What to Know Before Getting into Tarot
You’ve taken the leap; you went and purchased that tarot deck you’ve been drawn to ever since you first laid eyes on it.
Maybe your new deck has cats on it, or dragons, or maybe you’ve found yourself the traditional Rider-Waite Tarot deck. Either way, now it belongs to you. Upon opening said deck, you flip through the cards…and then you start to feel overwhelmed with their pictures. You may be thinking, “What do they all mean? Do I have to memorize this?”
No matter what “experts” might tell you, anyone can learn tarot. It takes patience, practice, and intention. Here are the basics on what you need to know before getting into tarot.
Chose a Deck of Your Liking
A huge myth told to many is that you need to have your deck given to you, that you can’t buy your own cards. This is how you end up reading a deck you have no connection to, even if you “charge” the deck.
Finding something that is uniquely connected to you makes your tarot experience much more connective, not only for yourself, but also for the person you’re doing the reading for (if it’s someone other than yourself). You don’t need to be given a deck, so much as find one you have that ‘spark’ or connection with.
When I teach, I recommend that my students buy the Rider-Waite Tarot deck first to understand the vast symbolism in the original deck. It’s my belief that it makes it easier to go from there to other decks, but that is a personal preference.
Make Your Deck Uniquely Yours
Connecting your energy with your deck is important; it bonds you with your cards and thereby you state your intention on how the cards will be used going forward. Therefore, unless shuffling, don’t let anyone else read with your cards. This will make sure your energy is the dominant one.
A few ways to “charge” your cards are to sleep with them behind your pillow, shuffle the deck a few minutes each day, keep in a circle of salt overnight, leave in the moonlight or sunlight, or perhaps keep in a special pouch or box just for them.
There is no right or wrong to “charging” a deck. Find what works for you to create that bond between you and your deck.
It seems redundant I know, but don’t forget to breathe! Also, don’t expect to just be able to jump into readings no matter how many books you read or YouTube tutorials you watch. It takes time to be familiar with your deck, so be patient with yourself.
Learning tarot is about finding connections and perceptive tone. Nothing is perfect, and that most definitely includes learning this craft. Give yourself the room to grow and learn.
Leave Room for your Own Interpretations When Learning the Cards’ Meanings
Depending on what deck you may have, each author will have their own interpretation of what each card means, especially if they have come up with their own set of arcana.
The guidebook is your tarot bible. It gives you some insight into the deck, showing you each of the arcana in order, their meanings (according to author interpretation), and even a few basic spreads in the back.
One of the ways I started to learn the meanings of each card was to learn one a day. After that, I would pull a card each morning to represent the energy of the day. I would then look at the card again before bed and allow myself to become aware of the meaning of the energy of that specific card and how it related to my day.
When you do begin to do a reading, when looking at the meanings of the arcana in the reading, you can start to get a sense of your own interpretation of what it means in terms of the overall reading, especially if you know the person you are giving the reading to.
For example, if someone asks a question of “Will I be okay despite the situation I’m going through?” When looking at whatever card you pull, and upon reading its meaning, you may be able to draw further interpretation to the answer to the question.
Keep in mind, we are not predicting the future or anything of the sort. We are merely looking for guidance when using tarot. We all have free will so what is the path that is determined at the time of a reading can be changed at any point with choices being made by the person who is asking the question.
Start with a Simple Spread
One of the more difficult spreads to read is the Celtic Cross; you need to have experience understanding and practice interpreting more simplified spreads. This takes time and practice.
Start basic, simple, easy. A reading doesn’t have to be complicated. Either a one card draw with or without a question, or a 3-card spread of past, present, and future, are the most basic readings you can do.
With time, you can start to make your own spread, or stick with the basics, as it becomes easier with practice.
Choose Your Question Wisely
When pulling cards for a particular spread, you’ll need to ask a question. Think about your intentions for this reading and what you really want to know about your life or wherever you’re seeking clarity.
Be as specific as possible. As mentioned earlier, a tarot reading is all about intent, so the more specific the question, the clearer the answer should show. Questions with the words “how or “what” are best, and “yes or no” questions should be avoided entirely unless using a specific spread to determine probability. Having a question creates a prompt in your reading, thereby leading you into action instead of waiting to see if a reading was right or not.
Wording of the question is important. Someone might ask “Am I going to meet a new partner?” The outcome might be positive but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a “loving and supportive partner” in most cases it is better to be more specific. ie: “Will I meet a loving, supportive, honest partner in the next 6 months?” Being time specific is also helpful.
Give Yourself a Reading Before Anyone Else
When learning to read tarot, it is a great way to connect with your deck and become accustomed to reading by doing it for yourself first.
It gives you a means to practice and then adjust where needed, and even provide that extra boost of confidence; if you feel you can do an accurate reading for yourself, you’re ready to give someone else a reading.
Do what makes you feel comfortable. If you need to consult your books and guidebook, then feel free to do so.
It is VERY IMPORTANT that you use your tarot cards for clarity and guidance. Reading for yourself for selfish purposes in my experience is not helpful as we have a hard time being objective with the answers the spread will give if your ego is involved, and you are manipulating the spread to appear as the outcome you want.
Many will say to memorize the arcana, so that your focus is on the person you’re reading. However, if that doesn’t work for you, don’t feel bad. For some, they may feel the energy of the person they are doing the reading for, pull the card, look up the meaning, and even give the meaning to the person and let them interpret for themselves. Some find clarity in this kind of reading.
There is no right or wrong. Find what works for you and what you’re confident with.
Do Regular Readings
The more often you pull cards and work with different spreads, the more familiar you become with the lessons learned from each reading. It keeps your energies aligned with your deck and helps you stay in tune with your intuition.
To reiterate what has been said before, practice, practice, practice. Regular readings give you more practice and help you develop and hone your new skill in the art of tarot. Trust yourself and don’t be afraid of getting it not quite right.
Be Mindful When Using the Tarot
A beginner’s mistake when reading tarot for oneself is asking the same question, hoping for a better answer each time. Or, doing a reading while highly emotional or shut down to receiving truthful insight.
This is where that mindfulness practice comes into play. Only draw on your cards when your mind and heart are open. Treat your cards (and yourself) with respect and give yourself the time and space to accept the wisdom they are offering you.
Create a routine prior to reading to align and open your energy to be in a state of connection.
How Hypnosis Comes into Play
Did you know hypnosis can in fact help you develop your sense of intuition and mindfulness?
Focus and keeping an open mind to the possibilities tarot has to offer are all skills needed for a good reading, whether for yourself or someone else. They’re also skills that not everyone may simply have from the get-go.
Sometimes, getting a helping hand to be more in touch with your intuition and achieve that meditative sense of awareness during a reading can truly help you achieve that greater sense of clarity.
If you’d like to add another tool to your tarot readings, or gain even greater means to achieving that sense of mindfulness, hypnotherapy can definitely help. Contact me today if you’re interested in learning more.
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