You Know More Than You Know
Whether you are just discovering the tarot or have been awed by it for over 50 years as I have, you know far more than you realize. The tarot is easy. The tarot is life.
Each of us has an archetype represented in the major arcana. Decades ago I had a book that taught me to identify mine; I don't remember what book it was. Mary Greer likely wrote it. But Jung used the tarot to describe archetypes. You can take a Myers-Briggs personality test. You can read the 12 Beatitudes of Christ from the Sermon on the Mount and notice which one you get stuck at - they became the 12 Step Process of AA. Which one can't you seem to complete? There's a clue. The 12 steps are honed into the 9 personality types of the Enneagram. Any library will have an Enneagram book to help define your "default" personality - who you become under duress. Do your birth date numerology. Any and all of these methods will lead you to an awareness of your archetype. You will see a pattern.
But in truth, we must all experience and assimilate all personality types and traits in order to outgrow the safety of our archetype's weakness, grow into our strengths, and become fully functioning adults. The Fool must leave home and experience the other 77 cards in order to mature from being naive to being innocent while awake - to being able to remain present under all circumstances. Personally, I believe that is precisely what Christ meant when he said, "come unto me as little children." Let's just say it's easier said than done.
Everything in life is depicted in a tarot card. It is an eloquent system after all. You do not have to be anything but willing to understand it. If you wish to learn the system, look for the images in your every day life. Describe everyone you know as one of the major arcana. Ask yourself what card best relates to every song you hear. Every movie protagonist. Every painting, every event...what card does this remind me of? It's living backwards at first, because what the tarot actually does is describe life as it unfolds - but when you are first learning the cards, it's a great way to "grok" them - to make each one personal. Let the cards teach you. See yourself in them. See your life in them.
And reading the cards is storytelling. They are the picture book. They will present themselves in an infinite combination of stories, over and over and over. Their accuracy is so uncanny that you will be constantly astonished. Let them astonish you. Be wonder-ful.
Over and over again I draw analogies from Mary Poppins, and more so even from P.L. Travers, her creator. A troubled soul channelled a troubled life into such a healing story - but Walt Disney said it best in a conversation between them: "It's what we storytellers do, we restore order with imagination." Listen here to Emma Thompson describe Tom Hanks and Walt Disney as an archetype.