LESSON 6 – The Environment


The Environment

The environment of a tarot reading includes the physical setting and your internal state. There are five inner qualities that are beneficial. These are:

  • Being Open
    Being open means being receptive. It is an attitude of allowing – being willing to take in what is offered without denial or rejection. By being open, you give yourself the chance to receive what you need to know. 
  • Being Calm
    It is hard to hear the whispers of your Inner Guide when you are in turmoil. Tarot messages often arrive as gentle hints and realizations that can be easily overwhelmed by a restless mind. When you are calm, you are like a peaceful sea in which every ripple of insight can be perceived. 
  • Being Focused
    Focus is very important for a tarot reading. I have found that whenever I feel a question strongly, I receive a direct and powerful message. When I’m scattered and confused, the cards tend to be the same. Your most insightful readings will be those you do when the desire is very strong. 
  • Being Alert
    When you are alert, all your faculties are alive and awake. A cat is alert when it is watching a mouse or bug. Of course, you won’t be pouncing on your cards, but you will find them difficult to read if you are tired or bored. 
  • Being Respectful
    Being respectful means treating the cards as you would any valued tool. You acknowledge their role in helping you understand yourself better. You honor the choice you have made in deciding to learn the tarot and handle the cards accordingly.

Even though these five qualities are important, they are not necessary. You can have a meaningful reading without them, but it may be more difficult. The best way to decide if the time is right for a reading is to look inside. If something feels wrong, postpone the effort, but if your inner sense says go ahead, then all is well.

Besides the inner environment, there is also the setting of a reading to consider. The ideal place is one that elicits feelings of quiet, peace, even reverence. You could do a reading in a crowded airport, but the noise and distractions would make inner attunement difficult. Since you will probably be doing most of your readings at home, let’s look at how you might create a agreeable environment there.

Set aside a place in your home where you will do your readings. By using the same spot over and over, you build up an energy that reinforces your practice. If you meditate or pray, you can do these activities here as well as they harmonize with the tarot in spirit and intent.

Try to create a sense of separateness about your spot. When you use the cards, you want to turn away from the everyday world and go into a space that is outside time and the normal flow of events. A separate room is ideal, but a corner set off by a screen, curtain, pillows or other divider can work too.

Try also to create an atmosphere of beauty and meaning. Place some items nearby that are special to you. Objects from nature, such as shells, stones, crystals, and plants are always appropriate. A talisman, figure or religious icon can help you shift your focus from the mundane to the inspirational. Consider pictures and artwork, especially your own, and appeal to your senses with such items as flowers, incense, candles, textured materials and quiet, meditative music.

These touches are nice, the only thing you really need is a space large enough to lay out the cards. You can use either a table or the floor. There is a grounded feeling to the floor, but, if that position is uncomfortable, a table is better. Choose a table of natural materials such as wood or stone.

If you like, you can cover the table or floor with a cloth to create a uniform area. The material should be natural, such as silk, cotton, wool or linen. Choose the color with care as colors have their own energies. Black, dark blue and purple are good choices. There should be little or no pattern, so the images on the cards stand out from the background.

Store your cards in a container to protect them and contain their energies. Any natural substance is fine, such as wood, stone, shell, or a natural cloth. I know of one woman who sewed herself a silk, drawstring bag and embroidered it with stars, moons and other designs. Consider keeping your cards wrapped in silk cloth when inside their container. Silk has a luxurious feel that will remind you of the value you place on your cards.

Tarot cards pick up the energy and character of those who use them. For this reason, set aside a tarot deck that is just for you, if you can. These cards are going to be your personal tool of communication with your Inner Guide. You want to bond to them closely.

When you do your tarot work in a place of your own, the experience can be quite powerful, but extra preparations are never necessary. All you have to do is use the cards. That’s the important part.

Exercises – Lesson 6

The Environment

Exercise 6.1 – Creating a Place To Do Your Readings

Spend some time thinking about where you will do your tarot readings. Consider some of the suggestions or use your own ideas. Don’t feel that you have to create a showcase location. Just see what you can do to create a setting that is pleasing and comfortable.

Exercise 6.2 – Quest for a Symbol

In this exercise, you will be announcing your intent to find or create an object that will be a personal symbol of your tarot practice. You can buy, find or make this object yourself. Once you have it, place it in your tarot spot as an inspiration for your work.

Read over the description of the Fool. This card often stands for the feeling of joy and freedom that comes from beginning a new adventure. It is in this spirit that you will seek your object. This quest symbolizes the quest for greater understanding you are undertaking by learning the tarot.

Hold the Fool in your hands, and close your eyes. Announce your desire to find or create a tarot symbol. Commit to working until you have it. The value you place on this quest will reinforce the value of your larger quest. Once you have affirmed your intent, let it go. You will find what you are looking for.

This exercise will strengthen your faith and commitment and leave you with a tangible symbol of your purpose. It will also help you learn that hidden within seemingly foolish acts is the experience of life as an adventure.