Five things I wish I’d known when I was first learning tarot

I always say that tarot is like any other relationship.

There are going to be times you feel totally aligned and in love, and other times when you feel like you’re not even speaking the same language.

But that’s the thing: Tarot is a language. And it takes time to learn it, and to communicate its messages.

When I was first learning tarot, I had no idea what to expect in terms of how it would work: Was I supposed to feel something? Do something? See something? I wondered.

Here are five things I wish someone had told me when I was first starting out:

1. It takes time and practice.

Like anything else, tarot takes work. Especially if you want to be good at it. A common mistake I see with new tarot readers is that they expect tarot to be an instantaneous experience – just give your cards a little shuffle and away you go!

If only it was so easy. But trust me: Patience pays off with tarot, big time.

2. The Celtic Cross is not a good beginner spread.

Yet it still seems to be one of the most ubiquitous tarot spreads out there. Many tarot newbies get introduced to the Celtic Cross as it’s often included in the little white book (LWB) that comes with most tarot decks.

Yet there’s often little context as to what this spread’s purpose is, or what kinds of questions it’s best used for.

When you’re first starting out with tarot, I recommend you avoid the Celtic Cross and opt to learn smaller spreads using just a few cards. You might worry you’re missing something, but trust me when I say that the Celtic Cross will not make or break you as a tarot reader.

3. There isn’t a specific set of rules or a formula to follow with tarot.

That’s why it can feel so mysterious to learn. It would be so easy if there was a step-by-step process to follow when reading cards.

But tarot has quite a convoluted history. It’s been adopted, adapted, and re-invented time and again. Its purposes are many: People use it for divination, psychology, self-help, self-care, meditation, and more.

To learn tarot means being willing to make an interpretation of the cards. It takes time and practice to get comfortable doing that.

4. Keep a tarot journal.

Write down your reflections about your tarot cards. Record any readings you’re doing for yourself and revisit those entries later to see if you can add new perspective to the cards.

Tarot cards are not fixed in their individual meanings. Like life, they require you to look at things from different angles, or see a detail you hadn’t noticed before.

A tarot journal will book your book of meanings. You can also use it to take notes from any tarot classes you take or books you read, so that your knowledge is in one handy place.

5. You don’t need to have all the answers right away.

You can learn so much by staying humble and keeping the pressure off to read tarot perfectly the first time.

Hindsight is 20/20, as the saying goes. When you’re learning tarot, it’s common to have high expectations of yourself to come up with an interpretation in the moment.

But it can take time to piece together a message from a tarot reading. It’s okay if you’re not sure what the cards are saying at first.

Make note of any confusing cards and come back to them later. Or wait to see how a situation plays out and then look back at that reading to see where the connections may have been.

Record your new insights in your tarot journal.

If you want to learn how to read tarot cards – to really see what the images are trying to tell you – my Tarot Foundations course starts in February 2020.

This is a 15-week online immersion into everything you need to know as a tarot beginner. Get on the waitlist here to be notified when registration opens.