What I Want to Tell You About Tarot

I’ve shared this story a lot before, so if you’ve heard it already, I hope you’ll humour me for a moment.

When I got my first tarot deck, I had very skewed expectations about what would happen when I opened up that card pack.

I had (wrongly) assumed that as soon as I flipped over a few cards, I’d somehow know exactly what they were telling me.

Even though I had no idea what exactly I was hoping to find out. Nor did I consider what kind of messages tarot might even give me.

I had a vague idea that I’d get a glimpse of the future. But I was also in high school at the time, keeping a relatively routine schedule between going to a co-op in the morning, classes in the afternoon, and a part-time job after school.

What kind of big reveal was I hoping for? I had no idea. My life was pretty predictable at the time.

But I wasn’t questioning myself at the time, or thinking much about the how or why of tarot.

And unfortunately, the pressure I’d put on...

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Why is it so hard for new tarot readers to get clients?

A few years ago, I was hired to teach a few private classes to someone who had just started reading tarot. She had bought her first deck a few months before she booked on for some lessons.

After our fourth lesson together, I got an email from her: “I forgot to ask you something in our class today,” she wrote. “How much do you think I should charge for my readings?”

I was surprised.

Our lessons at that point only totaled up to about four hours of study. This student had also only ever read tarot for herself.

Given what we’d covered in our classes so far, I knew she still had a lot to learn.

I wrote back an honest response, telling her it was way too soon to worry about charging for readings. “Focus on learning how to read tarot first,” I said.

Practice, practice, practice is always my mantra with new students.

This wasn’t the first instance I’ve had this question, and it wasn’t the last.

There are a lot of reasons why I...

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How to prepare for a tarot reading

When you’re scheduled to do a tarot reading for someone, what should you do in advance to get ready for it?

Do you have to spend hours in deep meditation?

Should you be clearing your workspace, or clearing your deck?

Setting out crystals or other tools?

You can do all of the above, if you feel it’s necessary.

You can also do none of the above – especially if you don’t feel it adds anything to your process. (That’s right: You can read tarot without any big, fancy rituals involved.)

So what do I do to prepare for a tarot reading?

I like to take advice I received from one of my teachers, Rebecca Gordon: Go out and live your life.

What does that mean?

Go outside. Go about your day.

Watch for any signs, patterns, or themes that might speak to the flavour of the moment.

Tune into the energy of the day: What kind of mood are people in? What’s the pace of the world around you?

This may or may not have anything to do with your reading, or with your...

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Facing insecurity as a tarot reader

Reading tarot, whether for yourself or others, can stir up a lot of insecurities.

It’s normal to feel nervous when you’re reading for someone, especially if you’re still learning. But even experienced readers aren’t immune to a case of the nerves every now and then.

We’re all human, after all. And while reading tarot does get easier with time and experience, it’s still a skill that requires a lot of effort, concentration, and focus.

It also requires readers go out on a limb to offer messages, insights, and interpretations that might feel disparate, unexpected, or unclear at times. Even when a reader feels in flow with their cards, you don’t necessarily know why certain messages are important, or how they connect to a querent’s life.

But your job is to deliver what you’re seeing in the cards, no matter how little you know about the context of someone else’s situation.

That alone can be uncomfortable at times, especially when...

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You don’t have to follow every tarot trend

Are you taking a lot of cues and tarot lessons from social media?

If so, you’re not alone: Tarot’s popularity continues to explode online.

It used to be very hard to find like-minded fans of all things esoteric. Now, all you have to do is hop online and gain instant access to tarot readers from all around the world. 

There are so many tarot accounts to check out. And a lot of them post similar content:

  • Tarotscopes or readings for each zodiac sign;
  • Collective readings for the energy of the day or week;
  • "Pick a card" readings where you might choose from a selection of photos and then read the corresponding message.

 These can all be fun ways to engage with tarot online.

And they have certainly helped some tarot readers build their social media followings.


But throughout the last year, I noticed some questions coming up in my tarot classes that I hadn’t heard before:


"How do I read tarot for each zodiac sign?"


"Does it matter if I don’t know a lot about...

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A few things no one taught me about reading tarot

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,...

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Using clarifiers in your tarot readings

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...

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A tarot spread to discover your unique advantages

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...

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Is Tarot Certification Necessary? Some thoughts:

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...

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3 Tarot Reading Tips You Won’t Find in the Little White Book

From the outside, tarot might seem like it’s easy to learn: You get a deck of tarot cards, read along with the little white book, and away you go.

Or, you just feel your way through a reading, letting your intuition guide you.

Right?

Well, actually… there’s more to learning tarot than memorizing the card meanings you find in the little white book that comes with your tarot deck.

And while intuition can certainly influence a tarot reading, it’s not always so easy to figure out what our intuition is telling us, or how (or if) intuition even works. I’ve had many people come to my tarot workshops who admit they “don’t believe they are very intuitive” and are hoping tarot might help develop that part of themselves.

So don’t take it for granted that simply owning a tarot deck and flipping a few cards will somehow reveal an insight or answer that wasn’t available before.

If you want to read tarot…you have learn...

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