Can you Teach Yourself Tarot Cards?
We talk a lot about the fact that cards need to be studied, worked out. However, until now we have never said exactly what is the best way to do this. First, let’s define what it means to know the card.
At the very first stage of the study, knowing a card is to be able to distinguish one card from another, not to confuse the Six of Swords with the Three of Pentacles. Of course, if we are working with a Ryder Waite deck, it is more difficult to confuse cards than if we were using the Marseille Tarot or something close to it in design.
The process of learning the meanings of a Tarot card is, in fact, an endless process. I managed to create a certain hierarchy of values. Using this hierarchy makes it very easy to memorize card meanings. The system is built on the principle “from simple to complex”.
Semantic Core of the Tarot Card
The semantic core is the most essential word-concepts that are characteristic of only one card and distinguish it from other Tarot Arcana.
The semantic core of the card includes only three values. Less than two hundred and forty concepts that do not even need to be learned, they just need to be filled in. At this level, learning cards is very similar to mastering the basic vocabulary of a foreign language.
I have developed a whole series of exercises that allow you to better and faster memorize the values from the semantic core of the card.
What does this card mean?
What does this card not mean?
Which of the proposed cards corresponds to this value?
These are the simplest exercises. There are also more interesting ones.
We Build whole Sentences from Words
The level of the semantic core is followed by the level of a case phrase or semantic formula. In the study of a foreign language, this corresponds to the level when grammatical constructions begin to be built out of individual words. I, fly, plane, sea: I fly by plane to the sea.
The use of precedent phrases allows the Tarot reader to speak with his client already at the level of a meaningful story. Actually, the comprehension of this level separates, in my opinion, amateur tarologists from professional tarologists.
We form Images and Associations
And the next level is the level at which the Tarot reader studies cards all his life. The level of filling the semantic field. It is a combination of visual and auditory imagery. Drawings, songs, excerpts from films. Complex associations and metaphors, one way or another related to the meaning of the card. The main thing here is not to get confused and to not to be led by fantasy.
It is at this level that the individual view of the Tarot reader about the card is formed. Because each of us develops our own associations, builds our own metaphors in relation to the card. On the one hand, this is the true wealth of the Tarot reader. What makes it unique in its understanding of cards. But by exchanging their semantic fields, their individual best practices, tarologists do not lose, but, on the contrary, gain. Get richer. Associations of other tarologists are not a reason for enmity, but an opportunity to look at the card from a different angle, see something new and unusual for yourself, expand your understanding of the card, make it more voluminous, more saturated.
The fact that I do not understand someone’s association does not mean that the other Tarot reader is stupid or ignorant. This means only that I do not yet understand his logic. It is very important to remember that there is no single correct meaning. There is a meaning that is accepted in a given school or suggested by a given master. Suffice it to recall the different readings of the cards proposed by Arthur Waite and Aleister Crowley.
What is the Way of the Hermit?
Each level of Tarot card comprehension has its own level of difficulty for the exercises. It is precisely the comprehension of the card as a Sign that corresponds to what I have called the Path of the Hermit. This is rational wisdom. Studying texts, doing exercises where there are correct and incorrect answers.
I think this path is extremely important. It provides an opportunity to lay a solid foundation in the understanding of the Tarot card. Based on it, it becomes much easier to compare the approaches to reading cards and the different sets of meanings proposed by numerous authors of Tarot books. There is an opportunity to create a certain criterion, based on which, to evaluate, compare and accept the positions of different authors and schools.