Recently, I’ve been trying to think about how my tarot practice evolved into what it is today in terms of the habits and beliefs I’ve built around my processes.
There are so many things that we learn about practices like tarot on our own, through trial and error, experience and reflection.
It’s not possible to learn everything from a teacher, mentor, class, or book. Our knowledge builds from so many different sources, influences, and experiences.
Here are a few things no one ever taught me about tarot, but that I learned to do along the way all the same:
1. It’s okay to take a moment to study the cards you’ve pulled before delivering any messages.
When I’m reading tarot for someone, I don’t launch into the reading the moment the cards are pulled. I always take my time to see what’s shown up, look for patterns or other interesting details, and consider the elements that are present.
Sometimes this long pause makes querents nervous,...
Like any tool, tarot can be helpful.
But only when used correctly.
I hope this doesn’t sound controversial – it shouldn’t, because it’s true: Not every tarot reading will feel magical, special, significant, or even important.
That can apply to readings you do for yourself, as well as for others.
It’s one thing to have a reading fall flat for yourself.
But it’s a whole other ballgame if you’re reading for someone else. Even if it’s just for fun for a friend or family member, you might still want that reading to feel productive for them.
Often, the issue is not with tarot itself. Instead, readings can feel unproductive or unhelpful because the question being asked isn’t clear, or isn’t suitable for tarot.
It can also happen that the question is being asked far too often, or touches on something that doesn’t need to be explored for whatever reason.
Sometimes life is humming along just fine. Not all situations need to be...
Do you ever feel like you’re stuck on asking the same few questions whenever you pull out your tarot cards?
Like anything else, tarot can get stale over time. It’s not unusual for readers to get a bit bored or feel disconnected to tarot, no matter how much they love it.
We are human, after all, and tarot is like any other relationship. Sometimes we feel deeply aligned and in flow, and other times we might feel as though we’ve grown apart.
Over the years, I’ve had numerous moments where I craved tarot and was compelled to give myself a reading. But when I sat down with my cards, I realized I wasn’t sure why I felt that, or what I wanted to read on.
We don’t always have to go over the same topics or types of questions with tarot. There are popular go-to questions like, “What should I focus on right now?” Or, “What do I need to know right now?” that aren’t bad inquiries on their own.
But like anything else, they can...
A common question I hear from tarot students is, “Should I be using clarification cards?”
And if so, how?
Clarification cards – or clarifiers as I like to call them – are additional cards that are pulled when the initial reading doesn’t feel like it’s giving a reader enough information.
Just describing this technique sounds benign and helpful. Why wouldn’t you want to get a little more information about a reading, right?
But talking about clarifiers is like opening a can of worms: This technique draws strong opinions on both sides of the fence about whether it’s necessary or useful.
My tarot practice has evolved over time, and I’m sure yours has too. (Or if you’re still new to tarot, trust me when I say it will – we all grow and adapt to our own ways of reading cards.)
Just as I used to use reversals, there was also a time I experimented with clarifiers.
But in the end, I found that clarifiers didn’t add much...
Tarot is an interesting tool because whatever we take into ourselves – our influences, beliefs, experiences, and knowledge – can become a new lens through which to filter the cards.
No matter how many outside ideas you learn about tarot…
No matter how many different tarot meanings you try to take in…
No matter how many different approaches you take here…
Every reading you do will go through you own point of view.
And that is something that is built through all kinds of experiences and perspectives.
Our experiences give each of us a unique vantage point from which we stand. If you read tarot, or you’re learning how, it helps to reflect on your personal advantages and how they might influence your readings, or allow you to connect with querents.
It can be influenced by different jobs you’ve had:
Work gives us all kinds of skills. Many jobs help with people skills, and if you want to read for others, then it helps to be open and...
A few weeks ago I had a copycat on Instagram.
Someone had started an account under my name, stole my profile picture, and lifted several of my photographs and posts, copying my content word for word.
Then they started following people who already followed me, ensuring they were targeting individuals who were already familiar with me and who might be used to seeing me on Instagram.
I had no idea this was going on until someone tipped me off that they had been followed by an account that looked just like mine. When I went to search for it, I found out this imposter had prematurely blocked me – a further sign that they knew full well what they were doing was wrong.
As much as copying and copyright theft can be an issue, what really bothered me about this was that this person was contacting people online – people who, once again, already follow me and might be familiar with my work – trying to sell them readings.
I’m not the only one this has happened to:...
How much tarot is too much tarot?
There’s shared advice among tarot readers that readings need room to breathe:
Messages need time to unfold. Life has to happen. And there can be many factors and influences involved in a situation.
Is it always easy to wait? No. But like anything else, tarot requires balance.
But what happens when tarot becomes a crutch – something you’re relying on so much that you’re afraid to make a move without consulting the cards first?
Or maybe it’s not just tarot. Astrology and other types of divination or rituals can have the same effect.
At what point does a tool or spiritual practice become superstition, or even dependency?
Finding a balance here isn’t always easy. If tarot is so accurate and useful, why not use it all the time?
I wouldn’t say it’s common that someone develops a dependency on tarot, but it does happen.
This is one reason why many tarot readers have guidelines and policies for their clients...
A few people have asked me my thoughts about tarot certification programs in recent months.
This conversation can get quite heated in the tarot community.
I have shared thoughts before about certification here, and still feel the same way by and large. To sum up some of my earlier thoughts, my main reason for being wary of “certification” is that there are so many ways to read tarot, and different systems and correspondences.
While I have come to sense that tarot card meanings tend to be shared knowledge among readers, tarot techniques stand apart from that – and are not universal.
Some readers will swear by the esoteric correspondences of the Golden Dawn and teach that you must use astrology, Kabbalah and more to truly read tarot.
Others, like myself, will tell you to leave all that stuff to the side and just focus on the cards.
Some tarot readers focus on intuitive and psychic development, others don’t.
And then there’s the question of what happens...
Realistically, going from beginner to pro in tarot typically takes longer than that. Though classes can show you what to do and how to perform professional-quality readings, it can take time to practice and make those skills your own.
And that’s actually okay, because there’s a lot of responsibility involved in reading professionally.
So I think it’s always important to set those expectations from the start: Tarot takes time to learn, and reading for paying clients is quite different from reading casually for friends or family.
There are a lot of considerations to keep in mind before deciding to go pro as a tarot reader, because you’re not just going to be reading tarot all day. When you have a business to run – even if it’s a part-time side hustle – there are lot of other skills involved than just tarot.
And obviously, knowing how to execute a reading is still a top priority. If you don’t know how to do that yet, keep practicing and...
When you look out in the divination community, it’s common to see a lot of multi-disciplinary practitioners.
Even some books (particularly books on witchcraft, it seems) will encourage you to develop your skills by learning a bunch of different divinatory systems, including tarot.
I grew up on books like that and used to think I would have to learn everything under the sun just to be read cards: Tarot, astrology, tea leaves, palmistry, herbalism…
You know what? You don’t have to learn a bunch of different things to read tarot.
Just because some readers have varied skills and practices doesn’t make it a rule that you should, too.
If a path calls to you, cool. But don’t force yourself to take on way more occult studies than are necessary, and don’t dilute yourself by learning a little of this and a little of that without getting deep into any one practice.
Everything takes time to learn and skills need time to develop.
Focus is cool. And while we...