The Best Way to Learn the Tarot Card Meanings
The following post and video is inspired by Andy Matzner’s book Tarot for Transformation.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret – a juicy Tarot secret that will help you truly understand your cards and make your readings POP!
But first, some boring backstory….
I first discovered Tarot when I was young and impatient and I immediately set about trying to learn and memorize all 78 Tarot cards.
A typical Tarot beginner move!
Not to brag or anything, but I kind of succeeded. Within a fairly short amount of time, I had a surface level grasp of what most Tarot cards represented. But I was a shitty reader and I still didn’t understand what Tarot was really all about.
Fast forward to now. I’m slowly working through Tarot for Transformation: Using the Major Arcana to Discover Your Best Self and Create a Life Worth Living by Andy Matzner.
It’s a deliciously slow process, like eating a box of chocolate caramels while stoned.
This slow process, which I’ll describe in a hot minute, allows me to stay with a card way longer than I normally would – to really climb inside it and roll around in it. And at the same time, to climb deep inside myself (which sounds a bit creepy, now that I think about it).
The more I get to know each card, the more I realize that the cards are simply there to help me get to know myself. Mind blown!
So what exactly IS this juicy Tarot secret I speak of? And how do you apply it to your readings?
The secret is this: each Tarot card is alive within you – it’s like a map of your soul. Once you understand how the themes of each card play out within you, you begin to develop a personal relationship with the Tarot. And once you come to know the Tarot intimately (seeing your self in the cards and the cards in you), the cards will open up to you and reveal their mysteries.
I’m going to take you on a little journey – we’re going to dive into The High Priestess together. Or rather, we’re going to dive into ourselves to find our inner High Priestess! Woo hoo!
Exploring the Subconscious
In Tarot for Transformation, Andy Matzner writes that The High Priestess is associated with water, intuition, repeating cycles of change, the moon, wisdom, the subconscious and many other things. Basically, all the cool stuff.
He asks: “how can we best move between the conscious and subconscious parts of ourselves?”
So let’s start there. How indeed?
I’ll let you go first. Have you found any methods or activities that help you tap into the partially hidden realms of your mind? Take a moment to ponder.
A few years ago I was hypnotized and while I was under hypnosis, the hypnotherapist asked my higher self to come forward and answer a list of questions that I’d prepared in advance. Holy moly! My higher self said all kinds of wild stuff! The session was recorded and when I listened back to it I was blown away by the wisdom, advice and insights that I got. Who knew?!
Dream Journalling, lucid dreaming, meditative journeying and various automatic writing exercises have also helped me tap into my subconscious and unearth my inner wisdom.
Often, when The High Priestess shows up in a reading, she’s telling you to go deeper. Don’t just be content to fuddle about with surface level stuff. Go deep. The answers are within you.
Honouring Your Intuition
In Tarot for Transformation, many different methods of tapping into your intuition are suggested, along with a list of journal questions like how do you know when your intuition is communicating with you? and Describe a time when listening to your intuition changed your life.
So let’s go there. What is your relationship to your intuition like? Are you in the habit of ignoring it? Have you been making attempts to honour it or even explore it in a feet first, New Age Adventurer kind of way?
For years I tuned out my intuitive feelings like you would a pesky younger sibling. My intuition felt like an inconvenient distraction from logic, reason and the goals of the ego.
But as I got older and more desperate to find real meaning in my life, I began to re-discover my intuition. And look at me now! Blogging away about intuition like I know what I’m talking about! 😉
The High Priestess reminds us to acknowledge our intuition because the way we treat our intuition mirrors the kind of relationship we have with our soul (our deeper, expanded self). Honouring your intuition is a great way to show yourself some love and respect.
Cycles & Rhythms
Now let’s shift gears a bit and talk about the moon, cycles and natural rhythms, which are all in the realm of The High Priestess.
Just as we aren’t really encouraged (in our current society) to honour our intuition, we are actively discouraged in following our natural rhythms and cycles. Tampon ads are the perfect example of this.
Google image search “tampon ad” (go ahead, I’ll wait for you) and you’ll see an array of women playing tennis, doing gymnastics, climbing walls, doing back flips and playing soccer alongside phrases like “my period doesn’t slow me down!” and my personal favourite “Serena SHUTS OUT mother nature’s monthly gift” (a Tampax Pearl ad featuring Serena Williams). Cold and flu medication ads pull the same shit.
But is it wise to push your body when you’re on your period? Or trying to get over a cold? The High Priestess says NO! Work with your cycles, not against them. There will be times of high energy and times of low energy. There is a time to shine and take action and and a time to rest, recharge and go inward.
In Tarot for Transformation, there are a bunch of great journalling questions about this, like “how familiar are you with your own natural rhythms?” and “when do you typically feel most drained during the day? Most energized?”
A question I want to add is how can you better honour your natural energy cycles?
Take a moment now to ponder this. Journal about it if you want.
I’ve found it much, much easier to honour my energy cycles since I became self employed and started working from home. From ages 4 – 30ish, I was always on someone else’s schedule and feeling like I had to meet the energy demands that others placed on me. Since I became fully self employed, I’ve been in control of my own schedule and the type of work that I do, allowing me to work with my energy and cycles.
Of course there are plenty of ways to honour your cycles without quitting your day job! A really neat book on how to sync your diet and exercise to your menstrual cycle is Womancode by Alisa Vitti.
Learn about the moon phases and experiment with syncing up your activities so they correspond to the moon’s energy. For example, focus on manifestation and taking action on goals when the moon is waxing and releasing things when the moon is waning.
Is there a particular time of day when you’re most energetic? Or most creative? Plan your activities accordingly. It sounds ridiculously simple but we often overlook this sort of thing.
So now you know!
Now you know the secret to really, truly understanding your Tarot cards. Dive deep, take your time and don’t just explore each Tarot card and it’s symbols, but use your cards to explore your SELF. Use your cards to ask yourself questions and don’t be afraid to get nosy and personal (it’s just you, after all!)
If you liked this approach to exploring Tarot…
Make sure you check out Tarot for Transformation by Andy Matzner. It’s a big book with plenty of great info on each Major Arcana card, along with journalling questions, exercises and tips for diving deep. Your relationship to your cards (and your self) will never be the same!
Purchase on Amazon (my affiliate link)
Now tell me…
Did you learn anything new about The High Priestess (or your self) from doing this exercise? What was this exercise like for you? Feel free to share in the comments below 🙂