5 Tarot Tips for Beginners
Tarot is more than a simple collection of 78 cards. It is more than the artwork on the deck and the explanations you may find within a booklet. Tarot is more than a source for guidance and divination or an Occult curiosity. It is more than all of those things because it is the story of the human experience. I remember the first time I heard Tarot referred to as the fool's journey. It confused me a bit but intrigued me even more. That tiny statement sent a cascade of questions tumbling from my mind and out of my mouth. Any time I had the opportunity to speak with someone who was seasoned in the use of those mysterious cards, I would ask as many questions as they were willing to answer.
Thankfully, most of those folks were generous and happy to share their knowledge with a young seeker such as me. For my part, as my journey has unfolded over the years, I would come to understand that the Fool's Journey was, in actuality, describing the very conditions I found myself in. That is to say, I was living The Fool's Journey, not just in my learning Tarot, but literally in everyday life.
You see, Tarot encapsulates the human experience in two ways. First, in the subtle mundanities of life. The daily tasks we all perform, the inconspicuous ebb and flow of life. This is represented eloquently in the minor Arcana, with subtlety and grace. The figures and their environments invite us to explore an outer realm that is intrinsically linked to our inner experience.
Then, the second way is through the larger narrative of the themes and phases we each must:
Take your time - I always tell my students that learning Tarot takes a lifetime. Even those who created the Tarot as we know it today were students of the Universe and its secrets. In other words, even the people who used their magical, occult and arcane knowledge didn’t have it all figured out. Tarot, in a way, is a living body of work and consciousness. Though it was created in antiquity, it is very much immersed in our contemporary stream of consciousness, evolving with practitioners; while simultaneously remaining a whole and complete work. So, if you are just starting out with the Tarot, remember that you don’t have to know everything by heart to give accurate, insightful, and relevant readings. Get lots of good books, take courses, and above all, don’t pressure yourself to learn too quickly.
Learn the meaning of the symbols - When most people start out reading Tarot, they make 3 big mistakes. The first is that they believe that they have to memorize every single card in order to read Tarot accurately. Second, some people mistakenly believe that they can read Tarot strictly intuitively. Or third, they believe that the booklet/ book that comes with a deck will give all the answers needed to read the cards. The truth is that Tarot is a tool for guidance, direction and divination, and it delivers these through symbols. Those symbols act like an alphabet. Each symbol expresses a concept, thought, feeling or energy, which, when read alone or especially together, creates a statement that can then be turned into a story. I always tell my students that the cards have no wasted space. Everything from the background to the use of colours and even the way objects, figures and composition of the images in the cards have meaning. Learning the meaning of symbols in Tarot is the fastest and often the best way to learn to use the cards to their fullest potential.
Read reversals - This is one of those points people tend to get rather heated over. Though it seems a small thing, reading reversed or upside-down cards in a Tarot spread is absolutely necessary. The fundamental reason for this is that the cards are intended to acknowledge and reflect the dualistic nature of life and the human experience. I’m sure you can agree that not every single day is rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes we find ourselves faced with difficulty, loss, defeat, and delays. Reversed cards can forewarn these experiences, thusly helping you to prepare or redirect when necessary. Not only can reversed cards warn us of not-so-good or worsening conditions, but they can tell us of release, freedom and renewal. Sometimes a reversed card is the best card in the spread. In any case, learning reversals can seem intimidating, making learning tarot seem even more discouraging. But, if you stick to it and learn, you will have not just 78 cards to work with but 156!
Practice, practice, practice - This is the REAL key to learning Tarot. The more you practice reading, the more you will learn to interpret the symbols in the cards and apply them to the myriad of questions you will be confronted with. You will quickly see with more practice that the same card can come up in different readings and have entirely different meanings… or sometimes the same. Occasionally you will draw the same card for the same person on the same subject in a new and different spread. Practice teaches you how to read the cards with fluency that only comes from experience. It also helps you to build your confidence and accuracy!
Don’t worry; you’re intuitive enough! Nearly every student I have taught, with only a few exceptions, has worried that they weren’t intuitive enough to read Tarot. Or, they worried that their intuition wasn’t
strong or reliable enough to do readings. Another concern has been to worry about whether the intuitive “hits” were real or imaginary. Still, some people worry that even if their intuition is correct, they won’t be able to use it when they need it… or trust it. So, my dear Mystic here’s the thing; you are, in fact, very intuitive. You have an inner compass that will guide you if you ask it. You must learn how it “speaks” to you and then practice using it. Each person has a unique “frequency” they can use to tune into the collection and or super stream of consciousness, and you are no different.
The main thing that divides those who work with their intuition and those who do not is, PRACTICE, FOCUS and CONCENTRATION.
All of those things can be cultivated. And if you are afraid to trust your intuition because of a bad experience in your past or fears rooted in more recent experiences, that is understandable. However, you can always rebuild your relationship with your intuition by healing and creating a gentle practice. It is there, and it works. You only need to tap into it!!
So, here are my 5 tips for beginner Tarot readers! I hope you find it helpful and are excited to read those cards!
A little about me - My tarot practice started a little over 28 years ago when I picked up my first Tarot deck, which first belonged to my father. It was the Celtic Tarot, and I loved it. I worked with it incessantly for more than a few years before beginning at my husband refers to as an obscene collection of cards. Later my Tarot journey would take on a new dimension when I co-created The Sirian Starseed Tarot with Patricia Cori. This experience was what I would call a master class in Tarot, as I learned more about the symbols and subtleties woven into the images of these cards than I could have ever anticipated.
I read for clients all over the world, from the UK to Australia, Italy, The United States and, of course, here on my home turf in Canada. I also teach Tarot from the beginner level all the way to the certification level. Tarot has given me soooo much, and I love to use it as a tool to give to others!