July 29

Teaching Yourself Tarot: How do you know the right way to read the cards?


Tips for Teaching Yourself Tarot Reading

I taught myself to read Tarot. It’s both easy and hard, to teach yourself the cards. There’s that point when you decide you want to learn Tarot. Somehow or other, you’ve gotten a taste of the power there and want more. So you start looking for answers. Not hard, finding answers. There’s an almost infinite number of books, websites, communities and readers who are more than happy to share their Tarot knowledge with you.

Except almost as soon as you start looking, the challenge materializes: everyone says something different! New readers find themselves in the incredibly frustrating position of figuring out which approach is right in this sea of contradictory advice.

Answers to questions on the process of reading are vital to be able to read effectively. Without confidence in technique, interpretation and the particulars of working the cards, readings tend to be inconsistent at best. Anxiety and uncertainty permeates the reading, leaving messages cloudy and confusing. This is obviously a problem. So what do you do?

You look for YOUR path. Here are some tips for developing some personal Tarot Mojo!

  • Ask for help. Not so much from your Tarot-slinging friend, although s/he is often a good resource. But  start at the real Source, wherever or whomever you believe is the ultimate provider Tarot insight. Say a Tarot prayer. If you do this each time you work with the cards, you’ll find your readings improve immediately and quite likely, you’ll also begin stumbling across just the info you needed, just when you needed it. Synchronicity triggers.
  • Approach it experimentally. Don’t take anyone’s word here–compare, contrast, and take notes. Tarot is your best teacher of Tarot! That’s why everybody and their brother suggests a Tarot Journal, to help you track as you learn. The Fool’s Journey isn’t just a life metaphor–it’s a perfect description of the process of learning Tarot. Approach it as such, with an open heart and mind.
  • Keep it playful. Reverence and respect for the cards is fine and well, but limiting yourself to panic readings on life-and-death issues makes it all but impossible to find that intuitive/psychic flow that allows you to step beyond the book definitions to truly working Tarot as a divination tool. If you’ve given yourself plenty of practice in a light, fun environment, however, you’re much better prepared to hear the messages when you do call on Tarot 911.
  • Expect differences in approach between yourself and other readers you admire and respect. These differences don’t mean someone is “wrong.” I’d be more concerned if there were no differences. Cards speak to individual readers in individual ways–and how good that is, since we all receive and process insight uniquely. By letting go of the right-vs.-wrong mentality, you open up a space to claim your personal adventure.
  • Develop a personal relationship with the cards. You can’t expect to really get to know someone solely by asking others’ opinions about that person. A deep knowing requires extended interaction. Likewise, you cannot get to know Tarot based solely on other people’s opinion. The more energy you put directly into working the cards, the better you’ll get to know how they speak to you.
  • Never stop studying how the cards work–and you’ll never stop learning about how they do. Whether it’s a simple as noting how the cards came together in a particular reading or an unusual insight that cropped up, or studiously devouring the latest book by your favorite Tarot authors, expect learning to be ongoing as long as you travel this path. Openness is imperative to grow as a reader. The most skilled and able Tarot master is a perpetual Tarot student.
  • Stay humble. As we develop skill, temptation arises to see ourselves as the official light bearers and keeper of ultimate Tarot truths. Hogwash! Get over yourself already. All noteworthy readings are by grace. The reader works to wield the cards responsibly, and get the most of what’s on offer. But the reader doesn’t personally create the magic; they only tap it. Acknowledgement and gratitude is in order–and incidentally is one of the best ways to invite further, greater grace into your readings.

What do you think? Do you have tips to share?

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Beginners, Learning Tarot

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  1. no intention of learning the cards yet, but love the notes… especially about tapping into magic and how the best readings happen by grace. hallelujah. I can relate. all the best stuff in my life happens that way!

  2. awesome advice Dix and I needed to hear it. This part, “These differences don’t mean someone is “wrong.”” Yeah..I wish all students were that way about it. I think teachers and experts do realize that. But some other amateur experts will really SLAM a student given a chance. That isn’t right.

    And the humble part, that’s hard for me too but as a constant reminder to myself I’ll say, “you are a mouthpiece, an interpretter..period. You aren’t generating this message. It is coming through you.” That helps a lot.

    The journal has been especially helpful, cuz I forget easily. I go back and read it and am like..”well..I’ll be darned. I didn’t even know I said that about..whatever” LOL. Crazy.

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