Bonding With A New Tarot Deck
You’ve bought a new tarot deck, maybe it’s even your first one ever – it’s exciting to have a new friend in our lives! That’s how I tend to think of tarot cards – we enter into a partnership of honesty and self-discovery when we start to work with the tarot, so thinking of them as our friend and partner isn’t so far-fetched, even if they are as physically simple as ink printed on cardstock.
Taking the time to get to know and bond with a new tarot deck is a lovely introductory ritual.
Investing a little bit of time into exploring your deck can be a bonding experience. For those who are entirely new to tarot and are meeting a deck for the first time, it can be especially beneficial! Like everything in developing a tarot practice, there is no right or wrong, only personal preference – should you prefer to jump right into reading with the cards, great! If you’re like me and prefer the slow-and steady route, the ideas presented here might just suit your fancy…
Meeting a new tarot deck is a little bit like dating, your first encounter can be exciting, and perhaps even a little nerve-wracking…
First off, there’s absolutely no need to rush! Pick and choose from the following suggestions and find what works for you:
MAKE TAROT THE FIRST AND LAST PART OF YOUR DAY: The first thing I do with a new deck of cards is to spend 5 – 7 days where I pick them up and put them down as the first and last things I do that day. Whatever deck I am currently working with lives in the inner sanctuary of my bedroom, so my cards are always readily at-hand for this practice. I go through the entire deck both morning and night, really LOOKING at the cards. Each time, I try to find a nuance that I hadn’t noticed before. As I become more familiar with the cards, I will also recite keywords that come to mind while going through them. I find that familiarizing myself with the cards on the cusp of waking and sleeping helps them sink more fully into my subconscious. This practice may take some discipline to pull off, but the benefits make it well worth the effort in my experience.
SLEEP ON IT: I know more people than not who tuck thier fresh deck under thier pillow and sleep on it for several days as a way of bonding with it – while this is not a part of my own practice, it is too well regarded in the tarot community not to mention it here. I have certainly slept with a single card slipped protectively within my pillowcase, so I understand the connection that can result from this method. As mentioned previously, any decks I am working with live on my bedside table, so they are always close-by during dreamtime regardless of whether or not they are under my pillow – welcoming your new deck into your own personal inner sanctuary can’t help but foster a bond to them.
FIND THE STORY: Taking the cards and laying them out as majors and/or suits so that we can see how the cards progress from one to another all in one go is one of my favourite methods to getting familiar with a deck. Once the cards are laid out in order, I look to read the story they evoke. It can also be helpful to take all 4 cards of the same number and lay them out with thier corresponding major to see where thier overall theme and energy lies. An example of this would be pairing all 5’s from the suits of wands, swords, pentacles, and cups with the Hierophant, for instance. What is the overall message that unifies these cards?
MEDITATE WITH THE CARDS: Meditating with tarot cards isn’t the same as mindfulness meditation where you focus on having your mind go blank, it’s more like a guided meditation where the image on the card is your focus. This is a practice that moves with me throughout my lifetime of working with a deck, and can bring some profound insights that may not be readily apparent from traditional meanings and interpretations. Even if you have never meditated before, I suggest you give it a try and see where your stream of consciousness takes you in regards to the imagery presented on the card.
KEEP A TAROT JOURNAL: Like meditation, this is a lifetime practice that serves not only to record spreads and interpretations, but acts as a living, breathing account of a reader’s progress with the cards. Being able to refer back to readings we have performed while logging feedback allows our understanding of the cards to continually evolve, and sharpens our intuition.
ASK YOUR DECK FOR A TAROT MENTOR CARD: We can all use a little guidance and reassurance when learning something new – why not ask the deck itself for a Tarot Mentor Card so that your mentor is always on-hand to show up as needed? Bonus points: your Tarot Mentor Card will also give you a hint at the best way to study the deck!
TRY AN INTERVIEW SPREAD: Back to that dating analogy – why not interview your deck over a glass of wine and some candlelight? There are literally hundreds of interview spreads online, but in keeping with the dating theme, the questions I like to ask most are the same I would want to discover in a potential suitor. The following positions can be laid out as a direct line, or formed into any fancy shape that you wish:
1. Tell me about yourself – what is your most important characteristic?
2. What are your strengths as a deck?
3. What are your limits as a deck?
4. What are you here to teach me?
5. How best can I learn and collaborate with you?
6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
Personalize your Journey!
There are many other ways you can foster a bond with your tarot deck, from making custom boxes or pouches to store your cards in, selecting spread cloths that resonate specifically with the deck, to taking your cards with you everywhere you go – many tarot readers feel adding a personal touches such as these and taking time to enjoy that initial honeymoon phase without having to hurry demarks a sign of respect and reverence for the cards. I know that I certainly feel that my efforts and process goes a long way to shaping my relationship to a deck.
Meeting a new tarot deck should be fun! Perhaps you have your own methods and practices that weren’t covered here, or maybe you prefer to just dig into the cards straight away – however the cards may fall, I hope that you find a means to developing a lifelong bond to your deck that serves you on a pathway of self-empowerment!