If you’re new to Tarot, you may be excited by the prospect of reading cards, and may be excited to share your newfound knowledge with friends. And while the Tarot (or oracle cards!) can be a font of amazing info, they can also be confusing, or even deceptive, depending on the way you read the spread. Here, some common mistakes most every beginning reader makes and how to avoid them for maximum impact. And remember: While there’s no “wrong” way to read the Tarot, and you won’t get in trouble if you do any of these things, avoiding these mistakes will maximize the usefulness and accuracy of the readings you give.
1. Not Prepping Your Deck
Without your energy, a tarot deck is just pieces of printed paper. In order to make them work, you have to imbue them with your own energy. While some believe that the best deck is one a friend gifts you (want inspiration for some great decks? try this story!) what’s most important is what you do once that deck is in your hands. Touch the deck, feel it, consider putting it in a special scarf or pouch. Sleep with the deck for a few nights, or cleanse it by putting the deck in a wooden bowl and sprinking it with salt, then putting it under a full moon. The ritual itself doesn’t matter as much as the energy and intention you place into the cards, as the cards directly connect with your energy. Giving a reading? Allow the person whose reading you’re doing to hold the deck, feel it, and shuffle it. They need to transfer their energy to the deck to make the reading accurate.
2. Asking the Tarot EVERYTHING
Yes, the Tarot can be a great tool to help clarify any decision you’re making. But if you’re laying down a card to decide what to have for lunch today, you’re minimizing the power of the deck (and yourself!) to answer the big questions. You don’t need to “save” your Tarot deck for specific questions, but make sure that the questions you’re asking have weight in your mind, or else the card’s answer is just contributing to noise, confusion, and mental clutter in your mind.
3. Reading from the Manual
Yes, the manual is there for a reason. And of course, you’re not expected to know all 78 cards right away. But the more you can familiarize yourself with the cards outside of a reading, either by looking online (biddytarot is a great resource!) or learning on your own, through a book (kinesthetic learners may find a Tarot coloring book to be especially helpful in learning the meanings of the cards) the more you can see the connections between the cards, which can be just as important as what the individual cards say.
4. Trying an Overly Complicated Spread
Many newbie readers learn the Celtic cross, a ten card spread that can be a great holistic snapshot of everything going on in your life. But it can also be overly complicated and muddle the message of the cards. A three card draw—past, present, future—can be just as effective and may be optimal for new readers.
5. Using Your Powers as a Power Play
When it comes to reading cards for others, whether it’s for profit or for fun, you must learn to keep your ego at the door! You’re merely the messenger, the cards and the person drawing them are the real power players in the situation. The more you can remove yourself from feeling powerful in an “I know something you don’t know” type of way, the better and more effective your readings may be. Of course it’s fun to try on friends, but don’t lord knowlege over them, give a knowing glance, or make disapproving noises as they lay down the cards. Giving a neutral reading is key for allowing the cards to speak to themselves.
Bottom line: You’re on an exciting, inspirating journey and making mistakes is part of the process! By trying to avoid these situations, you’re only making yourself a better reader. And as your knowledge evolves, so too, does the meaning you see in the cards. Tarot reading is a skill you can always expand, and enjoying and respecting the process is key to giving powerful, accurate readings.
Want to dive deeper into the magic of the tarot? Try these stories next:
The Tarot Deck That Will Change Your Life Is …
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How to Read Tarot Cards
Want Free Readings for Life? Here You Go, Love!