How To Use Tarot for Self Care

Welcome to the first post in the #HealYourSelfCare series!

Self care is the basis of any healing journey, and is one of the first things we forget — usually when we need it most. These posts will offer you new ways to care for yourself with ritual and sweetness, and be a guide when your brain just won't calm down.

Don't miss the rest of the series (links will be updated as the blogs are posted):
Post 2: HALT in the Name of Self Care
Post 3: What are Flower Essences?
Post 4: How To Make Flower Essences
Post 5: Ask the Experts: Personal Self-Care Rituals

Tarot is the first self-care tool I pick up, and for good reason: it provides clarity. You don't have to be a seasoned reader to use the cards to get your head back in shape. Even in the midst of a full-on anxiety craze, pulling a card or three can help to reframe the current situation and give some perspective.

"But what about the bad and scary card?" you might ask. "Pulling the Devil isn't going to make me feel better!"

Tarot pro-tip: there are NO bad cards. Every card is simply reflective of a different archetype, or part of the human experience. Even the Devil appears in a reading to provide information. These cards are not a judgement, and they are not a sign that you have done something wrong. They simply let you know what's going on, so that you can adjust and move through it with grace. Sounds pretty good, right?

Next time you're in need of some self care, grab a deck, close your eyes, and ask for guidance. Pull one card, and take a few minutes to think about how it applies to your current situation. This ritual can be as simple (I pull cards on the subway) or as elaborate (pair with a meditation at your altar or pull before a ritual bath) as you like. Either way will be effective as long as you are open to the medicine the universe is sending your way.

If you haven't ever worked with tarot cards or are feeling a little unsure of what your card is trying to say, I want you to try something before you Google the meaning. I encourage you to to look closely at the card's art, to meditate with the card, do a little journaling, and to trust the meanings that come to you. Tarot remains a popular and powerful tool because its meanings are an innate part of who we are. You just have to ask the card what it wants you to know!

(I'm a big fan of talking to inanimate objects. Check out this post if you want to get into the animist groove.)

Want to dig a little deeper? Try the three-card spread below. It's a variation on a spread from my mentor Lindsay Mack and is the only spread I use when my brain is in overdrive and I need to snap out of anxiety and darkness. Sure, there are more complicated spreads with more information. But sometimes that's the problem: if you are already in a space where confusion reigns, a bigger spread can make it easier to ignore the message. Keep it simple, and just ask the following questions:

1. What do I think is going on? A crucial acknowledgement of the story playing in your head
2. What is actually going on? Reality is truth, thoughts and feelings are not
3. What, if anything, should I do about it? The second part is key — action is not always wise


And BOOM you're cured!

I'm well aware that it's not quite that simple, but take just a minute to remember that tarot acts as a mirror and can help to get to the core of a given situation. If we show up to our decks with honesty and a desire to clarity, we will be offered a port in the storm.

If you go through spread and still can't snap out of your head, it may be time to ask for help. Reach out to your card slinging friends, or to a professional tarot reader, and be as deep and honest as possible about where you're at in the moment. While sharing ourselves with another can make us feel vulnerable, a person outside of our brain can usually see us — and the cards — more clearly, and offer ways to shift out of our perceived trap. 

That's what self care in all of its forms really offers us: a way to shift, to move out of story and fear and back into our bodies, and to open up to the simple healing of being sweet to ourselves. 

How do you use to tarot to support your self-care practices? What tips do you have for snapping out of anxiety and fear? Share your experience and knowledge in the comments below, and on Instagram with #HealYourSelfCare