Five Tips for Tarot Beginners that Experienced Readers Wish They’d Known
Experienced Tarot readers can often look back and recognize Aha! moments – moments when they had a sudden revelation that suddenly made it so much easier to understand and interpret their readings. Those “if only I’d known!” moments seldom make it into books on learning to read Tarot. Knowing these five things can help a Tarot beginner learn more quickly and may help even experienced practitioners give more intuitive, more useful readings.
Use a Deck You’re Drawn To
The deck makes a difference. Just as it’s easier to read a book that’s printed in a comfortable font, it’s easier to read cards that feel right – and that feeling is different for every reader. A Tarot beginner should spend some time in a physical store where they can pick up and handle the decks, and see them in person, so to speak. Choosing a deck that’s comfortable on the eyes, the mind and the hands is one of the most important first lessons.
Side note: Most readers eventually end up with several different Tarot decks that they like, and that sometimes they’re drawn to read with a particular deck for a particular reading. Following those intuitions often lead to interpretations they would not have seen with another deck. Let intuition be the guide when choosing a Tarot deck.
Make Tarot a Practice and a Habit
Familiarity breeds comfort and comfort translates into intuition. Any athlete knows that the only way to improve is to practice until the muscles remember the right moves. The same is true of reading Tarot. The best readers spend some time every day with their cards, even if they simply shuffle them and draw random cards without seeking answers. By setting aside time to practice reading each day, a reader builds the skills and muscle memory needed to do readings without resorting to looking up answers in a book.
Build Reading Rituals
Bedtime rituals prepare your mind and body for sleep. Brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, reading the bedtime story – those steps cue the body and mind that it’s time for rest and make it easier to fall asleep. Reading rituals work the same way, helping settle the mind and focus concentration for laying out and interpreting the cards. Depending on the reader, those rituals may include meditation, prayer, lighting a candle or laying out a Tarot cloth. The actual shape of the ritual isn’t as important as finding one that’s comfortable.
Tell Stories with the Cards
More than anything else, the Tarot is a storytelling device. Rather than trying to interpret each card separately in a reading, good readers look at the cards in relation to each other. Are the king and queen next to each other? Are they looking at each other or do they have their backs turned to each other? How does the card in the lesson position relate to the final outcome? The cards relate to each other, and a good reader will seek out the relationships between them and find ways that they fit together into a story.
Look for Patterns
Patterns are everywhere in the Tarot. Over the centuries, philosophers and mystics have inserted layer upon layer of symbolism into the traditional illustrations, and many of them aren’t readily apparent. They will, however, reveal themselves, sometimes blatantly and sometimes in very subtle ways. There are obvious patterns, such as a lot of pentacles in a reading that focuses on wealth and family tradition, but there are also subtler patterns, such as several cards that have water in them. Those subtler patterns can often give the reader clues to help them put together the story the cards are trying to tell.
If you have tips that you’d like to share with tarot beginners please send to us in the comments section below.