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Lessons Learned: Tarot Without A Net

I think Heart of Stars Tarot is excellent deck. The idea of a Tarot deck that intersects with pop culture is just brilliant, and in this case brilliantly executed. I hope to see more of Thom Pham’s artwork or future decks.

As much as I enjoy the deck, working through it card by card reading each at first sight without looking at the accompanying book hit a wall. It is a great Tarot exercise, but after the first handful of cards started to get repetitive. The post series was about the technique and the experience not the card meanings themselves. The method is eezy peezy, and doesn’t need a 78 card explanation. It was a fun experiment but I’m over it. It’s a good deck, and I’ll be using it for “Today’s Tarot” posts but not with this particular spin.

What I learned as a Tarot Reader

  • I don’t know movies nearly as well as I thought I did.
  • I enjoy this deck and will use it here in the blog for other posts, just not with this particular spin.
  • Experiencing a new deck is different as an experienced reader than it was as a beginner. It was hard to look at any one card with fresh eyes. Other meanings, other readings, and past experience came along for the ride….as it should. The whole point of experimenting and learning is to bring that body of knowledge to bear on new readings in order to do our best work for ourselves and our clients.
  • There are a variety of ways to engage a new deck, and they are all equally good, and all very hands-on.

There are probably as many ways to get to know a deck as there are decks and readers. My best advice is choose from any one or combinations of methods, depending on how the deck instinctively feels in your hands. The experience of exploring a new deck is far more driven by in-the-moment intuition than it is by something regimented and methodical. Or it is for me. If regimented works for you, follow THAT intuition, follow that guidance. Here are some ideas that I’ve used.

  • Pull a random card daily, then think about the meaning given by the author (or your favorite reference if the deck doesn’t have the infamous “little white book.” Think about the card and the given meaning as a “daily meditation” type exercise. This is a great way to learn Tarot reading in the first place, even before you invest in your first deck. I explain how you can do that in “PeaceTarot” ($2 e-book, here) If you get a repeat, just put it back or just try another draw for another card. OR stay with the repeating card to see if you are picking up on some other facet of the card that you missed the first day.
  • Try this same thing, only going methodically card by card. When you pull randomly often there are repeats depending on the energy of the day. This introduces every card with no repeats. I found this to be a little tedious, but it works.
  • Browse the cards in one big sit-down. One card a day takes forever it seems, but you get a deep working knowledge of the deck. If you are an avid deck collector, that might not suit you. I like the daily method because I very seldom get new decks, and only use one or two regularly. But I know a lot of readers who are avid collectors. I can’t blame them. There are some truly beautiful, enchanting, fascinating decks out there. This is where the “without a net” technique really shines. Look through a new deck card by card. Gaze at each card a minute or two and see what spontaneous intuition you get from the card. That’s how I knew the Dugan/Evans Witches Tarot was my favorite to date. I fell for the color palette at first sight, and the impressions came instantly, clearly, easily even with pictures online.
  • Do a card interview. Ask a deck about itself, or ask about your work with it. One of the best things I’ve read about new decks is from Kate over on It may seem a little crazy the way we readers anthropomorphize our cards and the way they take on personalities. Arguably, it is just psychological projection, but so what? Right tool for the right job I always say, so right deck for the right job goes too. If B.B. King can name his guitar Lucille, I can have a tete-a-tete with a stack of cards. For example, my Black Cats deck resonates with yes/no readings…probably because of the connection with “Zombie Cat”. Animal Wise Tarot is just for me, and NOT for clients. Withes Tarot loves reversals, and I take them more seriously from that deck than others. Tarot Illuminati is very chaotic and can be overwhelming, so that deck asks to be approached ritually, deliberately, with a clear head. My RWS deck is very social and loves a party. I tend to use that deck for parties more than individual readings for that reason, plus that is the diva celebrity performer deck because it is so recognizable to the public at large from movies etc. I have a sneaking suspicion that Heart of Stars wants to be my blog deck. I’m so grateful for his kindness in letting me photograph and use it.
  • JUST USE IT. Jump in with both feet and do some readings for yourself. When you feel comfortable, then you can roll out the new deck for clients (if you read for others at all). This gives a hands on feel and works within your comfort zone. It is still basically an interview with a deck, but more subtle. The deck shows you what it is all about rather than telling you. Different angle, same result.

What I learned as a blogger and a writer:

  • Always be prepared to sacrifice an idea to the editing gods. Leave it on the editing room floor. It’s better to make an interesting single post than to force a finish to a series that just isn’t working. Let it go.
  • Symmetry and completeness are less important than good communication.
  • Readers first.

For energy and cyber-feng-shui reasons mentioned before, and a zero spam tolerance, I’m not accepting or publishing comments through the blog…BUT I am always happy to hear your thoughts by e-mail. Let me know what you think about getting to know a new deck.

Question of the Day