The Daily Reading
You are now ready to begin putting your tarot knowledge to work. Lesson 5 describes the Daily Reading. In this reading, you select a single card that becomes your theme for the day. The purpose is to heighten your awareness of one approach to life for a single twenty-four-hour period. It also helps you learn the tarot without strain or tedium.
Let’s say you have drawn the Two of Cups for a daily reading. As you go through the day, you will watch for signs of this card’s special energy. The keywords for the Two of Cups card are connection, truce and attraction. In the morning, you notice that a colleague, who has been rather hostile, comes to your office to talk. You sense a truce, and you take advantage of it. In the afternoon, while working on a problem, you look for the connection between two approaches and find your solution. Later, at a party, you talk to someone who attracts you. On each occasion, you access the energy of the Two of Cups and allow it to guide your decisions.
At first, you may want to choose your daily card deliberately so you can avoid repeat selections and learn the deck more quickly. If you prefer, you can choose your card without conscious intervention. Here is the procedure:
- Shuffle the deck once or twice.
- Hold the deck face down in one hand and cover it with your other hand.
- Pause a moment to become calm and centered.
- Ask your Inner Guide to give you the guidance you need for the day.
- Place the deck face down in front of you.
- Cut the deck to the left and restack it.
- Turn over the top card as your card of the day.
- Return this card to the deck, and shuffle once or twice.
This procedure is easy to do on a daily basis, and it gives you an opportunity to connect with your Inner Guide regularly. Choose a time that works for you. Mornings are good because you can pick a card during your wake-up routine. You can also select one at night. You will be ready to put your card to use as soon as you wake up. It isn’t necessary to pick one time since your schedule may change. The main goal is to make the Daily Reading a part of your day so that your tarot work progresses.
Keep a journal of your selections. Later, you will find it interesting to trace the pattern of your choices. I started studying the tarot in earnest when I was spending my days caring for my two boys, then under five. One day I calculated the distribution of my daily cards to that point and found the following:
- Wands – 24
- Cups – 44
- Swords – 41
- Pentacles – 57
- Major Arcana – 56
How clearly this describes my life at that time – heavy on the real world (Pentacles) and basic forces (major arcana) and not so heavy on individual creativity (Wands).
In your journal, jot down a few highlights of the day next to your entry. This will help you correlate the cards with your moods and activities; but keep it simple, or you will soon tire of the effort.
I wrote my journal entries using five pens of different colors – one for each category:
- Wands = Red (Fire, passion)
- Cups = Blue (Water, moods, emotion)
- Swords = Yellow (Air, mentality)
- Pentacles = Green (Earth, growth, plants, nature, money)
- Major Arcana = Purple (spirituality, higher purpose)
Color coding helps you see at a glance the shifting tarot patterns of your weeks and months.
You will probably be surprised to find that you draw certain cards over and over. Of the fifty-seven Pentacles I recorded early on, I drew the Ace and Queen eleven times each! At home with my children, so many of my days reflected the themes of these two cards. The Queen of Pentacles is the ultimate nurturing mother. The Ace of Pentacles offers opportunities to enjoy the material side of life, and it doesn’t get more material than cleaning dirty diapers!
I picked these two cards so often that I became suspicious about them. I examined them closely one day to see if I had damaged them in such a way that I would be more likely to select them. They appeared no different from the others. I was simply drawn to them because they expressed my situation at that time. The cards you select frequently will also tell you about your concerns.
The most important step in learning the tarot is to take the cards out of the box regularly. The Daily Reading is the ideal solution. If you do one each day, you will absorb the character of each card quickly and easily.
Exercises – Lesson 5
The Daily Reading
Exercise 5.1 – Learning the Cards One By One
You can become more familiar with each tarot card by concentrating on a different one each day. This exercise takes a minimum of seventy-eight days, so it is quite a commitment, but, if you stick with it, you will know the tarot deck very well when you are done.
Decide now how you will choose your daily card during this learning phase. You can be systematic (first the Wands, then the Cups, etc.) or spontaneous. You can pick a card that catches your eye, or one that seems fitting for the day’s events. A single day on each card is enough, but you can take longer, if you wish.
When you have selected a card, read its information page at least once. Write down the keywords, and try to memorize them. They will help you remember the meanings of a card quickly. Study the details of the card’s picture as well. You may want to make a copy of the information page to refer to during the day. I don’t recommend carrying your card around as it could get lost or damaged. Start a journal, if you wish.
Exercise 5.2 – Establishing a Daily Reading Practice
When you have studied all the tarot cards at least once, begin drawing your cards without conscious deliberation. Follow the steps listed in lesson 5. Continue to make entries in your journal, if you have one. After a month or so, calculate the distribution of suits and major arcana cards. Do you notice a pattern that reflects your situation? Do certain card(s) show up frequently? Ask yourself why this might be so.