My original intention with the cards was to be more honest with myself and gain deeper self-awareness. The following ways of practicing with the cards are only a few suggestions for exploring your inner states and accessing the rewards they contain.
Use the cards as a daily prompt for looking inside yourself. Pick a card each day. First, interpret only from a visual standpoint. Use the reader guide for help. If you feel stumped, read about the interpretations of others to expand your take on meanings. Set the card on a table, an altar, or in your purse so you can engage with it throughout the day. See if you observe new meanings or previously unnoticed details as your mind states and situations change. Keep a card journal and write about how you related to each card, what it taught you, what it inspired.
You can draw a card randomly each day, or, so that you encounter all the cards, pick one a day, one at a time.
See how your reading about the character of the card resonates with how you are. You may see it as a sign of your present state of mind or a long-held perspective that is familiar to you. Your impression will be colored by your past, your experiences, the people with whom you’ve associated, your worldview. Let your reading tell you about how you see things. Since your interpretation may change, even in the course of a day, remember that what we you depends upon where we stand.
Get in the habit of writing about your daily card pick. Read about others’ journal journey to help support your discoveries, facilitate breakthroughs, and expand your ideas. Allow intuition and chance to guide your exploration. Watch how serendipitous happenings throughout the day validate and amplify your ideas about what the card means. A common perk of this process is that the card seems to confirm that everything is happening as it should. Things are on track.
Pick a Stack
Go through the deck in the morning and pick out all the cards that describe your current mind states. Don’t labor over it. Go with your first impression. Maybe take ten cards or less. There are no hard rules.
Lay them out in a place you can encounter them throughout the day. If some of them are bad habits, they may remind you to be strong, or that you’ve “offered them up” so you can let go of worrying about them.
Use the fact that they are literally separate from you to validate that you’ve already admitted and labeled the issue, and that further dissection is not needed. Then let them be, offered up to a power other than you and your analytical mind. Write about your insights in your Card Journal.
If a card that represents a difficult challenge that won’t stop hounding you, and seeing it all day only makes it worse, this is a good nudge to take a more attentive look at it. It takes daring to own our most undesirable traits and perspectives. At a pace you can handle, be willing to just face it. If it taunts me enough, I practice looking at the card deeply, without analyzing it. I let myself feel whatever rises from owning it. Then I put it down and engage with my day. I’ll do this practice each day if I need to. See what happens when you consciously own it and let it occupy you, and then walk away.
I used the hippo. It represents over-eating for me. I stared at it and resisted temptation to go into my head’s usual justifications, resignation, future plans, etc. I saw it’s kind eyes, the pretty food, her lumpy fat rolls. It made me feel bloated and chubby, like I’d just eaten a big meal. I let myself keep feeling it, with a thought in the background that if I didn’t try to stop this idea about myself (and all it’s accompanying pains) then at least I wasn’t running from it. Whether I believed it could be helped or not, I set it out as an offering to whatever forces would help me evolve into change or self-acceptance.
Pick two cards and talk about the relationship between them. Pay attention to how your description relates to current relationships in your life. Write and share your findings.
I chose the crow (1) and the coyote (19) I saw the crow nagging and laying guilt trips on the coyote, while the coyote is in full rebellion, wanting to smash everything and get away. The crow is a self-righteous do-gooder and the coyote is exhausted from her. She’s trying to remain calm and speak to him, but he’s unreachable. It reminded me of a mother’s relationship with a teenager.
It resonated with the times I’ve felt like both characters. It reminded me that when I’m in either of those positions, I can back up and see the other person’s perspective.
Pick a card and have a conversation with it. Ask it anything you want to know about yourself or your situation. Write down the conversation and let the questions and answers flow freely.
I live in a part of the world where the majority of the population is uncomfortable with things that might seem to go against fundamentalist Christian ideas. I’ve been openly challenged by people who are scared of me and my symbolic paintings because, to their view, I am creating mythologies that counter their beliefs. This is a mild way of saying they think I’m a devil worshipper. I’m grateful I have this disputatious viewpoint offered with regularity, because it reminds me to keep my message broad. I want to alienate as few people as possible.
Having said this, I can’t be honest about the best ways to use the cards if I don’t offer users the methods that have worked for me and others. If the idea of an altar makes you uncomfortable, skip this section. I have had times in my life where I poo-pooed such ideas, and completely understand how one might see an altar as too religious, too hippie, too drink-the-Kool-Aid. I am okay with altars now, and have come to find them a hearth-like connecting place.
A card altar can be as simple as a candle or an empty spot near a window. It a designated space for you to engage with your cards. If you want to make your altar elaborate, and there are heaps of ideas online for that.
Making an altar shows a willingness to engage more deeply with what the cards open up for you. The cards are pointers to the subtle world of mind and spirit, and an altar is a helpful catalyst.