Dump the ‘Pull One Card a Day’ Advice

Jenna Matlin
Dec 9, 2017 · 5 min read
Alchemical Tarot: Robert Place

Tarot canon for new tarot readers is to ‘pull one card a day’. This is usually done in the morning and is often considered the first step to help people learn tarot.

The goal of the one card a day advice is to help a reader learn tarot card meanings and also learn how to apply those meanings within the context of the question which is usually, “How will my day go?”

But the problem here is that you do not have enough words for the task.

Your one card pull for such a nebulous and wide-ranging question will often cause more befuddlement than actual help.

I find that this popular learning mechanic about as useful as an Ikea build box missing a baggie of those ‘z screws’ which now renders most of your efforts useless. This method does not have enough tools for the task at hand.

Tarot is a language.

Just as in learning a new language, the goal of a tarot beginner is to do 3 things:

  1. Gain a simple yet workable vocabulary that they will build upon
  2. Learn how to apply that vocabulary to a grammatical framework that makes sense
  3. And finally, learn how to apply both the vocabulary and the grammar towards a goal of communication.

Just like learning any language the best practice is to memorize simple grammar and vocabulary together to communicate easy sentences which are immediately usable.

When I studied Chinese, I learned to make easy sentences the first day, “Wo shi Mei Guo Ren” word for word that means “I am an American person.” It doesn’t make sense to just learn “Wo” or “shi” in a vacuum or to learn that there are literally 50 meanings for the word, “shi” just yet.

In order to learn effectively, we have to apply it immediately to a framework we are constructing with a reason for communication.

Tarot is no different.

How DO most one card a day pulls go for the average new learner?

Here is a sample from a day I had this week:

I shuffled my cards while asking them, “What do I need to know about my day?” or “How will my day go?” or some iteration of that….shuffle shuffle… ah! I pulled the Queen of Cups.

In Tarot of Delphi I use the Enchantress as Queen

Let’s say, I am just learning my cards so I pull out my little white book for the meaning of this Queen, “Wife, lover, honest friend, Advice, Clairvoyance, understanding and, sensitivity.”

There is a lot here and a lot to ponder. I might feel a little overwhelmed and confused.

Which of all of this could it mean? Is it talking about me, or someone else? Will I have a clairvoyant message? Is this who I am? Is this who I am supposed to be?

I was on alert for my message to be revealed to me, trying to figure what, or who, or how the card related to me.

So we have run into the first problem, the lack of context. Asking “How will my day go?” and pulling just one card for the whole huge range of what that question could possibly be is only amplifying the confusion we wish to eliminate.

The One Card Confusion Can Cause Frustration and Misinterpretation

How so?

1. We have a greater tendency to project what we think the card will mean because it is so wide-ranging and nebulous. In effect, we are stacking the deck towards results we unconsciously want rather than being objective about the process. Tarot becomes a mirror to your own thoughts in this case which is helpful (very helpful) but may not effectively help a very beginner 101 learners.

2. We are not using tarot as a way to effectively communicate. So my day that the Queen of Cups included was a day of seeing clients, having roofers come to my house and leave estimates and finally a trip to the ER to break a migraine. I had quite a day! Was the Queen of Cups me as a reader? Was the Queen of Cups the nurse who gave me the shots? Was the Queen of cups one of my clients? Who knows? But most importantly, did it really communicate anything to me that was useful from the perspective that I needed to know something?

Err…not really.

No WONDER new tarot learners are so daunted!

No Wonder so many would-be readers give up without getting over the initial hump into the fun and wonder of tarot!

Don’t worry, I will not leave you on tenterhooks for long. I have the solution for you in the very next installation to this beginner’s conundrum. But in the meantime if you absolutely MUST do a one-card spread a day, may I recommend this technique instead?

I suggest you flip it.

Pull your one card in the evening, asking it about the past you already know than the future you don’t.

“What do you want to tell me about my day?”

Allowing the cards to retroactively discuss something you have context is helpful.

Going back to my Queen of Cups day, I was able to see how she literally permeated my everything: from my work as a clairvoyant to others, to the healing I advocated for and received from another, and how self-care healing, compassion and getting earnest advice from roofing companies all fit within the context.

Instead of looking for that one thing, I was able to expand my point of reference and learn tarot without the confusion of no context. I saw all the ways this Queen can speak to me. From a learning process this is helpful but if you are like me, you want to be slanging them cards on the asap.

And I am about to show you how in the next installation.

But in the meantime, reverse engineer your card of the day pulls… and do let me know what you think.


Jenna Matlin

Written by

I read tarot for wayfarers looking for good love, a purposeful life, and a vibrant relationship with the Universe. jennamatlin.com

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