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Learning Tarot

By Patricia Briggs

I have always had an affinity for cards. I can remember as a pre-teen using a regular deck of

cards, asking yes-no questions, and playing solitaire. If I won the game, then the answer was

yes; if I lost, the answer was no.

One day at a family gathering, I was off to the side doing my own thing with the cards passing the time. A friend of my father came over to chat. I told him what I was doing with the cards, and he immediately scoffed in disbelief. So, I had him ask a yes question.However, in front of him, I lost the game. He walked away laughing and thinking he had proven his point. However, I was not convinced. I knew something was wrong. I sorted the deck apart into suits and found three cards were missing. Regardless of what I believed happened, that incident ended my public card reading because I didn’t like the feeling of being laughed at or even having to prove myself. Thereafter, my card games were set to privacy.

I was in my mid-twenties when I was gifted my first set of tarot cards by a mentor. At this time in my life, I was actively seeking to open and develop my own psychic abilities, including the knowing that I used to access at will as a child (and thought I had lost). My mentor strongly suggested that I toss the little booklet that accompanied the box of cards. Initially, he had me separate the cards into two decks, the minor and major arcana.

The minor arcana was like the regular deck that I was already familiar with. This deck was more connected to the physical world. He suggested that I play with them independently like I had done in my pre-teen years.

Our focus as teacher and student was on the major arcana, the cards containing the spiritual lessons. My learning revolved around the symbolism and sacred lessons embedded on each card of the major arcana. In addition to coloring in my own set of cards as part of my lessons, I was meditating daily, letting myself intimately connect to the cards and their images. As we moved through the cards, we would spend anywhere from one week to one month working with each one of the major arcana cards.

Once I completed my journey through the major cards, he gave me the option to combine the two decks back into one. I chose to combine them because I wanted that deeper spiritual level available in my card reading.

Now, as I worked with the cards, I noticed that the pictures and/or meaning of the symbols of all the cards changed in my mind’s eye with each question. In the beginning, I thought the cards were speaking to me. Later, I realized that my third eye was rearranging the pictures on the cards so I could see and understand the information that I was receiving in pictorial format.

Tarot cards when used properly are just a tool, an inert object, a place to focus while we open our connection to the spiritual in order to channel information. The same applies to a crystal ball, spirit table, pendulum, a palm, or even tea leaves in an empty cup. The person doing the reading is the actual conduit not the object his/her eyes are focused on. This is very similar to giving a person an energy healing; the healer becomes the conduit for the divine and earthly energies to flow through and then to the client for the healing. Really you don’t even need the cards as a focal point, with practice you just bring the focus inward to your third eye.

After working with the tarot cards for over a year, my mentor said that it was time to go public and read cards for people that I didn’t know. From my previous experience as a pre-teen, I didn’t see the need and felt more comfortable just reading privately. He treated it like it was a rite of passage. I felt that I had no choice in the matter, if I wanted to keep working with him.

At the time, I convinced myself that this rite of passage was about trusting myself and the information that I was channeling, along with proving to myself that I can do this. In hindsight, I was trying to justify and overcome what had happened years ago as a pre-teen. It was not until years later after having to do the same thing with energy healing, that I understood it was bigger than what I comprehended in my twenties.

A major part of going public is about honoring yourself and who you are even if it puts you in a vulnerable spot. It is easy to deny part of yourself if you keep it hidden away from the public eye.

He signed me up for one of his events as a reader. I was very nervous but settled down after the first reading. I read for multiple people that day; I was used to doing only one reading at a time, and not every day. I recall doing one reading after another with no breaks. I was very tired by the end of the day and could not recall any details about the readings after the first one. I was in what I later would call, "the zone." The zone, to me, is a higher vibrational place where I am channeling and physically unaware of the details of what I am channeling.

My partner had attended the event with me. He kept busy doing other things as I did readings. Afterwards, he made the comment that people were lining up to see me and seemed pleased with their readings. He had overheard some of the comments. He was very proud of me; I felt a degree removed from what he was saying and the emotions that he was expressing.

I was experiencing for the first time a feeling of disassociation; I associated it with the stress of the day. I didn’t like it. Years later, I would come to understand, I was truly energetically a degree removed because I had spent the entire day in the higher vibration of 'the zone.' What I really needed in that moment was to be grounded. Unfortunately, I knew nothing about subtle energy or grounding at this point in my life. Instead, I was left feeling very odd and uncomfortable after my first day of public readings, and was unable to feel the excitement of success.

My mentor had given me an out by telling me that I only had to do public readings once. It was up to me if I chose to go public after that. I chose to stay out of the public eye for many years until I felt ready again.

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