Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Omily Tarot: A Long (Ta)Road...

I tend to be a pretty disciplined person. I'm capable of setting up and following strict routines to gain or improve skills I want to have. I spend forty-five minutes stretching most nights before bed because I want to have a full split all three ways and put my feet on my head. Even as a little kid, I had impressive self discipline. My parents never had to hide my halloween candy from me because I wanted to make it last. And I did. They finally made me throw it out when we got back around to Halloween the following year.

With an established personality trait like that, you may think I study the tarot with equal regulated fervor. But you'd be wrong! Sure, I binge on tarot books from the library from time to time, and beg the husband to let me try out a new spread on him when I stumble upon one, but I can also go weeks, even months, without touching the cards, and what's really impressive for me, without feeling a lick of guilt for doing so.

The tarot feels different than my other pursuits. It's such a deeply personal, fluid, intuitive practice, I don't feel right forcing it into a regimen. When I want to read or study the tarot, I do, and when I'm not particularly drawn to do so, I don't. Which can definitely make it tricky to write a semi-regular blog post  about it...but here I am, anyway!

I think the lesson I take from all this is that learning the tarot is a highly personal journey. From what I've heard and read about them, courses designed to teach you the tarot are really fun, informative, and eye-opening, and I imagine they're pretty open-ended, to let you learn on your own, too. I don't know if I'll ever offer a group tarot class...maybe if I was getting a lot of specific demand for one...but I enjoy teaching about the tarot one-on-one, in a way that allows the journey to tailor itself to the student, taking one little step at a time.

The temptation is to share all the information at once, like throwing all the presents into a small child's lap on Christmas morning...but just like that scenario, the person is likely to be overwhelmed and retreat from the whole tinsel-wrapped pile, instead of thrilled. None of got the whole tarot story at once. It started with curiosity, a couple cards, our own innate ideas about who these people and what these images might have been years before we realized the tarot as we know it is less than six hundred years old, and didn't come from Egyptians or gypsies (We all know that, right? We're not having the "Santa isn't real" discussion, are we??). Deciding what order to teach what has a lot to do with the individual client and where their initial interests lie, which is the way they would learn on their own, so it's the right way to direct their guided learning.

I think part of the reason that I study the tarot in short bursts is that my brain needs time to assimilate the information I'm taking in. I need to know it on a very deep level for it to impact my abilities as a tarot reader. I think the upshot of all this is, if you feel like it's taking you forever to learn the tarot: to lay off the books when reading for your friends, or to feel confident when explaining the history to a curious acquaintance, just relax! It's supposed to take a long time!

What has your tarot journey looked like? What got you started in the first place, and what were some of the first facts, ideas, or specific cards that you learned? Did you learn anything at the beginning that you found yourself having to un-learn later on? Let's talk about it in the comments!

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