There are many different avenues to consider when you begin your journey into tarot reading. No matter how long you do it you still learn everyday, from books, from peers, from life, from different aspects of the tarot reading world. There are still many avenues I haven’t delved to deeply into yet because they haven’t truly attracted me, but I dare say at some point I will find myself exploring them. However, for now, this is my list of top ten ways to learn to read tarot cards.
My favourite forum has to be Aeclectic Tarot. It is quite simply the best starting point. There are discussions about the history of tarot, decks new and old, spreads and how to read with them, you name it- if it’s about tarot, you can find it here. Best of all for learner readers there are boards that allow you to post your own readings to get feedback on how you are going with your interpretations and boards which allow you to practice reading for others, which is sometimes difficult to do. Like all forums it can be tricky negotiating all the strong personalities and passionately held opinions, but I feel that Aeclectic is actually pretty good in that regard.
There are professional associations in most areas that are a fantastic guiding light. Downside, they can be very pricey. Plus side, they are watched like hawks and you run very little risk of being ripped off. If you do intend to go professional, having a good relationship with your local tarot guild can be a great stepping stone.
In some ways, you are your own best teacher. After all, you are the only one who knows how your own psyche works, you are the only one who can teach yourself to work with your own intuition and you are the only one who has your own particular set of symbology. For example, you might have a special association with a certain shade of blue because it reminds you of your beloved grandmothers favourite cardigan and she always had a hug and a smile for you when you were down- so for you, that colour will always be about comfort and reassurance. So long as you keep writing down all your readings you’ll find that you’ll learn the most from yourself.
If you are lucky enough you may have a local reader who is willing to teach you. This will work best when it’s someone you feel very comfortable with. It is great- though not essential- to have a mentor. They can help you get over humps, help you see something that simply won’t come to you and teach you not just about card meanings but about the art of delivering a reading to someone. It’s one thing to know what the cards means, but you have to be able to pull that together in such a way that actually answers your sitters question. Sometimes a mentor is the best person for that.
Lots, and lots of books. Read them all. Good ones, bad ones, indifferent ones. Sometimes you just need to have your mind opened up to different possibilities. Some stand out books to try are Mary K Greer’s 21 Ways to Read A Tarot Card and Paul Fenton Smith’s The Tarot Revealed. Some of the best tarot books to read are the proper guide books that come with different decks (not the LWB’s). They delve deeply into the symbology specific to the deck being used and with so many different decks out there, there is a lot of different symbology. So keep reading!
6- Tarot Blogs
There are thousands of great tarot blogs out there and if you are interested in learning tarot you should be following at least a few. One of the best things about tarot is that it is a constantly evolving discipline. We are all learning from each other. Because there are so many ways of seeing and reading the tarot learners can shop around until they find a style that suits them. Some learn best in a disciplined fashion, others in a more freestyle, intuitive way. However your learning style you can be sure that someone out there is writing about it in a manner that will suit you. So start searching for the blogs that work for you.
Yes, you should have a very good background knowledge of psychology and counselling. Most of the time when people come to see you they are upset or deeply concerned. They are often in a fragile emotional state and to be a good tarot reader you have to not make things worse for them. That requires some degree of skill and a basic understanding of human nature. If you aren’t already a natural “good listener”, indeed, even if you are, you should at least learn the basics of how to counsel people. This also involves learning how to protect yourself from other people’s emotional baggage.
Some tarot decks take in a very general mythology and symbology others are very specific. Whatever deck you choose to work with get a handle on it’s source material. For example, if you choose a faery themed deck make sure you know as much as you can about faeries. If you choose a Greek mythology based deck, learn what you can about Greek myths. As a general rule it helps to know a lot about the background of something so you can move forward confidently.
I love people watching. One of the trickiest things to get a handle on in tarot is the court cards. People watching really helps that. You make instant judgements about people and try to guess if they strike you as a Queen of Cups kind of person, or a Knight of Swords. You can learn to get a good feeling for the general vibe that people put out, or what mood they are in on a particular day. You can also practice your intuition on whether they are having a 3 of cups kind of day or maybe a 6 of swords one. If you want to read for people, it really, really helps if you both like them and get them.
10- Getting Readings
One of the best bits of advice for potential authors is to read a lot. The same thing applies to tarot readers. If you want to be a good tarot reader get a lot of readings (not all at once). It kind of comes under the same heading as if you want to be a good sales person, first be a good customer. The more readings you get the more you firm up in your own mind what does and doesn’t work well or come across well. Whether or not the reader involves you too much or too little in the reading, eye contact too much or too little, general manner, friendliness or lack thereof. I’m sure you get the idea. I’ve had readings that I loved, readings that I hated, readings that I’ve felt massively ripped off and readings I thought were perfect. It is vital that you know what it’s like to sit in the sitters chair so that when you are the reader you can do for them what you wish was done for you.
So there you have my list. What about you? Where was the best place for you to learn to read tarot?