She lives in Tennessee with her husband and two sons. SH: Hello Joan! I want to begin by thanking you for this interview. As the author of Learning The Tarot, which stemmed from your website www. The publication of your second book must be exciting for you. JB: Thanks, Sheila.
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She lives in Tennessee with her husband and two sons. SH: Hello Joan! I want to begin by thanking you for this interview. As the author of Learning The Tarot, which stemmed from your website www.
The publication of your second book must be exciting for you. JB: Thanks, Sheila. SH: Let me begin by asking how you first became interested in the tarot? Joan Bunning JB: My work with the tarot began after a certain event in I was attending a conference on near-death experiences and "happened to" sit down next to a man who was a medium at a Spiritualist church.
He suggested I drop by sometime, so a few weeks later I did. As my friend was doing intuitive readings that day, I signed up out of curiosity, never having had a reading.
The first thing he said to me was "You should study the tarot. SH: Do you have a favorite deck that you like to use? I still use the same Rider-Waite I began with long ago. One is the Symbolon deck which is not exactly a tarot deck although many cards overlap. This deck gives very powerful readings that get right to the heart of the matter. Each image evokes very complex stories. Another deck I like comes with the Book of African Divination set. This black and white deck has cards with concrete keywords such as "good health" and "fortunate trip.
SH: I still use my Rider-Waite a lot, too. Even though I venture out and try working with new and different decks, I still come back to it. It seems like I still continually learn something new after all these years. JB: I think learning the tarot is similar to learning any art.
First you need to expose yourself to the existing body of knowledge so you have a base to work with. Then you can move off on your own. A book or two for self-study is a great way to start, but there is a drawback. So, classes, study groups and knowledgeable friends are very helpful too. This support and validation can make all the difference. SH: Yes, support and validation can make a big difference.
I think trusting the cards and growing to feel more comfortable with your knowledge of the cards helps with this, too. Trust is such a key element. SH: Some people learn the tarot with such ease, yet there are others who have to really work hard at it. Do you have any suggestions for the latter group? JB: I think the tarot is hardest for those who are very literal.
They have trouble with meanings that shift and change. For these readers, a structured system can make all the difference - one with concrete procedures and interpretations. This reading style will be more comfortable, but still allow room for intuition. You can let go of any sense that you have to master a body of material. All you need do is relax and enjoy discovering your special relationship with the Wise One within. SH: Good advice, Joan. I noticed how everyone learns differently when I first began teaching the Tarot.
SH: You know, many people have different opinions about how tarot really works. In your opinion, how does a tarot reading work? JB: My view of a tarot reading is based on two ideas about life that I hold.
The first is that we are all connected and experience this connection on the inside. Our thoughts and feelings are not just our own, but reflect our tie to everyone and everything. The second is that we can access all knowledge as needed by going to that connection through our Inner Guide.
All we need do is ask and be ready to receive. A tarot reading is a structured way of asking our Inner Guide for what we need to know in a given moment. It gives us a known way to make the request and prepare to receive the answer. SH: I agree! I first became interested in the Tarot after studying symbolism.
Tell me, when we read for ourselves, how can we tell if we are seeing only those things we want to see in a reading?
JB: One way is to spend some time before doing the reading thinking about what outcome you most desire. Get very clear on what it is you most want to be true at the moment. Finally, you can trust that "seeing what you want to see" is part of who you are at the moment of the reading. SH: This is so true. Can you offer any other suggestions for people when reading for themselves?
The cards will address the specific question you ask at least in some way and this helps with interpretation. I also recommend speaking out loud as much as possible during a reading. Greet your Inner Guide verbally. Talk to your Guide as you place the cards and as you work through your interpretation. The power of sound will add much to your efforts.
It also helps you get past any shyness and uncertainty. Be confident and grateful for this real opportunity to connect! This is really hard for me at times. JB: I am as well. The reader gives her experience and Self in service. The other brings her desire to know and willingness to receive. I like to think there are actually four at the table as both Inner Guides are present too. Together we create a cone of timelessness around the moment that is enriching for everyone.
No matter what, something is always learned, and something shared. Because of this philosophy, I like to sit next to the other person so we can view the cards together. I encourage open sharing and volunteering of background information. I try to keep the reading focused on the positive.
So-called troubling cards are warning signals that we can be grateful for. I let the reading go as long as it needs to until there seems to be a natural sense of completion. Then I try to sum up with the other person what was learned and what positive actions might be taken as a result. SH: I definitely share this viewpoint.
Most readers begin learning about the tarot in the upright and reversed positions, but your approach is quite unique. How did you first arrive at the idea of using the energy of the card with the cycles and phases that the card is in for readings?
I view the cards in a reading as representing energies that are impacting your situation at the moment. Upright cards represent energies in the strong middle phase, reversed cards, those that are either beginning or ending, and so weaker. This way of looking at reversals just seemed to come to me over time. I needed a card to have just one core meaning - its essence or energy.
That way I could build up a solid relationship with it. I also felt the play of opposites worked better between two cards, not between a card and itself.
This worked for me. Readings no longer seemed so fixed in time. There was a greater feeling of movement and flow. SH: I can understand that as I had a hard time using reversed meanings until I found a comfortable way to work with them. I think a lot of other people do too, especially when first beginning to learn them.
JB: It is interesting how so many readers have to grapple with the idea of reversed cards. SH: I have to ask: What do you think is the best feature about this book? JB: Can I mention two features? They work together instead of being separate systems. Students can also try out the information in a known, practical way. SH: Good points! I think both features are really are helpful.
Individual Tarot Cards
The tarot is a deck of 78 picture cards that has been used for centuries to reveal hidden truths. In the past few years, interest in the tarot has grown tremendously. More and more people are seeking ways to blend inner and outer realities so they can live their lives more creatively. They have discovered in the tarot a powerful tool for personal growth and insight. How Does This Course Work?
Learning the Tarot: A Tarot Book for Beginners