Becoming a good tarot reader takes more than just memorizing tarot card meanings and knowing tarot spreads. Tarot reading requires practice, patience and, most importantly, a willingness to trust your own intuition. Whether you are reading for yourself or for someone else, there are some very useful practices you should follow to ensure a good reading.
1. Preparing a Peaceful Environment
Believe it or not, the environment in which you conduct a tarot reading can significantly influence the reading. Not only can the environment affect you as a tarot reader, it can also have implications for the person being read. In tarot reading, it’s always important to set aside your own personal issues and concerns.
Creating a comfortable space that helps you remain centered and calm will assist in helping you remain objective and neutral during a reading. Rituals such as lighting candles or burning incense can also help you get into the mood.
2. Select a Signifier Card
In tarot reading, signifier cards serve as a representation of either the person being read or the situation they are asking about. If you are using the signifier card to represent the person being read, most tarot readers tend use the court cards either by associating the inquirer’s physical attributes to one of the court cards or by associating their astrological sign to one of the court cards.
If you are choosing a signifier card to represent a specific situation, you can get as creative as you like. Depending on the seriousness of the question at hand, you may either choose a card from the major arcana or the minor arcana. The major arcana cards tend to be used for important life issues while the minor arcana cards tend to focus on every day concerns.
The signifier card also helps you to remain focused on the person for whom you are reading. In many tarot spreads, the signifier cards are centrally positioned. This helps the tarot reader interpret the cards as well as help them to identify the key issues that are surrounding the inquirer.
3. Choosing the Right Tarot Spread
Tarot Spreads are card arrangements laid out in a specific pattern. Each card position within a spread has a specific meaning. When individual tarot cards are put together in a tarot spread, their meanings can be used to form a kind of story. The tarot reader then interprets the cards according to their position and relationships to each other within the spread.
As a tarot reader, it’s important to choose a tarot spread that appropriately correlates to the question being asked. If the question is about love, for example, then you will probably want to utilize a love spread. In some cases you may want to create your own tarot spread. This can be particularly useful when the question covers more than one topic.
4. Framing the Question
How the inquirer frames or asks a question prior to their reading can have a significant effect on the overall usefulness of the reading. The more specific the inquirer is with their question, the better the likelihood that the tarot reading will address their issue in a specific manner. It’s also helpful to keep the question open ended.
Open ended questions can reveal hidden or overlooked issues that may have been otherwise missed. Open ended questions can also help the tarot reader discover core issues or other influences that may be affecting the person being read.
5. Shuffling the Cards
There are a number of approaches to shuffling the cards before a tarot reading. This is usually the point where the person being read for will actually touch the cards (although some tarot readers prefer not to have anyone handle their cards).
Should you choose to let the inquirer handle the cards, you must make sure that they are instructed to focus on the question at hand while they are shuffling so this energy can get transferred to the cards. There are also different approaches to the “cutting” of the cards; the most popular includes having the inquirer cut the deck three times with their left hand.
6. Knowing Your Tarot Deck
Prior to giving any tarot reading, I always encourage people to take them time to really get to know the tarot deck they will be working with. This not only helps you become comfortable with the cards, it will also deepen your understanding of their meanings and how they relate to each other in a tarot spread. Inevitably, those who will be receiving a tarot reading from you will always pick up on your relationship to your own cards.
If you are not familiar with the deck you are working with, chances are it will come through during the tarot reading.