As a tarot teacher, I've learned that the biggest obstacle in the way of a successful reading is the lack of trust in your own intuition and imagination; not letting that part of yourself come to light and direct your rational mind.
I grew up surrounded by stories and artwork. My home was not particularly artistic, but my parents believed in teaching kids to read young and we had bookshelves full of story and picture books. I learned all the traditional fairytales before the school age and I loved the weekly trips to the library to borrow more picture books. I also loved drawing, so I was deep in the world of stories, pictures and symbols for the best part of my childhood - and I still miss that incredible feeling of immersion only a child can achieve.
Now, how this relates to tarot, intuition or teaching it?
I had never realised before I started using and teaching tarot cards that not everyone is equally comfortable with letting their imagination soar.
We are taught from early on to be practical, rational and sensible. "Stop daydreaming and get on with your homework/studies/work" is one of the most common instructions we all get from our parents, teachers, bosses and ourselves. And this is a shame, I think, because imagination and intuition are different sides of the same coin and we can't use our intuition effectively without imagination.
Tarot is not about voodoo, superstition or hocus pocus. Tarot is about accessing your own intuition for a clearer decision making in life.
If you know what your drivers are - the deeply held fears, hopes and aspirations - you're bound to make more informed choices in life, and can access and build deeper and longer-lasting happiness and satisfaction.
This is not marketing hype, it's something I've seen happening for myself and countless of other people who have learned to listen to and trust their intuition - either with or without the cards.
Tarot cards are useful in practising the use of intuition, because they bring the elusive and ambivalent emotions, hopes and fears visible by showing them in a picture form instead of one having to scope them in the "dark", only by sensing and observing one's inner workings.
Tarot is not the only pathway available to your inner world. Paying attention to dreams and gut feelings work, too, as well as meditation.
I've recently started this practice of "checking up" with my intuition to see what's going on in my life and what direction my subconscious sees or expects/prompts me to take. It's probably a form of meditation but I like to think it as a check up, taking a look on my subconscious. If you believe in clairvoyancy (by telepathy or accessing the collective subconscious), this can also be used to read for other people.
How to improve intuition and imagination -
Find a quiet spot in your house and preferably try this in the morning before all the hassle of the day. I've found that within an hour of waking up the mind is still close to the dreaming state and more receptive to images, and you're not overburdened by the stress and chores of the day.
Sit down, close your eyes and try to not think. No talking to oneself, no questioning, no planning or remembering, just let your mind be.
Then, whatever thought or image, no matter how faint, appears - let it come and watch it with your mind's eye.
When doing this, I don't see as clear images as in a dream, but I do get hunches, physical sensations (warmth, sounds, smells) and "see" or experience images or even "videos" with my minds eye. It's difficult to explain because it's not as clear as a full-on (lucid) dream, but it's clear enough to pick the message.
The main thing is to allow and trust what comes and simply observe. Don't try to guess whether the image is relevant, or whether it's "correct". Try not to direct the images or the story, just sit and watch.
Absolutely don't try to guess where the story will go, otherwise you're letting your rational mind take the lead and the whole purpose of this exercise is to let your intuition lead the way.
I usually watch the images or the "video" for maybe 30 -60 seconds after they start; then I pause to write it down. Longer periods (even up to an hour - how long you feel you can do it without falling asleep ;) ) are fine too, but I personally prefer to take breaks to take notes. For me this pace works because it allows me to just sit and observe without thinking or trying to memorise or analyse, and I can still remember the images to write them down and start analysing afterwards.
Don't be put off if you don't get anything sensible, or anything at all for the first few minutes. It's possible nothing comes (or you don't know how to spot it) for the first few attempts. It's a skill that needs to be practiced. Intuition and imagination are like muscles - everyone has them, but the ones you don't use, tend to get weak and when you start exercising, they feel utterly useless at first!
I tend to see symbolical images - people in historical dresses and in all sorts of landscapes, and I interpret it later. The message doesn't have to be a photographic presentation of your everyday life to be meaningful. After all, this is akin to watching dreams fully conscious and also interpreting them on the go. And dreams are not necessarily straightforward representations of your life - yet they are relevant to understanding your own inner workings, beliefs, fears, motifs etc.
I've found that for any sort of intuitive practice, be it dreams, tarot or meditation / check ups / clairvoyancy, it helps to be acquainted with symbols, fairytales, folklore and legends to fine tune your intuition and "vocabulary". I'm an art historian and it helps me immensely with seeing and understanding coded messages. But you can find your own meanings and interpretations, too.
If you find meditation or clairvoyancy difficult to start with, try cloud watching. Just let your mind see patterns, images and symbols to get into the practice of letting your intuition direct your mind instead of the other way around. Don't disregard anything as silly, just keep watching and imagining - it will bear fruit eventually with improved clarity and self-knowledge!
|Where will your intuition lead you, if you let it take the lead for a change? Photo via Kaboompics.|