What are Rituals?

Rituals—repetitive activities designed to calm the mind, focus intention, and attune the spirit—vary from reader to reader. Some readers think consulting the cards without engaging in a pre-reading ritual is dangerous—or even blasphemous. Others have no use for ritual at all.

Rituals are optional—If you want to incorporate rituals into your reading practice, do. If you don’t want to, don’t. Many very effective readers do nothing more than open the box, shuffle the cards, and go.

Why Bother with Rituals, Then?

As you explore the role of ritual in your own readings, keep these points in mind:

Simple rituals offer greater flexibility—Adopting a ritual involving 16 lighted candles and a 10-minute invocation limits when and where you can read the cards. On the other hand, simple rituals (observing a moment of silence, shuffling the cards in a special way, or repeating a brief prayer or invocation appropriate to your own spiritual path) can be performed anytime, anywhere.

Rituals can facilitate getting in the mood—Practiced consistently, a ritual can prompt a reflective or creative frame of mind. Associate a specific sound (a small bell), a fragrance (a brand of incense), or a routine (placing a crystal on the table) with the reading process. Soon, performing your ritual will automatically relax and focus you.

Rituals can protect you—Many Tarot readers believe the reading process taps into powerful spiritual forces. For them, a ritual offers protection from malicious spirits or unwanted influences. From a purely psychological standpoint, rituals may also help insulate readers from the unhealthy energy projected by clients with negative attitudes or pessimistic outlooks on life.

Rituals set the stage for important work—Lighting candles, playing certain CDs, or burning a certain brand of incense can help you make a transition from everyday life into a sacred space.

A Simple Ritual

This simple, effective ritual requires little time and can be performed anywhere. Why not personalize it with elements from your own spiritual path?

1.Remove the cards from their box or bag. Square up the deck and place it face down within easy reach.

2.Place your right hand over the deck and clear your mind.

3.If invocations are a part of your spiritual practice, offer a short prayer, recite a mantra (a short phrase you associate with a clear state of mind) or sound a small bell. If invocations and prayers aren’t your style, feel free to skip this step entirely.

4.With your left hand, cut the deck into three piles or spread it into a fan.

5.With your right hand, reunite the deck.

In Your Experience

What rituals do you use? What rituals would you never use? What role do you think ritual has in reading Tarot?

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