As someone who has always had an insatiable curiosity for all things metaphysical and mystical, my fascination with tarot cards began when I was still in primary school. Let’s be honest, back then, deciphering the meanings of tarot cards was about as clear as mud. But hey, who could resist the allure of those captivating images? In my naivety, I didn’t realise that I actually had to learn how to read tarot cards for them to ‘work’.
Fast forward to 2019, the year of enlightenment. I finally took the plunge and bought my very first tarot deck: the Animal Totem Tarot by the amazing Leeza Robertson. Oh boy, did I feel like a mystical wizard clutching those cards in my hands! The excitement was off the charts!
Brimming with mystical confidence after acquiring my shiny new deck, and with absolutely no clue about the intricate meanings hidden within the cards, I mustered up the audacity to perform a reading for a dear friend. Ah, the bravery of the clueless! The reading went along the lines of this.
Friend: “What does this card mean?”
Me (completely winging it): “Hmm. I’m not sure but it has a horse and eight sticks flying towards it. Oh, wait. Are they flying away from it? It says Eight of Wands on the card. I believe it’s saying that you have to watch out for people who are going to throw eight obstacles at you.”
I quickly discovered that my initial assumptions were as accurate as a blindfolded squirrel trying to find a hidden acorn. As I consulted the trusty guidebook, reality slapped me in the face with a revelation: the true meaning of that card in this extraordinary deck was all about freedom through movement. It was about taking action towards your goals. The horse was not being hunted, like I originally thought. But instead, it was galloping at a dynamic speed with the wands leading the way.
Without a doubt, my initial attempt at that reading turned into an epic fail, which stretched over a long two hours. And let me tell you, by the end of it, confusion had firmly settled in, making us even more perplexed than when we first began. It was at that moment I decided to take a step back and rewind to the basics of Tarot 101.
Back to the Basics of Learning Tarot
Despite having just bought a new deck, I decided to get myself the Rider-Waite Smith deck as well and embarked on a fresh journey. It was so much easier working with this deck as a beginner. As much as I loved the Animal Totem deck, there was no way I could interpret the cards without any prior knowledge of the traditional card meanings.
With each reading that I did for my family and friends, I found myself endlessly relying on guidebooks and the vast wisdom of the internet to unravel the symbolic meanings of the cards. Not only that, but having to navigate through the process of learning card combinations within a spread was an additional challenge.
But, alas, something remarkable happened along the way.
The more time I spent getting acquainted with the cards, the more my confidence grew naturally. It was as if my intuition had been awakened, and soon enough, interpreting the cards became less about simply reading off a guide and more about feeling their profound significance.
I found that maintaining a journal of my readings and obsessively recording my interpretations for each card was pivotal in my learning process. It was fascinating to revisit my notes and observe how the same card could be interpreted differently in various readings.
Believe me, as you delve deeper into the magical world of tarot, you’ll discover that your intuition peaks. You’ll find yourself becoming adept at reading people and intuitively grasping their thoughts and emotions. Don’t ask me how; it just happens. I discovered a lot of hidden truths about the people that I was reading for. Things that I wouldn’t have known otherwise – had the cards not shown up.
The readings started to get easier after about a year and I no longer needed to use any guidebooks or look up card meanings. I was totally vibing with The High Priestess at this stage.
How Long Did it Take to Learn Tarot?
It took me a good two years to truly grasp the meanings and symbolism behind each tarot card, and there’s still plenty more to learn. While I haven’t taken a formal tarot course yet, it’s definitely on my to-do list. As someone who reads tarot for fun rather than professionally, I’m still relatively new to this whole space.
But here’s the cool thing: understanding the cards has made getting readings easier because I can follow along with what the reader is saying. It’s like having an inside scoop on the language of tarot, enhancing the whole experience. Learning tarot brings so much joy and depth to both my own readings and the ones I receive.
My Tips for Learning Tarot Card Reading
Learning tarot can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging at times. Here are a few tips that I’ve learnt along the way to help you get started:
1. Start with a beginner deck
As mentioned earlier, a beginner deck can make it way easier to learn the basics of tarot. I recommend starting with the original Rider-Waite Smith deck, as most other decks are based on this.
2. Practice regularly
The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with the cards and their meanings. Do daily readings for yourself, as well as offering free readings to family and friends. From my experience, hardly anyone turns down a free tarot reading! (Even the most skeptical of skeptics!)
3. But avoid burnout!
I don’t think many people realise that reading tarot cards can actually be very energy draining. Especially if you’re doing consecutive readings for different people. This is because as a reader, you absorb other people’s energies. By all means, have fun reading but make sure to take breaks from tarot cards to refill your energy.
4. Experiment with different spreads
By using different spreads for different readings, it can help to make you think about how the card is relevant to the situation. You may start to notice symbolism in the cards that you hadn’t noticed before.
5. Use clarifying cards
This is one of my favourite things to do! If you’re utterly confused about how to read a card in a certain position, pull another card (either from the same deck or a completely different one) and see if there is a message coming through. Keep pulling cards until you see it. Sometimes this opens up a whole new story and is usually where all the hidden truths come out to play.
6. Keep a tarot journal
Writing down your interpretations and readings can help you track your progress and gain insight into your own intuition. Additionally, it’s also a fun way to see if any of your predictions have come true further down the track.
7. Join a tarot community
Connecting with other tarot enthusiasts can provide support and inspiration as you learn. Social media such as Facebook groups or Instagram is a great place to start for this.
8. Watch free readings on YouTube
What better way to learn than by watching how other readers interpret the cards. Check out our 5 favourite tarot-reading YouTubers of 2023.
Enjoy the Journey!
Learning tarot is both exciting and enlightening! With so many resources available, it’s easy to get started. By choosing a beginner deck, practicing regularly, and connecting with other tarot enthusiasts, you can begin your journey with confidence.
And if you’re looking for more guidance, be sure to check out some of the great free tarot blogs and websites for beginners. With these resources at your fingertips, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of tarot. ✨
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