Ways to bond with your new Tarot Deck

So you have got your first Tarot Deck, hooray! What a journey you are going to have.

One of the main questions we have received over the years is ‘how do I connect with my cards’ and, in all honesty, that’s entirely up to the reader. You can go as big or as small as you want and it really doesn’t HAVE to be complicated. 

Image Credit: @SoulfulStock via UnSplash

Cleanse your deck

You don’t HAVE to do this one straight away but I like to so i can set a vibe with my cards. I (AJ) pass my cards through rose incense smoke as I love my cards and I’m sure they’ll love me too. If you want to go ‘all out’, Emma has a whole New Tarot Ceremony too!

If you don’t use smoke to cleanse you can use crystals. I have a piece of clear quartz in my tarot box and I give them a shake in the morning / when I’m ready to read.

No crystals? That’s OK too. Just knock three times on the cards and say hello. 

Witchcraft and Tarot don’t need to be expensive, use the tools you already have.

Intro yourself

Introduce yourself to your cards. While you’re having an initial shuffle, tell them your name, how you want to work with them, what your favourite colour is, does pineapple really belong on pizza?

Tarot cards are more than just a tool, they can become a life-long friend and they need to know you as you, not just as a tarot reader.

Card of the day

If you’re new to the cards in general, a card of the day is a simple way to learn and become familiar with not only your deck, but all the little nuances of each card.

Draw one card of the day, and before you even look up the meaning in a book or online, really look at the scene presented to you, what do you see? Are there any plants, are they alive or dying? Any animals, are they standing alert or lying peacefully by the subject’s feet? 

This can help you work out what you see before you read, so make notes of all of these in your book of shadows / grimoire / random notebook with the nice pages and then write down the meaning descriptions from books / online. Highlight the areas that match between the two and learn those parts first. Then you can start looking into beginner tarot spreads and build your skill, knowledge and intuition from there.

Carry your cards with you

All of my friends, family and colleagues know I always have a Tarot deck on me. This isn’t just so they’re always available if someone needs a reading at the office Christmas Party but it’s also so my cards *know* what has happened throughout my day, they come with me on every journey so they know each feeling I have. 

This method is particularly useful if you want to do readings on self growth because the cards will have experienced everything you have. 

Sleep with your cards under your pillow

When we sleep and when we dream, we are our most intimate and vulnerable selves. Sharing this part of you really helps your connection with the cards, in my experience, and is also recommended by many other readers. If you’re unable to carry cards around with you everyday like I do, maybe this is a better solution, especially for a ‘still in the broom cupboard’ witch.

And there you go, a handful of ways I like to bond with a new deck, do you have any more recommendations? Let us know in the comments or on my social channels:



Witchcraft Apps for the Digital Witch

The best Witch craft apps for the modern Digital Witch

Hello Digital Coven!

So sorry for the lack of updates over the past few weeks, I am in the middle of some of the most creative professional work I have ever been able to do so I am sure you’ll understand! More on that in another post but top level – I am producing a documentary. In-between the production and on top of my day job (Digital marketing and PR) I wrote this, I’d love to hear your recommendations and feedback on on the apps: 

One of the greatest aspects of the digital age for me is the impact that it has had on the Witchcraft community. Social media has been a fantastic way for Witches and baby Witches to find like minded people and build communities *Ahem* Such as this blog and my social channels *Ahem* 

What it’s also created is the availability of information that is just a Google search away – though I would always recommend researching everything as deeply as possible.There is a lot of bullshit online, especially on Facebook groups and Tiktok – such as that Tarot is a closed practice  *Groans in tired and eyerolls in ‘a quick google search would show this to be false’* Spoiler alert – it isn’t. The best part of Witchcraft is the personal connection that you develop as you learn and manifest through trial and error. Below are some free apps that you can use to help you learn more about specific areas of the craft from the palm of your hand and which I have used myself. 

Apps For Moon Work 

If there is one thing that we can agree on as Witches it’s that we bloody adore that silvery ever changing orb that is the Moon. Sigh. She’s just so beautiful. Now, I am not going to lie to you, I do not have a photographic memory of every phase of the Moon so I like to have an app that helps me keep track of where we are at each phase so I can really super charge my spells and manifestations. Check out NorthLondon Witches article for more info on the phases of the moon and when is best to manifest.

Moonly App logo - Blonde woman

Moonly app 

The Moonly app is great at keeping track of the Moon via its calendar and it also has extra features which educates you on runes and has a fabulous knowledge base on various areas of the craft and spirituality for those starting out. The app is free and most of the features are free as well but you can upgrade for a paid version to block further features if you’d like. 

App Location: 

IOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/moonly-moon-calendar-runes/id1489889871

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.moonly.android

Website: https://moonly.app/

Apps For Tarot 

Tarot is a craft where you are always learning and gaining insight into how you relate to the cards. Having an app in your phone to help you log your feelings towards a card and allow you reference their meaning is always useful. I swear by the below two tarot apps below. Check out this article for a beginners guide to Tarot. 

Trusted Tarot Logo Banner

Trusted Tarot is a great app, and their free account allows for a daily tarot card to be pulled, a weekly spread and a celtic cross reading is available every 72 hours – which I think is fabulous. Their insights into the cards is really useful and they also have a library of the card meanings. Nice. My favourite Tarot app for sure!

App Location: 

IOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/trusted-tarot/id1441553118

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.trustedtarot.app&hl=en

Website: https://www.trustedtarot.com/app/

Golden Thread Tarot logo Banner

Gold Thread Tarot is fantastic for those just starting out and wanting to learn about reading Tarot and the card meanings. You can pull a card a day and they have a great feature where you can record your feeling towards a card when it appears in a reading so that you can go back and see how you have engaged with that card historically. Amazing if you find keeping a paper Tarot diary hard.  

App store location: 

IOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/golden-thread-tarot-learn-tarot-for-self-insight/id1063058990

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ionicframework.tarot371308&hl=en_GB&gl=US

Website: https://goldenthreadtarot.com/

Apps For Astrology 

The Pattern Astrology app logo

The Pattern was recommended to me by a Friend as ‘Astrology without the Astrology’ and to be honest, I am finding the insights on myself very useful indeed. It has a great compatibility feature and offers top-level overviews on upcoming ‘patterns’ that may be coming your way as well as allowing you to explore them more in depth. Certainly, an app to recommend to your friend who ‘aren’t into Astrology’ but curious about sites such as 16personalites etc (Which whilst we are here…is based on Astrology..but that is another post…) 

App store location: 




Sanctuary app logo banner

Sanctuary World Is a new astrology app on my phone but my what a great addition it is. I love how interactive it is and it’s great for beginners to learn about astrology with their 101 guides on all areas of Astrology. It certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously in the chat either, which is always appreciated by myself and I am partial to a good gif. 

It also offers human to human readings for those who wish to delve a little deeper into your birth chart or have questions, but please note that these need to be paid for. 

App store location: 




Of course, there are plenty more apps out there so make sure to let me know below or on my social channels about some of the best witch apps that you have been using as I always like to discover new ways to practice what I love. I can be found over at: 



So make sure to come say hi and listen to my random videos and appreciate witchy memes with me. 

Until next time, darlings! 

Is Tarot a closed practice? A Concise History of Tarot and Cartomancy

Come on an adventure with us into the history of Tarot and Cartomancy

Well hello there, Coven!

Today we are going to discuss the actual history of Tarot. The reason I am doing this is because I am seeing a lot of arguments on social media about the origins of Tarot and if it is a closed practice or not. So worry not, I deep dived and am sharing the knowledge below…

Top Level Overview: 

  • Tarot reading is not a closed practice and open to everyone who has a calling to learn divination 
  • “Dukkering” or ‘Bocht’ which is the Romany style of ‘future telling’ Cartomancy is closed. As this is only taught Romany to Romany via word of mouth and actually living the Romany life. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that you will ever come across the knowledge or life experience to appropriate this. (See below quote)
Rider Waite Colmen Smith Tarot deck

The Origins of Tarot 

The Tarot actually started in Europe and was considered a parlor game for the first few hundred years. The 78 card deck that we now and love today originated in Renaissance Italy around the 1430’s when they added a 5th deck to the standard 4 deck playing cards. This new 5th deck was called ‘Triumphs’ but we know it as the ‘Higher Arcana’ in modern day. The 4 other decks are commonly known as the ‘Lower Arcana’. Translated into the modern standard playing card decks (also known as the French Deck) these are:  

TarotStandard Playing CardsElement
WandsClubsFire (or Air)
SwordsSpadesAir (Or Fire)

These Italian “carte da trionfi” or “cards of triumph” were played like you would play bridge and wealthy families would commission artists to create their own decks so the illustrations differed widely. 

Oracle cards were also gaining in popularity over the 18th century onwards for divination and these were commonly known as Lenormand cards until recently due to celebrity card-reader Mademoiselle Marie Anne Lenormand, making them so popular in the 19th Century – although her 36 card deck wasn’t published in her name until after her death. 

I recently acquired some Lenormand cards and they are simply beautiful to look at and I will do a full post on them as well….but for now, let’s focus on the history of Tarot! 

Lenormand Oracle Deck

The move from Tarot as a game, to Tarot as Divination

As the game moved on from it’s Italian origins into the courts of France, Teacher and publisher Jean-Baptiste Alliette wrote his first book on the tarot in 1791, called “Etteilla, ou L’art de lire dans les cartes,” meaning “Etteilla, or the Art of Reading Cards.”. This book implied incorrectly that the art had come from ancient Egypt but he introduced to the masses the concept that the cards can be used for divination. 

The modern standard Tarot deck that we widely use today is called the Rider Waite Colman Smith deck – but is often abbreviated as just the ‘Rider Waite’. William Rider was the publisher, and popular mystic A.E. Waite, who commissioned Pamela Colman Smith to illustrate the deck wrote a book to accompany the cards. This was released in 1909 and hasn’t been out of print since. 

What Pamela Colman Smith did to revolutionise the deck was to create scenes for every card in the lower Arcana, so that a narrative could be easily picked up from each card. Now, rest assured I am working on her blog post as I type this. As a Female and person of Colour, she certainly deserves her name to be known widely within the Tarot Community as the history of most occult topics tends to be a bit of a pale sausage fest and doesn’t reflect the women who also helped develop the craft. 

Tarot really took off in the late 1970’s when Stuart Kaplan obtained the publishing rights and released his 1977 book, Tarot Cards for Fun and Fortune Telling. He has since written several more books on the subject of Tarot and that audience has grown and shared their love for Tarot with others…and I guess the rest is history? But there is one last thing that we need to clear up on the history of Tarot…

Art Oracle Cards

The Romany Traveller Tarot Connection  

The Romany are a beautiful community of travellers who have become deeply connected with Tarot. This is because in the 18th Century onwards the Roma people people took Tarot into their hearts and offered readings as they travelled around Europe and beyond. The Roma are fans of Cartomancy in general and in fact, often used the traditional French standard deck that we use for playing cards for their readings rather than the 78 card Tarot deck that is most commonly used today. 

The Roma have two words when referring to their style of Cartomancy and they are: 

  • “Dukkering” – modification of a Wallaco-Sclavonian word meaning something spiritual, other worldly or ghostly
  •  ‘Bocht’ – a Persian word meaning or connected to the Sanskrit bhagya, which means fate

Regarding the closed practice question, the fabulous Lisa Boswell, a Romany Tarot reader explains this very well on her blog Divinerisim (Do check her out!) 

‘Only someone who was raised in a traditional manner will be able to read your fortune in ‘Gypsy’ style. Anyone advertising as a Gypsy and advertising chakra cleansing, aura sprays, yoga, or anything similar (I can confidently say) does not read in the traditional Gypsy manner. I know this because their reading style is clearly influenced by Gorger (Non Romany) culture and only a tiny percentage of Gypsies know what these things are….Like I said before, it is not sufficient to be 100% Romany; you have to be raised like us, to be one of us.

It is possible for Gorgers to, hypothetically, learn how to read like a Romany person through an understanding of our symbolism. However, our spirituality is tied mostly to the way which we live which, in turn, is tied to our upbringing. This worldview is not something you can learn from a book; we live this way from when we wake in the morning to when we go to sleep at night, and our laws and rules affect every area of our life.’

Lisa Boswell

Fabulous resources here for more on the history of Tarot, the Romany Tarot spread and Romany Cartomancy history: 

Ah, that was a lovely lesson wasn’t it? Just knowing the history of Tarot makes me love it even more. Hopefully, you enjoyed it too and maybe learned something you didn’t know before? I’d love to hear your thoughts below and on my social channels. 

Until next time, Darlings! 

Top Image: “Tarot” by kpishdadi is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

New Tarot Deck? Make it Ceremonial!

Grab you new Tarot deck, bitches, we’re gonna get all ceremonial…

Hello Coven, 

So you have your first deck of Tarot cards, yassss! So, ermm, what next? Well, if you are anything like me you will have ripped the packaging off and started trawling through every single card whilst gulping down whatever drink you’d purchased in the pub in celebration. Now, after I have done that, I like to put them away for later so I can get all excited about my new present to myself and so I can get my ceremony on as it were. 

Yip, you heard me correctly, I get all ceremonial on my deck’s ass, and to be honest, I get ceremonial about everything’s ass if I can. It doesn’t even need to have an ass. If I can add an outfit to the ceremony I’m having upon a metaphorical ass then you can bet, I am already wearing the outfit*.

Now, the below post is full of privilege. It reeks of someone being able to have time alone, in their own safe space. The money to get the extras I mention. It presumes you’re in a craft tolerant household. Many of you I know won’t have this, but this doesn’t mean that your cards are any less special – celebrating your cards any way you can is more than enough. The joy of practising any aspect of spiritual craft is that it is personal and unique to you. I certainly know what it is like to have to hide your celebration of the craft and what it brings to your life and I guess this is why I like to make a song and dance out of everything now I am older and living with a fellow witchy type. It does get better…Huzzah! 

So here are some of the ways I get myself in the ceremonial mood…

Get yourself a snazzy lil’notebook

It doesn’t even need to be snazzy, a random wad of paper will do, but if you haven’t figured it already, I’m all for the drama! If there is one piece of advice I would say to any newbie Tarot reader or Witch is to start taking notes, immediately. Recording the random learnings you’ve made that day or things you have felt or dreamt of after a reading/spell casting will prove really useful.  As you delve further into your practice you will begin to spot patterns in the card meanings and it will allow you to highlight key areas of your intuition. Plus it’s always nice to be able to look back on how far you’ve come! 

A working note book of mine – I transfer all info over to the grimore (Book of Shadows) once full up and I’m ready to merge sections I’ve edited up.

If you’re just starting your Tarot journey and this is your first deck then it’s always good to write down how you feel about each card as you first see them. Noting down anything that calls out to you when you’ve first seen the card. The fish coming out of the cup? The bunny jumping out of the corner? Did a certain card make you immediately feel happy or sad?…

If you’re established but this you’ve decided to try a new Tarot deck, the same practice is always really useful as each deck has a different feeling and illustrations so again, responds to each reader differently. It’s like meeting a new friend, each deck has it’s quirks and I love them for that!

Shuffle, shuffle! 

Once you have gone through each card and taken your notes the next step is to suffle them and I mean shuffle them. I really go to town with my shuffles. I recommend when starting a new deck to make sure to do get a flat surface and place them all on the table and basically mix them all together for a minute or two. Then I make sure to keep splitting them into groups and them remixing them into different groups again, and again. Once together in a neat pile they are ready to be cleansed. 


Tarot Deck: Tarot Mucha

And split… 

Then I bring them back together into one pile to then repeat this process several more times.

Candles and Incense 

Like most Witchy types I am partial to a bit of incense and love me a fine candle. I use them a lot to cleanse my surroundings. They are also great tools to create ‘The Magic Mood’…you know what I am talking about. That cosy lighting and warm snuggly feeling. There is just something powerful about a candle isn’t there? If you’re able to, you can smoke cleanse your new Tarot deck over a burning candle. I like to do this regularly with all my decks as I find my cards tend to get a bit niggly after a few readings. 

Some people even like to leave their cards in the moonlight overnight but I can never wait that long and want to play. 

I have no idea why my hand looks so big here..also thats Catrick Swayze in the background 🙂


Now, when it comes to any form of magic I am a huge fan of making it to music. This may be my Pisces placements screaming out as I have musical manifestation lists of all varieties on my Spotify. Eg. If I want to manifest money, I‘ve been known stick some Cardi B on. New Moon Ceremony? A bit of Bowie and Kate Bush if you please.  There are no rules if something makes you feel empowered in a particular energy that you want to tap into, go for it, my friend. Remember,  you are the magic, any tools we Witches use is just help us connect with that magic.

Tarot Card Storage: 

This varies from person to person – for me, I like to keep mine in their original boxes and my main deck is a playing card sized deck in a tin, so easy to transport around. Some people really love to store there in special boxes and drawers and I am here for this, in fact, my first alter was hidden in a drawer. You can make your own tarot bags and there great tarot box and bag makers over on Etsy and ebay which you can check out as well. 

Hopefully, I’ve inspired you have a little magic moment between and your Tarot deck. If so make sure to let me know below or on my social channels and I love to hear from you! 

Love, Love 

Ems x

*I sincerely didn’t expect to be saying the word ass so much in this post. Huh. 

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So you want to learn Tarot? Start here!

Want to learn Tarot? Start here for the best beginners tips.

Well, hello Coven, 

We all love Tarot (well, unless you think it’s the work of the devil, in which case, hell yeah!) but I am often asked by those curious to learn – where should I start? My answer is very simple my darlings, like with all magic, the true power is in the action. So shorthand, the best way to learn tarot is to simply DO Tarot. By that I mean, get yourself a sweet deck of cards and begin to play…that’s how you begin to bond with your cards (more on that later) and get to learn each individual cards meaning.

Below are my top tips for helping you dip your toe into the World of Divination. 

What is the best Tarot Deck for beginners? 

The Tarot deck most non-witchy types will recognise is the Raider Waite Tarot deck. Now, this isn’t the oldest deck or even the original card designs…in fact, the actual illustrator Pamela Colman Smith doesn’t even feature in the title…but that’s a whole other blog post, my friends and her input into Tarot needs to be amplified to the max! If I was to recommend a starter deck, this would be it as it’s got the most resources related to it…plus, I think it looks cool. It’s also considered the Tarot standard deck.

My honest answer though? Whichever one you are drawn too. If you like the designs and feel connected to the deck, trust that gut instinct. The cards are representative of energies and life situations so whilst Raider Waite may be the most famous and widely used, any tarot deck can do the trick. Plus, as I have already alluded to, you will realise that each deck of cards has a personality. My favourite deck likes to troll me for example, even when reading for friends. 

Do Tarot Cards have to be gifted to you? 

This is a myth. 

Tarot started out as a game and then developed this air of mystery…as all witches do, it’s kinda our thing, you know? So whilst you may have heard this myth, most professional Tarot readers will agree with me that no, if you are drawn to the cards don’t wait around to be gifted. Heed that call and learn more about that calling! 

My first deck was brought by myself at 11 years old from the Mall. Ah, Madam Legna. I am to this day trying to find that deck again so we can be reunited. I’ve found it a few times but it’s super expensive so alas, I’ll patiently wait until the universe decides its the right time. Also, these were ‘fortune reading’ cards rather than official Tarot but, they led me to Tarot. We find our paths in different ways and that’s part of the fun! 

Image courtesy of the lovely Judy from http://judyreadscards.blogspot.com/

What is the quickest way to learn Tarot? 

Simple, learn about the tarot cards first! The easiest way to do this is when you get your first deck, put some time aside…. I’m talking candles, incense, music whatever makes you feel all cosy and connected so you can go through and look at each card and really get a feel for them. I’d also recommend that you keep a notebook and take notes from this very first engagement. Then do your smoke cleanse and various shuffles before you begin the next step which is to ‘pull’ a card a day. 

Basically, every morning ask the deck to provide you with a card with a message for that day. This is a great way to learn the card meanings and also build an understanding of what those cards mean to you personally – as well as learn your own style of shuffling. Once you have been doing this for a few weeks or even sooner depending on how you feel, the fun can really start and you can attempt your first readings. 

What is the best Tarot spread for beginners? 

I, personally always recommend a four-card spread. So simple, so to the point and great for helping you hone your skills in seeing the patterns and how the cards can feed into each other. 

My personal fave spread is:  

The reason I like it is that it can answer most questions, if you want to delve a little deeper you can add other cards to the mix etc which I very rarely have to do. It’s certainly a very nice foundation to start practising readings. 

Hopefully, I’ve managed to give you the confidence to get started and inspired you to start reading. Make sure to get in touch and let me know as I love hearing from you and you’re learnings. 

Until Next Time, 


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