Rebecca is an experienced tarot reader whose mission is to use the cards to help others increase their levels of personal development.
How Can Tarot Help You Plan?
When used as a tool, tarot can help you identify obstacles to your goals, envision potential outcomes, and determine the steps you should take toward achieving your goals. This is especially true when used in conjunction with other card systems. By working with your intuition (your inner guidance system), tarot can help you avoid mistakes and set you on the path to realizing your dreams, one plan at a time.
Look at it this way: How many times have you created a goal or a plan that has left you feeling uninspired, unmotivated, or just plain defeated? What if you had a tool that could point out the obstacles on your way and help you clear them? Tarot can be that tool if it's used effectively.
If you choose to use this method to help you create better, stronger, more consistent plans, it is recommended that you either have a background in tarot, the help of a skilled and trusted tarot advisor, or an excellent book on tarot interpretation at your disposal.
If you're looking for a great book to help with card interpretations, I personally like The Ultimate Guide to Tarot for those using the Rider-Waite-Smith system. You may get more in-depth readings with a copy of Alistair Crowley's Thoth Tarot, but this deck will likely take you much longer to learn how to interpret accurately.
What Do You Need to Get Started?
To get started with using tarot to plan, there are a few tools I recommend you have available.
- A planner. I love the #ThisIsMyEra planner for its design, its ingenuity, and the mission of its founders. This is my most recommended planner. However, when I use tarot for planning, I actually prefer the Passion Planner because it is a yearly planner (as opposed to a three-month planner) and because of how it puts focus at the forefront of each week. The former is a daily planner, the latter a weekly planner.
- A notebook. A standard spiral notebook or even just some loose-leaf paper will do the trick, but you'll want to write down your goal or plan before pulling your cards, and then be able to write down your interpretation of the cards as you draw them. This is important because it will take up less space in your planner if you have another location for your notes.
- A deck of tarot cards. You can use any deck you like, though I recommend something based on the system laid out by A.E. Waite (the Rider-Waite-Smith deck and its clones). It's relatively easy to learn and there are a number of books to help you interpret the cards. If you don't yet have a deck, I've used the Smith-Waite Centennial deck throughout the images on this article. It's one of my favorites.
- Pens. Okay, so I confess I just really like pens. It's always nice to have a good set of pens to use when planning because they make you feel good. I like the Staedler Triplus Fineliners, but you can choose whatever type of pen you like that your planner's paper will handle (some felt-tips will bleed through lower quality papers). Nice, colorful pens keep a lot of people motivated when planning.
You're also going to need to come into this with some patience, because even if you think you've come up with the best goal ever, the cards may present obstacles you're not prepared to deal with (and that's okay. That's what they're there for!).
Preparing Your Plan
Before you even pick up your tarot cards, you need to prepare your goals.
The first thing I like to do before I get into the meat of this process is to describe the lifestyle I'm trying to attain. Since every goal I set for myself relates to how I accomplish my dream life, I find that if I skip this step my goals are less relevant (and S.M.A.R.T. goals are kind of my thing).
Know what you want before you set about creating your goals. That way, your goals will lead you to what you want instead of in a random directly. Relevance is key!
Once you know where you're headed, you should begin creating your goals. I like to use S.M.A.R.T. goals when planning because they follow a specific formula which helps me stay on track.
Now, write your goal down on a sheet of paper or in your notebook in the following format:
I am [strong emotional word] that I have [what you want to accomplish as a present-tense verb] by [date by which you want to accomplish your goal].
(You're more likely to achieve goals you create in this affirmative format. Your mind considers the goal already accomplished and builds faith in its completion.)
For example, from my own planning process:
"I am so excited that I have completed my supernatural novel trilogy by March 2nd, 2021."
Once you've done this, you're ready to get on with the planning process. The final version of your goal makes a nice affirmation to write down as part of your daily practice, either in your planner or in your gratitude journal. (Writing down your goals is a powerful tool.)
Let's take a look at the tarot, then, shall we?
Preparing to Read the Plan
I call the part of the process where I sit down with my cards "reading the plan." This can take several attempts to get it right, but it's worth it. However, there are still a few steps you will probably want to take before reading the cards.
If you're a seasoned card reader, you probably already do some of these. If you're not already doing them, you might consider trying them out and see if they help you read better. None of these are required, but they can help.
- Put your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes and visualize your connection to the earth. This may look different for different people, but seeing yourself rooted to the earth through your feet (or your root chakra) will do the trick. This is a grounding practice which will help keep your energy up while reading.
- Drink a glass of water. Water is also grounding and will help you to keep your energy up. Depending on the goal (or the number of goals) this process could take you more than ten or fifteen minutes. It occasionally takes me over an hour to get it right. Hydrate!
- Cleanse your deck. You might pass the deck through burning incense, or you might ring a bell over it, or you might rap on it three times with your knuckles. I like all three of these methods. Keeping the deck with a piece of Selenite can also work.
- State your goal aloud. Writing your goal down has power, but so does saying it aloud. Speak it prior to shuffling your cards so it's at the forefront of your mind while you're shuffling. This also sets your intent with the goal as you have written it (in affirmation format).
- Shuffle your cards. Shuffle your cards thoroughly using the shuffling method that's most comfortable for you. Focus on your goal while you shuffle, then cut the cards if you want. Once the cards are shuffled, you'll be ready to proceed with your planning.
Read the Plan
To read your plan, you're going to lay out four cards as indicated in the image below.
Place one card in front of you, then a second card crossing it so they look like a plus sign. Then place two cards side by side (from left to right) to the right of these two cards as seen.
The card positions hold the following meanings:
- Your goal. This card represents where you are currently in relationship to your goal, the goal's significance to you, and your relationship with the goal.
- Challenges to your goal. This card tells you what obstacles you may face while achieving your goal. What's going to hold you back? What's blocking your progress?
- Something you've overlooked. This card will give you information about what you need to examine more closely, something you might not be thinking about when approaching your goal.
- The outcome of this goal. What will the outcome be, given the present circumstances, if you choose to pursue this goal? How will it turn out for you? Will you achieve it?
Note about outcome cards: The outcome can and will change if you change the path you're on. You don't have to abandon a goal just because the outcome isn't what you want. We'll be discussing this below.
Write it all down. Take the notebook you wrote your goal in, and list each card and its position, along with your brief interpretation of the card. This is also great practice for interpreting cards if you're new to tarot!
This is an opportunity to examine the spread deeply. Did something come up that concerned you? Did the cards indicate this wasn't the right goal for you right now (card one might suggest this goal should be put to the side right now)? Was the obstacle to the goal bigger than you thought it would be (card two will indicate whether the obstacles can be overcome)? Did card three show you something you hadn't thought about that makes you uncomfortable? Was the outcome not what you had hoped for?
The reason you use tarot to plan is first and foremost to help you decide whether this is the right goal for you.
If something doesn't feel right, move on to the next step. If it all looks good, it's time to commit this goal to your planner.
How to Change the Outcome of Your Goal
What if you don't like the outcome the tarot cards have shown you?
Well, you change the goal, of course!
Let's say that your goal looked like this when you started:
"I am excited to graduate with a degree in biology in May of 2022."
But something in the cards suggested this wasn't going to work out the way you hoped. For example, the first card was the Fool, suggesting this might be a risk for you right now, or the outcome card was the Seven of Swords, suggesting that you're not going to get what you wanted out of this goal.
How do you change the outcome, without sacrificing what you really want?
You're going to have to make some changes. If you want a different outcome, that's unavoidable. However, these changes should be small to begin with.
In the example above, you might try changing either the date by which you achieve your goal, or the subject in which you obtain the degree. Changing the timeline is a good first course of action. My advice is to only change the goal itself once you've pushed the timeline out as far as five years without a change in the outcome.
If changing the timeline doesn't change the outcome to something you favor, then (and only then) change or abandon the goal for something else. Usually if the timeline isn't the problem, the problem is that the goal isn't attainable or relevant to the life you want.
Creating an Action Plan Using Tarot
Tarot (or, even better, Lenormand) can be used to create an action plan for your goal using a spread called the Path of Seven spread.
In order to use this spread in conjunction with your goal-setting spread, do the following.
- Take Card One and Card Four from your Goal-Setting spread. These two cards represent the start of your process and the end of your process, respectively. Place Card One to the left on your table and Card Four to the right, with enough space to place cards in between.
- Shuffle your deck. Shuffle the remaining 76 cards of your deck together thoroughly while asking the cards to show you the path to achieving your goal.
- Place five cards between Card One and Card Four. Lay them side to side from the right of Card One to the left of Card Four. These will make up the bulk of your reading and represent the steps to take to achieve your goal.
- Read the cards in a line. You can read them either separately or in two-card combinations (where Card One + Card Two are read as a single message, then Card Two + Card Three are read as a single message, and so on).
Each card in this reading represents a step on your way to achieving your goal, so read them simply and as quickly as you can. This shouldn't take a lot of time. If you have to dwell on the meaning of a card, you may be over-thinking its meaning. This is a great time to bring a book on tarot meanings along for the ride!
Finalizing Your Plan
You may want to draw your Goal-Setting Spread a second time to confirm the completed plan. Some tarot planners recommend this approach, and I use it from time to time (but often find it complicates the goal and makes me uncertain of particular outcomes once I've drawn the spread a second time).
When you're confident in your plan, write it down into your planner step by step.
Consider Keeping Your Notes
They are useful to look back on to help you see how your tarot planning helped you create and pursue your goals. This will help set you up for next time you have a goal to pursue!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Rebecca Rizzuti
Rebecca Rizzuti (author) from Euclid, Ohio on August 08, 2020:
It definitely does take practice, Abby! I've found it's worth it in the long run.
The main spread in this article will work well even for beginners using a book which defines each card. I can read more fluently because I don't reference a book, but it doesn't make me better than somebody who does.
This is definitely a skill and not a gift, in my opinion.
Abby Slutsky from America on August 08, 2020:
Your tarot cards are beautiful. You have given a lot of clear information. I read your other article that was recently featured so that helped increase the clarity of this article. Thanks for sharing. I had a tarot deck a long time ago, but I never really got the knack of it. I think it takes practice.