Updated: Mar 16, 2021
There are so many blogs and vlogs that cover topics geared towards the tarot beginner. But what if you're an intermediate, advanced, or professional reader and you're looking for a challenge? You've been studying for years. You have all the books and maybe even have a healthy deck collection. So, after all these years, how do you keep your tarot practice fresh, stimulate growth, and challenge your own perspective? I find myself in the situation from time to time so I thought I'd share some techniques and decks that are sure to challenge your perspectives and enhance your reading skills beyond your tarot comfort zone.
1. Change-Up the System
If you've always only ever read decks within the confines of the Rider-Wait Smith system, revitalize your practice by trying a different reading style. Lenormand, Thoth, Golden Dawn, and Visconti are just a few of the different systems with a plethora of decks and information floating out in the tarot world. If you really want to throw yourself a curve ball, try a brand new system that may not be widely popularized. You may only be able to read with the one particular deck that accompanies that system so the challenge factor is doubled. One great example of this that has been well received by tarot practitioners is the Dreams of Gaia Tarot by Ravynne Phelan. This deck divides itself into major and minor arcana but also adds new archetypes and symbology to create a more intimate experience between the seeker and the deck.
2. Go Abstract
All the great beginner tarot decks are great because they are rich with symbolism. But what happens when you take the symbolism away in favor of more abstract artwork. Abstract decks within any system force us as readers to deeply engage our intuitive muscles. They teach us to look beyond our physical senses to provide greater insight. Abstract art also allows us to zero in on visual details we would otherwise ignore such as the direction of the eyes or the tint of the colors the artist chose. Examples of this type of deck include The Quantum Tarot by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler or The Transparent Tarot by Emily Carding.
3. Get a Perspective Deck
What the hell is a perspective deck? Well, these are decks that turn tarot on its head and force the reader to engage multiple perspectives than just reading the cards upright. I know lots of tarot readers that don't read reversals. In all honesty, I feel this is a disservice as it flattens tarot and doesn't allow for it to be utilized in multi-faceted ways simultaneously. That being said, reversals aren't the only perspective shifting techniques within the tarot. There are other decks out there that illuminate multiple aspects of the tarot without the use of reversal. Either way, these perspective decks allow for greater depth of meaning to be extracted from each and every card. Two awesome examples of this technique are Revelations Tarot by Zach Wong and the Vice Versa Tarot by Massimiliano Filadoro and Lunaea Weatherstone.
4. Use Multiple Decks or Divination Tools Simultaneously
If you've only ever used one deck in a reading, you're missing out! Using multiple decks from the same system, or from a different system than your main reading deck, can be a lot of fun and provide things like context, theme, depth, and clarification to a reading. You can use any variety of decks like oracle, majors only, pip only, abstract, perspective, and so on in combination with the deck that plays center stage in your reading. Extra decks can add layers to your reading that you would never get otherwise. This is another way to ensure that your readings are fully-rounded. A really great tarot reader is like a really great author - they have to know techniques to world build, create multi-dimensional characters from identifiable archetypes, see the big picture without losing the details, and do all of this in a manner by which the seeker can follow the plot and understand the story arc. Using multiple decks is the difference between writing a short story or writing a novel.
You can also utilize this technique by adding a different divination method to your reading or learning a new one. Charms and cards, cards and runes, ogham fews and cards, cards and bones - all of these go fantastic together if you know how to use them in tandem. Not to mention, there are so many other tools out there that can be used with tarot to make a uniquely layered reading. It's like being able to play the flute AND the drums. Once you know both systems well enough, create harmony and melody between the two in your readings and watch the growth of your practice expand 10 fold!