1) Throw away the Book
Yup, you heard me. The books that come with Tarot decks only fill our heads with linear, left-brain mumbo-jumbo and make us lazy about using our intuition and really looking at the images on the cards. It’s only beneficial to use the book if you’re an absolute beginner and you need to familiarise yourself with the key concepts of each card, however, after a while the books outgrow their usefulness and actually end up inhibiting the development of our intuition. Interpreting Tarot cards is essentially an intuitive, non-linear process. The Tarot speaks to us in images and feelings not words and pre-prescribed meanings. Look, I mean really look at the images. Are there specific colours that repeat themselves throughout the spread? Similar images? A prevalence of minor arcana cards? A prevalence of major arcana cards? An abundance of one particular suit (i.e. pentacles, swords etc)? Do the images suggest movement, stagnation, happiness, sorrow? Look at what the pictures are trying to say to you and always go with your gut… Remember, “the mind thinks, the body knows…”
2) Have one specific question in mind
Having more than one question for a reading usually confuses things when it comes to interpreting the cards. It is difficult for your Higher Self to communicate with you if you are asking more than one question at a time. So have one very specific question in mind when you are doing a reading. If you have more than one question, do multiple readings. How you ask the question is equally important. Think about the type of response you want to receive and phrase the question accordingly.
I’m sure you’ve heard this 1000s of times but the benefits of meditation cannot be stressed enough when it comes to being the best Tarot reader you can be. Meditation centres us, stills the mind, lowers blood pressure, balances our chakras, and opens up the intuition so that we become better channels for receiving the universe’s wisdom. Even just 10 minutes a day is beneficial and you will notice a huge improvement in your Tarot reading skills if you become a regular practitioner.
4) Practice Hatha Yoga
There are a great number of yogic tools that you can incorporate into your life that will help open up your intuition and enhance your Tarot reading skills. Hatha Yoga helps balance solar and lunar energies and is deeply grounding and meditative, helping to restore equilibrium in our lives. It also helps calm our “monkey minds,” improving our ability to concentrate.
5) Practice Pranayama
Yoga isn’t just asanas. In fact, you can’t get the full benefits of asana practice unless you also do pranayama. Pranayama utilises breathing to influence the flow of prana in the nadis (energy channels). “The techniques of pranayama provide the method whereby the life force can be activated and regulated in order to go beyond one’s normal boundaries or limitations and attain a higher state of vibratory energy or awareness,” says Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Because pranayama regulates the flow of prana in the pranayama kosha (i.e. the vital energy body) it releases toxins, increases energy and stimulates circulation helping to unlock the intuitive faculties.
Doing asanas without also doing pranayama is like having a beautifully polished new car with broken wheels. Regular pranayama practice gets our energy soaring and revives and revitalises us, banishing negative thought patterns as well as rechanneling blocked energy so that mental and physical problems don’t arise. I found that when I started incorporating pranayama into my daily routine, my dreams became clearer and more lucid, my concentration improved ten-fold and I could approach my day in a much more centered, grounded way. Oh, and it was like my intuition was on steroids!
6) Burn Incense/ Smudge with Sage and/or Light Candles
Reading Tarot cards is a sacred event and should be treated as such. Lighting incense or smudging will help revitalise and clear the energy in the room, preparing it for the reading. It is important to treat Tarot with the utmost respect and burning incense, smudging with sage or lighting candles will help create the right atmosphere.
7) Keep a Tarot Diary
I usually find that I will keep pulling the same one or two cards over and over again until an issue has resolved itself. Keeping a Tarot diary not only helps me keep track of my ever-changing inner landscape, it also teaches me about the meanings of the cards. If you keep on pulling the same card over and over again, consider what you are going through at the time, as this will give you possible clues as to the meaning of the card. The best way to learn something is through direct experience and when you directly experience the Tarot you become a better reader. A reader who interprets the meaning of the cards based on experience and intuition –now that’s a pretty potent combination for any budding Tarot-sibyl!
8) Consider Using Oracle Cards and/or Runes to Supplement your Reading
I like to use a combination of oracle cards and Rune stones when I am doing a Tarot reading. I have two different methods. Method One is pulling two Runes and two oracle cards to go with the Tarot spread and Method Two involves pulling a Rune and an oracle card for each corresponding Tarot card. If I decide to use Method Two, I typically interpret each Rune and card as a “crossing card” –they will reveal issues that either help or hinder the matter described in the original Tarot card. You will usually find that the Runes and oracle cards you pull bring another dimension to the Tarot card or help clarify its meaning if you are confused about how to interpret it. Using oracle cards and Runes is a wonderful tool for beginners as they add another layer of meaning to the reading. They will also help you develop your own language with the Tarot. If you decide to use Method One, then interpret the Runes and cards as key themes that tie into the fundamental meaning of the overall spread.
9) Practice makes Perfect
I hate to state the obvious but the more you practice, the more of a facility you’ll have with interpreting the cards. Practice on yourself first, and then, when you start to feel more confident, practice on friends and family. Aim to do a reading a day and don’t forget to write everything down in your Tarot diary!
10) Use Crystals
Crystals are a wonderful tool that enhance any Tarot reading. Look for crystals that boost intuition and receptivity. I like moonstones, clear quartz, selenite and amethysts…
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