There are as many ways to explore past lives as there are people in this world. Meditation, tea-leaf reading and runes are all very common methods of use, but a fascinating option is through the use of tarot.
The beauty of tarot readings is that not only are there multiple layouts that can be used, but also multiple ways in which to actually read the cards. A majority of people rely on the little white book that comes with most decks, and although it is very useful, there are other ways in which to interpret the card meanings – especially when it comes to reincarnation.
For instance, when doing a reading for a past life, look at the actual figures on the cards and write down the first thing that leaps to mind.
Take the Tower Card, for example. The traditional meaning of the Tower is that of blasting away what was built on lies, leaving only a foundation on which to rebuild in whichever way you see fit. If you’re doing a past life reading, and that card pops up in the position indicating the death, it could have a more literal meaning. Were you a laborer in the life being read, or did you work underground? Perhaps you died in a tunnel collapse or an accident which wiped out a building.
The Empress could represent royalty, or perhaps it could represent motherhood. She could also represent a fostering of new ideas. Were you a trailblazer in science, spirituality or business in a past life? Perhaps you were once a man with a vision like Henry Ford or a woman of great strength like Harriet Tubman.
I’ve done a very simple spread for myself as an example, and instead of looking at what the book told me of the meanings of the cards, I simply looked at the images and listened to my heart. I used the beautiful Shadowscapes deck for this reading.
The spread was of three cards – the first card represented my former gender and the beginning of my past life. The second card represented how I lived the majority of that life and the philosophy governing my actions. The final card was of how I had died.
The first card drawn was the ten of swords. On the face was a young girl, suspended by the cloak she was wrapped in, with birds rushing around her and tearing through the fabric. The instinct I got was that she was taken from her family at a young age, very much against her will. She’d wanted nothing more than to escape – to return home to her family.
The second card was the nine of swords. On it was a young, winged man holding a sheathed blade close to his heart. He stared longingly at the sky, in which black birds circled a vortex of clouds leading up to brilliant white light. As my past incarnation grew, she continued to seek a better life. She always kept her eye to the sky, and trusted in the divine. Although she had to fight, she wasn’t a fighter by nature. She was naive, but she maintained a beautiful spirit.
The final card, the death card, was the eight of swords. On this face, there was a swan, bound by thorny vines and surrounded by swords stuck into the earth around him. Above him hovered a glowing humming bird with a sinister, cloaked figure in the background. As I looked at this card, I had the sense that my past self was taken advantage of in the worst of ways. She was left to die alone, in horrible pain, but she had managed to keep a hopeful point of view right until the ugly end. She always found beauty within the darkness, even in death.
The spirit fought on and continues to do so in me.
I plan to meditate on this further, as there are some interesting parallels with my current life, but even this simple reading provides a good example of how the tarot can be used for this purpose.
The key to finding your ideal method is through experimentation and contemplation. Even if you do reach dead-ends, there is always value in the experiences gained.