Herbs can be used to gain a greater depth of understanding of any tarot pack. Herb spirits are great teachers: they can subtly alter the consciousness of the user to become aware of a greater magical reality. To connect with plant familiars, attune to their vibrations, and absorb their lessons, try burning incense when you use your cards.
Incenses are made from dried leaves, petals, berries, woods, resins, and essential oils. They are burned on small charcoal blocks, which are readily available from occult suppliers. As you mix an incense, ask the plant spirits to share their knowledge with you. Begin by blending the resin with a few drops of oil, then add any woods or crushed berries. Add lesser quantities of leaves and flower petals. An incense might not contain all of these types of ingredients: it can consist of just one substance, so use your common sense. Experiment with quantities to find a blend that works for you.
To enhance your perceptions when you are divining with the cards, burn an incense blended from frankincense, calendula oil, sandalwood, rowan berries, hazel wood, and honeysuckle blossoms. For tarot meditation try an incense of frankincense, lemon balm oil, acacia, sandalwood, and chamomile flowers. Or alternatively you might like to use specific incense to attune to specific cards.
All the herbs mentioned are harmless when used in the way described, but please bear in mind that some other herbs are poisonous or have toxic vapors. Make sure that you fully research any new herb you want to use.
Incense for the Suits
CUPS relate to the element of water, emotions, feelings, intuition, and psychic skills. To attune, use an incense of myrrh, jasmine oil, willow bark, rowan berries, and chamomile flowers.
DISCS relate to the element of earth, the body and the material plane, money, and possessions. To attune, blend an incense from pine resin, patchouli oil, pine wood, sage, honeysuckle flowers, and cypress needles.
SWORDS relate to the element of air, mental activity, and communication. To attune, blend an incense of benzoin, acacia, lavender oil and flowers, cedar wood, and mint leaves.
WANDS relate to the element of fire, creativity, life energy, and the spirit. Make an incense from frankincense, rosemary oil, oak bark, crushed juniper berries, and marigold petals.
Incense for the Major Arcana
You can also use incense to attune to cards of the Major Arcana. The following are some examples:
THE FOOL: frankincense, oak bark, hawthorn blossom, and the buds and leaves of any forest trees.
THE HIGH PRIEST/MAGICIAN: chamomile, fennel, fern, mint, marigold petals, yarrow flowers, and ash bark or leaves.
THE HIGH PRIESTESS: myrrh, willow bark, rowan berries, and white sandalwood.
THE LOVERS: frankincense, lavender flowers and oil, apple, meadowsweet, myrtle, violet, hawthorn, and rose.
STRENGTH: frankincense, borage, nasturtium, basil, tarragon, and fennel.
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE: ash, chervil, pine, caraway, poppy, and ivy.
DEATH: rosemary, rue, parsley, cypress, myrrh, ivy, and corn.
THE MOON: rose petals, frankincense, poppy, cinquefoil, mugwort, willow bark, and myrrh.
THE WORLD: oak, mistletoe, ash bark and leaves, apple bark and blossom, frankincense, sandalwood, and bistort root.
Root, Stem, Leaf
The natural structures of the Earth can provide us with inspiration for the tarot. When faced with a dilemma, use the beauty, strength, and simplicity of a plant to enlighten you as to the nature and solution of a problem.
While concentrating on your question, lay three cards one above the other. The first card will show the heart of the matter—the "root" cause. The second card is the path to a solution: the stem that leads to the fulfillment. The third card, the leaf, shows the final outcome.
From Llewellyn's 2001 Tarot Calendar. For more Llewellyn tarot books and decks, click here.