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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine.     May Theme: "Roots"     Volume 1 Issue 4     ISSN# 1708-3265

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Cultivating Your Own Tarot Meanings
by Susan Goldman Eller, M.A. RMT

Although memorizing the meanings of the cards is an excellent way to learn Tarot, you don't always have to know the meanings in order to derive benefit from a reading. An easy way to familiarize yourself with the cards is to 'free associate' with them. The following method, inspired by some of Mary Greer's work, is a simple way to cultivate insights into the meanings of the cards. Please note the words in green represent my personal reading and interpretations.

Notice how you feel as you gaze at the card. Get an overall sense of the card. Describe what is going on in the picture. What is happening? I pulled the Page of Swords from the Universal Waite Deck. The scene depicts a youth holding a sword. There are white, billowy clouds in the background.

Notice if anything in particular draws your attention. Does anything in the picture remind you of what is occurring in your current situation? If there are words on the card, do they suggest anything to you? Free-associate with any images which attract you (or call to you). There's no right or wrong way to do this. Just let your imagination flow. The Page is looking over his/ her shoulder. This person looks a little unsure about him/herself, as if they are looking for direction and not clear about what to do. This tells me this article needs to appeal to someone who is more of a novice to Tarot and to supply him or her with tools, which will provide a better understanding of the cards.

You can also dialogue with figures or images in the card. Imagine they can speak to you. What would they say to you? Do they have any advice for you? I have dialogued with the Page of Swords and was told the sword represents the tools needed to feel more secure with reading the cards. This article is providing some of those tools.

Pretend you are a figure in the card. What does it feel like to be that person? To assume his/her stance? When I assumed the stance of the Page of Swords, I found holding the sword made me feel powerful.

If the card feels good to you, imagine yourself breathing in its energy. Fill yourself with that feeling. It feels comforting to breathe in this image. It leaves me with a desire to learn more.

If the card looks negative or scary, notice if there are any sensations in your body, which correspond to how you feel about the image. Breathe into these places and allow them to relax. Release any tension, which might be in your body as a result. I could see how the Page of Swords might be negative - looking to some people. A sword, after all, can be used as a weapon. If I were to think of this card in a negative way I would feel tension in my stomach like a tightening. I have taken a slow, deep breath into my belly to release the tension and now feel more relaxed and at ease.

Is there anything in the picture, which looks or feels hopeful, that might help in some way? Does it correlate with anything in your life or any part of you? What might it be trying to tell you? The flock of birds flying high above in the sky looks like a hopeful message to me. They suggest support from my peers yet the space to fly on my own.

Notice if there is anything in the card which might indicate a way you could turn this situation into an opportunity for healing or growth. I have been drawn now to the Page's boots. I notice the Page is standing on the only piece of land in the picture as he/she is surrounded by water. Even though the scene is a windy one, (I am noticing the trees bending in the background) the ground keeps the Page stable. The message is to stay grounded when things are being stirred up (which will happen if you are learning something new) as a means of stability.

Combine the insights you have received into one or two sentences. The Page of Swords depicts someone who is in a new situation, one who may seem unclear and even feel uneasy. However, by grounding and using the tools available, one can overcome and triumph from this challenge.

As you can see you can receive quite a bit of information from a card even before looking up a meaning. You might try doing this exercise the next time you pull a card. It's a good idea to record your notes in a journal. Experiment, explore and have fun with your cards. Over time as you practice free-associating you will find you have developed your own meanings which you can use as an adjunct to those you have memorized.

Copyright (c) 2004 Susan Eller, M.A. RMT

If you wish to purchase the Universal Waite Tarot (or another deck), please visit the Tarot Garden. They have many decks from which to choose. If we are not currently stocking a specific deck, please note special orders are welcome at: sales@tarotgarden.com.


Susan Goldman Eller is a spiritual consultant, Reiki Master-Teacher, Intuitive Tarot Reader and owner of Healing From Within and Equinox Books & Gifts. Two of her passions are personal growth and spiritual development. She loves helping others find inner happiness and personal fulfillment in their lives. You can contact Susan by email.

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