How to get the most out of a tarot class

LizWorth -- resizedThinking of signing up for a tarot class? Amazing. Learning tarot can be, in my opinion, a major turning point in anyone’s life.

Tarot stirs things up. It gives you more depth and clarity into aspects of your life and helps you to see things from a new perspective, or affirms what your intuition has been telling you all along.

But where do you begin with it? There are tons of workshops, online courses, meetup groups, and self-study programs to choose from.

I highly recommend taking tarot classes at some point.

Personally, my journey into tarot was a mix of learning. I did a lot of self-study on my own with books and practice readings, but when I started taking tarot classes and let a real live teacher lead the way, I really had some great breakthroughs.

Taking classes also gives you the chance to ask questions, and connect with other aspiring tarot readers. When we come together in groups – online or in-person – knowledge and insights get shared in all kinds of ways.

But remember: There is no class, course, or teacher that will do the work for you. A good tarot lesson will give you the tools you need to get going, but your willingness to absorb and adapt to the lesson is going to be the important part.

So, if you’re thinking of investing your time and money into a tarot class, here are my tips on how to get the most from the experience:

Choose your teacher wisely, and with respect. Not all tarot readers are the same. They don’t use the same approaches or techniques. Some things in tarot are universal, and others aren’t. None are wrong, just different.

If your teacher has a blog, YouTube channel, mailing list or other platform where they talk about tarot, take a minute to read it. See what they have to say, and if they speak a language that you like. Some people will teach tarot from a very esoteric perspective, while others will be more down-to-earth.

Go into it knowing that a beginners’ tarot class will have a different flavour depending on who is teaching it, even if the content is very similar.

Bring your own tarot cards. I know this sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised. With every workshop Iteach, there’s at least one person who shows up without a deck of tarot cards. Even though the registration page clearly states that students must bring their own decks, I usually end up lending my deck to make sure no one’s left out.

But if you end up in a class where there is no deck to spare, it will be hard to participate, especially if it’s a hands-on experience. And with tarot, it usually is. It makes me wonder: If you want to learn tarot, then how do you plan to do that if you don’t have any tarot cards?

Don’t bring oracle cards, angel cards, or Lenormand cards. This is another thing I see a lot – people bring cards that are not tarot cards. If you are coming to a tarot class, make sure you know what tarot is. There is a difference between tarot cards and oracle or angel cards. Tarot cards may differ in their artwork, but the structure is the same:

Every deck has 78 cards that are broken out into two categories: the Major and Minor Arcana. The cards contained within those suits are key to learning tarot. If you take a tarot class, it will be structured around the system of tarot. Other types of divination tools, like oracle decks or Lenormand cards, will have their own sets of rules and structures. So be sure you are bringing the right tools to class.

Know why you are there. Did a friend talk you into coming to a tarot workshop, but you have no idea what tarot cards are, or if you even want to be there? Or maybe you signed up on a whim? Whatever the reason, great! Curiosity is healthy, and so is spontaneity.

If you are planning on attending a tarot class and you’re totally new to it, at least take a few minutes to know what you are walking into. Check out the class description, look up the teacher to see who they are and what they bring to the table. And, do a bit of research on what tarot is, and what it’s used for.

Don’t be late. The first 15 minutes of a class can be some of the most important. If you are coming to one of my classes (which start on time, FYI), the first few minutes are when the ground rules are set, and introductions are made. It’s a time for everyone to learn where the bathrooms are, what any protocols might be, and when introductions are made within a group.

I have taught classes where people showed up really late – almost halfway through – and missed a lot of key information as a result. And when they raised their hands to ask questions, they asked all kinds of things that were already covered. Not only does it disrupt the flow of a class to have someone come in late, it’s not fair to the participants to hear the same information repeated again for the late-comers, and it’s not time-efficient for a teacher, either.

If you’re an hour late, how can I be expected to catch you up on an hour worth of material? It’s not gonna happen. So be there from the beginning and you won’t miss a thing.Note taking

Know what the class is promising. No one can turn you into a tarot reader, and you won’t become a tarot pro in an afternoon workshop. (Sorry, but it’s true. Don’t fall for the marketing hype of anyone who tells you otherwise.)

This is especially important to follow if you are committing to a longer course, but also if it’s just a two-hour beginner workshop.

Why? Because the course outline tells you exactly what to expect. If you are taking a two-hour intro class, you will probably get some of the most important basics to tarot, but you will not leave knowing tarot inside and out. That takes years. An intro course is just the beginning.

It’s also important to know what you are signing up for because sometimes, I have taught classes where people really did not read the class description at all.

When I teach on how to use tarot for magic and ritual purposes, for example, the class is clearly outlined as a way to use tarot for spiritual and magical purposes. But still, people show up expecting to learn how to do basic card readings, which is not the premise of the class.

Even with a longer program, your lessons will still be contained with a curriculum. So find a class that is promising to teach you things you don’t know about tarot, or that is suited to your learning level. Only you can know what’s right for you.

Empty your cup. I first heard this saying when I took an astrology class with Donna Woodwell and I have been using it ever since. “Empty your cup” means that once you step into a place of learning, you keep your mind open to the lessons at hand.

Even if you’re still new to tarot, you might have learned some things along the way, but it doesn’t mean every tarot class will speak to them, or that every tarot reader will use those same ideas or techniques.

There are many different ways to work with tarot, and different ways of looking at a reading. Trust in the teacher you have chosen, and trust in their methods. You are there to learn from them, and so is everyone else who is taking part. Trust in the process.

Remember that part of learning is also taking what works, and leaving behind what doesn’t. For the moment, allow your cup to fill with new knowledge, and then sift through it afterwards.

The lesson will be based on what’s relevant to the class. When you are emptying your cup, and when you are becoming familiar with what the class promises to teach, remember that the lesson will only cover what you need to know to complete the class or course.

Why I say this is that sometimes, when I’m teaching, I have students who have heard of a certain tarot technique or idea that I might not use, or that isn’t relevant to the lesson we are focused on. But they will ask: “What about reversals? Or life path cards? Or cutting the deck with your left hand?” And it can lead to a lot of confusion for others in the class who then wonder if they’re missing something.

Whatever the teaching is giving you is going to be structured around the plan to get you from Point A to Point B within the span of the class. You don’t need anything more than what the teacher is giving you at that time.

A tarot lesson is not going to be based around every possible technique there is, which might not even be relevant to each lesson, or in use by each tarot reader. This is also why it’s important to empty your cup. (For the record, I don’t use any of the techniques described above – reversals, life path cards, or rituals around how to cut a deck.)

bigstock-Still-life-with-esoteric-objec-15363872-360x260Take it all in. Don’t stop with just one book, or one class, or one teacher. Especially if you are just getting started in tarot. It can be a lot to learn at first, and most of the time, people just want to rush to the finish line and be able to read the cards. But it’s important to start on a good foundation.

Know the rules that you’re working within. Yes, tarot is intuitive and there is a fluidity to it as a practice, and yes, if you stick with it long enough, you will develop your own style of reading.

But there are also trusted techniques and card meanings that will give you the framework from which to build your understand. Sometimes, you need to learn the rules first before you can break them.

Put your phone away. Please, please, please don’t text under the table during a tarot class. Don’t think we don’t notice – we do. Turn your phone off, put it away, and be ready to listen and learn. It will be fun. I promise.  

Interested in taking a tarot workshop? I offer local and online classes throughout the year. See what’s on the schedule here:

Until next time,

Liz xo

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