The great debate in Tarot is often whether to read "by the book" or to throw the book at the wall and say what you're intuitively led to say. The great answer is, of course, we all do a little of both! The more you know about the rules, the easier it is to break them. That is why taking a course like Tarot 101 can be so helpful. Once the established meanings and stories behind the symbols are deeply embedded in your psyche, they will merge and morph in ways only your intuition can understand. You'll find yourself saying things you didn't know you knew. That's where the magic lies!
Full disclosure, I am a meditation junkie. Meditation and the accompanied breath-work, Pranayama, is my cure-all the way some might use Tylenol or Windex (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, anyone?). But I got into Tarot before I got into meditation, because I found the cards focused my mind much better than "sitting and not thinking". Surprise twist: reading Tarot is absolutely a form of meditation. Or, at least, it's a bridge to the meditative state of mind.
Meditation, according to the Yoga Sutras Patanjali, requires 8 ordered steps: Yama (moral discipline), Niyama (healthy observances), Asana (good posture), Pranayama (breath work), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (focus), Dhyana (absorption), and finally Samadhi (meditative bliss). If we apply these steps to our Tarot practice, we can get a much deeper, more meaningful reading for ourselves and others. In that state of absorption, answers we didn't know we knew come to the surface and we are open to messages from our higher selves, guides, ancestors, deities, etc.
Here are my steps to a better Tarot session:
1) Affirm your ethical code. You have to decide this for yourself, but The Four Agreements makes a great guide, I've found. You might also have a short prayer or invocation to your guides here. I like to chant a sacred mantra.
2) Set the stage. Have a sacred space in which to do your reading. It should be clean, tidy, and comfortable. Sit in such a way that you feel you could sit their for hours (you just might!)
3) Breathe. Close your eyes and take a few deep, centering breaths. Exhale for twice as long as you inhale.
4) Get focused. Take your deck and imagine sending all your energy and attention into it. You might hold it to your chest or take a moment to gaze deeply at it. Here, you could also get focused on your client if you have one. Imagine seeing their light and creating a tube of safety between your light and theirs.
5) Pull your spread. Let the figures in the cards speak to you, notice the composition, are they talking to each other? Are they looking at each other? See how they interact. Get a broad view of all the cards and if any of them draw your attention in particular, gaze at the card for a moment in silence and allow it to speak to you.
Learning to get centered, get quiet, and listen within yourself are vital to reading Tarot intuitively, and meditation is the best way to grow that skill!
I teach free yogic meditation classes every Thursday from 6pm-7pm EST both in person at Cosmic Corner and online via our Discord community!