Is It Intuition, or Something Else? (And can your gut steer you wrong?)

When I ask people why they want to read tarot, the Number One reason I hear is, “I want to develop my intuition.”

So many of us want to experience trust and alignment within ourselves, and the universe. And tarot can be an amazing way to open up to that.

But there is a lot of confusion about intuition and psychic ability out there. These are concepts that we need to develop with discernment, responsibility, and groundedness if we really want to embrace them in our lives.

This goes for whether you read tarot or not – intuition is not reliant on divination.

There is no shortage of psychic advice out there in cyberspace these days. Take a scroll on Instagram and you’ll likely come across posts encouraging you to trust your psychic skills and cut off those “low-vibe” friends. Or memes that remind you that your intuition is never wrong.  

But – and this a big but – the problem with that is that it’s really easy to confuse other emotions, ego, and leaky boundaries as intuition instead. And sometimes, those other culprits can convince you that you are 100 per cent correct.

While intuition can be an important facet to develop, it is not meant to override or overtake other facets like rationality, logic, or practicality.

All too often, I see people taking the idea of being an intuitive, psychic or empath too far – to the point where they stop working on their own boundaries and start to sabotage themselves.

One Intuitive Hit Isn’t Always Enough To Go On

There is something alluring about the idea of being able to suss out a person or situation right away.

But the truth is, people and opportunities are rarely one-sided.

I have read people wrong, for better and for worse. There have been times when I’ve met people who made terrible first impressions. But, as I got to know them better, I realized my first impression had been wrong – and I would have missed out on some amazing friends and colleagues otherwise.

At the same time, I’ve invested time and energy into personal and professional relationships that went sour. I’ve taken on the wrong clients, hired the wrong people, and trusted when I shouldn’t have.

But many of those mistakes felt so right at the beginning.

Intuition isn’t always about looking for immediate red flags or knowing exactly how something is going play out – because we just can’t know everything. And that’s actually okay.

Life is about making mistakes, taking risks, and trusting in yourself to be able to cope if something doesn’t work out.

You can’t live in fear of making a wrong move, otherwise you might not move anywhere at all.

Is it Intuition or a False Accusation?

Intuitive hits and hunches can be helpful. But if they shouldn’t become a source of drama, or bring harm to others.

It takes self-awareness to sort through your feelings, and that’s where the deeper work is – work that not everyone is willing to do.

For example, feeling nervous about a new job is normal, especially if it puts you outside your comfort zone. But having mixed feelings about it doesn’t necessarily mean the job is wrong, or won’t work out.

So we need to be careful not to suddenly opt-out of great opportunities just because of nerves or discomfort – yet I have seen people pull away from great things for this very reason. 

Which is why we need to be careful that an emotional reaction isn’t confused for an intuitive one. It’s the difference between acting upon an assumption, and acting upon a wiser knowing.

Suspicion, jealousy, or insecurity, can all be confused as intuitive hits.

And sometimes, you might just not like someone – and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean there’s something to suspect about that person.

And that’s where our idea of intuition can start to create drama. It’s how rumours get started, and false accusations get thrown around. Which can lead to major misunderstandings between friends, family, and colleagues.

Not only can this mean hurt feelings and burned bridges, but it also blows your credibility.

Intuition Isn’t the Only Thing To Listen To

Now, before we go any further, I think it is important to say this: There are times when we just know we need to get the heck away from someone, or something.

If you’re in danger, you need to tend to your safety.

But when we’re talking about everyday situations where we’re making decisions, meeting new people, or generally sussing things out, then it’s important to remember that your intuition will only be as strong as your ability to take into consideration all other data available to you.

That means being honest with yourself about your emotional state. It also means taking other factors consideration.

For example, if you have a hunch that a friend is mad at you, what proof do you have to back it up?

Has someone’s behaviour changed? Is something just not working the way it used to? Have other people also noticed an issue lately?

Taking outside data into account can not only help you to see where your intuition is bang-on. It also helps you to stay grounded and in-touch with reality, rather than getting swept away in your thoughts and feelings.

Watch Out for Poor Boundaries

A big mistake I see in the tarot and spiritual community is when people give unsolicited readings for others. Saying things like, “I sense this about you,” or, “I’m picking up that something is off” can be really disconcerting for the person receiving that information – especially if it’s totally wrong.

This is an example of how the idea of being an “empath” gets misused, because it misleads people to believe they are constantly reading everyone in the room – and that their feelings must be right.

Likewise, our own intuition can get scrambled when we have poor boundaries ourselves.

When you start to believe that you’re so open you’re absorbing everyone’s “stuff,” then you need to ask yourself: Why am I allowing all of this to happen to me?

And when we see red flags at work or in our personal relationships, they might actually just be boundaries that need to be addressed.

Use Good Judgement with Divinatory Tools

The point of intuitive development is not to make snap judgments or ignore other decision-making capabilities.

It’s about having another tool to help you know yourself better and take responsibility for your decisions and relationships as best you can.

Yet it’s not uncommon for people to base major life decisions off a single tarot reading. What a responsibility to place on a deck of cards – and the person reading them!

Remember that tarot is a source of data and information, but just like an intuitive hit, it may not be the full picture you need to make a decision.

Which is why I teach tarot the way I do: By training students to read the information in the cards themselves, so that tarot becomes a book of knowledge that you can consult for external advice when you’re not clear in how you feel.

Until next time,

Liz xo


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