One of my earliest entries into the world of tarot and divination was when my mom bought me a palm reading at a fair. The guy was good – really good. Or at least my 12-year-old self was impressed.
My mom had always been drawn to that world. She used to have clairvoyants come over to the house to read at parties. She let me play with Ouija boards when I was a kid.
But despite being encouraged to explore these intuitive realms, they always felt removed to me. At psychic fairs, I would be handed brochures from “4th generation” tarot readers. I bought books about divination and psychic development, but felt out of place when I read the author bios claiming their own “gifts” were handed down by a family member.
I don’t like to use the word “gift” myself when talking about tarot. Don’t get me wrong. Hearing a client say, “You really have a gift for this,” is high praise in this industry.
But to talk about the ability to read tarot like it’s a gift makes it sound like it’s something you have to receive, that you have to be chosen for.
Hearing it gives me the same feeling I had when people would talk about their own intuitive abilities being handed down through their family lineage.
If I didn’t have anyone in my family bestowing these types of “gifts” on me, where might I find them? I used to wonder.
It all made me feel like I had to reach outside of myself to learn something like tarot. It made me feel like I was looking into an impenetrable world – one that I very much wanted to understand – but wasn’t born into.
If you can relate – if you are sitting there thinking that tarot is for someone else to understand, that it’s not for you to use, that you can’t work with it because you’re “not intuitive” or don’t come from a magical, mystical family – I want to tell you this:
Stop thinking that right now.
Easier said than done, I know, but I was so held back by these beliefs at one time that I blocked myself off from my intuitive self for years.
I had to get myself to a point where I started to see that tarot readers were just like me. They had taken the time to learn how to read and interpret the cards. They had taken the time to find their inner knowing and eventually use it for others.
I think everyone can learn tarot, I really do. And I have seen it happen. I have had students in my tarot workshops sit down and say, “I’m not very intuitive.”
“So why are you here?” I always want to know.
“Because I love looking at tarot cards.”
And that’s all you need to do to begin reading them.
See them. Feel them. Touch them.
Just start there.
It’s funny, but the people who come into these workshops feeling the most blocked end up giving some of the most insightful interpretations when we start doing practice readings.
Because the true “gift” to be found in the process is what you are able to reveal to yourself once you start working with tarot.
You might have heard me say this before – I repeat myself a lot – but tarot will break you open.
In a good way. Even if it’s unexpected. Even if it’s messy, but necessary.
What do I mean by that?
When I started learning tarot, I had no idea how much it would teach me about myself. I had no idea that it would it really make me question my motives, my ambitions.
That it would validate my biggest hopes, as well as my greatest fears. That it would reassure me when I was on the right path, and warn me if I was veering onto the wrong one.
I was changing as I was learning, but I didn’t really notice it until I looked back and realized how far I’d come.
And that tarot had been an anchor for me all along the way.
Was it a coincidence that I’d started working with tarot just before making some of the biggest changes of my life? I don’t think so.
Tarot gives you a lot of courage. It gives you more confidence to trust in your own decisions and to give rise to your own voice, rather than letting outside opinions or other people’s ideas dictate your destiny.
And when things hit the fan, tarot becomes an anchor that helps to hold you in place. It is a way to get back to yourself when everything around you feels like it’s slipping out of your grasp.
When my dad was spending the final months of his life in the hospital, tarot was part of my daily ritual. I would sit with the cards for a few minutes each morning and write down whatever messages they had for me. It was an incredibly painful time in my life. I needed something like tarot to help guide me through it.
Tarot was something for me to focus on. It became a simple but powerful self-care practice.
Tarot can be so many things to so many people. But it is much more than a parlour trick. It is much more than fortune-telling, or future-telling.
It is something that will wake you up in ways you never imagined, and something that will help keep you grounded when you need it most.
And that’s why I think it’s so accessible, so possible to learn: It really is a tool that is meant for you.
And that’s also why I think everyone should learn tarot. Because it deepens your ability to see yourself in the world. It helps you practice compassion, not only for others, but for yourself. And it helps you see possibilities within yourself that you never imagined.
If you are ready to learn how to walk your own path and be guided by your own voice, tarot is for you.
If you’re ready to learn how to work with it and are wondering where to start, you might want to check out my book, Going Beyond the Little White Book: A Contemporary Guide to Tarot. Learn about it here.
Until next time,