Are you curious about how Tarot cards work? Have you wondered if you have what it takes to read them accurately? I remember I bought my first Tarot deck, the original 78-card Rider Waite deck, in 2012 when I was diving into the world of metaphysics.
I had always been aware of having innate intuitive abilities because of hit-or-miss insights I received since I was a kid, but decided to turn things up a notch and consciously explore my intuition further with the sacred art of Tarot.
When the cards finally arrived, I was ecstatic about getting started, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I kept asking myself if I just needed to shuffle them, draw a few cards, and passively wait for intuitive images to pop into my head. I also wasn’t sure if the cards had a Spirit energy of their own. I had so many questions.
After my first few attempts at just winging it and trying to read the cards without structure and not really getting anywhere, I felt nudged to go back to the basics and study the general meanings of all the cards.
I bought books and read articles online. I studied the interpretations and visually observed the imagery portrayed in each card to become familiar with their archetypes.
I made sticky notes for each card and started writing keywords that resonated with what each card meant for me specifically. I did this repeatedly until all the imagery and symbolism was drilled into my subconscious.
Because of my love for Astrology, I also learned all the Astrological associations for each card, which added so much more depth and dimension to readings.
After studying everything for about 2-3 months, I knew all the card interpretations and framework by heart, and now it was time to practice my new skill. I started giving free readings to friends and received a lot of positive feedback. This boosted my confidence and led me to trusting my intuitive insights little by little.
As I practiced more, I gained clarity on how and why exactly the cards work. I realized that I was wrong in the beginning when I initially assumed that maybe the cards had a Spirit energy of their own or that clairvoyant images would simply pop into my head (although this can happen if you’re super clairvoyant). I feel like this is a pretty common misconception though.
Depending on what your strongest intuitive gifts are at the moment, which will be different for everyone, you may receive information through claircognizance (clear knowing), clairaudience (clear hearing), clairsentience (clear feeling), or clairvoyance (clear seeing.)
When you use a divination tool like Tarot, first, you need to learn its overall structural frame of reference to be able to receive any insight. You do this by learning all the suits, imagery, hierarchy, numerology, etc.
The Tarot deck itself does not possess Spirit energy, the cards work directly with your subconscious mind and your Higher Self.
When you learn this frame of reference thoroughly, it’s stored in your subconscious mind, which then Spirit can use as a subconscious pictionary to pass on Divine guidance during readings. This is exactly why a lot of intuitive development programs teach you a symbol system that can be used to communicate with the Higher realms.
Spirit needs to meet you halfway through imagery, symbolism, and imagination. Of course, you will also need to play your part in becoming more receptive by flexing your intuitive muscles.
You don’t necessarily need to learn the card interpretations word by word either. You may notice that if you google a certain card meaning, you’ll find a variety of meanings for just that one Tarot card. Although the meanings will vary, the overall theme stays the same.
The reason for this is that each Tarot practitioner develops their own intuitive interpretation of the cards as they practice and give more readings. Over time, you’ll notice that certain cards jump at you or mean something really specific. This can only happen through practice, practice makes perfect!
You need to build a personal relationship with your Tarot deck. This will be the key to giving accurate readings. Eventually, you’ll have your own intuitive interpretations with your own twist.
It’s okay to use the general meanings when you’re first getting started. The right Tarot cards will appear for the person receiving the reading. Spirit will never let you down.
Here are a few tips I wish I had known at the beginning of my Tarot endeavor:
Practice meditation a few times a week to get into that state of stillness you need to receive clear insight.
In order to enter the right mind space prior to a Tarot reading, you need to shift from Beta brain wave state (conscious awareness) to Alpha brain wave state (subconscious awareness). Meditating on a regular basis makes it easier to enter this state at will. Even 5-10 minutes makes a huge difference.
Create a zen space in your home where you can meditate, practice Tarot, do introspective work, etc.
Learn how to energetically protect yourself before giving readings
Energetic protection is super important when you do any kind of spiritual work, especially intuitive readings, because it makes you vulnerable to absorbing energies that are not your own, either from the querent (the person receiving the reading), or even astral entities that are drawn to your Light.
Always say a closing prayer when your session has ended to thank the Divine beings who were present and also to dispel any psychic residual energy between you and the person you read for so that you don’t take it with you.
If you find it difficult to relax before reciting the prayer, take a few deep breaths and repeat this 3-5 times until you’re feeling more relaxed.
Cleanse your deck after every use
Imagine a stream of white light entering your crown chakra and running down your center and exiting your hands and cleansing your Tarot deck. Shuffle while doing this to dispel any stubborn energy, and blow on it if you feel inclined to.
I highly recommend shuffling your deck after every reading to avoid getting the same cards from the previous reading because this usually points to residual energy still being present.
You can also buy a Selenite crystal slab and rest your deck on it for 24 hours. Selenite is a high vibrational crystal that is often used to cleanse other crystals and divination tools and never needs to be cleansed. It transmutes low vibrational energy.
As a beginner, choose the original Rider Waite Tarot deck as your first deck
I would say that this is the reason I’m able to use whatever Tarot deck I want now. Because I know the original meanings really well, whenever I use a different deck, my subconscious still instantly refers to the frame of reference I built from the original Rider Waite deck.
I’m sure you’ve seen all the beautiful Tarot decks out there, but don’t rush the process, keep things simple until you feel ready to read with other decks.
Otherwise, you could get lost in the variation of interpretations available. If you get the Tarot basics down, you’ll even be able to use regular playing cards to give a Tarot reading in more advantaged stages.
Use Simple 3-Card Spreads
Tarot spreads help organize the energy of a reading. For example, you can try the following 3-card spreads:
past – present – future
problem – solution – possible outcome
Doing this helps pin down the heart of the matter.
Don’t become discouraged if a reading doesn’t resonate with a client
This happens to everyone. Sometimes a reading doesn’t resonate in the moment because the client won’t understand it until much later for varying reasons.
I’ve had clients follow up with me 6-12 months later to tell me that their reading finally made so much sense and everything came full circle.
You’re just the messenger when you give a Tarot reading. You pass on whatever comes up and the client can take it or leave it.
Start a Tarot Journal
Journaling your Tarot journey, especially at the beginning, will be extremely helpful. You’ll be able to look back and see how far you’ve come.
By doing this, you’ll also record every insight you’ve ever received since you started practicing Tarot and might even have an epiphany when you revisit old readings.
Keeping track of all the cards you’ve drawn can also help you see any archetypal patterns that might be active in your life.
At some point, especially if you decide to offer paid Tarot readings in the future, someone may ask follow-up questions weeks or months after receiving their Tarot reading.
By then, you’ve long forgotten what their Tarot reading was about.
To avoid this, before every reading, inform clients that the window for follow-up questions relevant to what was covered in the Tarot reading is to 1-2 weeks after the reading, depending on your preference. This will make your life easier.
You’ll probably receive requests for relationship Tarot readings more than any other life area.
With this in mind, have a few relationship Tarot spreads ready to use for different scenarios.
Lastly, ask the right questions!
Wording your Tarot questions strategically can provide greater clarity.
Avoid using questions that begin with the words Should, Will, and When.
Instead, use questions that start with the words What, Why, Would, and How.
The first set of words (should, will, when) are often used in predictive questions, and this can produce wishy-washy results because Spirit can’t tell us what to do or how to live life. Questions with this type of wording are disempowering.
Spirit doesn’t tell us a lot of things, especially regarding future events, so that we can figure things out on our own here in Earth school.
Moreover, questions involving timing predictions are not effective since time and space don’t exist in the Spirit world. 80 human years here feels like the blink of an eye in the Spirit realm, to give you an idea.
Tarot can most definitely provide the most possible outcome of a situation, but nothing can intervene with free will. One seemingly innocent choice that deviates from this possible outcome can change everything. This is Universal law. Something worth mentioning is that Tarot shouldn’t be used explicitly as a predictive tool, it’s more than that.
Tarot can increase self-awareness as well as identify patterns that are manifesting in your life. It teaches you how to become empowered rather than a victim of fate.
There will be times when Tarot reveals certain truths you’ve been avoiding, often the shadow archetypes that are currently active in your consciousness either internally or externally, but facing them is the only way that you can integrate them into your conscious awareness and evolve on the Soul level.
By formulating questions that begin with what, why, would, how; you’ll get the Higher perspective of any situation. For example, you can ask:
“What am I learning from this person and what are they learning from me?”
“How can I improve my work situation?”
“Why is this happening for me?”
“Should I move across the country?”
“Will he marry me?”
“When will I land that job?”
…See how the first 3 questions are more productive and open-ended?
Practicing Tarot and adding it to your spiritual toolkit will open doors of infinite possibilities. Trust every insight you receive. You’ll become your own oracle for Higher guidance in no time!