by Bonnie, Bookseller

There’s no denying that times are….strange to say the least. In the midst of the confusion and stress of the global pandemic I have been trying to practice extra mindfulness and take time for self-reflection.

One way I like to do that is through reading tarot! A tarot deck is a great spiritual tool to use in meditative self-reflection, and it’s easier than you might think. There’s no need to start off doing complicated multi-card readings, and it’s not about seeing into your distant future either—just a simple question about your life and a one-card reading will work just fine. All you need to do a tarot reading is an open mind and a deck you connect to.

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I love the <em>Ethereal Visions</em> deck by Matt Hughes—the art is gorgeous and the simplified symbolism in the illustrations make this deck super easy to interpret (perfect for beginners!)

As an example, let’s say I’m having a creative block or I’m stressed about a creative project. I might ask the question “How can I find inspiration for this project?” or I might just focus on a brief phrase like “creative guidance,” or even a single word like creativity. While I shuffle the cards I focus intently on this question, phrase, or word and keep shuffling until I feel ready to do a reading. Then I would draw one card, read about the symbolism of that card, and see how it might apply to my struggle or situation.

Let’s say I pull card Zero, The Fool. The first card of the tarot, The Fool represents the start of a journey. The card symbolizes exciting potential, spontaneity, and sometimes naïveté. If I pull this card while seeking guidance about a creative project, The Fool might be inviting me to take the project in an exciting new direction, or perhaps to look at my work from a fresh angle or with a beginner’s mind.

This single card provides a great jumping off point for me to self-reflect. That’s what tarot is all about! It’s not necessarily about mysticism and seeing into the future, though it can certainly be a spiritual practice. Tarot is more about opening yourself up to possibilities—it’s about asking questions and seeking guidance from the deck and from yourself. The wisdom in tarot symbolism is a conduit for your own wisdom and self-reflection. And it’s important to remember you don’t have to memorize the symbolism of all 78 cards—there are a ton of tools to help you. A book on tarot is a great tool while you’re beginning!

I like <em>Modern Tarot</em> by Michelle Tea, which gives great in-depth easy-to-understand explanations of the card meanings.

If you are interested in learning more about tarot, check out @brooklinebooksmith on Instagram every #TarotTuesday! We feature a different deck available for purchase every week and pull an accompanying card for a brief reading with each post.

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