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  • Writer's pictureLuella Schmidt

My Tarot Card Ritual: Create a Wellness Practice that Follows the Moon

Are you interested in Tarot Cards? I’m obsessed with the reflection, self-discovery, and wisdom they offer. And I’m not alone. The global market of Tarot Cards was valued at nearly $1.3 Billion in 2023. Yowza.

Here’s how I use them.

First, Choose a Deck 

There are countless decks available. Look for whatever pleases your aesthetic. Many decks are stunning pieces of art in themselves. There are decks inspired by cultures from around the world, decks that celebrate nature, mythology, animals, fantasy, and science fiction, and decks that reflect modern themes. 

I chose this one.

Pick a deck that speaks to you. Amazon and Etsy are great places to get a feel for what’s available. I chose this one because of the gorgeous artwork depicting powerful women doing cool, modern things.

While my deck comes with a little guidebook describing the meaning of each card, I choose to delve a little deeper into the history of the practice, the symbolism in the photos, and each suit’s significance, so I bought this book to use as a reference:

What’s in the Deck?

There are 78 cards in a deck. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards (think: trump cards), and the rest of the deck is called the Minor Arcana. 

The Minor Arcana is split into suits, similar to a traditional deck of cards. The Tarot’s suits are Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands. 

Cups: Water, the emotional self

Pentacles: Earth, the physical self

Swords: Air, the mind

Wands: Fire, how you apply your energy

The 22 cards of the Major Arcana represent life situations many of us face. 

Rachel Pollack, in my preferred reference book shown above, chooses to set aside Card 0: The Fool, and then divide the remaining 21 cards of the Major Arcana into groups of 7.

Card 0, The Fool, represents new beginnings, an infinitely-shared human experience.

Cards 1–7 represent the obvious parts of our lives: living within society. These include things like education, careers, social status, and relationships.

Cards 8–14 represent the mental plane of our existence, a search inward. These are the parts of us that are real when we can set aside our ego.

Cards 15–21 represent the development of spiritual awareness and the path to illumination.

Another way to consider the three groups of seven is: conscious, subconscious, and super-conscious.

The Major Arcana, taken in order from 0 to 21, also tells a story of a life that begins in ignorance, develops, faces setbacks, progresses, finds glimmers of the loss of ego and defensiveness (if we’re lucky), and, finally, develops spiritual awareness (if we’re lucky).

It is the understanding of the human experience.

The Magic

Many people think of the Tarot as a divination tool. Fortunetelling.

I use it as a tool to spark my subconscious. Readings give me guidance and insight. The mere fact that I’m spending time reflecting on my life, what I’m struggling with, and what my dreams for the future are, makes it more likely that a card will bring meaning to me.

I still consider it magic because life is fiercely richer if you believe in the magic of love, friendship, and kindness. 

This ritual is an act of love and kindness to myself. I’m acknowledging that I am worthy of spending time on, worthy of soothing, and worthy of gentle inquiry into my deepest dreams and fears.

Magic lives in the little things. Wonder can be found in the ordinary things & kindness can be brought to anything.

Tarot Spreads

Now that you are a little familiar with the cards, you can lay them out in various patterns and ask the deck for answers.

One of the most common Tarot spreads is the 3-card layout of Past, Present, and Future.

Another popular spread is called the Celtic Cross Spread.

As with anything new, I tend to experiment to see what works before settling on something. 

When I first got my deck, I pulled one card randomly at the end of each day, which helped me become familiar with the cards while I reflected on the day’s events. Later, I experimented with one reading a week and also tried a Celtic Cross spread at the beginning of each month. 

For me, a week is too frequent, and a month is too long between readings. The 10-card spread of the Celtic Cross, while delightful and engrossing, takes me too long to get through because I tend to study and take notes on each card’s meaning for quite a while. I prefer spreads that are 4 or 5 cards.

Follow the Moon

I finally settled on readings on each New Moon and each Full Moon, which is about every two weeks. I like this grounding connection to the physical world rather than mankind’s made-up calculations in the Gregorian calendar. Even the word calendar evokes in me worldly work obligations and mundane life maintenance. 

Focusing instead on a cycle that every creature on the planet experiences in the same way makes the ritual feel more sacred, ageless, and timeless.

Following the Moon’s cycles means that readings will be on different days of the week and at different times in the month, occasionally even three times in a month. And the approximately-every-two-weeks cadence feels just right.

The New Moon

The New Moon is like a cosmic reset. It’s the beginning of the lunar cycle, when the Moon is located between the Earth and the Sun. The side facing Earth is not illuminated, making the Moon look invisible from Earth.

For this reason, many cultures use the New Moon as a day to start anew with a fresh slate. New Moon dates are ideal for reflection, resetting intentions, and starting new projects. It’s a time of rebirth and renewal.

I simply do an image search for “New Moon Tarot Spreads” and look for a 4- or 5-card spread that’s appealing to me. 

Here are the questions I asked for February's New Moon. Each question is assigned to one of the cards in my spread.

  1. Me: where I am right now

  2. A message I need to hear

  3. What next action or first step do I need to take?

  4. Guidance: My North Star

The Full Moon

For about two weeks after each New Moon, the Moon will wax larger and larger until we reach a Full Moon. Tapping into the heightened energy and clarity provided by the Full Moon, it’s a time to reflect on the culmination of our efforts over the preceding two weeks. Here, we focus on completion, release, and what energies or situations are coming to fruition.

Here are the questions I asked during the last Full Moon:

  1. What area of my life needs more balance?

  2. How do I achieve this?

  3. What blocks me from connecting with my highest self?

  4. How do I overcome and move past these blocks?

  5. How do I let go in order to heal?

The Ritual

Tarot Card enthusiasts incorporate all kinds of rituals into their readings to create a sacred space, set a purposeful mindset, and connect more deeply with the cards’ energies. 

Rituals help focus the mind and calm the senses. Rituals also establish a sense of continuity and respect for the practice, enhancing the personal connection to the Tarot Cards and the spiritual guidance they provide. 

Additionally, rituals can act as psychological cues, signaling to the subconscious that it is time to open up to intuition and insights, thereby deepening the Tarot experience.

For me, it’s lighting a candle, taking a moment to set my intention, and talking to my cards in the same manner as I talk to my dog and, occasionally, my car. I greet them like a friend, express my gratitude, and ask for wisdom. 

Do you have a Tarot Card ritual? Tell me about yours!

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