All you need for this exercise is your favorite deck, and if you so choose any of your study decks or books. While I’m certain many exercises like this exist, I enjoy this particular way for its spontaneity and its ability to warm up my creativity in a way that is practical for actual readings.
Lightning Round Tarot Exercise
- To begin, spread your deck face up out on a large table or on the floor. Shuffle the cards together by pushing them in large circles, noticing all the many colors and shapes that make up your deck. Let any cards you may not have seen in a while impress you.
- Slowly begin pulling the cards back together into one deck. Noticing which card found its way to the top of your face-up deck can be an interesting meditation all on its own!
- Once you feel ready, take the top two cards and lay them side by side on the right hand of your deck. Then, take the next two cards and lay them side by side on the other side. Of course, this part is arbitrary, though I find five piles in this fashion suited me.You should have five piles now; Four with one card, and one in the middle on top of the deck. Now comes the most exciting part!
- Read the spread. I like to read it out loud, as though there was an imaginary Querent in front of me. Some spreads will be chronological, like a story; Others may be more abstract. Some I’ve had seem oddly symmetrical.
- Once you ‘get’ a read on the spread which works for you, immediately summarize the gestalt of the cards that are down and turn over four new cards.
- Rinse, repeat until you are through the whole deck! You’ll have a few odd cards at the end, you can either throw them into the mix or read the leftover cards as their own mini ending meditation.
A key to this is that if you want to be, you will be going Fast – this is good practice to quickly put together meaningful readings, especially if you are warming up for a psychic fair or some other even where reading quickly is beneficial. Other times, and on very difficult combinations, you may want to slow down and address your study materials to inspire and educate yourself. As an alternative, you can try to do it VERY fast, never stopping the progression of spreads and simply absorbing different combinations, probably faster than you can process them, only stopping if you feel so inspired.
Another feature of this practice is that each card which appears on the deck in a spread will appear again in the following spread. I found this a useful challenge, as I needed to let go of where it was before and quickly reset my creativity on that card, allowing it to be fluid in whatever new arrangement I found it in. The ability to quickly clear the energy of old readings on a card is invaluable when one does many readings in a day or even over a few weeks.
Of course, connecting cards to old readings is often valuable, but sometimes those old reads on cards can become ingrained or habitual. Being flexible in my readings allows me to better solve problems and read through unusual combinations of cards. On a slight tangent, I found a great blog post about Difficult Tarot Combinations over at Tarot Eon, and some creative ways he found to tackle the problem.
If you do a daily meditation, I found this one very fun to do alongside that time of silence and study. Also, it has a beautiful side effect of shuffling up your deck really well. Have fun with it – The format can be changed in so many ways to suit anybody who tries it, I myself do it a little differently every time. I encourage making any exercise your own!