Sacred Space & the Tarot Zone

Sacred Space

Many tarot readers have a place where they read and reflect. Over the years, I have seen rooms which people have adapted for their tarot practice and spiritual work. Some readers have rented places away from their home.

I’ve seen beautiful tarot rooms online, with framed images of cards and deity on the wall, table decorations, or powerful and personal objects dotted around to inspire and motivate. Other rooms I have seen have been minimal, allowing the reader to colour their room with Spirit or the energy of their clients.

Not all of us have the luxury of an extra room for tarot practice or study. Even though the majority of my professional readings are set in a reading room a train-ride away (which I share with seven other readers) or in the homes of clients, I have had to adapt an area of my bedroom for tarot in the house where I live (see above). Recently screened off, I have a table and two chairs. The screens act as a divider from the remainder of my room. When I sit at the table alone or with others, they remind me that I have stepped into a different zone. For anyone who does not have a separate space to work from, the lines between work and rest and study and play can become blurred if we let them.

In the past, I have been happy to shuffle the cards here at the computer or fan them out on the bed while watching television. However, in recent times, when work has become busier and I really need time out, I realise that using the table in my bedroom has become very important.

“A sacred space is a place put aside from your normal activity. When you go there, you can be separate from all of the business of your normal day”, says Ellen Speert, an art therapist from California.  As Michele Hébert (co-owner of Harmony Ranch in Glen Ellen) states, “All people have a sacred space within themselves … we can easily get lost from this inner space because of the chaos of the outer world … an external sacred space helps you find the sacred space within you.

For those of us without extra rooms or space for a table, finding a place to link to our work with the cards may seem difficult. In the past, I have had smaller areas to play with. A table-top or box or cloth can manipulate the space it is placed on and can become sacred with intention and care. As an example, I often used the top of my old Buddha coffee table when space was an issue by placing it on my bed. The praying Buddha was a wonderful image to concentrate on or meditate over before getting down to work with the tarot.

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This week, as I explore sacred space through my tarot studies, I have made using my table part of my routine. I have forced myself to sit there for study and daily draws each day. The result has actually been very powerful, but not just because of the screened-off area. Although the screens suggest a barrier between my tarot practice and my time away from it, it really is intention which separates the two – it is that shift of perspective which has been important. Tarot takes up a lot of time. It bleeds out of my readings and into my periods of relaxation, my relationships, and sleep. I recognise a need for defining these boundaries. When I step into the tarot zone, I do not answer my phone messages or think about what I am having for my dinner. When I step out of it, the same applies – what goes on in the reading zone stays in the reading zone! This week, I have practiced opening my work within the space with a prayer of intention. I have closed down my sessions with thanks and gratitude.

cloth

So, what have I discovered about sacred space this week?

I can see how important this much-neglected space in my room has been and the more I use it, the more powerful it becomes. Asking for help from the subconscious, the collective un-conscious, Spirit, or whatever floats your spiritual boat, is what really builds the walls of your sacred space though. It is about leaving your daily baggage and ego at the door and allowing our self to open up to new ideas, thoughts and messages. The more that I work in my external tarot space, I am finding it easier to construct this spiritual place within the reading room I work at away from home, outside in nature, or in someone else’s home. Therefore, sacred space is a place we build within our mind and heart, as well as in the physical landscape. This week, it has helped to focus my tarot readings and my study with the cards.

As above, so below. The place we create in our heart and mind is transferred to the one we use on Earth – and vise versa.

Do you have a sacred space? I’d love to hear your feelings about it.

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Photos are of my own reading spaces at home

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24 thoughts on “Sacred Space & the Tarot Zone

  1. This is such a timely post for me 🙂
    I was just thinking about this very thing this morning. Apartments in Tokyo are notoriously tiny and mine is no different. The fridge that came with my place is the same size as the mini hotel ones so you can imagine how space is at a premium.
    I don’t have the luxury of a separate space, table, or even a screen, but I was thinking of using a box actually, and I could store my tarot things in there when not using it, and working on the cloth I use to wrap the tarot box in before putting it in the drawstring bag. I decided that made it more portable as well 🙂
    Not sure it’s very orthodox but in desperate times desperate measures are called for 😉

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    • Whatever feels right for you is the right way to go about it.

      I think that this sounds like a beautiful idea – it comes from a place of consideration, using things which are important to you. If you have a decent size box, you can use the lid as your table. It might be even a small case which you can transport and cover with a cloth. It’s all about intention. It’s about transferring how we feel about tarot and its use to that that space or box or cloth. I’d love to hear how you get on with it! Keep me posted!

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  2. I wish you’d kept that red table you did the lovely black designs on. Wouldn’t that just POP in your current room set-up? I’ve never seen the Buddha table–it’s very handsome.

    That screen is perfect to set off a zone. I particularly like the way the light filters through, gently, ethereally.

    I’ve always wanted a colourful screen I painted myself like the screens that were popular in the Art Nouveau era. When I was young I painted a mural on my bedroom wall, but it would be better on such a screen with glorious symbolism, enwrapping the reading experience.

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    • You can buy a lot of printed screens these days. I’ve seen many with Anne Stokes illustrations on them. Not really my thing.

      I have canary yellow screens in the same style here. These white ones were gifted to me from Tracy when we moved from the shop. They are slightly larger and fit around the table perfectly. My original need for screens was to block off the rest of the room during Skype readings.

      The red table was passed on to my friend. It was an odd shape unfortunately so difficult to place in many rooms. I think she passed it on many years later too. Do you remember the fortune table? Or the tarot laptop (small table for bed use)? I should get the former down and photograph it for Instagram. Or better, video one its predictions (maybe something for the weekend).

      Ah, now you have said it, I can only imagine how lovely a hand painted screen would be by you. I’d considered buying wood and hinges and collaging/decoupaging one with different tarot card prints at one point. But I have enough screens now 🙂

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      • Yes, I do remember the fortune table AND the tarot laptop. Yes, do get it down and show people.

        Well, that was so nice of Tracy to give you that screen. As I mentioned, the new space she has set up for readings is exquisite, speaking of light!

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  3. Great post Steve and lots of stuff to think about. I love your room. The white makes it so roomy and clear. Often less is more. Mostly I read my cards in my own little room when I sit on my bed. My daily cards go on my altar where they stay until the next day. I love how you open and close your reading with intent and gratitude. Maybe I can smarten up my daily draws a little bit too with a small ritual or prayer. 🙂

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    • Thanks Ellen! It is relaxing in here. I prefer a modest canvas. Makes it easier to mentally breathe.

      I like the idea of your practice but am pleased that this post has inspired new ideas in you! 🙂

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  4. I tend to read them wherever I am (usually on the bed), but I would love a ‘dedicated’ place to do it. I’m going to have to really figure something out in my office. 🙂 Great post!!! Excellent food for thought. 🙂

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    • Thanks Pip. I have always done the same. But something felt as though it was missing. I do think having this place helps but also, taking a moment to open up in prayer and close in gratitude is what is really strengthening my practice – sacred space could be anywhere with the right intention. So two things which have made a change to how I work and deepened my connection with tarot and how I work alone and with others.

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  5. You are so stylish, everything you do just looks great. Love your space. I am going in the opposite direction. I’m putting lots of colour into my living spaces. Just bought a new duvet cover with a patchwork style, and I bought a set of tumblers in chakra colours yesterday. 🙂 I don’t do my readings in my sacred space, I just tend to do them in the floor. (I live in a tiny flat, we don’t even own a table.)

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    • That’s a lovely thing to say, thank you Carla!

      I am a very visual person. In the past, I went for very brash and clashing colour schemes. Years ago, I used to have rooms with strong and bold Mexican themes – bright oranges and blues, reds and yellows. Then, a very ethnic feel for some years. These days, I like this minimalist feel. Each kind of decor has suited my personality at the time. I adore colour and lots of interesting bits and pieces, but because my own living space is not massive at the moment, the white walls, blinds, floor, bed, furniture etc etc gives me a feeling of space, both inside and out.

      As nice as it is that people have rooms and tables, I actually love when they use their imagination to make the most creative use of their space. Your ideas sound great!

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  6. It’s funny, I’ve been doing a guided meditation the last few days about creating that inner sacred space 🙂 I have several different spaces for cards. A little tray table set up as an altar for my personal cards and spells. And a bit of my office for Skype readings and when I did the webinar: that space has framed card prints on the wall, which is lovely.
    Mostly, though, I write things on my computer or on my phone. There’s a bit of me that likes being at the dining table, the physical and metaphorical centre of the house. I can often see/hear the kids, even if I’m not in charge of them. I feel connected, even while separate.
    I love your buddha table top – gorgeous!

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    • That’s lovely Chloe. What I am noticing here is that place between the two, where internal and external space are joined – where we can create the external anywhere from understanding our internal sacred space but also using external space to locate our inner spiritual understanding.

      I also have trays and cloths, which I related to in your altar video.

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    • Yes, I initially bought it to separate my ‘living space’ from ‘reading space’ when on Skype readings. I’ve got two sets so the other can mask off the computer if I need to just escape from technology for a bit and relax.

      This was an interesting article to write. I had considered how important it is to pour our spirituality into our physical place and tools, but through practice, I began to understand that what I value in the physical sacred space could be pulled into wherever I am physically, with intent, will and a few minutes of quiet time before reading.

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  7. I loved this post and all the comments from various people. Despite my large house I have no area for a sacred space. I have all my crystals, oils, candles and tarot cards in a beautiful Japanese Tansu and have put my frequently used Tarot cards, crystals and cloth for reading in a box–I carry the box to my bedroom or dining room and do my daily spreads there. What I’d like is an ‘altar’ that’s private–to leave my card reading there for the day. I have to think on this as I want my altar area to be private. This posting has given me much to think about! Steve I love your photos–you have a beautiful artistic eye and a deep understanding of the Tarot!

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    • Thanks so much, Sally!

      What I realised about the whole ‘sacred space’ thing is that it is something we carry in our intention, as much as a physical space we create. When we have the intention, we can open sacred space anywhere – in nature, in our private thoughts, when opening the box. Can you use the box as your altar? I have a box on legs I fill with my weeks decks and books etc and it gets lugged about.

      This reminds me of the song ‘Wherever I lay my hat’. Wherever I lay my intention is my altar. Maybe a beautiful cloth could be your space, wherever you put it.

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