Big Chunks and Small Chunks
If you have been struggling to learn Tarot you are certainly not alone. People often say to me that they have used the cards for years but have never been truly able to get to know the traditional meanings of the cards. After all there are seventy-eight of them. That’s a lot! How on earth are you supposed to get your head around so many. Is there an easy way? Help!
One of the most useful tips I give my Tarot students is to lay each group of cards- the Aces to tens, the court cards and the Major Arcana cards- out in their entirety. Say for example you are trying to learn the Aces to tens (sometimes called the pip cards... but that’s another story). Lay out each suit out so that they are in order. The Ace, the two, the three and so on up to the ten of one suit, say the Wands, and then the other three suits below this one in the same order. You can then look down the first column and see the four Aces, the next column is the four twos et cetera.
The trick is to group the cards in as many ways as you can. They are not individual and standalone. They are linked to the other cards in different ways and working with the groups make them much easier to learn. Much easier.
All the Wands cards have something in common. They are about passion, the will, ego, enthusiasm and so on. The Swords are about the intellect. The Cups are about the emotions and the Pentacles are about the physical realm. These are four big chunks. In this way alone the forty pip cards are reduced to four groups.
Then, we can see that all the Aces have something in common. They represent a gift or opportunity in their own realm. This way we can learn the Aces as a small group. The twos have a commonality as do the threes, the fours and so on. These are smaller chunks.
Some card sequences tell a little story and that makes them easy to remember. For example, the two of Swords is about making difficult choices, the three of Swords is the heartbreak and eventual healing that can lead from that. The four of Swords is the necessary time out needed to recover from such a traumatic experience. There are many such sequences in the pips.
When you are trying to learn the Court cards, again, you should lay them out in a grid. The pages are similar in many respects- immature, enthusiastic, beginnings. The knights are all on a quest. The queens are loving matriarchal figures and the kings are outward expressions of their suits.
One common way to learn the Major arcana is by telling the story of the Fool’s journey through life. The Fool is the first of the major cards. The so-called “Fool’s Journey” can be found in many books and online. Seeing this group of cards as a story helps enormously in getting to know them.
By seeing all the particular group of cards in front of you and working with them in groups, rather than individually, one at a time. You will find they are vastly easier to learn.
This is the way I approach teaching the cards in my classes. If you would like to finally comes to terms with these seventy-eight magical cards check out our six-week Beginners’ course at our website www.brisbanetarotschool.com . This popular course is held regularly throughout the year.
Chris from the Brisbane Tarot School
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