Tarot Sandbox and Getting to Know You – Without a Net

Remember sandboxes?

Not the ones with actual sand from when we were kids, even though that is where the name comes from. I’m talking about the sandbox in old antivirus programs. I think it is a programming thing too. I am no computer expert, but I think the basic idea is something like a “safe test environment”. You know, like when they strap a rocket down sideways to test fire the engines. Or the mirror dimension in Dr. Strange where he could practice his spells without harming anyone or breaking anything.

I’m not saying Tarot cards are potentially glitchy like a computer program, or potentially dangerous like a rocket motor, but they are totally cool just like the Dr. Strange movie and it is helpful to have a “safe space” to work with them….or in this case to make friends with a new Tarot deck.

I love TED talks. LOVE TED talks. If you have the time please watch the one below from author Elizabeth Gilbert. It get’s right to the heart of something very key to the art of intuition, the art of Tarot.

Call it intuition, psychic gifts, hunches, right brain function, imagination….what have you. However you name it there is something inside each of us that touches the totality of the Cosmos. (Grand Unification Theory in physics is abbreviated GUT. Instinct or intuition is sometimes called a gut feeling. Scientists are too clever for me to think that is a linguistic coincidence, but even if it is, it is an elegant and meaningful one.) At the same time that inner something works best if we pretend that it is an outer thing. As Gilbert explains, when our creativity is attributed to some externalized, abstract “muse” it is freed from the weight personal responsibility. When we let go of both credit and responsibility for the outcome, creativity is set free to become more agile, fluid, flexible, mobile, and wider-ranging. Speaking in terms of “spirit” or “the cards” lends the same deepening, broadening, and fluid agility to the art of reading Tarot.

The cards part of that is where I’d like to go with this, new cards specifically.

I really think all professional Tarot readers wind up being deck collectors to one degree or another. I tried to avoid it, but with gifts, impulse buys, and a couple of lustful ‘have to have it” moments, even I’m up to 8 Tarot and 2 oracle decks. In practice, I usually latch on to one deck, use it all the time for a long time, get to know it inside and out, and project my intuition onto it. The flip to thinking of it as outside or somehow “other” begins with thinking of the cards as a gateway or amplifier or other tool for accessing inner intuition. We fully project it outside of ourselves when we give character and personality to a deck. The deck then functions as our muse. The deck becomes the mouthpiece and message for “spirit” and takes the reader out of the spotlight … and out of the line of fire for reflex emotions and blame. With that buffer, we create a safe space for learning, communication, hard truths, honest discernment and free flowing intuition. Using our Tarot Deck as a creative muse is our mirror dimension, our sandbox.

So naturally, when you get a new deck you want to make sure the sides of the sandbox are strong, and that it is both as safe and as articulate as you need it to be. It is really easy to fall into that notion of a ‘relationship’ with a deck. They really do seem to have personalities, specialties. For example, the Black Cats deck just doesn’t seem to cough up the information in a regular layout but has a playful enthusiasm for yes-or-no readings. Sure, what that really means is the whole cat thing resonates with the part of me that created Zombie Cat, so doing yes or no readings with this deck through the persona of Zombie Cat is a double whammy projection – probably why Zombie Cat can go snarky and tell it like it is….but that is another story.

The online Tarot world is loaded with good ideas about how to get to know a new Tarot deck. I’m not here to reinvent the wheel. If doing a specific card layout feels right to you, buy all means, please do that. Extensive card by card interviews is another good way to really sink your teeth into it. What I propose to do is even more long term. If one layout is a quick fry minute steak, brace yourself for a 24 hour slow smoked brisket with this one (all apologies to the vegans)

I still absolutely believe the best way to get to know Tarot in general is to do daily one card meditations….yes, one card and only one card per day….and getting to know a new deck to virtuoso depth takes no less time or effort.

That’s how I learned my RWS deck after I switched to it after the Art Nouveaux deck. Same for my now-favorite Witches Tarot after the RWS. When I saw Thom Pham’s “Heart of Stars” Tarot, it was infatuation at first sight. (please visit www.kingofwandstarot.com. Card photos by me, used with Mr. Pham’s kind permission). I could not resist this deck. The images are inspired by popular movie and TV characters, yet still utterly captures the spirit and message of the classic RWS based cards. I make TV, music, and movie pop culture references all the time in my readings. It is a great tool for communicating the basic idea of the card/spirit message to the client. Not as useful for International clients, obviously, but they don’t come through as much for them, unless it only takes an easy link to youtube or something to make the analogy clear to them.

The coolest thing is that there is no little white book. No big book that I know of. He made the genius decision to avoid the paper use and made interpretations and ebooks available on his website. On behalf of the trees and all of us who want to live as environmentally friendly as possible….I thank you, sir! I look forward to reading them.

That’s the deck I’d like to get to know. I’ve decided to do it old school, like in the beginning, one card a day. I want to tie it to the hard won experience of the past 25 years and include some tried and true elements of the professional readings I do now. I’m looking at this fall as a re-boot, a grand re-opening of sorts, so I’m adding a new feature to my readings (and this series of getting-to-know-a-new-deck posts). I’ll write an affirmation for each card here and at the end to summarize each distance reading you purchase. Old-now-new….feels right. The sand box is safe and sound.  Not going to read the lwb or online references, just going to take on each card from a purely intuitive standpoint. I’ll ‘let the card speak for itself’ in other words. I’ve always read along or ahead with getting to know a deck. Time to meet a deck without a net.