Getting to know the Tarot Trumps

Here is an exercise that you might find useful with your work in the Tarot. Indeed, the following method can be used with almost any symbolic representation, in order to contact the astral and spiritual energies and forms behind the appearance. I will describe the exercise in terms of using a tarot card, but you can adapt it as you see fit. To gain the full benefit from this exercise, you should have some ability to move the attention, to visualise, and some experience with activating the third eye chakra. Here is what I do:

Select a card from the major arcana that you wish to work with. Many authors recommend starting with the fool, and working through in sequence. Sit in a comfortable and warm position. Sitting up in bed just before lying down to sleep for the night can be very effective, as the exercise will also then create an impetus to dream on the same subject. Hold the selected card in front of you, and stare at a focal point of the card. For the cards with human figures, stare at their third eye chakra, just above and between the eyebrows. After awhile, your vision will begin to play strange tricks, as the cells of your retina become habituated to the image. Keep staring at the same point, and allow your vision to do what it will. You may find yourself involuntarily moving your focus, which resets your vision to normal. Don’t worry, just keep staring at the same fixed focal point.

When the vision has started to shift due to the phenomena above, begin the following breathing sequence, keeping the eyes focussed on the focal point you have chosen in the card. As you breathe in, place your attention between your own eyebrows, on your own third eye chakra. As you breathe out, place your attention on the third eye chakra (or focal point you have selected) of the figure in the card. Keep breathing slowly, deeply and smoothly, in a relaxed manner, alternating the attention as described. It may help to visualise a white thread linking your third eye to the third eye of the figure in the card, with your attention moving between the two ends like a bead on a string.

Continue the breathing, with the alternating of the attention for up to ten minutes, all the while keeping the eyes focussed on the third eye (or chosen focal point) of the figure in the card. Now allow your eyes to close, and try to see the card in your mind’s eye, and continue the breathing and alternation of attention. However, now your attention moves to the card you see in your mind’s eye, rather than the physical card. If you can’t see the card with your mind’s eye, no matter – just visualise the card as best you can with your imagination. As you visualise, sooner or later, you will begin to catch glimpses of the card with the inner sight, which will seem to poke through your visualized imagery. If it doesn’t happen on one occasion, it will certainly happen at some stage as you continue working with the attention, visualisation, and the third eye chakra.

After another five minutes or so, or the length of time which feels right for you, transfer your attention to the personage in the card, and leave it there. Allow the experience to unfold in the way that is right for you. You may find yourself receiving impressions, images, or communications from the personage. You may find yourself viewing things from the perspective of the personage. You may find yourself “inside” the Tarot card, looking at the card from the inside. Each person will be able to carry on the experience in their own unique way.

When I have done this exercise, I have found that the subsequent day or two becomes powerfully influenced by the energy and archetype of the card, and the resulting experiences have provided profound insight into the corresponding aspects of life. I hope that you will find the same, and that this method helps you to grow towards your true nature and its full and ecstatic expression.

Robyn Wood