“Study the cards and learn their meanings. Practice a lot, on yourself, friends, or total strangers as suits your personal leanings. Eventually, you should get pretty good.”
Well, that’s one way to look at it. And certainly one SHOULD take every opportunity to practice. However, I’m not so sure that everyone ‘should get pretty good.’
Tarot Novice’s Rules and Guidelines;
1. To learn tarot DO use formal structured readings, where card positions mean something specific like ‘past influences’ or ‘hopes and fears’. You are a beginner remember? Treat this as you would any learning experience—take it one step at a time. You can get creative after you’ve mastered the basics. Where do you get the structured layouts?
Almost all decks come with an LB (little booklet), that will explain a basic layout, usually some form of Celtic Cross. and you can find many layout suggestions in tarot books.
2. To learn tarot DO ritualize (at least a little bit) what you are doing – it will help you remember what is supposed to be going on. By this I mean – light candles, evoke your favorite spirit guide, or simply be very methodical and careful about what you are doing – some of the worst readers I’ve seen are sometimes the ones whose basic talents are superior to others. They get so convinced they’ve ‘got it’ after a year or so of reading (sometimes after a week or so) they get sloppy and careless, thinking it is all so ‘obvious’. Their innate talents never are allowed to evolve beyond ‘sloppy and careless’ and they soon tire of reading altogether.
3. To learn tarot DO trust that the cards will work for you – this does not have to be active ‘faith’, just trust, like you would trust that the rollercoaster is NOT going to fly off the tracks. Trust aids your self-confidence, the importance of which we will discuss below.
4. DON’T act like some kid with a watch or a fly, prying things loose to see how and why they work. People frequently can not get their tarot skills back together again after smashing them to see how or if they ‘work’. The fact is that reading is a skill based on talent, knowledge, experience and the I-word, intuition. You either got it or you don’t. And I might add one additional component – courage or self-confidence. To the degree that reading is a performance-based medium of spiritual exchange one does need to have that trust element mentioned above and the self-confidence that they can ‘do it’ perfectly as well, if not better, than the next person.
Bottom line, if you want to learn how to read cards, then study the symbolism, learn the meanings, and – practice, practice, practice.
Authors Details: Jess Karlin from Tarot FAQ