One of the definitions of embodiment is ‘a person, being, or thing embodying a spirit, principle, abstraction etc; incarnation.’
How can we apply the idea of ‘embodiment’ to reading tarot? You know how you feel when you wear dress shoes vs. flip-flops or tennis shoes? Each pair of shoes often gives you a different feeling. They can influence you to walk a certain way or feel more ‘empowered’ to do something you normally wouldn’t do. They may even make you more relaxed, peaceful and calm about the end result of what you are currently going through.
Actors are often trained to eliminate their body’s resistance to the psychic process. They are called to unite the body and mind. When I think of my years of acting, and especially when I owned an improv theatre we did improvised sketch comedy on a weekly basis, I specifically remember having a few ‘stock characters’ I would fall back into with ease. I realized later I was truly embodying these characters and I know this because I remember NEVER having to think when I was on stage. I just reacted to what was being said to me by the other actors. It was like how we maneuver through everyday life. After all, we are mostly improvising our way through our days. I was just being me… but yet I wasn’t. I was someone else and didn’t need to ‘act’, but just ‘be’ that character and reply, react and respond as that character would. It was often effortless.
I believe we can do the same thing with our tarot cards. We can connect and embody them, and NOT just the characters, but the objects, environments/settings and even the colors of the cards. There are many different ways to do this and reasons why you might want to. I am a very practical person in many ways so I like to teach practical things that you can use in your day to day life. I wanted to give you a few exercises you can try with your clients as well as in your regular daily life.
Practical use #1 – When you have a special event, or difficult day ahead, either randomly draw a card to embody or scan the cards to see which person, environment or objects resonate with what you will need to ‘bring with you’ or embody for the day. You may pick out clothes or accessories that are represented on the card or the environment. It can be adding colors or patterns to your attire or items you know the person on the card would use on a regular basis. Set a clear intention and turn your pen in to a wand and spark of imagination or carry seven coins in your pocket to ensure an abundant, fruitful meeting.
Practical use #2 – When preparing for a reading you may want to embody a specific card, object, environment or person in your deck depending on the client, location or event at which you are reading. A great way to prepare for your next client is to ask the card ‘who do I need to be for my next client?’, then draw a card. Step into the colors, clothes or castle of the image on the card and be transformed as you embody it and assist your client to the best of your abilities. Your client may need the gentle mothering qualities of The Empress or the spiritual passion of the Queen of Wands during this reading. If you are at a loud and noisy event, you may want to embody the King or Queen of Swords to maintain laser-like focus.
Practical use #3 – Another time to put the technique of embodiment into practice is when doing a reading and you or your client are having difficulty interpreting a card. You may want your client to walk away with a renewed strength, fortitude, understanding or different attitude and this could be a perfect time to have them assume the position, literally, of a character on a card. Have your client stand, sit, mimic an action or posture of a character on the card. You can have them move emotionally into the attitude the card or person displays. This is a place to be creative and remember that there is no wrong way to do this. I have often had the client take a picture of one of the cards and use it as a screen saver on their phone to remind them of the power they can draw from if needed. They can use props as well, like placing six cups on the table to bring in a nostalgic feeling in or lay down five knives on the table in front of them to see how mentally frustrating is may be for the ‘other’ person in the reading, which often brings about a wonderful sense of compassion and understanding.
I hope you find these practical exercises useful. Please let me know if you have any ‘aha’ moments from using this technique and be sure to keep studying and honing your skills whether you are a professional reader or one who loves to dabble with the cards regularly.
To continue your study, check out Mary K. Greer’s book ’21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card’. Step 17 is about embodiment. This would be a great extension of education and practical uses of embodiment work.