How a 5-Day Morning Tarot Challenge Helped Me Practice Mindfulness
This is not an article about the tarot. At least, not entirely.
This past Christmas, my best friend presented me with my first tarot deck. Going into this challenge, I had absolutely no background in tarot. But the cards in my new Mystic Mondays Tarot Deck were so striking and beautiful that I decided immediately that I needed to learn to use them.
While doing some basic research on the tarot, its history, and how it works, it occurred to me that tarot could be a great addition to my mindfulness toolbox. It was from this idea that the 5-Day Morning Tarot Mindfulness Challenge was born.
Let me explain.
What is Tarot & How Does Tarot Work?
In basic terms, the tarot is a deck of 78 cards, each one having its own imagery, symbolism, and story. It’s a common misconception that tarot cards are meant to be used for fortune-telling. Today, most people use tarot cards and tarot readings as a means by which to connect with one’s intuition and inner wisdom. Brigit Esselmont, tarot expert and founder of BiddyTarot.com, explains tarot this way:
“Tarot is the storybook of our life, the mirror to our soul, and the key to our inner wisdom. Every spiritual lesson we meet in our lives can be found in the seventy-eight Tarot cards. ”
In and of itself, the tarot tells its own story through the 22 Major Arcana cards. What I learned was that the tarot could help me write and shape my story.
Tarot encouraged me to take dedicated time to sit with my thoughts and feelings, take them apart, and make sense of them in order to release or learn from my everyday experiences.
If that last part sounds familiar, it’s because this is the same type of work involved in mindfulness, and even cognitive behavioural therapy.
The 5-Day Morning Tarot Mindfulness Challenge
Inspired and wanting to learn more about tarot, I decided to embark upon a simple 5-day morning tarot challenge with a focus on mindfulness. This would allow me to learn the tarot in easy-to-swallow steps while also learning to apply their stories and symbolism to my own life.
For 5 days, each morning, I’d carve out half an hour to sit in my bedroom with a mug of coffee, a lit candle, and some soothing music while I did a mindfulness-focused tarot reading for myself. And here’s the thing, as a less-than-spiritual person, I actually loved my time with the tarot.
Today, I’m going to walk you through your own mindfulness tarot challenge. The best part about this challenge is that I completely made it up! I made it up to work for me. You can alter any of the steps below to suit your lifestyle and mindfulness goals best. Maybe you’d like to challenge yourself to 7 days of morning tarot, or maybe just 3 days is more accessible for you.
Day 0.5: The Night Before
The night before you begin your morning tarot challenge, collect your supplies. All you’ll need is a tarot deck (of which there are literally thousands!) and a journal. Most tarot decks come with their own guidebooks that offers an interpretation of your deck’s cards, but I also downloaded the free Golden Thread Tarot app to use as a reference.
Depending on how into your tarot challenge you want to get, you can cleanse your tarot deck to clear its energy and attune it with your own energy. I did this by shuffling the cards 7 times, then re-sorting them in order, starting with the Major Arcana, then the cups, wands, pentacles, and swords of the Minor Arcana. Sorting the cards allowed me to “greet” each individual card in my deck. Then, I shuffled again 7 more times. There are many ways to cleanse tarot cards though, so do some research for a cleanse that you prefer.
Finally, decide what kind of tarot reading you’d like to do. A 1-card draw is super simple and effective and a great place to begin. Personally, I went with a 3-card spread that I found using this list, and it looked like this:
- Card 1: What will guide me today?
- Card 2: What will I experience today?
- Card 3: What must I learn today?
You can choose literally any spread you like, and feel free to modify it however suits you best. Ask yourself what you’d like to learn from the tarot or how you’d like it to work in your life and go from there. Tarot is intuitive, so don’t get caught overthinking this.
Start by shuffling your cards. I stuck with shuffling 7 times, but you can shuffle however you like, however many times you like. The important thing is to try and focus your mind only on the question(s) you’re asking the tarot while you shuffle.
Then, draw your cards. If you’re using more than 1 card, you could turn 1 card over at a time, interpreting each one individually, or flip them all over at once for the fuller picture. I found the first method to be most useful for me.
In my journal, I wrote down each card I pulled and used my deck’s guidebook and trusty tarot app to jot down notes about the symbolism and story of each card generally. Although I decided to account for reversed cards (cards pulled upside down) in my readings, you certainly don’t have to as it does make things more complex. After understanding and making notes about each card on its own, I then applied what I learned about the card to my own life. What valuable, personal reminders did each card present me with that I could hang on to throughout my day to keep myself on track and learn from?
After journaling on each of my cards, I challenged myself to interpret the cards together. How did they connect? How was each similar to and different from the others? Arguably this was the toughest part of the challenge, and the part that took the most time. Feel free to skip this step if you want to, but with practice, you will find tarot interpretation gets a little easier.
The most important thing to remember with this challenge is that there are no right answers to your tarot interpretations! No one is going to pass you or fail you, not even you. And that’s not the point anyway - as long as you learn something about yourself from the reading that you can hold onto during your day to refocus your mind, you’re passing this challenge with flying colours.
Rinse and repeat, friends!
I started each reading by shuffling my deck 7 times. I used the same spread every day, but you can choose different ones to experiment with if you’d like. For first timer tarot-ers, I would recommend using just one for now to get comfortable.
Here are some questions you might want to think about while journaling about your tarot reading:
- How are you feeling in general? What’s going on in your life? What energy are you bringing into your tarot reading today?
- Have any cards appeared in more than one reading? Does your relationship to these cards change or feel stronger when they appear?
- What patterns are you noticing? What larger takeaways are breaking through for you?
As quickly as day 2 of my morning tarot mindfulness challenge, I began to catch myself thinking of the cards I had pulled that morning throughout the day. Tarot helped me to understand my daily life as integral pieces of a larger narrative in continuous progress. This, in turn, allowed me to feel like I had the power to shape that story with purpose, intention, and most of all, mindfulness.
Anyone who suffers from anxiety and depression like I do knows all too well how debilitating anxiety and helplessness feels; tarot gave me back a sense of awareness and control over my day-to-day existence while reminding me that growth is not a linear process. I’m still writing my story, and so are you - the tarot is simply a fluctuating storyboard you can use to make sense of it all.
Related Article: The 7-Day Soul Reset