Do you need to do a ritual to begin a tarot reading?

“I’ve seen some tarot readers online talking about things they do to prepare for a reading. Should I be doing certain rituals before I read my cards?”

I love receiving questions like this.

Maybe you’ve wondered about this in your own tarot practice.

Or maybe you already have some kind of ritual or routine you engage in before you begin a tarot reading.

Tarot rituals can look like all kinds of things: From shuffling techniques to meditation, to saying a prayer, to setting up crystals.

One of the reasons I appreciate these types of questions is that they push us to get clear about our why in tarot.

Why do you think you need a ritual to begin a reading?

Why do you want one? (Or, why don’t you?)

What do you do believe the ritual accomplishes?

If you’ve read my book The Power of Tarot, you’ll know that I don’t subscribe to a lot of rituals or accessories when it comes to my tarot practice.

I have a couple of reasons for being a no-frills kind of tarot reader:

  1. I like being able to read tarot anywhere, at any time. If I get hired to do a party, or a friend comes over and needs to pull some cards, I want to be able to get right into a reading without much set-up.
  2. I don’t believe my skill as a tarot reader relies on things like rituals. My skill comes from the methods I use to read cards, and how I choose to approach whatever question is at hand. My skills are not impacted or influenced by any rituals that I do before a reading.

    I see tarot as a language, and just as I don’t need a certain ritual to read a book or a newspaper, I don’t need a ritual to act as on or off switch for me to be able to read cards.
  3. I’m cautious about the fine lines that exist between superstition and spirituality. If rituals become too elaborate, it’s easy to worry that if a step is rushed or forgotten altogether, then the reading might somehow be “off.” I generally discourage tarot readers from doing anything that might make them feel their readings are jinxed.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with incorporating an element of ritual if it genuinely means something to you.

Again, it all comes down to why: Why is it worth the time and effort? Why is it important to you? And why does it align with your practice?

If you find yourself going through the motions of certain rituals before a reading and you’re not sure they’re even necessary, let them go.

It doesn’t matter what you see other tarot readers doing (or not doing) in their practices.

Allow yourself to make a judgment call about what fits with your approach to tarot. And get clear about your own set of beliefs in regards to how tarot works, and where your skills begin and end with the cards.

Treating ritual as a rule can become a disempowering path. And truthfully, I see a lot of tarot readers out there who have put years of work into studying and practicing tarot, and yet never give themselves credit for the readings they’re able to do.

They say it’s all in thanks to their candles, their crystals, or the circles they cast before a reading began.

As though they’re not active participants in any of it.

Is that true, though? Maybe for some readers it is.

But given the work that goes into tarot reading, I doubt that it’s true for many once we get below the surface.

Again, it all comes down to why: Why do these beliefs exist, and what do they serve?

If you are incorporating a lot of ritual elements into your readings and it feels onerous and distracts from the reading itself, that might also be a sign to re-evaluate whether those components of your practice are supporting you.

If you’re not sure why it’s important, or what it’s serving, it might be time to let it go.

At the end of the day, whatever your tarot practice looks like, I would really like to encourage you to trust that your skills as a tarot reader are good enough on their own.

Or if you’re still learning, then I’d like you to trust that you’re on your way to being the kind of tarot reader who can whip out their cards at any time, any place, and give a killer reading right then and there.

No props required.

Until next time,

Liz xo

p.s. Want to learn more about how to build a meaningful tarot practice that just requires you and your deck of cards? My book The Power of Tarot will show you how. Get it here.


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