Leaving your mark

I’ve talked a bit about familiarising yourself with your new deck, but in all honesty, this process can be more of a two-way street than you may have initially thought. Anyone who has looked into Tarot readings, or had a reading done in person, will likely be aware of the tradition of asking the person being read for to touch the desk. The reason for this is to get the client’s energy onto the cards. 

However before letting anyone else touch the cards – thereby imprinting them with their energy – you need to leave your mark first. 

What Is Imprinting?

To start with, I’d like to point out that while imprinting is a thing in psychology that relates to learning and behaviour, that is not what we’re talking about today. The type of imprinting we’ll be looking at is more akin to leaving our mark on an object. In this case, the object would be our cards and the mark would be our energy. Or, if you prefer, you could think of it as your Aura if you believe in that.

For me personally, it’s about establishing a rapport or a bond with my cards. Getting to know a person isn’t a one-way process, and learning about the cards or any oracle shouldn’t be one either.

From personal experience, I am a firm believer that it will help you feel more connected and more confident in reading your cards if you take the time to bond with them. Now there are a lot of ways you can do this, and it doesn’t really take much time. When I was starting out, I came across several different methods and ended up modifying them to suit myself better. Having had the privilege to own, and work with many different decks I would say each one is different. Just like us, and it’s good to find something that works for both you, and your cards. After all, to complete a reading it needs you both to work together as a team. You both need to be comfortable with each other. 

How to do it?

One of the easiest ways you can imbue your cards with your energy is also one of the ways you can get to know them. Shuffling and looking through them.

Shuffling, in my opinion, is one of the best methods to use. Most Tarot decks are bigger than standard playing cards – either because they are taller or because they are both taller and wider than normal playing cards. However, as with most things, there are exceptions to this, and you can occasionally find a deck of ‘Mini Tarot-Cards’ if the size of the cards is a concern. The other obstacle with shuffling Tarot is that it’s a bigger deck, having 78 rather than the usual 52 cards. 

Don’t let this put you off, you can use any style of shuffle that you feel comfortable with. Personally I prefer to hold my tarot vertically, whereas I’d hold a deck of playing cards horizontally. I took the time to practise shuffling standard cards in the vertical position to get used to the narrower orientation and as awkward as this was at first, it became comfortable over time.

A common piece of advice you are likely to come across is the idea of wrapping your cards in a cloth of your favourite colour. But, what if you don’t have a static favourite colour? If you’re anything like me, it has probably changed as you’ve gotten older so instead, I found an old t-shirt that had sentimental value and used this instead. Personally, I think this works much better than simply going out and buying a piece of cloth, as it’ll already be saturated with your Aura.

Alternatively, you can also put your deck under your pillow. This method never really worked that well for me, mainly because I don’t stay still when I’m asleep. Instead, I opted to put them between two thinner pillows in one pillowcase. However, this was a little uncomfortable, and I went back to using my t-shirt after a bit. Personally, I think it works best, but you may find another method works better for you than it did for me. Perhaps you’ll even come up with your own strategy and find something that allows you to bond with your cards? There is no right or wrong way to do it, and some would argue that it’s not even required. It’s purely up to you.

So why do it at all?

My answer to this would be to shrug and counter with a question of my own, why not? Although I appreciate that it isn’t a very helpful answer, so I will try to give a more serious one, which hopefully will be.

It is my personal view that it makes you a better reader, every activity that you do to imprint on the cards, or just get to know them, will build your confidence. The deck will feel more natural, and you’ll find it easier to read their messages.

Sometimes, when you’re shuffling, you may find a card or two will randomly drop out, and this is the main way your deck will communicate with you. Whenever I’ve shuffled and had this happen, I stop what I’m doing to look at the cards and their meanings, then I try to work this back to what I was thinking about or doing. Now that’s not to say you’ll always have cards jumping out of the deck, and I have found some decks to be more talkative than others. Either through their energy that I feel when I pick them up or through the cards drawing my attention.

The more familiar your cards are with you, the more likely any messages you get from them will be meaningful.

That being said, if more than a couple of cards drop out at the same time it is highly unlikely to be an attempt at communication. Even after all my years reading the cards, I still occasionally drop them. 

The End Result?

The aim with these tips is purely to give guidance, the decision to learn Tarot and the journey can be intensely personal. I know it was for me, but it has been a highly rewarding one. 

With my first deck, I never considered taking the time to let the cards get to know me as well as learning about them. My oldest deck, The Vampire Tarot is a much more ‘talkative’ deck and was one the first deck I really tried to imprint with. I would also say it is my deck that I read with the best, and I put this down to the extra effort I put in when starting to read with them.

In the end, the aim of all of this is simple, and yet extremely powerful.

It is to develop your connection, and confidence, so that you’ll be a more effective reader.

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