Maybe you’re a beginner, or maybe you’ve been reading the Tarot for some time, but you don’t feel you’re getting anywhere or learning anything new. Maybe you just don’t feel like an expert yet and want to have more confidence and certainty in your readings. Whatever might be blocking you, here is a list I have compiled of some ideas for how to get better at reading the Tarot.
This can also be used as an introductory guide to how to start reading the Tarot intuitively and how to use your gut instincts as a tool to access your subconscious intelligence, but I’ll write more on that later.
1) Pay attention to card art.
When you draw a Tarot card, take a minute to actually look at the card image. Pay attention to the art and what is happening in the scene. What does it make you think of? How does it make you feel? At this point, don’t think about what it “actually” means or what it “must” mean. You need to access your subconscious which contains more pertinent information on your situation and life than any guidebook or internet page ever will. Let the profoundly intelligent and historical images of the Tarot inspire your creative mind and be your guide to the unconscious.
2) Practice free writing / stream-of-consciousness writing.
You’re looking at the card and just nothing’s coming to you. You’re stumped. You start to panic. “What if I can’t do this? What if I’m not good at intuitive interpretation? What if I’m just not good at this?” If you find this happening to you (and I admit, it still happens to me) take a moment to take a breath. Remind yourself to calm down.
You may think nothing is coming to mind, but actually there are a bunch of messages your subconscious is already picking up, you just need to open up your conscious view to them.
So look at the card, empty your mind – don’t think about anything for a second. After you do that for a moment, then ask, “What’s one thing that comes to mind when I look at this?” It may be as simple as “sad” or “books,” but if you ask yourself for another word you might then get “sad – because he was wronged” or “books – college / academia / a place of intelligence.” Now you’re getting somewhere! There’s a reason you see such details when you look at that card. There’s a reason you’re getting those impressions right now. You may look at the same card another day and get another entirely different impression of what’s going on – the characters may seem joyous when last time they seemed frenzied, or you may sense a darkness or shadowiness that wasn’t there last time you checked. What changed? You! You and your situation! Let the ideas that come to your mind steer you towards the message your subconscious intelligence is guiding you into.
3) Get multiple decks.
I’m one of those people who has a ton of different Tarot decks. In my experience, having so many different options gives me the freedom to choose whatever style and character suits my fancy that day – whatever deck and art that just feels right in this moment. Feel free to branch out and get decks that are a little far-off to you, that challenge you. Get decks that make you feel warm and calm. Get decks that make you feel excited and inspired. Get decks for darker, shadow-self readings, and others for bright, sunny readings. Having options means more versatility, and it might inspire you to reach for the Tarot more often than you would think.
4) Tarot on the go.
Take your deck with you! Tarot is meant to be done, and it can be done anywhere! Taking your deck with you wherever you go opens up the opportunity to take advantage of inspired moments, when you suddenly feel the urge to try it again, or when you spontaneously have a particular question you’d like to ask but you’re in your car sitting in the grocery store parking lot. Having a deck with you as you go about your life may help you relax in your Tarot practice and make readings more casual, lighthearted, and practical.
Tip: If you don’t want to rumple and damage your favorite deck, get another for travel! Better yet, get a mini deck! That way it fits perfectly and snugly in your purse, backpack, or tote bag.
5) Try oracle cards.
An oracle card deck is any divination-style deck of cards that are not structured within the guidelines of the Tarot. Oracle cards are different from Tarot cards in that they follow their own structure, which is determined by that deck’s creator(s).
Reading with oracle cards can be very liberating, freeing you from the heavily detailed constraints (and expectations) the age-old Tarot carries. While oracle decks don’t have the sturdy, time-worn structure of the Tarot, they have their own systems that are oftentimes much easier to follow, interpret, and understand. In my experience, there’s not so much saturated depth to oracle cards – they’re more fun, more relaxed, and easier to understand. And they may give you the freedom you need to start accessing your intuition and play with the cards again.
Tip: In the case of oracle cards you might want to make sure you have its accompanying guidebook – I’ve found these to be oftentimes crucial in understanding what the artist intended with their unique art and structure to the cards and deck!
6) Intuitive guidebook reading.
You’ve done your intuitive reading, but you still want to make sure you’re right. Or maybe you just want to add to your interpretation, or glean further insight from someone more experienced than you, or maybe you just want a different angle on things to help add to your insight. At this point you might look up what the card “means” but stop right there – try this before you read what that guidebook or webpage says:
Guidebooks and websites are full of information – sometimes too much, even just for one card. Sometimes I’ve been inundated with the so many nuanced details that each card can contain that I’ve often wondered, “but which ones apply to me right now?” If you find yourself often in this situation, try this – before reading anything on the page, feel out where on the page the information relevant to you (the information that will help with your reading) might be. Feel it out with your fingers if you want, or just with your mind behind closed eyes. If you’re not feeling anything, pick a random spot with your fingertip and read it. Read it as if that is the phrase or sentence best targeted to you right now, and delve into that single aspect of the card in relation to your situation. Don’t pay too much attention to the rest of the page, or don’t read it at all! Each card contains so many varied meanings that they can be overwhelming. This technique can help narrow down your focus and rally in your thoughts.
Try something new!
Exploring the inner world is a lifelong journey of discovery. Everybody is different, everybody has different techniques and proclivities and needs, so these tips for how to get better at reading Tarot are just that, tips. No matter what, you are your own best guide and you know your own mind and what will work for you better than anybody else!
That being said, I encourage you to try something new, to venture out and do something on this list that you haven’t done before. You never know – it might be the ticket you need to expand your Tarot and intuitive abilities!
How was this list? Did you try any of these? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below!