Sometimes when you devote a lot of time to understanding something, especially when you take it on solo, you have no way of measuring your progress or accuracy. I’ve spent over 3 years studying the cards and though I feel very well versed in card meanings, associations, and performing readings — there was really no way to verify that I was on the right track doing the right thing.
And I still don’t know. But, recently, I had the opportunity to be a part of a Tarot workshop where I was able to get a lot of clarification and share my own experiences. This was a big affirmation that I’m on a good path even though my methods may be very different than most. Every once and a while I try to take a break, or a step back at what I’m doing. I try to see things from other perspectives and try different approaches to learning the Tarot. This is why I try to incorporate different sources, decks, and feedback from my readers. I feel like cross-referencing softens the rough edges and when multiple sources agree I can clarify and resolve topics that have been in question.
There is one important thing I would really like any independent learner to know whether it be about the Tarot or whatever craft you’re taking on alone. Once in a while you should seek others in your industry. Whether you’re an artist, musician, or read the cards, working with others helps you gain perspective. It allows you to make those measurements you’re seeking. You may not even think you need to do this, but once you do you’ll be taken aback by how effective it can be.
If you’re lucky and able to find some kind of teacher or mentor who is willing to spend time with you it is highly rewarding! Teachers help you bridge the gap between the material you’re trying to learn and your presumably inexperienced self. Areas of weakness will be exposed and you’ll be able to asses yourself in a way you weren’t able to before. You’ll also learn more about your strengths which helps bolster faith, confidence, and enthusiasm.
Though I do believe learning can be completely independent, I also believe that seeking out peers and mentors in anything you’re trying to teach yourself is an integral part of the educational process.
When it comes to paying for an education and whether it’s “worth it” or not: It’s worth it. Think about it, do you care about this? Do you like this? I’m not talking about vocational education here, I’m talking about the things you think about daily. This is the stuff that you daydream about, doodle in class about, and push homework aside to pursue. It is worth it to spend money on something that will feed your soul. Don’t pass up opportunities where you get to learn from any kind of master in any kind of art you are passionate about. Being there in person, having humility, and a willingness to share will completely change the way you learn and what you learn.
At least, that what these most recent days have taught me.