This is the simplest, yet best, tarot game I’ve tried. I learned it in 1982 from David Quigley, creator of “Alchemical Hypnotherapy”.

It’s a great dinner party game that can be played by people who know nothing about tarot in that they are asked to free-associate about the images and symbols on the cards. A knowledgeable tarotist can act as guide and add insights and possibilities, but the ideal is to encourage each player to talk about what they see in the cards and in the other players. (Some shorter “ice-breaker” variations are described in the Comments.)

The Deal: Using a tarot deck that has scenes depicted on all the cards, shuffle and deal out as many tarot cards to each person as there are people playing the game (best when played by 3 to 6 people).

Sorting the Cards: Examine your cards in light of the other players. Decide on a card from your hand that fits or is needed by each person playing, including yourself (you can also decide/change this as you go along).

Begin Play—Giving a Card: The person to the left of the dealer starts by giving one card to any other player. The person giving the card must explain why they are giving it to the receiver (the more information the better as this is what the game is about).

Receiving a Card: The receiver then tells why it was appropriate to get that card. (Optional: other players then add their comments, but they should always be respectful of what the receiver sees for him or herself. Each person is the final arbiter of his or her own cards.)

Subsequent Turns: The receiver becomes the giver by giving a card to any one of the other players, explaining why, etc. Continue until all cards have been given away except for the card kept by each person for him or herself. You cannot give away a card you received from someone else—put the cards you received to the side!

The Last Round: Each person explains why they kept the card they did and how it relates to the other cards received. Others may add their insights.

Other Options: You can also play by having the first person give out all of his or her cards except the one kept for oneself—with the usual discussion of each. Then the 2nd person hands out all their cards, etc. Usually, in this case, the final card (the one reserved for the self) is not shown or discussed until the end of all the give-away rounds. Each person, in turn, then relates his or her self-card to all the other cards received in play—thus, giving a final summary of their own set of cards.

Added: Be sure to read the Comments where readers have offered several other ways to play this and similar games. And, please share your own.

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