Updated: Apr 7
Coach and WCS team member, Ambra Venturini, has put together this short guide on the ways you can use Tarot as a mental wellbeing and self-care tool.
What is Tarot?
Tarot has been around for centuries though its use has transformed over time. Its roots are not well documented although we know for sure that it was created as a set of playing cards. It wasn’t until late 1700 that tarot started being used for divination purposes, and later on was more widely used as a tool for self-reflection and self-discovery thanks to Carl Jung theory of archetypes.
Since then, tarot has taken on many different uses – whether it is for divination, creative activities or for self-reflection and self-care, it is our trusted friend helping us reconnect with ourselves and each other.
Most tarot decks are composed of the Major and Minor Arcanas, each serving a different purposes in supporting our wellbeing. The Major Arcana brings us on the Fool’s journey, where we follow the challenges, wisdom, ups and downs of life depicted through the beautiful archetypes personalities that the Fool meets along the way. Each archetype is meant to share a crucial life lesson with us, bringing us guidance on how to navigate challenges and experience things to the fullest.
The Minor Arcana on the other hand gives us insights on our everyday life through the lens of four Suits (Water, Earth, Air and Fire), helping us understand how we might be feeling, the energies we might be experiencing in the moment, and giving us inspiration on how we can support ourselves through them.
How can it help you?
Holding a tarot card is often described as holding up a mirror to ourselves. Each card can reflect an experience, feeling or thought pattern that we are going through, highlighting parts of our personalities and of ourselves that are asking for our attention and affection.
The journey of each Suit and each archetype are there to support us and others heal. They ask us to unapologetically trust our own interpretation of the world, whilst daring us to dream and go beyond our own perspectives - encouraging us to look inward yet embracing and deepening our connection to one another and the environments we inhabit.
This makes it particularly magical and empowering for queer people – tarot gives us the freedom to re-define and re-discover ourselves safely, exploring and finding clarity through self-reflection, and revealing ways to show up more authentically and embracing parts of ourselves that we might be afraid to share with the world. By giving us insight into who we are at any given moment, it also shows us our role and position in activism, sprinkling light into how we can meaningfully contribute to change.
How you use tarot is completely up to you though. I find it particularly supportive as a daily self-care practice, to connect with how I’m feeling and what I’m experiencing each day. Tarot creates the space for reconnecting back to ourselves, and that’s why it can be support us to ground ourselves when overwhelmed. Through its images it can help you to get out of your usual thinking, and even step out of any inner judgement and negative thoughts patterns you might be experiencing. By focusing on its colours, images, tones and mood - and noticing how they make us feel in the moment - it allows us to take a breath and be present with ourselves.
The key to approach reading tarot for self-care is to centre your agency in the situation you are enquiring about, rather than hand over power to the deck to tell you what to do (even though it might be tempting to!). Because tarot is ultimately an intuitive exercise in self-trust and self-discovery.
Growing up surrounded by tarot readers, tarot was always going to be playing a big part in my life and I’m so glad that is the case!
My family is quite dysfunctional, especially when it comes to how we communicate with each other. Tarot was one of the only ways we managed to come together and be present with one another. From a young age I discovered the power tarot has in connecting people together, even those who completely disagree and view the world differently from me, because I experienced it first hand. Tarot opened many doors for me.
Having a lack of regular and positive honest conversations with my family, I found comfort and confidence in talking about important parts of myself to my mum (like polyamory and queerness) through readings. Challenging the stereotypes that come from more traditional decks and practices, it was easier to talk about these topics when the focus was on the cards and not so much directly towards myself. It made it more comfortable for me to be open with my mum, and for her to be more receptive of what I was going through.
My mental health has always been pretty bad from a young age too - I often felt misunderstood and unsupported. Where therapy helped me create the foundations to heal and re-parent, tarot helped me further build the supportive system I needed to thrive when living with chronic pain, depression and severe anxiety.
This showed up for me even more obviously when I burnt out from my job as human rights campaigner some years ago. The reflective time I spent with tarot helped me recognising my needs as a neurodivergent peep more deeply, understand the pace and flexibility I truly needed to support myself in the workplace. All whilst helping celebrate my quirks and embracing them as a good thing rather than something to “fix”.
I know I’m not the only one to find this kind of support from a tarot reading practice. During the past years supporting folks with tarot, it’s been incredible to witness how much it can shift things on a personal level as well as for our communities as a whole, sparking important conversations around mental health, and how we can support each other sustainably.
Try an exercise with us...
If you want to try out tarot as a way to support your wellbeing, I’d recommend pulling one card each day and taking 5 minutes to sit with it – noticing the images, the colours, the mood and tones of the card and how they make you feel.
While you shuffle keep in mind this question: how can I support myself today?
Keep the card either in a place where you can see it across the day, or interact with it in your mind to give you inspiration on the things you can do to support yourself along the day - whether it is about shifting your thinking, doing a practical thing like cooking yourself a nice meal, or sitting with your feelings and giving them the space to just be.
If you want to go one step further you can also try this three card spread:
As you do this, remember that this is an exercise in self-trust. Trust what comes up for you from the cards - you don’t need to know the cards meanings to make sense of it or to find supportive insights.
My best recommendation for you is to really sit and interact with the card on your own asking yourself – what does this image make me think of? What feelings does it bring up and why?
And then, only then, look at the booklet or look up the meanings of the cards to go deeper. Also remember there are no bad cards - every card is showing us experiences that we might be going through, or a part of ourselves that we are showing up or need to show up more, giving us insight and guidance on how to navigate any moment.
Moon Matters Podcast: Astrology and the Tarot – The Fool’s Journey
Article from gal-dem.com on young people in India and their relationship with Tarot
Book a reading with Ambra at thrivingspace.co.uk
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