How to Learn to Read Tarot
There are so many things you can do or add to your Tarot practice to increase your abilities, better understand the cards, or make the whole experience more enjoyable. Below I have compiled a few basic tips for how to learn to read Tarot more efficiently, taking a holistic look at the act of sitting with the Tarot.
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1) Start with the Rider-Waite classic or a Rider-Waite spin-off deck
Many people start with the classic Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot that the majority of readers and non-readers are most familiar with. You know the one. It’s the deck that nearly all current Tarot decks are based off of.
It’s a great deck for just starting off, or using your whole life! It’s pretty much the basis of modern Tarot.
Or maybe, for you, the original deck lacks the pizzaz you’re looking for to spark your inspiration or inspire you to sit down more often with your deck and fully explore the Tarot. Fortunately, there are a plethora of decks based off the classic deck made by big publishers and small independent artists alike that you can choose from to add color and a twist to the classic Rider-Waite experience.
If you’re interested, you can find a copy of the classic Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot here!
Explore your options and choose a deck you like – one that speaks to you. Being interested and artistically drawn to your deck will help you connect to the cards and your own subconscious better.
2) A Need for Ritual
What most of us lack in our modern, busy lives is ritual. All of us have routines, yes, but how many of those routines are created with mindful intention? If you’re struggling in connecting with or finding the desire to read your Tarot cards, it might be helpful for you to create a structured time just for spending alone with your cards.
Maybe it’s 6:10 every Tuesday night when none of your roommates are home and you know you’ll have more peace and quiet to yourself to focus. Or maybe it’s early in the morning before anyone in the house has woken up yet. It could even be late at night, when you find yourself calm and relaxed after the long day is done.
Whenever you choose to do it, carve out a special, scheduled moment dedicated to reading Tarot. Writing it on your calendar or setting an alarm on your phone may help you remember and keep to it. Set aside thirty to forty minutes of your time every week, every two weeks, or whatever suits you best that you will reserve for “Tarot Time” and Tarot Time only.
3) Dedicated Space for Tarot
Dedicate a place in your house to do your Tarot readings. It could be a sacred altar, your work desk, the coffee table, or even your bed, but I highly recommend that you stay consistent with where you go to do your readings (or at least most of them).
Make it the same place every time. This will help provide structure for you mind to focus, and keep it focused.
Research shows that doing something in the same place over and over again becomes associated in your brain as the place to “do that thing.” This is why some people don’t do so well with studying or reading in bed, because their brains associate it too much as a place to sleep and they find they can’t stay awake to study! (I’m one of those people!) Devoting a specific spot in the house to where you will consistently do Tarot will help your mind sharpen its focus and attention and, ultimately, its ability to hone in, understand, and learn the cards.
4) Minimize Distractions
Get rid of as many distractions as possible.
Choose a time when you have nothing else to do for at least thirty minutes, or find a part of your day where you can make such a time. Find a place that is quiet where you will not be disturbed, or let the people in your house know not to disturb you until a certain time.
Close the door – I know that may sound obvious, but it’s so easy to leave our bedroom or office door open, especially to allow our precious animal companions in for a pet if they want one. But, as much as I love my cat, I keep my door closed during readings because, let’s face it, her jumping into my lap is a pretty big throw-off and distraction!
Definitely turn your phone to “do not disturb” mode – you don’t want a phone call or pinging notification tearing you away from your reading.
5) Let your Intuition free!
Your Intuition is in there, whether you know it or not, and it’s ready to be your ally and help you interpret the cards before you.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Whatever you feel when you look at the cards – the first inkling you have that your mind and heart detects – that is your Intuition and unconscious mind speaking.
It can sometimes be hard to hear over all our other thoughts, which is why all the recommendations for dedicating a time for your Tarot work and eliminating as many distractions as possible is important. Your Intuition is a whisper, a small suggestion – you want to be able to train your mind to hear it and give it value. It holds invaluable subconscious information customized especially for you from deep within your knowing core.
Go with what your gut tells you about the card. Your mind is innately intelligent and perceptive all on its own, and becomes increasingly so with practice in listening to it.
6) Find a Tarot Card Guide
Maybe your gut (or what you think is your gut) is giving you anxiety-fueled worst-case-scenario fears as meanings for the card.
Or you just can’t figure out what the card means! Or nothing’s coming to mind, or you don’t quite trust the message popping into your head, or any host of reasons.
Here’s another situation: no matter what we try to tell ourselves, there are always going to be some cards whose imagery, title, or association give us a negative gut reaction. (These cards that spur immediate dislike might be different from person to person)
When this happens, when you can’t think past the doom-and-gloom ideas your worried or upset mind is throwing at you, it’s a good time to get some help from a good, old-fashioned Tarot guide.
There are so many out there – books and online resources that can provide you with a basic understanding to help you with card meanings – and all of them are great and useful tools.
For me, ever since the beginning of my Tarot practice, I have been using the free card look-ups on Biddy Tarot to help figure out how a card I’ve drawn is relating to my life in that moment. Their meanings are easy to read, immediately understandable, and focused yet expansive enough for a detailed yet narrowed-in understanding. Subsequently their book The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings, which compiles all of it together in one tight space that you can keep in your drawer, is equally favorable. Grab a copy for yourself here!
Boost your Tarot experience!
All in all, to enhance your divination expertise it’s a good idea to limit disturbances, allot time and space for your meaningful practice, and value both the intuitive and researched information you receive.
You may not see results immediately if you start following some of these suggestions – though you might! – but over the long-term, if you incorporate these 6 tips into your daily, weekly, or biweekly practice of the Tarot, I am certain you will see significant progress!
I truly hope these tips for how to learn to read Tarot aid you in your divination journey! Let me know in the comments below which ones you’re going to try!
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