Most people tend to associate Tarot cards with fortune telling, and while using them to divine the future is totally okay, they can be used in other, unique ways as well. In fact for me, fortune telling is perhaps the least attractive thing I find about my tarot decks. The vividly-detailed images are so beautiful and evocative- they create layers of meaning, and literally draw you in, to another world. Even the history of the Tarot and its roots in the Kabbalah are so fascinating that you could spend hours reading up on it and always discover newer things.
These are just some of the ways in which I choose to bond with my cards.
1. As A Tool Of Self-Growth and Self-Discovery: The way I see it, the Tarot is all about accessing your subconscious and conversing with it. It’s like lucid dreaming, except it’s more real and tends to make more sense, if you can interpret it right. You can always shuffle your deck and ask a single question about any aspect of life and how to improve it. You can draw a card each morning, asking ‘How can I make the most out of today’, or like me, draw a card each night, asking ‘What is the most important lesson I learnt today’ and then sleep on it.
2. As A Prompt In Your Creative Projects: Whether you’re a writer, artist or a filmmaker, any Tarot deck can transform into a viable supply of endless creative inspiration. It’s your ultimate solution to Writer’s Block. You can draw a card and let the image set off a string of associations you can work on, or even make detailed spreads that can stand for ‘plot’, ‘character’ , ‘settings’ and so on.
3. As A Deck Of Playing Cards: I don’t like other people touching my cards, but if you aren’t that queasy or have a spare deck lying around, you can turn it to a deck of playing cards. Just keep all the Major Arcana cards aside and leave out one set of the Court Cards. The Swords correspond to Spades, the Cups are the Hearts, Pentacles/Coins are Diamonds and the Wands can be the Clubs.
4. As An Element In Your Magic Spell: The internet (especially Tumblr) is rife with ingenious ways of making spells, and if you’re a true Tarot practitioner, why not use them in your magic rituals? Add some extra power to a love spell, using ‘The Lovers’ card or use the ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ or ‘The Sun’ cards for an extra dash of luck. If there’s a Court card, you particularly connect to (I love the Queen of Wands), you can use it in a self-empowerment charm. You can even mediate upon the images or carry your favourite ones in your phone as a talisman. Excited and worried about meeting someone new at the workplace? Save the ‘Two Of Cups’ as your phone’s wallpaper.
5. As A Storytelling Device: Yes, you can simply get lost in the images. When you’re not reading fortunes, you can randomly draw out cards and connect them into a story. In fact, there’s an Italo Calvino novel that does just that. Trapped in a castle and unable to speak, the characters use Tarot cards to communicate with each other in the book, The Castle Of Crossed Destinies. Maybe you can even turn this idea into a tabletop game!
The best part about the Tarot is that it hearkens to your own creativity, and makes you rethink ways of being more innovative and inventive. Do you use your cards in a novel way? If yes, I’d love to hear from you!