I must admit, I always saw Tarot as a bit gimmicky and silly, until I met Janine. Not only the way she described how she uses Tarot, but experiencing a remote reading she did for me over the summer totally changed my perspective, and I’ve been hooked ever since. What drew me to Janine was her approach to Tarot. It wasn’t about predicting the future, but rather a way to connect and communicate with our Self. I asked Janine some questions about Tarot, how it can be used as a form of meditation, and some tips for how to get started. If you have anything you want to ask, feel free to comment below. I highly recommend a remote reading with Janine which you can book here. She also does readings locally around Boston if you’re in the area.
How were you introduced to the world of Tarot?
It’s funny, I don’t have a specific first memory with tarot. I have a feeling my first introduction to it as a concept was with my cool older neighbor Sarah as a kid (she also introduced me to Alanis Morissette so she clearly had great taste). Then in college a few friends had decks and we’d play around casually, but in 2016 – amidst some personal upheavals, a disturbing presidential race and an interest in wellness – I bought my first deck. It’s been a passion of mine since.
How Can Tarot be used as a form of meditation?
A lot of ways! It’s what I believe is most special about tarot. To me, it doesn’t feel empowering to sit down and have a deck of cards tell my future. A lot of people I read for, myself included, have a hard time getting out of their own way – moving around their ego and their to-do lists and their fears – and listening to their Self (intuition, God, universe, soul – whatever you call that loving voice). Meditation is simply making space to connect with that part of us and tarot is a great tool for that.
Personally, I started reading tarot as my meditation practice – because sitting still & quietly isn’t really a natural state of mine. Through tarot I could take a few deep breaths, connect with my body and do something with my hands to pull me back to present. The cards each reflect back to us a lesson we’re learning, an energy we can embody or a choice we’re being reminded we can make. To pull a card is a really easy way to communicate directly with your Self and check in with what is here for you – right now, today – to reflect on.
How do you think Tarot can help us reflect on things we may be struggling with or unsure about and bring clarity to decision making?
Well, I read very much from a self care perspective – so rather than looking to the tarot for answers about the external decisions, I use tarot to illuminate what we need to do or embrace to allow the answers or clarity to come through.
We already have everything we need to make the decision or move forward inside of us – it’s often about stepping outside of the issue at hand to get to the root. Sometimes we know the answer, but we are scared, or it makes us uncomfortable, or it’s not what we wish it was, but tarot helps us clear all that ego to the side and shows us where to start.
For example, when I started reading I would pull 10 of Swords for myself all the time. It’s a card that traditionally means rock bottom, heartbreak, betrayal. That didn’t feel helpful OR empowering, so that is how my approach was really formed. At the time things on the surface were fine, but I wanted change and I didn’t know where to start. So rather than trying to make a huge shift, my deck was telling me to focus on my mental health first – how was I betraying myself? How was I allowing melodrama to keep me stuck? What was I getting from my anxiety that was denying myself expansion? It helped me to move the dial forward rather than torturing myself making big decisions out of fear and desperation rather than excitement and love.
What advice do you have for someone looking to explore Tarot?
Honestly, just start! Exploring and using tarot is about building a personal relationship with your deck – yes the cards have particular energies and meanings, but it’s also about your perception of them. A mistake I made when I started was wanting to memorize all the cards immediately. Unless you’re using tarot as a memory tool, it’s just not necessary when you’re starting out.
Is there a great beginner deck?
I think finding a deck whose artwork you like is a good place to start. A lot of people start out with the Smith Rider Waite because it is relatively iconic, but there are a lot of artists and readers out there making gorgeous, modern decks and it’s important to find one that feels good to you. Would you prefer your deck be made by and support a woman of color? Or use gentle imagery? Or represent the perspective of the LGBTQ community? There is a deck out there for you. I love buying decks with guidebooks because I’m fascinated in all the interpretations out there. Resources like biddytarot.com are great when you’re starting and want to look up individual cards.
Don’t take it so seriously – play with your deck, ask it questions, journal about the cards, carry one with you, notice if there are patterns in your pulls day to day or week to week, start small with one card a day, look at the artwork and pay attention to the feeling it gives you before you rush to look up the meaning. Trust that what needs to be brought to the surface will. Starting to use tarot for yourself is about learning to trust yourself – trust your interpretations, trust your hands, your mind and your heart.