Tarot Story-Telling

I’ve always loved art. Visual expressions of emotion have captivated me since I was a child. I look at paintings like windows into the soul, into some deep, dark place that exist in the psyche and the universe. People are moved by art because it speaks to our soul, there is a subtle sense of knowing that lives beyond the picture itself.

I learned to read Tarot cards as images in a storybook. My mother would lay them out before me as a child and ask me to tell her the story of what I saw. I would begin to slowly connect the images together, seeing beyond borders and into the magic world that existed beyond the card. The figures, the places, the colors, they would all blend together to become one vibrant, epic tale.

Whenever I lay out the cards I am still taking back by that sense of wonder. A new story unfolds every time I look at them. If you want to read the cards effectively you have to realize that they are living, breathing things. They are not static pieces of cardboard with images printed on them… you have to see past that. You have to look into the heart and soul of what is before you.

When you lay out a spread, no matter what deck you are using, you are creating doorways and windows into the secret world of the person being read and it’s only with their permission that you can access what lives there. You have to be brave and open to see the story. See beyond the generic meanings written in books and let the cards speak to you. Be a respectful guest in their world.

Some people struggle with the idea of Tarot cards being much more than mass-produced, pieces of cardstock, but that’s really where their magic lies. When you hold a deck in your hand you are holding a key, a moving picture book, and esoteric code that allows you to link into the lifeblood of the universe.

Intuition and imagination are sisters, if not the same thing. They become your guide when revealing what waits you in the cards. Be open and alter, take in the people, the colors, the words, and the things that really stand out to you, because they are all important details that allow the plot to unfold. Nothing is arbitrary in a Tarot reading. From the way they fall out of the deck to which cards are placed next to each other.

My personal feeling is that life I about self-expression and story telling. No matter what you are doing, you’re telling a story, and the cards are no exception. You have to see a Tarot reading as a micro-world of its own. Let there be no limitations on how you intuit their message.

The only certain thing about a Tarot reading is that a new story will be told… sometimes there will be reappearing characters and plots, but there is always nuances that change. A reading is a unique experience and you have to see the whole picture, and all the things that make it up.

Allow the cards to be stream of consciousness, like ink bots. Some people use spreads because they give them a guide to read from, but I actually prefer not to use a spread because I find them limiting. I lay the cards out in clusters and I let them speak to me as they are. There will be a natural hierarchy that presents itself.

No matter how you choose to read the cards, do it with open eyes and a sense of wonder. Never let yourself fall into a stagnant practice. You can collect meanings and associations from previous readings, but don’t neglect the new stuff, the things you’ve never seen before. I’ve been reading cards since I was 6 years old and I am still so surprised by what I find whenever I do a reading.

It’s very important to see the reading beyond just the cards as well, what is happening in the room, what stand out to you. Be a detective and be aware. You are decoding the universe, and you must have a sharp eye. Everything mean’s something, if you just look for the thread that connects all the symbols together.

© Shaheen Miro

7 thoughts on “Tarot Story-Telling

    • PL,

      Thank you so much. I’m glad it resonated with you. I’ve been feeling inspired to get back to blogging and this has been on my mind for a bit.

      I hope you are doing well. I was thinking about you today… so we must have been on the same wave length.

      All the best!


  1. This is becoming my new motto: “life I about self-expression and story telling”
    A great piece of writing!
    May I ask which decks do you usually work with?

    • Thank you so much. I am glad this piece moved you. I think that as long as you are seeking to express yourself you are on target with the Universe.

      I typically use the Medieval Scapini deck because I really like the expression of emotion and all the intricate details that the cards have… they also have a sense of humor which I enjoy. The other decks that I use more regularly are the Ancestral Path Tarot, which are brilliant, Zerner-Farber Tarot (the first deck I picked out on my own when I was 8 or 9) and I really enjoy the Playing Card Oracles.

  2. Mary K. Greer is an author I hhgliy suggest. She writes in a way that both beginners and experienced readers will benefit from. Two books I suggest (and own personally) are “Tarot for Yourself” and “21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card”. You will go back to these books again and again, they are full of insight and teach you how to truly interpret the cards, not just memorize their meanings to recite back on call. Greer writes in a very interactive manner, inviting the reader to participate in her excercises and I hhgliy suggest keeping a dek with you while you read as you will be tempted to try all of her wonderful suggestions.

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