I don’t think anyone into tarot will argue with the title of this post, but I doubt that most of them will understand exactly what I mean by that.
What I mean is that the classical tarot decks that came out of the Golden Dawn like the Rider Waite and Crowley Thoth tarot were not created for doing tarot readings only. It is in this modern day and age that the tarot has been reduced to a deck of cards which is being used mostly for doing tarot readings. I find that to be a shame as it is so much more than that.
Inside the tarot deck you have a whole cosmology. It is basically a map of all the forces in the universe. And further to that it corresponds to other systems such as astrology or the kabbalah. So technically you could also be using what you already know about tarot to learn that or even the other way around. It is not necessary to spend all that time on reading books about card meanings if you might as well read up on something else that will automatically also increase your tarot understanding once you have learned the correct correspondences. It does take a little work and effort to learn the correspondences, but it is much easier than learning all the keywords. Besides if you want to become good at something it will generally always require some effort. It has little to do with talent as this is very much an acquired skill.
And I find that to be important, because so many beginners tend to put so much emphasis on the card meanings. The thing is though that the card meanings are very much contextual and should be understood more like a group of ideas or what kind of forces it is telling a story about. That is also the key to memorizing the cards – to make stories and connections.
For example The Emperor, card number IV, from the Major Arcana corresponds to the planet Mars (it’s the card for the Zodiac sign Aries which is the zodiac sign of Mars. The Tower is the card that is directly connected to the planet Mars. Also note the interesting connection between The Emperor and the Tower). When I think of Mars, I think of enforcing the laws of the kingdom, order, protection, warfare, solving conflics through facing it directly and so on. Not too far away from the traditional keywords from the Rider-Waite booklet right? Stability, power, protection, a great person, aid, reason, conviction. I didn’t even remember the keywords when writing this. Those I had to look up, but still I had understood what kind of ideas that this card can represent. It is the ideas you use to create a story in a tarot reading, not a definite meaning of a word written down somewhere.
That is exactly why I encourage my readers to take your noses out of the tarot books and try to expand your interest to other sources too. Tarot wasn’t made for being only tarot. It’s a map of the cosmic forces of the universe.
-Thus Spake the Night Spirit