The question I am asked most by visitors to this site is: “How do I start learning to read the cards?”. This article is aimed at those of you who are looking for an answer to this question.
Starting to learn anything new is always a daunting experience and learning the Tarot cards can seem more daunting than most things, partly because of the ‘aura of mystery’ surrounding the topic, but mainly because of the seemingly unending different meanings that need to be committed to memory.
Many people take one look at the long lists of meanings given in the majority of books on the subject and panic. They then put their cards away in the back of a drawer and give up all thought of learning to read them. It needn’t be this way! If you follow what I call the ‘Intuitive Method’ of reading the cards, you will find that learning the meanings is not only easy and effortless, it is also rewarding and enjoyable.
One of the best ways to learn to read the Tarot is to pick a daily card and spend some time meditating on it. You can check the meanings in a book if you wish and choose one or two that appeal to you, but you should then put the book away.
The best way, however, is to forget the book and instead study the card for a while and see what it suggests to YOU. It doesn’t matter if it’s not one of the ‘official’ meanings. It’s important that your cards talk to you and, even more important, that you listen to what they say.
If a card suggests marriage to you, it doesn’t matter if the real meaning is something entirely different. As long as that’s what it means to you, it will always mean that when it comes up in a reading. The cards respond to you, not the other way around.
By picking a card every day, you will slowly but surely familiarise yourself with the cards in a natural, easy way. If you wish to apply the card to yourself and consider it as a forecast for that day, by all means do. However, you don’t have to do this, you can simply treat it as an aid to learning.
Try this exercise: Look through your deck and choose a card with imagery you like. Concentrate on it for a while – just look at it and absorb the pictures. Try to imagine what is going on. If there are people, ask yourself questions about them. Are they happy or do they look sad? If there is more than one, how do they relate to each other? Do they seem like partners, friends, enemies? Why might they feel this way about each other? What might be happening to them, what might have just happened, what might be going to happen?
Write down your feelings about the card, do this for two or three cards, then if you wish you can check in a book and see if any of your impressions coincide with the meanings given. It doesn’t matter if they don’t, but you will see how close you are to the ‘real’ meaning.
But DON’T check the meanings in the book before you do this exercise and don’t alter what you’ve written or change your mind about what you feel the cards mean, even if it’s the total opposite to what is in the book. This is extremely important.
Whenever you have a free moment, just take a few cards from your deck and follow this same exercise. When you’ve done this with half-a-dozen or so cards, pick the same ones out again (starting with the first and working forward) and see if you see the same things. See if you can remember what you thought they meant before. Check what you wrote and see how accurate you were.
If you were able to remember most of the things you originally thought of, you’ve remembered the meanings of the cards (YOUR meanings) and you’re on your way!
It really is THAT simple. And because you’ve chosen the meanings yourself, you will remember them far, far easier than if you had taken them from a book.
Try it and see.