Tarot as a Path of Healing | Questioning

Thea’s Tarot

When I started this series, I had some ideas for a few posts, but it wasn’t planned from beginning to end. It wasn’t until I would finish writing post I would try that I would figure out where I was headed next on our tarot as a path of healing journey. Last month, knowing that Little Red Tarot would soon be retiring (and experiencing the big feelings one has whenever a place of magick recedes back into the mists), I think I may have panicked. I wrote:

Next month will be the last post of the series will be about how we create healing spaces for others as tarot readers, our gifts and limitations, and rooting the lessons of tarot into the magick of the everyday.

Everything and the kitchen sink, right? What I proposed was another year of writing, not a final post in a series. Sitting here and ruminating over what to do next, a question came to mind.

Why is tarot a tool of healing?

Sure, I’ve written a whole series about the ways that we can use tarot as a healing tool but I haven’t asked the question as to why tarot is so healing in the first place. Bringing myself (and you) into the question on a more personal level we might ask:

How do I experience healing through tarot?

In other words, why do we derive not only meaning but wellbeing from these pieces of paper, archaic and modern illustrations, hidden symbols and queer signs? Enough meaning to be drawn to pull cards for ourselves regularly or to even turn it into a business? What is the relationship that’s happening internally through this external tool?

Here are some of the answers that come to the surface for me about how I’ve come to know tarot as a healing ally:

Tarot is a landscape that I can enter into, meeting archetypes and guides that reflect back my internal habitat. The cards are an ever changing grimoire of wisdom mixed up with a choose your own adventure book. It’s never the same when I use it and nor am I ever the same person when I cast cards – and that’s a gift. Tarot has taught me that change is constant and beautiful and healing.

Tarot has helped me express myself as a person and connect with other people in the process. While other folks may turn to alcohol or other drugs to help ease them into social interactions, tarot has always been my charm of choice for connectivity. As someone prone to skip the small talk and dive into the deep end of the conversation pool complete with creative wordery and peculiar prose, the tarot has been my portable translator and softener of my weird. When I think of many of my healing experiences within humxn relationships, tarot is either present or has helped to create the path.

Thea’s Tarot

With tarot I am able to engage with my conflicts, fears, anxieties, sorrows, and the rest of my big and difficult feelings in a way that is diffused, meditative, and at the pace that I need. Tarot has never rushed or judged me (snarky moments of the cards aside) but only reflected back my inner storm while acting as the peaceful eye. And in readings for others, it’s amazing how many times folks will wince at a particularly difficult card when it first appears, but by the end of the reading they recognize that the card simply represents something they need to face and that they have the capacity to face. The tarot doesn’t present us with anything that we aren’t already capable of doing and, in fact, the cards can help to prepare us for the work and changes ahead.

Of course, I can’t answer these questions for you but I hope that you’ll ask them of yourself and offer up time and attention to receive insight and answers. I think it’s important in our development as tarot readers and people of the cards, that we ask ourselves why we do it. Questioning is a form of healing work – we question the “truths” we’ve been handed down, the ways we’ve been treated and treated others, how we expect the world and ourselves to be. We wrestle with these questions and try and live our answers. The tarot, too, relies on questions to empower it to be something more than paintings on paper.

The answers you’ll receive from asking yourself why it is that you read the cards and how the tarot can be a path of healing, will become guides to creating spaces of healing for those you are reading for (including yourself). Since tarot and self-expression are so closely tied for me, for example, when I’m doing important healing work with tarot I make sure to allow time and space for journaling because writing is one of the ways I make sense of myself and the world.

So if you’re feeling ready to ask some questions about yourself and your tarot practice here’s a simple writing-based ritual to help you along.

The Book of Healing Ritual

Thea’s Tarot

For the ritual you will need:

  • Something to write on and something to write with (a tarot journal is a great option)
  • Three candles
  • Your tarot deck(s) – if you work with a lot of decks choose the one that first opened you up to the idea that tarot can be a healing practice

This is one of those rituals that you want to create as much uninterrupted time and space as possible. If time and space is a limited in your life you might consider splitting the ritual up into three smaller parts – answering one question on one day, another question on the next, and the final question on the third day.

To begin create an altar with your three candles on it along with your tarot deck (or decks). Feel free to use the tarot cards themselves to help you make an altar that feels abundant with healing energy. Ground and center along with doing what it is you do in your tradition to conjure sacred space.

When ready, hold your deck in your hands (or hold your hands over your many decks) and begin to connect with the feeling of wellbeing and healing you’ve experienced in tarot readings. If you read for others, you might connect, too, with those moments of revelation that have helped the lives of those you are reading for.

When ready, light the first candle and say:

Blessed be, O candle flame
Which reflects the illumination that comes from within
And so I ask myself –
Why is tarot a tool of healing?

Now it’s time to journal your answer. You can pull cards if you like, but I think there is power in not pulling cards in this moment, but going deep within to consult the inner tarot that began developing within you from the first time you read the cards .

Once you’re finished with your first question, light the second candle and say:

Blessed be, O candle flame
Which reflects the illumination that comes from within
And so I ask myself –
How do I experience healing through tarot?

Again, take time to journal and get lost in your flow.

Finally, light the third candle, saying:

Blessed be, O candle flame
Which reflects the illumination that comes from within
And so I ask myself –
How does tarot help me to make sense of the world and myself?

Answer the last question in your writing.

Now, looking at all three answers, what are tools, techniques, and ways of creating space from healing that you can pull from what you’ve written. Remember my example of tarot and self-expression from earlier? Now it’s time for you to do the same.

When all your writing is done, hold your tarot deck again (or your hands over your decks) and the words you’ve written (your own book of healing) and say:

What is written
What is seen
What is loved
What is dreamed
What is said
What is known
All parts healing
All paths shown
Blessed be!

You can blow the candles out at this point or let them burn down. I like to keep my decks on my altar, illuminated by candle light, to charge up in my thankfulness for the essential part they play in my healing work. Finally, I encourage you to perform this reading more than once throughout your life as a reader, helping you to check in with your practice and the service you provide to yourself and others.

And so ends our time together in this series. Thanks for coming along on the journey, for sharing your stories in the comments, and helping to co-create this space of collective wisdom. I’m grateful for you, reader. May your path of tarot and healing being fruitful and enchanting, restful and restorative, surprising and familiar. Blessed be.

In mirth + reverence,

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