Spirituality is the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. In the quest for spiritual understanding in your life, there are many tools at your disposal to help you explore your spiritual energy, answer spiritual questions, and enhance your spiritual awareness.
This article will look at the types of tools and their uses in and for spiritual practice. The tools to consider for this article – cards and coins – represent the most common tools one can find and use for spiritual work.
Spiritual Tools, Why Use Them?
Spiritual work does not require the use of tools, but they can prove extremely helpful if you prefer to have objects to work with when seeking spiritual guidance, on your own or from someone else. I think it is helpful to make a distinction between a spiritual talent, like clairaudience, and a spiritual tool, like tarot cards.
Spiritual tools help you or a practitioner focus energy for spiritual work or to help in the search for spiritual answers. A tool can help a person get to a spiritual place or spiritual answer or it can take a spiritual talent and give it direction during a reading or question/answer process.
One of the best known and most widely used spiritual tools are tarot cards. The tarot deck contains 78 cards, described by Rachel Pollack as the 78 degrees of wisdom. The deck has two groups of cards, the Major Arcana, made up of 22 of the 78 cards, and the Minor Arcana made up of 56 of the 78 cards.
The 22 Major Arcana cards start with 0, the Fool, and end with 21, the World. The Fool takes a journey to meet or become or experience each card in the deck, beginning with the Magician (the number 1 card of the Majors). Next, he will meet/become the High Priestess, and so on.
The 56 Minor Arcana cards have 4 suits, representing the four elements through four symbols. In the oldest decks, the symbols are cups/chalices for water, wands/rods for fire, coins for earth, and swords for air. Each element represents an aspect of human experience: water for emotions, fire for purpose, coins for material survival/success, and swords for thought.
Besides tarot cards, other decks of cards exist that use images and concepts for spiritual work; these are oracle decks. Basically, they consist of any number of cards other than the 78 cards of the tarot deck, and without the same kind of organization.
Using Cards as a Spiritual Tool
Using cards as a spiritual tool means shuffling, drawing, and laying them out to “read” them. You can ask a specific question (I have a job offer in Denver, Colorado, should I take it?”), think about an area of your life (I want to know about my family), or you can be open and see what the cards reveal.
Reading with cards can be as simple as a single card draw or more complex using many cards (two, three, ten, or any number). When working with more than one card, they are laid out in a certain way or with a certain category in mind, referred to as a “spread”. One of the most common spreads is 3 cards, with the first card representing the past, the second card representing the present, and the third card representing the future.
Once you have drawn your cards from your tarot deck or oracle deck and laid them out in your spread, you interpret them to determine your message. Below is a standard 3-card spread with the interpretation of the question, “should I take the job in Denver, Colorado?”
From the past, the Queen of Pentacles indicates that you want the job to be stable and secure. Presently you need to make sure the job allows you to do work you love. Going forward, if the job meets these two criteria, then you need to make a leap of faith and take the job.
Coins for spiritual work are not nearly as common as cards. In fact, there is one very specific practice that uses coins, but it is extremely effective. The practice involves using the I-Ching Book of Changes to answer a specific question. The I-Ching text has 64 answers based on 64 hexagrams. To determine the hexagram that answers your question, you use and cast 3 coins.
Using Coins as a Spiritual Tool
Any coins that have a different image on the front and back (head/tail) will work, specialized coins or pennies; it does not matter. To begin, you determine your question; we will use the same one from the card reading example above.
Take the 3 coins in your non-dominant hand, cover them with your dominant hand, ask your question out loud, and cast the coins. Depending on 4 combinations (3 heads, 3 tails, 2 heads/1 tail, and 2 tails/1 head), you will mark the casting as a solid line changing to a broken line (3 heads), a broken line changing to a solid line (3 tails), an unchanging broken line (2 heads/1 tail), or an unchanging solid line (2 tails/ 1 head). You will cast the coins 6 times to get 6 lines which will make up the hexagram. The first casting is the bottom line and the last casting is the top line.
You get your coins, ask your question, cast the coins, and get hexagram 21 as your result:
Go to an I-Ching text and look up hexagram 21, which is Shi Ho, “Biting Through”. The answer to “should I take the job in Denver, Colorado?” is, “you can, but you will have to work hard to make it work. So, how bad do you want the job?”
If you cast the coins and did not get 3 of the same, heads or tails, then the answer is fixed, “with nowhere to go”, but if you cast got 3 of the same, heads or tails, then the answer will flow into another hexagram once you change the line. Suppose the first line was a changing solid line, which would become a broken line, then the next part of your answer would become hexagram 35:
The direction your answer will take you is Chin, “Progress”. If you can “bite through”, you will make the job work and you will succeed.
Your level of spiritual or psychic talent does not have to be high or even present to use these tools and still be able to get a spiritual result. Whether you feel guided to pull the cards or you feel like you are pulling them randomly, they have a spiritual design. The coins do not have to be forged from the heart of a dying star to get the lines needed to get a hexagram answer, which is why the tools can be useful to anyone.