Methods of divination – Tarot


Ancient methods of divination

What is it about the Tarot cards and divination?  How exactly does tarot fare amongst the ancient methods of divination?

Is it the number of cards, that defines and in most cases assures their level of accuracy? – That’s what the premise of numerical Kabbalah is. Scores of works and treatise cite and speculate the same. 

But if that is so, that renders all other non-78 card decks moot. That includes the playing card divination methods, the 79 card decks, and various others to count. 

But that isn’t quite so either. Is it then the nature of faith? That definitely plays a significant role. As does the skill, and threshold for intuition for the reader. 

Is there then an underlying essence of magic? Like there is in matters of religion, occult and the like. 

The easy answer is that it is all of the above. ‘Nothing means everything. And everything means something.’ That’s an aphorism I tend to use often when complicated matters show up in divination readings. 

The difficult answer is that the cards are not infallible. And beyond a certain point, the rules of subjective divination and patterns of readings start to show up. 

What do I mean by subjective divination? – On one level, that is indeed the key to methods of divination. 

The subjective in divination

Once you develop a relationship with the cards, the rules of divination start to shift as a reader. 

In essence, for a querent, each read is subjective. But as a reader, objectivity is held as one of the keystones of reading. Being detached in the moment of the read, and engaging only after all the card have presented themselves. Such is the way for a seasoned reader. That also allows for key intuition to arrive separate from the card reading, often something that is crucial. (A bit of a psychic edge if the universe allows.)

But the relationship with the cards develops predominantly in readings for oneself. And there, the subjective relationship rules ‘how you talk to the cards’. Questions for oneself are less important than the calmness and clarity of purpose in the moment. 

In time, once one becomes fully familiar with the cards, the themes of each card and their meaning often plays at loggerheads with the cards themselves. 

Especially when as a reader, you recognise that the card means something different to you than it does to most other ‘divinators’ of the tarot. 

(Try the Tarokina plugin to become a ‘divinator’ of the tarot –

Some case cards

This trait is especially true for practitioners of the Osho Zen pack, as for the Crowley pack. Perhaps because both Osho and Crowley themselves had ridiculously strong personalities, so naturally their subjective view of the cards trickles out in influence. 

An example of this is the 5 of Wands. By all virtue of tradition, this card stands for struggle, and if Crowley is believed, then strife. Osho, however calls it totality. 

I read it as the latter, perhaps because Osho’s card has gymnasts midst their acrobatics in image, and I myself have a background of precision daredevilry. Either way, I recognise that intensity of the 5 of wands in its struggle is reduced if one already acts with totality for a foreseeable period of time upon receiving this card. 

And so in a reading, when the 5 of wands shows up, is it indicative of the primary meaning, or that of totality(?) , which would be most likely my interpretation of the card and its influence. 

The same aspect could be said about the 4 of Earth (pentacles). It is called Power of the Earth (traditionally). Osho calls it ‘The Miser’. Completely turning the meaning. Now on my own part, I like puns, and Miser clearly sounds like ‘Mizar’ which happens to be the name of one of the stars in the Ursa Major constellation. 

And so each time the 4 of pentacles shows up, there is a starry shadow that I feel behind it, almost like I’m being asked to share star-stories. 

This is a thin line of objectivity to its subjectivity. Where the reading turns more counsel and advice and less of predictable divination. Of course it depends entirely on the method of divination. And that could be held true for other systems too, runes, astrology etcetera. 

Crowley, I recognise is cynical. Osho’s optimistic (often in thinking everyone will understand him). I’m just weird (a little bit like the ‘Wyrd’ rune.)

Methods of divination

Personally, I have a penchant for depths of learning. And I’ve been working with Tarot cards for well over 20 years. 

So naturally I favour a few methods of divination over others, and I would always have a few suggestions if anyone cared to develop their own relationship with the tarot as a healing system.

If you’re chosen to read me so far, I’d like to outline and offer you a few. 

 Connecting with the cards

No matter whether you use digital apps or go to tarot readers. It always helps to have a physical deck of tarot at hand. There are several ways of cleansing and charging the cards. If you do not already have a method, you can try this one. 

Place all the cards in a circle. Inside of the circle keep a symbol for each of the 4 elements. You can choose your own symbols, but easy suggestions for these are a crystal or wood for Earth, a bowl of water, Incense or a feather for Air, and candle/flame for Fire. 

Take some salt in a bowl, or the incense, and pass it over the cards. Affirm to yourself your act of cleansing and sanctifying, and leave these things together for a few hours or overnight. 

This serves as your formal act of initiation to the cards. 

Healing the cards

2 decades ago, I was taught tarot by the Master that taught me Reiki. So I was trained to integrate Reiki as healing. If you practice any other form of healing already, then those can serve to the same purpose. Even if not, this method can be used just as effectively with the mere act and intent of healing. 

Every night, or every night you can; pull out one card out of your tarot deck after shuffling. It doesn’t matter what card it is, don’t change it especially for the first few weeks. Place your palm on the tarot card with the act with healing. If you practice Reiki, apply reiki symbols. If any other form or method of healing, then do that. Keep the contact of your palm and card for at least 10 seconds. You can meditate longer if you’d like. 

This will enforce your connection with the cards. Given that you’re often summoning healing from the cards in your readings, this is where you initiate every card, and store up some of your own healing and intentions for future use. This is very very effective. 

Meditate with the cards

Pull out one card every night and place it by your bedside when you sleep. This allows for learning and subconscious correlation with the tarot. Don’t be surprised if you dream in tarot cards every so often though. This method is good for short periods of time. 

Improving divination

There are several ways to develop your intuition with the cards. This is one of them. Although it works against the primary principles in methods of divination, this can be used to work on your own personal latent psychic nature. 

Make a tarot journal. Take some time out for only this. While shuffling, before you draw a card, predict what card will show up. Then write down what you predicted and what card actually got drawn. Do this several times.

Note your own patterns in predicting and how close you got in ‘knowing’.  Often you’ll get related cards. Like if you called Lovers, you’ll pull 2 of Cups etcetera. Or if you predicted 2 of wands, and the card manifest is 8 of wands. 

Don’t worry about not getting it right. Even by mere probability, you’ll get it right once in 78 times. The easy way for this is at first, predict what suit will show up. After you’ve tried it with the elements, you’ll get the hang of it. 

You may just surprise yourself once you’ve tried this method. All the same, the key is to write it down. Both what you predicted, and the card you pulled. 

You’ll clearly see your own patterns and predispositions also. 

Methods of divination – Tarot’s fool

Regardless of why, tarot as a method of divination is one of the most popular in the world. The sheer familiarity with world archetypes and ideas alone makes it a formidable symbol in both healing and divination. 

And it is remarkable how the cards and ideas themselves engage any reader of the tarot and begin to influence a mystical evolution as a seeker. 

It is said that the Fool in tarot (The number Zero card) represents a descent, or fall into matter. 

And the act of divination is that corresponding rise or ascent of spirit. 

Personally, I vouch for its healing capacities. And chances are, if you’re here, you too believe in its divinatory abilities. 

Have a wonderful day. 

Written By
Janit Gambhir

Janit Gambhir is an Author Filmmaker based out of India. He is also a Reiki master, and teacher of divination disciplines of Fire, Tarot and consciousness centering. Janit has published 3 books in 2022, and his writings on mysticism, consciousness and poetry can be found on

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