Moved By Tarot: Growth, Dance, & Embodying The Card’s Wisdom

by Tarot in Motion author Miriam Jacobs

We often talk about ‘being moved’ by something. We are moved emotionally, moved towards deeper understanding, moved by what we learn. Can we also be moved into awareness? Can we use the idea of movement as realization by harnessing movement as an active process for growth? What if this movement were physical? Imagine being moved by the Tarot – in our own bodies!

Something unique, totally out of character rises up to awareness…and it’s magical!  It’s these “aha” moments of awakening that jolt us into that state of clarity…opening us up to new thought and creativity. The possibilities for growth waken us.

The system of Tarot has always worked for those who take the time to be really present. Spirit moves through our understanding and in this relaxed, open and present state, we receive new insights.

One of the joys of being on a spiritual path is learning that we use tools, which have long established protocols in very new ways. In the case of Tarot, at first we may rely on established card interpretations and reading formats such as the Celtic cross, a 3-card spread. As time goes on, we become more confident and find other formats, discover deeper and more personal card interpretations.

Ultimately, we have our own explanation for our own readings and each person or situation we are reading for. Our intuition has blossomed, and added to the structure of classic Tarot.

Intuition is a dance with the creative energy behind the reading; it is the fruit of becoming more confident in working with spirit. Intuition guides us to play, to try new ways of yielding information that will move us to deeper understanding and clarity.

 Tarot in Motion is a new way I have developed and deepen the practice of Tarot. It has come through my own understanding of both Tarot and somatic awareness. When we are in our bodies, we receive a kind of understanding, which is deeply felt, permeating our whole awareness: body, mind and spirit. To be present is to be open to and in the moment – and that is where all healing takes place.

I wanted to integrate Tarot with movement as a way that would help us get into our bodies and gets us to play again. Not just dancing* and letting our hair down. But to have some intention behind the movement, instructed by the card(s) we have pulled.” 

How does this work in practice? The process is deceptively simple.

*In this context, “dance” is considered any kind of movement that is felt in the body.*

Miriam Jacobs explaining the structure of Tarot in Motion

Have an intention:

  • The Tarot in Motion dances requires an intention or a query. Intentions focus what is specifically being asked of pulled Tarot cards. Opened-ended questions are best because they empower you to personalize your own conclusions of the given interpretations.
Pull and interpret the card:
  • Interpret the pulled-card(s) meanings with the help of the descriptions of the cards, your own intuition, related symbols, and the illustrations.
  • What do other participants have to say? Does it resonate with you? What is the mood of the card? Let your movements be sparked by what you see and feel.
Create a dance:

When you are in front of a group of people, don’t think; you just have to rely on muscle memory. You don’t need to have prior dance or movement familiarity in order to have a worthy experience. Participants, who have never performed before, often create some of the most beautiful pieces, there is something raw and passionate that comes through. If you feel uncertain about the process, the “Guidelines” will help you get started.

This is a change without struggle.

The feeling is profound, enjoyable,

transcending the effectiveness

of any one method.

The guidelines in the book are mostly given for working in groups. This work may be done with a group, which brings Tarot into a community or on our own in front a mirror or in the woods. It may also be the basis for choreographing a performative piece.

There is something about pulling a card, having to create a movement piece, and then being observed by others that reaches past logic and taps into that wise inner knowledge hiding within us. It is not just saying perceptions but doing them.

Sometimes we are not ready to articulate things especially on the emotional level, dancing helps express that before the words come. Adding movement helps bring it to the surface, whether we are a seasoned Tarot reader, seasoned dancer or just a seeker on the path. The dances often come out raw and poignant.

The structure of Tarot in Motion movement pieces are based on reinterpreting symbols from the card(s) you have pulled, to correlate body parts based on Polarity Therapy, the Chakras, Tarot suites relate to universal elements, movement, pace, and most importantly the meaning of the card.

  • The associating body part can show us where in the body to focus energy and the
  • Corresponding Chakras can show us where to undulate.
  • The elements guide the quality of movements, and the astrological seasonal aspects guide the pace (known as tempo). There are plenty of options.

We begin by announcing their cards and end with a bow or curtsy. Costumes, props and the use of music, sound and words are always an option. A seasonal holiday, or basic themed of a query often brings more cohesiveness when working in a group.

When others observe or witness the “dance” there is a validation that can be seen and felt as it is coming to the surface. Having a structure with reason, behind it helps our witnesses understand our process therefore both the dancer and viewers gain a deeper meaning behind the card pulled. Constructive feedback is helpful part of the process.

As a hands-on healer, I understand how the body’s freedom is essential for being present. Being present is the only place healing can take place.

Tarot in Motion is a body of work that I have received from my own intuition. The source of intuition, or inspiration, is always the divine: perhaps you could say that this body of work is channeled. Perhaps the gatherings are a reenacting the temple keeping. Having said that, our gift is always preceded by the steps we took to realize it. I’ve always seen movement as play and a way to find joy and meaning. All of this has been the inspiration for the practice of Tarot in Motion.

About the Author

Miriam Jacobs, RPE, CMT & BFA is a San Francisco Bay Area healer, and dance enthusiast who has been reading Tarot cards for over 30 years. After a successful career as a visual artist in New York, Miriam found herself drawn to the healing arts. In 1994, she began formal training and was certified in Polarity Therapy.

In 1996, Miriam moved to California to continue her healing arts studies and practice. As creator of Polarity Wellness Tarot (2012), and author of Tarot and the Chakras (2014), Miriam synchronizes several healing systems with Tarot to bring our experience of ourselves into heightened consciousness.