Enter the CardToday I’d like to share with you a wonderful tool for enriching your understanding of the tarot. When I first began my study of tarot, I used Mary K. Greer’s Tarot for Your Self as my primary guide. One of many excellent tools I picked up from that book is the “enter the card” meditation, in which you visualize yourself stepping into the card and interacting with whatever you find there.

To prepare for this, choose a card you want to experience more deeply. Study it very carefully for some minutes, committing every detail to memory. You want to be so familiar with the card that you can see it with your eyes closed.

Next, put yourself in a relaxed, meditative state of mind. If you are already accustomed to meditation or visualization work, use whatever centering techniques you prefer. My own method is to lower the lights, sit on the floor, and follow my own breath. I establish a connection with the earth, so that I feel rooted. With each inhale, I imagine drawing clear water up from the earth to fill my body, bringing it a little higher each time. The water swirls, cleansing away any worries or negative energy I may have accumulated during the day. On the exhale, the water flows back into the earth, carrying away whatever I don’t need. Finally, when I reach the point where the watery energy fills my whole body from the top of my head down, I allow the energy to expand around me, as a kind of aura. At this point, I am fully grounded, centered, at peace, and receptive.

Now, with eyes closed, imagine stepping into the card. Its border becomes a door frame, and by walking through that frame you pass from your world into the world of the card.

Once inside, become aware of all the sensory details: the quality of light, the colors, the temperature, the moisture or dryness of the air, the scents, the sounds (both near and far away). What surface are you standing on? What time of year is it? What time of day?

After you’ve taken a few moments to experience the place in this way, begin to interact with the scene and any people or animals that are present. You may have specific questions to ask of them, or you can allow them to give you messages of their own choosing. Or perhaps what they have to share with you is less verbal: an activity, a vision, or an emotional connection.

Allow the experience to unfold fully. Since you are now present in the landscape, the scene is no longer bounded by the edges of the card. You can turn around and look behind you, you can walk into the distance or off toward places not visible in the card itself. Perhaps you will receive some object to bring back with you, some symbol of what you have learned during your time inside the card.

When the experience feels complete, return to the place where you originally entered the card and step back into your normal reality. Allow yourself some time to become aware of your surroundings again.

After the meditation, you may want to record your experience in a journal.

I have found this “enter the card” meditation to be extremely valuable, especially when I have difficulty understanding or interpreting a card. The vividness that comes for actually experiencing it usually gives me a clear, visceral knowledge of what the card is about. This can also be a valuable spiritual practice in its own right: I have had encounters with spirit guides and teachers while doing an “enter the card” meditation, and have received wisdom I might not have had otherwise.

If you want to try this, I recommend beginning with cards that you feel more or less comfortable with, then working your way into the more frightening or threatening cards, such as Death or The Tower.