I was reading an interview with a celebrated occult writer last year and was surprised when he admitted that he almost only reads esoteric books.
When I’m scrolling through my social media feed, I often stop to look at posts about what people in the tarot community are reading. And usually those updates feature books about tarot, divination, spirituality, or magic.
When you’re passionate about something, you tend to gravitate towards it. And I spend my fair share of time reading about tarot, too.
Sometimes my tarot students have confessed that they feel pressured to read every single thing they can about tarot – even if it’s at the expense of making time to explore other interests or give their intellects a break by changing the topic.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with setting out to gain a substantial level of knowledge – in fact, I encourage it. Tarot, spirituality, and the occult are lifelong paths on which we are always learning.
But if you want to be a well-rounded tarot reader, you don’t have to read all the tarot books at once to be able to give relevant, insightful readings.
Here are five things you can learn and do that will help you support your clients (now, or in the future), and give you a grounded place to work from. And they don’t require you to go out and get more tarot guidebooks.
1. Study history.
Tarot is old, but not as old as other divinatory systems like astrology or palmistry. Exploring tarot’s history is, in my opinion, an essential part of any tarot practice. Knowing the origins of tarot gives you a better understanding of the tool you are using.
But it doesn’t just provide context for your tarot cards: History also provides context for human experience. There are so many avenues to explore in history.
2. Explore sociology.
Where do dress codes and fashions come from? Why do people believe what they do? Where do our societal norms come from? Sociology helps us to understand the behaviours and trends within our communities, and the world at large.
What does this have to do with tarot? It helps you understand what kinds of influences we encounter when we are out in the world. Sociology gives us additional context for the experiences that we may need to explore in our tarot readings.
3. Learn about body language.
When I was studying journalism, I had to learn about body language as an interview skill. It’s not something I would have given much thought to otherwise, but I’m so grateful my eyes were opened to it.
If you’re going to read tarot for other people in-person or through video chat, body language plays a huge role in understanding your clients. Being able to sense whether someone is nervous, uncomfortable, open, or closed off about a reading can help you determine the tone and pace of your session together.
And people will be much more willing to relax and trust you if you make the effort to put them at ease when they need it.
4. Watch the news.
I know the news can be hard to take sometimes. And I know it can feel easier to just tune it out altogether.
But hear me out: People are affected by what’s going on in the world. My tarot practice has become consistently busier whenever the news is dire, or there’s a collective crisis like the pandemic.
People turn to tarot when they feel unsafe. And being in the know will help you to respond to and acknowledge the fears clients are bringing to a reading, even if those fears feel bigger and less personal sometimes.
It’s another way to build trust with your clients as well, because current events give us all common ground.
You don’t have to binge-watch CNN or doomscroll every news feed. Maintain an appropriate balance of information that’s right for you as a way to stay connected.
5. Read poetry.
Tarot reading requires communication skills. And sometimes, you might feel stuck to verbalize a card in a new way – one that feels personal and relevant to your client.
Poetry is a great way to build your vocabulary and break out of language ruts. If you’re feeling like your readings have become routine, seek out poets who use innovative approaches to their writing. Think of how you can push the boundaries of your own readings by using different words to interpret the same cards.
Until next time,
p.s. Want more tips to build your tarot skills? Step right this way to sign up for my free masterclass.