Find your own favourite inspirational quotes for each card and record them in your journal. I started doing that a few years ago, and in the process began creating my Tarot of Quotes.
Last but not least, if you still feel stuck connecting with the cards, consider booking a brainstorming session with me via Skype. It’s great to talk, and you will already notice the benefits after just one call.
Or check out my transformational Discovery Tarot course to start your tarot journey.