The 21 Principles of Tarot – XVIII

Tarot Principles 18

XVIII. Learn the Meanings with Precision, Reading is another Matter.


To learn tarot is to learn life.

In life, as tarot, we continuously strive to recognise rules and patterns for prediction based on our observation and experience.

The meanings of each card, whilst multivalent, tend to specific core meanings.

We learn upwards from the core meanings and downwards from connecting the cards to life.

Remember then, from the very beginning, to know what the cards mean and be able to justify your interpretation.

This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end.


Extended Commentary

We have seen that cards can mean anything even if they tend to mean something specific. In learning and practising tarot, we experience a constant process of connecting meaning to events and those same events inform our meanings. If we continue to read for many years, perhaps even maintaining and reviewing a journal, we develop a new faculty; predictive hindsight. This is the ability to know and say what you would say about a reading after the situation had developed following the reading itself. The skill is to be able to know what you (would have) will say later and say it before – at the time of the reading.



There is a simple practice for today.

It is to break us out of ever thinking that the meanings of the cards are either beyond our interpretation or fixed in some particular manner.

Shuffle your deck.

Take a card.

List in your mind or write out possible keywords to describe the card, in this specific way:

Start with one Keyword or phrase beginning with the letter A.

Then think of another keyword beginning with B.

Then C.

Then D.

And E …

That is all for today.

As with many exercises in the approach of Tarosophy, it may appear simple, but it installs a different way of thinking about your cards.

Obviously, do not be too concerned about key-words beginning with Q or Z, etc. or if you find yourself using Q(uest) or any other word for more than one card.


Ace of Pentacles

The Ace of Pentacles.



Bargain. Beginning.

Coin. Cash.






Use a dictionary or thesaurus. These are essential tools for a good reader anyway.



Intermediate/Advanced Exercise


If you come up with more than one word beginning with a particular letter, also make a note of it.

Another good exercise – particularly for beginners – is to look through one Suit of cards at a time, or the Majors, and close your eyes before sleep and try and visualise every card in sequence.

Then see how your visualisation compares with the real cards and keep practising each night until you can run through the entire deck in your mind.

This exercise is a modification of one of the many practical reading exercises found in Tarot Face to Face.

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