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

Tips for Teaching Yourself Tarot ReadingI 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?

Tips for Reading Tarot Intuitively

Psychic Tarot: Using Your Natural Psychic Abilities to Read the CardsWas asked a great question on learning to read:

“I have a pretty good memory and when I look at the cards I usually just remember the meaning that I read in a book. Can you give any advice on how to use my intuition a bit more rather than just a memorized meaning?”

I once had a “starter Tarot deck,” with meanings on the cards. I thought it would help me learn to read. Worst idea ever!  My readings were much worse than with a standard deck, even if I had to struggle through parts. It completely blocked my flow, as I compulsively checked the “right” meaning for every card. Tarot reader fail!

The magic of Tarot is not a function of perfectly memorizing card meanings, obviously. Other folks can give you a starting vocabulary, but you don’t really “own it” until you have developed your own and a relationship with the cards, to learn how they talk to you. (Each deck is an individual entity in it’s own right.)

But the question was how to do more intuitive readings. You start by getting grounded, calling down light, praying, or doing whatever connection “stuff” you do to connect to the Source. Consciously tune in and ASK for intuitive insight. That’s how you start. You get good, though, through practice.

Here are some simple ideas for sharpening intuitive Tarot skills.

  • Visualizations inside the cards. The exercises in Mary Greer’s [amazon_link id=”1564145883″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Tarot for Yourself[/amazon_link] are great for this, but you don’t have to have a step-by-step to be successful. Set aside some emotional space, pull a card, and envision yourself merging with the Tarot landscape. Look around, explore the space and interact with figures you find there. Observe and ask questions. Don’t worry about “imagining things” because your imagination is on the same channel intuitive information comes through. Just be open to getting insight this way, much the same you may get insight through a dream.
  • Envelope psychic practice. Try putting a Tarot card in an envelope at the beginning of the day, without peeking. At different times throughout the day, focus on the card inside the envelope, and write down whatever image, impression, word or ideas come to you. Don’t try to guess the card–just ask for related information. Don’t filter or evaluate the impressions. At the end of the day, you can check your card and see how the day’s experiences, your psychic impressions, and the card all speak together. If you save these and review them over time, you can develop a feel for how you personally tend to receive information.
  • Storytime, baby! Flip over three cards, and make up a story based on the images. Don’t look for meanings at all–look for a cohesive narrative flowing between multiple card. Invert one or switch them around and see how it changes the story. You want to become comfortable using the cards fluidly and allowing them to interact with each other, rather than attaching each card to an isolated, rigid definition. I would also not be surprised if you find your stories begin to resonate with other energy you run across.
  • Talking it out. One way to get the flow going is to start by simply describing the card, the scene, and the figures aloud. Without worrying about interpretation, just narrate, expanding upon whatever details catch your attention. Those little things you notice, about the environment, the figures, and the overall mood? There’s intuitive information you’ve got right there, Grasshopper! As you talk, you’ll often realize how what you’re seeing explains the card’s energy, or serves as a metaphor for the situation at hand.

This is an ongoing proposition, by the way. I’m currently reading [amazon_link id=”0738719757″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Psychic Tarot[/amazon_link] myself, because I’m always looking for ways to sharpen my skills! (I like it so far.) Working with Tarot is signing on for a Fool’s Journey, after all.

Investigating different perspectives and approaches gives you an arsenal of ideas to draw from. But it’s from working with cards directly, experimenting with approaches, that you learn what works best for you. Skilled readers need their own relationship with the cards. The trust and ease builds as you work together with your deck. Make friends.

Do you have tips on learning to read Tarot intuitively?

What Direction to Flip Tarot Cards?

Orient yourself!

Sometimes people wonder how they should flip the cards, relevant if reading reversals. Personally, I always flip them horizontally instead of vertically, toward or away, to maintain the orientation.

But like most techniques in Tarot, other options will work so long as you are clear on your intent to work that way. That lets the cards know how to give you information and keeps uncertainty from adding a layer of confusion to the reading. It’s been my experience that feeling confused and uncertain adds that energy to a reading, leaving you with confused and uncertain answers. I like a clean, confident vibe in working the cards.

What do you think?

Selecting Your First Tarot Deck

Make a pretty home for your first deck!

People aiming to learn Tarot wonder how to pick their first deck. Does it have to be traditional, Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) or a clone deck? Does someone have to give it to you? Hmmm?

There is an advantage, using a traditional deck, in the sheer number of resources available. The imagery in RWS and it’s kissing cousins are especially rich, multi-layered and rooted in many esoteric traditions, so there is a lot to work with, in mastering a broad vocabulary of potential divinataory insights.

On the other hand, RWS may just leave you flat or another deck may simply sing to you. Are you supposed to ignore your inner voice in learning to better exercise your inner voice?

One of my favorite answer for these kinds of questions is, “It’s up to you!” Every step of befriending Tarot is another inch along your own Fool’s Journey, and it’s personal. No one else can tell you which deck to begin with because no one else is YOU.

As far as waiting to be given a deck–well, I can tell you for a fact your first deck doesn’t have to be a gift to “work.” Otherwise, me and whole bunch of other readers would have been out of luck!

That having been said, I usually suggest people get RWS  or clone, and buy it themselves instead of waiting on divine providence, as soon as they take a notion. Ha!

What do you think is important to remember in selecting your first deck?

Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot
by Us Games Systems