The tarot is a tricky and complicated divination tool to understand. There are techniques, spreads and strategies, not to mention 78 different card meanings (and that does not even count the reversed meanings) to learn in order to master the art of the tarot. To truly improve your tarot reading skills it is important to know what the cards mean to you on an intuitive level and develop your own psychic connection to them. Below are four steps you can take to develop your intuitive self, connect better to your cards and achieve more accurate readings for your clients.
1. Meditation – Meditation is the practice of letting all of the distractions go and just focus on your breathing. This mindful meditation practice quiets the mind and lets the hamster take a break from running on its wheel. It also improves the chances for intuitive/psychic information to come into your awareness while you are quiet and still.
In order to meditate, I think it’s helpful to find the place and time that will work for you on a daily basis. By finding the same time and place everyday you can build your meditation practice into a habit. I usually do mine in the morning, while I’m still lying in bed. Fresh from a good night’s sleep makes staying awake generally a little easier to accomplish in the morning. Another factor to consider when meditating is to wear comfortable clothing (nothing scratchy or too tight) and to find a comfortable position you can be in to withstand ten full minutes of meditation without distraction. For some people sitting in a cross-legged position will work, but others require lying down. Both are fine, as long as it’s a position that works for you over the course of your meditation time.
To begin meditating, put your body into your chosen position, then give yourself at least ten minutes to just relax and breathe. During this time notice any thoughts that float in and out of your mind. When your mind becomes distracted by these thoughts just bring your focus back to your breath. This will most likely be difficult to do at first, but with practice you can get better at it, and eventually you may go the full ten minutes with doing nothing but focusing on the breath. Once you reach this point you can begin to increase your meditation time. If just focusing on the breath is too difficult to achieve, I would recommend guided meditation via an app on a cell phone or other listening device. Guided meditation gives your mind an audible stimuli to focus on which can help calm down the “monkey mind” that mediation tends to produce.
As you continue to practice meditation and increase your ability to focus the mind, you will begin to see a change in yourself. For example, meditation can reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and balance your emotions, but the most important aspect is it creates a listening space for your higher self or spirit guides to communicate with you. By building this connection to the “higher realms” you are opening yourself up to having a better connection to your intuition, which becomes a greater resource when working with your tarot cards. In fact, you can even bring your cards into this connection. If you pick a card and focus on its imagery during your meditation, you can begin to communicate with the card directly. What does the card have to say to you? What does the imagery mean to you? If you lived in the card what would your life be like? What do the characters in the card act like? Say? or represent? This deeper understanding of the cards will fuel a stronger connection and more accurate readings, because your intuitive channels will be open and the cards will take on a unique message for you that will improve your ability to understand them and interpret them in a spread.
2. Exercise – When dealing with energy, that of yourself or your client, it’s important to have a way to dispel it after a reading is over. I found that running worked great for me. The reason running or any exercise is so important is that it allows you to release these old energies, to shake them out of your body and get your blood and oxygen pumping so that fresh energy can take it’s place. It’s also no secret that exercising releases endorphins, which makes one feel happy and up. For both of these reasons, exercise is important to incorporate into your tarot reading practice.
I would suggest trying an exercise that you enjoy doing. Most people hate to exercise, but if you can find a way to enjoy it, it becomes much easier to stick to an exercise plan. For instance, I started running a few years ago because I was going to be in a race and needed to train (how I got into this race is a whole other blog post so we will skip that for now). Anyway, I hated running and really wanted no part in doing it, but then I discovered an app called 5K Runner. This app was great because it started me out slowly. I began by just walking for one minute and then running for one minute and back and forth until after a few sessions it had me try running for two minutes and so on…pretty soon I was running miles, not minutes. It was amazing and I was filled with pride and excitement that I was actually becoming a runner! I then started to build only positive associations with running. First I would think about how good I felt after running. I would work out my legs and torso and learned to appreciate the burn of muscle building because I knew it would make me a stronger, faster runner. I also found great audio books and pod casts to listen to while I ran, and would only allow myself to listen to them when I ran, so I would look forward to the run. As my body became used to running and I went further and faster all of the time, I felt better. My heart, lungs and body became stronger. Most importantly, I had more focus and clarity around my tarot readings. It was because I was releasing the old stressful, negative energies and refilling myself with positive ones. This allowed me to stay calm, focused and energized, which resulted in stronger, more accurate readings for my clients.
3. Study – To become a strong tarot reader you should try to work with your cards everyday. An hour or even just a few minutes every day, can help you build a strong foundation in their meanings, spreads and techniques that many of the most popular tarot card readers use.
Tarot Meanings - One strategy to learn the tarot meanings is to make up a story about each card or character. Remembering through story telling is easier then just trying to remember what the imagery means, or what the book tells you it means. For instance, when I was first learning the tarot I struggled because I didn’t really connect to the Rider-Waite-Smith deck very well. I knew it was loaded with symbolic meaning, but there was just so much to remember it became overwhelming. Then a friend of mine gifted me the Mythic Tarot deck and I started to learn the cards very quickly. The Mythic Tarot is based off of the stories and characters of the Greek Myths. So if you know who the character is or the story depicted in the card then you essentially know what the card means. So if you are overwhelmed by trying to learn all of the definitions for all of the cards, try employing a story element so that it is easier to remember. You can try learning from the Mythic Tarot or make up your own stories to attach to the tarot cards you are working with.
Another technique, is to just read them literally. What you see in the image is exactly what the card means. This was the technique that the famous 18th Century fortuneteller Madame Lenormand used and people still use this method to this day.
Games/Exercises - I would also suggest playing different games and exercises with your cards to keep building your awareness of how they work. Dusty White’s books “The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot Ever!” (the beginners edition otherwise known as the white book) and his second book “Advanced Tarot Secrets” (or the black book for the more advanced tarot reader) are great resources for exercises and games that will build up your tarot skills. Among my favorites are “Call Your Card”, “Hero and Sidekick” and “Cards in Scenario.” He devised these exercises to help tarot readers learn how to build their intuitive ability, and use it to interpret the meaning of a card. Both books are excellent resources for tarot work and I highly recommend them.
Continuing Education - In fact it is a must to keep your tarot education going as you will always pick up new insights and information about the tarot, it’s origins, techniques and tools that can improve your readings. There are many paid and free resources out there for building your skills. Below are a few of my favorites:
4. Practice readings – Finally, practice, practice, practice. Try to read for one person every day, even if it’s yourself, your cat, or your neighbor. Sometimes I’ll pull cards about an event going on in the world that has nothing to do with me. For example, I’ll ask the cards “what will the new lotto winners do with their winnings?” For this question I received the Six of Pentacles (charity) and the Ace of Swords (new investments). The point is just work with your cards - it can truly be about anything. By practicing readings every day, whether it be new spreads, trying out new decks, or trying a new technique, you will continue to build your arsenal of knowledge and your skill set will increase, which will be clear when you are reading for your paying clients.
What about you? What are some ideas you have for improving your tarot reading techniques? Tell me in the comments below.
*Full disclosure – I am not part of an affiliate program of any kind. The books, blogs and other recommendations I have made in this blog post were of my own choice, I receive no compensation for recommending them.