Encountering the Tarot with Visio Divina


For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit

Visio Divina is an adaptation of Lectio Divina, an ancient practice for praying the scriptures from the Christian tradition in which a text is read a number of times as a way to inspired movement in meditative thinking and prayer.  Traditionally it is a 4 step process of Reading (or in this case Viewing),  Meditating/Ruminiation,  Prayer, and Contemplating.

Visio Divina supports you to go deeply into the wisdom of the Tarot through an encounter with  its images and symbols, and what they activate in your awareness.  It’s a core part of My Tools for Lifelong Tarot Learning (aka Tarot 101) course.

Taking a Long Loving Look (Visio)


  1. Sit comfortably with a Tarot card (or any inspirational image) before you.  Gaze at it. Take “a long, loving look.” Then close your eyes and let some part of the image come into focus for you.  Spend a few moments with your eyes remaining closed to be with that image.
  2. Open your eyes and gaze again at the card or image for a moment or two.  When you close your eyes again for a few moments perhaps a new image will come up for attention or the one from your first round will re-appear.  Accept what ever comes.
  3. You may want to repeat the process a third time.

Ruminate (Meditatio)

Take up your journal and write or draw/doodle about what you saw / experienced.  Muse about what these images might mean to you.  Explore now with words and/or doodles for a few minutes.

(Optional / Only To Be Done After Your Own Reflection:  Read just a bit from the book that came with your deck or an inspirational Tarot writer such as Rachel Pollack about the card before.  You are reading for inspiration.  Stop when you hit an idea that resonates with or expands on what you have already been journaling/doodling about.  Include it in your musings.  Stop reading and start writing/doodling again.)

Insight and Prayer (Oratio)

Close your eyes and clear your mind with a few gentle breaths. Let some message of insight, gratitude, or supplication arise from your heart.  Be with this message.

Connecting with Wisdom (Contemplatio)

Rest in what you have received.  Pause before you jump into your busy life.  Be in the presence of your new connection to this card and the wisdom of the Tarot.

Sources and  Resources:

Sage Cohen. Writing the Life Poetic  (Writers Digest Books, 2009).  The Lectio Divina section is on pp. 171 – 173  (Process for writers)

Wayne Teasdale.  The Mystic Heart (New World Library, 1999) See pp. 129 – 131.  (Interspiritual perspective. (Christian perspective)

Leave a Comment

August 4, 2020, 10:46 am Kim Keough

Beautiful writing, Carolyn. Look forward to reading more.

August 5, 2020, 6:17 pm Carolyn Cushing

Thank you, Kim. Glad you found your way here.

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