HOW TO START A DAILY TAROT PRACTICE
There are a bunch of extremely good reasons to start a daily tarot practice (meditation, self-reflection, etc.). But if you’re reading this, I assume that you are already intrigued enough by the idea and are here for instructions, not proselytizing. So let’s start!
First, you’ll obviously need a deck. (HausWitch has a few cuties in their shop here!)
This can be a physical deck, but you can also use an app on your phone or the free interfaces you can find online (I personally like Llewellyn’s free tarot interface and used it constantly for a bit).
If you choose to use a physical deck, don’t get too bent up about which deck you should get or whether you’re allowed to buy your own. Pick a deck with images that you like. Use your bewitching agency to fork over your own hard-earned cash to buy whatever the fuck you want.
The other thing you need is at least a minute of spare time to do your daily draw.
YOUR TAROT PRACTICE: THE BARE MINIMUM
The most bare-bones version of this is ridiculously easy: when you wake up or before you go to bed, draw a card.
You don’t have to think about it or record it or do anything more than simply looking at the card for a moment before you go about your business. You also don’t need to have a question or intention in mind as you draw the card: just draw it.
I want to emphasize this: simply drawing a card is literally enough to count as a daily tarot practice. Is it super minimal? Yes. Does it count as studying tarot? Ehhh, not really. Will it make you a tarot expert with any rapidity? Absolutely not.
But if your goal is simply to increase your familiarity with the images of the tarot, a half-brained, not very focused, lazy daily draw is better than doing nothing as you continue to wring your hands about the “right” way to do tarot.
NEXT LEVEL TAROT: RECORD YOUR DRAWS
Now, if you want to actually get somewhere soonish with your tarot practice, you’re going to want to record your daily draws somehow and spend a bit more time thinking about the card once you’ve pulled it.
There are a few ways you can do this:
- Add it to your regular journaling practice
- Make note in your physical or digital planner
Take a photo with your phone
- Extra credit: create a public or private Instagram account and post your daily card there
- Make a note on a wall calendar
- Create or get a journal specifically for your daily cards (see below)
Except for photo-taking, all of the above ways of recording your daily pulls can be helped by using shorthand. Interrobang Tarot has a shorthand guide that’s useful, and the image below is my own, slightly modified version of that:
Feel free to create whatever shorthand works best for you, or skip it altogether if it feels like too much to think about.
CREATING A DAILY TAROT JOURNAL
Say you want to capture your thoughts, feelings, impressions, experiences, and observations associated with your daily card -- if that’s you, then creating a journal specifically for your daily tarot practice is an excellent decision.
One of the benefits of daily practice is seeing patterns emerge over time; as such, I like to begin my journal with little calendars to make it even easier to see those patterns. I’m using a gridded Moleskine Cahier here; since it only has about 80 pages, I’ve decided that this journal will be good for about half a year of short daily draw entries. Committing to only half a year is also a good way to trick yourself into developing a habit 😉.
You’ll see that I’ve included the dates for the full and new moons of each month, as well as the day when the Sun moves into the next sign of the zodiac. This gives me the opportunity to observe if there are any patterns around waning or waxing moons, or if, say, Aries season might be reflected by an uptick in cards associated with Aries. If that feels like too much, don’t do it! You can always go back and add in things like moon cycles as you advance in your studies.
Here’s a dummy month so you can see how recording on a calendar can be useful:
I’ve colored in the days with colored pencil to make it even easier to see if any tarot suit was dominant for the month. Going along with the elements associated with each suit, I’ve used blue for cups, red for wands, yellow for swords, green for pentacles, and purple for the Major Arcana. If you’d like, you could just as easily use colored pens to write your shorthand symbols and skip the additional coloring step. I’ve used the space next to the calendar to record the frequency each suit appeared, as well as any repeat cards throughout the month. If color-coding feels like too much, don’t do it! Keep things as simple as you need to in order to facilitate consistency rather than overwhelm.
Just below fake January, I’ve also written some example entries. You can see how these entries aren’t deep, multi-paragraph dives into an inner landscape -- I save that kind of writing for my “regular” journal. Instead, here I’m focused more on jotting quick notes about the card, including anything that might happen during the day that seems relevant.
For total beginners, daily entries can be as simple as noting what you observe in the card, which things draw your eye most strongly, what emotions the card stimulates, etc. Just writing “man, throne, bird, sword” is enough at first, though of course I encourage you to go progressively deeper whenever you’re ready.
TO QUESTION OR NOT TO QUESTION
The simplicity of pulling a card without a question or intention leaves quite a bit of room for curiosity, exploration, and unexpected flashes of insight. It can also make a daily practice feel a bit soupy and ungrounded. Choosing a specific question and sticking with it for several days or weeks can add greater coherence to daily draws, and can also help advance your tarot study as you learn how to apply a wide range of cards to the same question.
These are some daily draw questions that I like to use:
- What does love look like today?
- How can I cultivate kindness for myself today?
- How can I best contribute to the world today?
- Where can I find solid support today?
- What is good for me to meditate on today?
Obviously, feel free to create your own daily question(s), making sure they are relevant for you and your life. Spend at least a week with a single question; a complete moon cycle (from new moon to new moon) is even better.
CONSISTENCY WITH THE CARDS IS KEY
“Daily” tarot pulls can’t always happen every single day, and that is 1000% okay. If you fall off for a day or a week or a season, the tarot police aren’t going to come arrest you for negligence. Try to cultivate a bit of self-compassion and come back to the cards whenever they call you again.
Consistency doesn’t have to be a punitive disciplinary practice; it means doing it as often as you can, with as much regularity as you can muster, and with a similar structure each time you engage with the practice. Consistency is a gift you give yourself; it paves the road towards mastery.
The more time you spend with the images of tarot, the more sense they will make to you. By the end of these six months (or the end of the journal, whichever comes first), you’ll be more familiar with tarot images, saturated in tarotic thinking, in-tune with how tarot can show up in day-to-day life, and more comfortable with your own intuitive sense. As you develop an ongoing practice, you’ll reach for your references less and less, trusting your own interpretive skill more and more. All told, you’ll be a good deal further along than if you’d spent those six months trying to figure out the “best” way to learn tarot “correctly.”
The best way to practice tarot is the way you’ll keep up with, the way that actually draws you forward.
Interested in taking your tarot practice even deeper? Diana will be offering tarot tutoring to a small number of folks beginning in mid to late January -- follow her on Instagram @ddamascenaa and sign up for her newsletter to be notified when spots open up!
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