Today we’re talking about using tarot for self-care and personal growth.
I do use tarot a lot when it comes to self-care, and I want to share my learnings.
Before we start, what is self-care? I tend to think of bubble baths and muffins when it comes to self-care.
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Tarot as a tool for self-care and personal growth is more on the mental and emotional side versus the physical side.
On the rare occasion when it’s about physical self-care, maybe the card tells you to go running.
Two misconceptions about tarot
If you’re familiar with pop culture’s representation of tarot, you might wonder why I’m using it for self-care.
I want to demystify two misconceptions about tarot:
- It is used for fortune-telling
- It transmits messages from spirits
Misconception #1: Tarot is only for fortune telling
Instead of using tarot for just fortune-telling, I use tarot to understand the present so you can make better choices for the future.
For example, people who don’t know tarot they come to me and they ask “Tell me about my love life in the future.”
Instead, I would use the cards to examine what’s happening now, what might be blocking them in love and what steps you can take to make it happen.
I find this better than purely “predicting the future” because even if the card shows good things if the person doesn’t take action, it’s not gonna happen.
Misconception #2: Tarot brings messages from spirits.
I believe there are many amazing psychics out there who can get messages from outside sources such as spirits.
But I’m not a psychic.
I use tarot as a tool for us to access our inner voice for guidance that’s in the alignment of our highest good.
How to use tarot to understand the now
A useful tarot spread is the True or False spread.
This helps us see if a scenario that we’re imagining in our head is actually real or not.
For example, I had a situation where someone posted something somewhat negative online which I imagined was related to me. I fumed for more than two hours, thinking, “How dare they?!”
Finally, I took out my cards and did the True or False Spread.
Funnily, I pulled “Eight of Swords” for True, and “The Star” for false. (I don’t think I even pulled a third card.
In this case, I lean towards False of because of The Star.
And the Eight of Swords tells me that if I continue thinking it’s true, I’m just trapping myself in this imaginary war.
It lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.
How to use tarot to dive into the subconscious
Sometimes you might feel anxious for no reason. Or you don’t have anything particular to ask but you want to figure out what might be under your subconscious.
At times like these, I use the Mini Celtic Cross spread.
It’s a simplified version of the Celtic Cross. Instead of all 10 cards, I use only the six left cards.
- Here’s what the cards are:
- What do I need to know now?
- What’s blocking me?
- What’s in my subconscious?
- What’s in the past?
- What do I present to others?
- What’s in the future?
I find that the card pairing “What’s in my subconscious?” and “What do I present to others?” are useful. Sometimes there’s a dissonance between what you’re feeling and what you’re showing to others.
If these two are different, you have to find a way to harmonize them or else you’ll feel a disconnect.
As mentioned, this spread is useful when you don’t have a question to ask and you just want to explore what’s happening.
The funny thing is, the cards that appear can trigger something inside you. It could be something that you thought wasn’t a problem anymore but with the spread, you realize that it’s still bugging you. And you can get to the root of it.
Tarot for Personal Growth
Besides exploring the subconscious, I use tarot cards as motivation for the present and future.
I recommend choosing a card of the year or a guidance card for a season (or quarter).
Using myself as an example, in 2018, I chose the Strength card from the After tarot to represent me in the whole year. With this, I picked a mantra too.
When challenges happened, I just remind myself that my card of the year is Strength. And I repeated my mantra “I have the strength to conquer anything that comes.”
It serves as an anchor too to ground you in the present moment and reminding yourself of your own worthiness and greatness.
To choose a card, I really recommend choosing a card deliberately instead of picking one randomly. Choose something that really speaks to you.
For example, this year, I thought of choosing The Empress as a card of the year as I wanted to bring more love to my life. But a week into the year, I decided that I was going to choose the Magician instead.
And I saved a version of The Magician (by Yoshi Yoshitani) as a phone background.
As the Magician is a creator, they have the power to make things happen. My mantra is “I am The Magician. I have the power to create. I am magic.”
It sounds silly, but it’s grounding to have something to hold on to during tough times.