You might have noticed that I’ve started a new online tarot community, Tarot Study Hall, to build connection and conversation around the art of tarot reading.
One of the things I’m encouraging Study Hall members to do is set goals for their tarot practices.
But why? What’s the point?
It feels so linear to set a goal: You see where you want to be in the future, and you start working towards it.
Goal setting makes sense in so many areas of our lives. People set goals for their careers, their finances, their health, and more.
But when it comes to goal setting and tarot, it can feel counter to what tarot is all about: Why not just let your intuition guide you on your journey? Why not just feel it out intuitively and organically?
Letting inspiration guide you can certainly be part of the tarot journey. But structure can help a lot, too. Especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed by how much there is to learn about tarot, or you’ve been studying for a while...
One of the main things I focus on when I’m reading and teaching tarot is the importance of the question:
What is the goal or the intention of the reading?
Early on, I was always taught to read tarot using spreads. So many guidebooks I came across recommended three-card spreads – such as past, present, future – or larger spreads like the Celtic Cross.
And as social media became a more common place for tarot lovers to share their passion for card reading, it’s easier than ever to access hundreds, if not thousands, of tarot spreads at this time, for all kinds of topics.
But when I started reading tarot for others, I often found tarot spreads to be too confining for the flow of conversation that often unfolded. For all of the spreads I’d studied, I didn’t feel adequately prepared for the wide range of questions that querents would pose.
The problem with spreads is that if you’re reading on a specific question, then the spread your using has to...
I have a general rule I follow when I’m online:
I don’t argue with strangers.
Not that I don’t argue with friends or acquaintances, either. I know better on all fronts that social media doesn’t often lead to good things when people are in disagreement.
This isn’t to say I’m against dialogue. It’s just that quite often, when I see people arguing, they’re spending more time trying to change each other’s minds than they are trying to understand each other’s perspective.
I find the same thing happens in the tarot community. When I first started connecting with other tarot readers, I joined some Facebook groups to meet other readers and have a dedicated space to share about tarot.
But after a while, I started to feel like those groups were counterproductive to what I was seeking. So often, posts devolved into virtual shouting matches, just like so many other experiences on social media.
And very often, the arguments that I...
When I was first learning tarot, I used to look down at my cards and feel completely lost as to what to focus on first.
I kept hearing that tarot was full of rich symbolism, but I was taking that advice a little too far.
I’d look at the number of clouds in the background of a tarot card and wonder, “Do those have numerological significance?”
Or I’d look at the colour of clothes a figure was wearing and wonder if I should take up colour theory and psychology to be able to fully understand tarot.
The problem was that by taking such a granular approach to my cards, I was overwhelming myself with details. I couldn’t see the full story of a card because I was so distracted by the little things instead.
And often, these were things that didn’t add to the insight or overall message I was looking for.
I wish someone had told me back then that not every symbol or detail had to count in every reading.
Sometimes, there are certain details in a card that...
Despite living in a time when you can verify almost any piece of information with a few clicks of a button, there are so many myths and misconceptions that persist when it comes to tarot.
One that gets me the most is the myth that you have to be gifted a tarot deck in order to start reading tarot.
I actually get asked this at least a few times every year, and I know I’m not the only one who hears this question. It confirms how persistent and stubborn this belief is.
I can’t remember where I first came across this (wannabe) rule, but I do remember reading about it as a teenager when I was exploring all things occult. Like many other aspiring tarot readers, I took this myth to heart at first.
On one hand, the idea is romantic. There’s something fated about being gifted a tarot deck, as though you’re being chosen or selected to be a tarot reader.
That idea fits with other tarot mythology, such as the belief that the ability to read cards comes through a God-given...
If there’s one thing that gets overlooked most when it comes to learning tarot, it’s this:
Why do you want to learn tarot?
What do you believe it will do for you?
What do you want to use it for?
What do you hope to be able to gain from the experience?
There can be any number of reasons to learn tarot. You may have several answers to each of these questions, or just one or two.
There is no right or wrong. There is no ideal reason, no purpose that is better than any other.
But to have a purpose behind learning tarot can really help you to figure out what to focus on, which classes to take, books to read, or techniques to understand.
For example: If you want to read tarot for other people, then it will for you to focus on being able to answer a wide range of questions. I always say that if you read for others, you need to be ready for anything that might come up.
Developing tarot skills that help you be flexible, adaptable, and fluid in your tarot readings is key...
When people ask me how long it took for me to start reading tarot professionally (seven years), I always preface my answer with this:
There is no one timeline or linear path with tarot. It is an ongoing journey where you can always be learning.
Some people take less time than I did. Some take more. There is no right or wrong, and no perfect amount of time to measure your own progress against.
But there are things that held me back along the way that I do believe slowed me down. Not that I was in a rush, but if I could have gotten better a little bit faster, I would have taken that option in a heartbeat.
Some of the things that I got stuck on were:
Mistake #1: Confusing complexity for potency in a tarot reading.
You don’t need to layer your readings with a bunch of techniques – reversals, astrology, numerology, significators, etc.
Solution: Don’t second-guess yourself if a reading feels clear and direct. All you need to do when you read tarot is read the cards in...
Years ago, before I was reading tarot professionally, I used to do a lot of tarot parties for friends to get practice.
I was at a café one night where a friend was having a trunk sale for a jewelry line she was selling. The room was full of my pal’s friends and family, and I didn’t know many people there.
A woman sat down for a reading with me. I laid down my cards. I saw something in them that was so specific: A story about a family inheritance.
Except that’s not what I told her.
Because what I thought I was seeing did not match the meanings of the cards that were in front of me.
I wasn’t experienced enough yet to know how to trust myself as a tarot reader.
So I played it safe.
I gave a by-the-book reading – literally – rather than talking about what I’d initially seen.
And it wasn’t exactly wrong. But it wasn’t exactly right, either.
It was generic, safe, and middle-of-the-road enough for this woman to find something...
I remember how disappointed I was when I got my first tarot deck.
I went in with big expectations. I’d always thought of myself an intuitive, perceptive person. I felt spiritual.
And I wanted that connection to something greater – be it the universe, deity, or my higher self.
I was so excited, and a little bit nervous, when I shuffled my cards and started turning them over. I wondered: What would I learn? What would I see in my reading?
I went from excited to crushed pretty quickly. As soon as my cards were laid out, I felt…nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true: I didn’t get any visions or insights because I had no idea what to make of the cards in front of me.
But I did feel a mix of disappointment, confusion, and insecurity. That insecurity was directed towards myself: What if I’m not the spiritually connected, intuitive person I thought I was?
What if I’m just not cut out for tarot?
I know that sounds dramatic, and it is. I had gone...
When I read tarot for my clients, I rarely use tarot spreads anymore.
Moving away from tarot spreads has been one of the biggest transformations in my tarot practice since I started reading full-time.
When I first started out as a professional reader, I used to put so much time and energy into my tarot spreads: I would create custom spreads for each client, based on questions and topics they sent me in advance.
I thought they were absolutely amazing.
But once those spreads were put to use, I soon realized they weren’t always as helpful as I thought they would be.
Why? Because tarot readings are conversations, and like any other dialogue, they flow in new and unexpected directions.
Which meant that once my readings started, sometimes my querents would say, “I think I have some different questions I need to explore instead.”
Inevitably, many of my big, beautiful, customized tarot spreads would go out the window in order to accommodate a more organic tarot...
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