TAROT READING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
So you've chosen your first (or third, or sixth) tarot deck. You love the imagery and have spent a lot of time picking cards and flicking through the book that came with it but the meanings don't seems to be sticking in your mind as well as you'd hoped. The cards still remain a bit of a mystery to you.
I've been there, and I've had tarot cards since I was ten years old, so I promise it's not just you. 25 years later and Tarot has become a fluent second language, one through which I have learned to see in the world around me with new eyes. I want to share the techniques and hacks that got me to this place to help you on your journey.
1. CHOOSE A GOOD BEGINNER TAROT DECK
Except for some of the wonderfully lucky souls who can glean the Tarot meanings with pure intuition, most of us will have to put in effort to become familiar with a new system of symbolism. Tarot cards for beginners makes things easier to start with. It's not a life-long commitment but it will make learning other more obscurely symbolic decks easier to read once you've got your head around the basics.
I've written a detailed blog post on how to choose a good tarot deck for beginners so definitely have a read if you still feel you haven't found the right fit. So often I've seen someone struggle with the card meanings until they find the right deck and everything starts making sense.
2. READ & WRITE
With some exceptions, the booklet you get with your Tarot deck probably isn't going to cover the kind of information that makes it easier to understand the symbolic language of Tarot. The larger sets that come with a full sized book are better, but there are better resources for learning Tarot from scratch that will make your journey easier. I have so many Tarot books and they have all helped so much, but I definitely recommend just getting one well-regarded book to begin with and work with that. You can add more knowledge and interpretations when you become more familiar with the basics, but overloading yourself at the beginning won't help most people.
Work with one good Tarot book, get a notebook especially for learning Tarot and make notes when information is completely unfamiliar or you really want to remember a particular point. As I was told over and over in my Psychology degree, writing something down helps you encode it deeper in your memory and much more likely to remember the information.
3. LEARN TO COMBINE YOUR INTUITION AND INTELLECT
As I discussed in my choosing your first deck post, mastering Tarot requires a combination of both intuitive and intellectual skills. Tarot is an established tradition with a long history and some set meanings. This means you'll have to be engaging with the intellect at least a little to begin a relationship with your cards. Tarot is also a system of divination and highly symbolic, meaning you will also need to let you of what you know intellectually and let the cards speak to you in their own language if you want that relationship to flourish.
Over years of trial and error, I found the best way to combine these intellectual and intuitive gifts is as follows:
As you lay in bed right before going to sleep, pick a Tarot card at random from your deck and look at it, really taking in every detail. Get your specially designated Tarot notebook and write down all your own impressions without any thought of what the 'right' answer is. Describe the image on the card in your notes and then answer the following questions: What adjectives would I use to describe the image? What does the image mean to me? What feelings arise when I look at it? What does the image remind me of? How does this image relate to my life now?
Studying things just before bed helps you remember them better as well as letting them filter into your unconscious as you sleep. You may even be lucky enough to have dreams related to the card so be sure to write them down in your book if you do!
When you wake up in the morning, get out your Tarot book and write down the key traditional interpretation points about the card you wrote about the night before. As yourself the following questions: What was similar about your interpretation and the author's? What was different? Does the meaning given by the book have any relevance to your life now or in the past? If so, how?
This process helps you become familiar with the cards both intellectually and intuitively, and writing it down and connecting to meanings to your own life helps encode the meanings into your memory better.
If you are the type who likes to learn on pure intuition, that is also a totally valid way of going about it. We have a great book in store that can help you develop your natural psychic abilities to read tarot without learning the symbolism available here.
4. LEARN A BIT ABOUT NUMEROLOGY & ASTROLOGY
Getting a little understanding about number and planetary symbolism will make understanding the cards so much easier. The entire system of Tarot meanings correspond to astrological and numerological symbolism so getting even a basic understanding of these areas will take your reading skills and knowledge to the next level. As a quick example: understanding the four elements from an astrological and basic numerology perspective will help you understand the four suits and immediately see the general themes of a card without having to memorise meanings.
5. ENHANCE YOUR READING SKILLS WITH CRYSTALS
There are certain crystals that can help open you up to the intuitive and symbolic language of the Tarot. Meditating with, and wearing these crystals before you work with your deck and keeping them with your deck can help you recognise and connect to the deeper meanings in the images of the cards.
Labradorite is helpful in matters of magic and divination, and it connects you to your intuition and higher self.
Amethyst encourages spiritual expansion and it helps you enter altered states for such meditation and awakening psychic gifts while also connecting you to your intuitive gifts.
Clear Quartz enhances mental, spiritual, and emotional clarity, aids memory, and increases psychic abilities. The wonderful tarot readers at the Empress & Wolf often keep Clear Quartz with their decks when not in use to keep the energy clear bewteeen readings.
I hope that you find this advice useful on your journey. Tarot is a little bit of work but it ultimately results in a profound reward of deep self knowledge, greater empathy, and a new way of interacting with the world.