Right up there with moisturizing and meditating, checking in on our minds’ well-being is a self-care practice we do on the daily. Whether it’s exercising, journaling, or talking to our therapists, we’re always looking for everyday activities to boost our mental health. And after learning the basics of tarot card reading, we realized this ancient ritual is totally in tune with our modern quest for balanced, healthy minds. To learn more about how to start our own daily tarot practice, we chatted with Jessica Dore, a Philadelphia-based clinical social work graduate student and tarot reader. Read on to hear how Dore incorporates tarot readings into her clinical practice and why she believes a personal card pulling ritual can be a transformative experience for anyone.

The Tarot-Psychology Link

Colorful old tarot cards are arrayed on a table

“My mom had a Rider Waite deck in the house, so I grew up with tarot, but I didn’t really connect with the cards until a difficult breakup in my mid-20s,” Dore shares. At that time, she was also working as an editor at a Bay Area book publishing company that specialized in self-help. She began to discover connections between her personal tarot practice and the contemporary psychology found in the books she was editing.

As she expanded her tarot practice, she began noticing a lot of people were coming to her with serious mental health issues like addiction, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. “They weren’t comfortable with therapy but were still seeking help, and tarot provided that safe space,” Dore says. She quickly realized she wasn’t equipped to handle these serious issues without the proper training, so in 2017, she moved to Philadelphia and began pursuing a degree in social work. Today, Dore uses tarot in her clinical practice as a tool to help her patients reach a greater understanding of themselves and their thoughts — something we can all work on independently too!

How to Tarot Pull

Dore reminds that we’re all different, so you should structure your practice in a way that feels right to you. Whether you’re pulling cards first thing in the morning or right before bed, journaling your reactions to the card’s imagery or using a guidebook as reference, pulling tarot cards is personal, so you should develop a method you enjoy.

“Be flexible, and make the practice your own,” encourages Dore. Find a deck that you connect with and just start looking, shuffling, and pulling.

Daily Tarot Benefits

A woman pulls cards for a tarot reading

1. Creating Space for Yourself: “On a most basic level, doing a daily card pull is a space that you carve out just for yourself — and that’s nothing but positive,” Dore tells us. You can journal your reaction to your cards, meditate on how they make you feel, or read up on the history — no matter what, you’re giving yourself time to just be alone with your thoughts without judgment or hurry. Dore believes that by slowing down and connecting with yourself with a few tarot cards in front of you, you’re making space for introspection, which she feels is especially important since most of us probably fly through our days unaware of how we’re truly feeling most of the time.

2. Processing and Problem-Solving: “A personal tarot practice is really just creating a process of perspective-taking,” explains Dore. It’s developing the ability to examine your struggles and goals from different outlooks and see things from different angles. You’re able to come up with more imaginative and thoughtful ways to problem-solve, and you’re forced to connect your present feelings with ancient imagery. That’s not only cool AF but also a chance for you to feel less alienated on a majorly cosmic scale.

3. Moving Energy: There’s something very healing about physically manifesting your thoughts. Dore believes it’s beneficial to our psyches to distance ourselves from our inner monologues by instead focusing on an image in front of us. Basically, since the images on the cards are wholly separate from who you are and what you’re going through, you’re able to diffuse and depersonalize your emotions and thoughts. Maybe you’re feeling stuck at work and aren’t sure of your next career move. Whether you pull the Magician, Two of Coins, or Queen of Wands, you’re automatically out of your own head and into the card’s symbols and imagery. It’s a gentle, simple way to begin to understand what’s not serving you and move that energy from your mind to outside of yourself.

Tweet us what you think about incorporating tarot into your self-care routine @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)