I’ll take four cards, please, Dealer

Tarot readings are a full-immersion activity. You have the physical sitting, arranging, preparing, and then the drawing and placing of the cards; you have the connection to Spirit; and you have the meditation, the calming and mental situating, and interpretation of the cards.

How do you approach that third part? Do you ask a question and then focus on the question as you draw, however many cards you need? Or do you ask the question, let it rest and draw the card with a totally clear mind?

What I’ve always done is hold the question in mind and also try to be open to whatever response presents itself. In readings for myself, I say “Not what I want, not what I don’t want”. That works for me. It lets me direct my mind into a space of non-expectation and not trying, not hoping for a particular card. If I’m doing a daily reading for everyone, I try to let my consciousness rise and intermingle with something bigger that will let me connect with the cards that reflect the day’s energy and how we can best engage with it.

I should also say that I draw every card independently from the others. In other words, I don’t shuffle and cut and then draw all the cards one after the other from the top – I shuffle and then place the cards in a stack, let my fingers run up the sides, and then pick up as much of the deck as I feel is right. The card that is then at the top of the remaining stack (i.e. the first one I haven’t picked up) is the one I choose. Then I put the top half back, realign the cards, and start again for the second card, etc. For every reading except the weekly pick-a-pile that I started recently, I lay the cards out face-up.

Let’s see whatcha got

Is that different from how you do readings? I came across some advice once that you should settle on your question and then stop thinking about it. Send the question into the Universe and let it go, and then draw your cards. I’ve tried it and it ‘works’ for me, but I do get very different messages that way. Sometimes they are quite broad.

More importantly, for me, directing intention is a vital part of a reading – it’s a way I take part in what’s going on – so working in this way is a little disappointing. It feels like I went to meet a friend for coffee and just missed them. Or, more specifically, it’s like instead of meeting Spirit halfway, I waited until Spirit left something for me and then went to get it. It’s wonderful to have the gift! But that feeling of closeness is what inspires me.

What about when you try a several-card spread? How do you approach them? When I see people doing them in videos, they often shuffle, maybe cut the deck once or twice, and then draw all the cards in order from the top. As I mentioned above, I don’t draw that way anyway, and the way I do practice means that a set spread takes a bit of time. I look at the first question, hold it in my mind, shuffle, draw from the stack, and place it in front of me. Then I re-align the stack, and look at the second question, etc. It’s more like a series of mini-readings, I guess! But I’m always amazed at the responses I get, so I’m sticking with it.

Now here’s a question. If you just sit down – no preparation, no meditation, no spread, no question – pick up your deck and draw a card, however you draw it, is that ‘random’? Or is there a message for you there? And if so, how would you interpret it? Is it possible, do you think, to draw a totally random Tarot card?