Pretty much every day, I wake up at 7am, get my daughter up for school, and go down the stairs. As I make our breakfast, I wonder why I haven’t seen my cat in a couple of days. Mentally, I plan my morning, afternoon, and evening out in my head (which, obviously, never pans out that way). In many ways, I’m like any other person.
However, I have a not-so-secret obsession that’s taken over my life since I was a small child. This addiction is so ingrained in my being that it’s a major part of my identity. I work, socialize and breathe it. My drug of choice happens to be Tarot cards.
Since beginning my Tarot journey, I’ve made a career from reading and teaching divination. I’ve won an award for my work with Tarot, conducted international surveys, been interviewed for the media, and this site is set to receive around 50,000 page views this month. I’m happy to say that I set out to get other people hooked on Tarot.
Over the years, I’ve learned many things from reading Tarot, some of which I’m going to share with you in this post. So, here are 22 things I’ve learned from reading Tarot, all inspired by the Major Arcana.
The Fool: The Tarot Journey Starts with Respect
If you want to learn how to read Tarot, you don’t ‘need’ hundreds of books, fancy oils, reading cloths, £100 special edition cards, or anything remotely similar. You can start reading Tarot from as little as 0.01c if you buy secondhand decks from Amazon and use online Tarot card meanings. However, one thing that’s essential for a beginner is respect for Tarot as a practice.
I hate when people make comments such as, “Tarot cards are only pieces of cardboard.” On the surface, they are indeed cardboard, but underneath, they’re much more than that.
Those pieces of cardboard know all your secrets. Your Tarot cards will be there for you at times when no-one else ever will be. They’ll grow old with you, adapt with you, and form impurities and age marks along with the hands you use to handle them.
There will be times when the Tarot is your only companion. It will advise you on which roads to take during your longest nights and deepest depressions. Your cards will give you hope when there is none and snap you back into reality when you’re chasing impossible dreams.
Your Tarot deck will hold your tears, your nervous sweats, and the energy from every promotion they predicted and failed love affairs you tackled together.
Now, tell me, how are they only pieces of cardboard?
If you want to get off to a good start with your deck, the relationship must be there. They must be ‘special’ to you. Carry them around, shuffle them often, and have a special place for them. Don’t let other people play with them. Keep them wrapped up. Don’t believe in these things? Design your own personal rituals. All that special attention forms a special relationship that pays off.
Can I read with any deck? Damn right I can. But it’s just not the same as reading with my own deck, which is like an old pal. I can blow dust with any old deck, but I can move mountains with my primary one.
The Magician: It Takes Will
Tarot isn’t something you’re born with. Learning Tarot is a commitment that, if you stick to it, will bring you results. It’s a lifelong process of late nights, notes, and practice readings. However, Tarot is also a lifelong process of meeting new people and having a constant companion you can refer to for advice and guidance on demand. If you have the will to learn, you have what it takes to read Tarot.
The High Priestess: There are Things we are not Meant to Know
One thing I learned very quickly is that there are times when my Tarot cards just won’t allow my questions to be answered. This is because there really are things we’re sometimes not meant to know or have to work out for ourselves.
I think some newer readers confuse not being able to get a straight answer with not being able to interpret a card. If a situation is emotionally-charged and you’re not confident in your Tarot skills, pull as few cards as possible to answer your question! If you don’t get a straight answer, it’s okay to do another reading on the subject in six weeks (some say more) or so, or when the situation changes (when more things are revealed).
Similarly, don’t feel under pressure to give a client an answer. It’s sometimes okay to say, “You know what? I don’t know.” It’s far better to admit uncertainty than to make up a lie. This level of confidence is not easy to build, but once you do, you’re unstoppable.
The Empress: There is an Abundance of Tarot-Related Information
The name of the game is abundance, and that game is the maze of Tarot information available. There are some excellent resources for learning out there, so try not to stick to only one or two for your entire journey. There are books, YouTube videos, blogs, social networks, and free downloadable guides to get you started. Alternatively, join newsletters to get info directly in your inbox!
This wealth of information can be daunting at first, but you’ll eventually get to know your preferences.
Do you want an author or blogger who’s very serious, or more laid back and relaxed? Is it experience or a fresh approach you’re looking for? Once you discover what you like, suggestions for things to try will come out of nowhere. Trying out different learning mediums is a great opportunity to meet people and make friends.
The Emperor: It’s Who You Know
In the Tarot world, there are two kinds of people: those in the industry and those not in the industry. Those who aren’t in the industry don’t realize that much of what you see or are exposed to about Tarot is a result of the close-knit Tarot community.
This close-knit Tarot community decides what trends are popular, what books are worth publishing, and whose opinions matter. This industry works in a completely different way from what those outside of it expect to see.
For example, an author writes a book. The authors know that a book will be worth publishing because the community shows its support. Decks used in a book are not chosen by accident, but selected because the author usually knows the creator. Books are promoted by people within the community; in a lot of cases, favors such as cross-promotions are exchanged. A lot of the reviews you see on Amazon are usually not without bias, because many will be written by friends of the author or bloggers who have received a free copy.
Becoming prolific in any industry depends on who you know, and Tarot is no different. However, this may seem unfair to those outside the community, who have no idea that reviews of that Tarot book and the accompanying course have been written by 20 of the author’s friends.
If you want to learn or improve your Tarot reading skills but don’t know if someone is worth the hype, check them out. Download their e-guides, attend their free workshops, follow them on social media. Discover for yourself if they’re good enough for you to make investments in with your time and money.
The Hierophant: Tarot is NOT a Cult
You honestly don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.
I’ve observed that the New Age seems to be a bit of a religion in itself, and that a lot of people who read Tarot are involved with the New Age movement. I had people telling me that if I didn’t “center cleanse” or whatever before a reading, I was damaging myself (this was after I had been a reader for a good 16 years, mind you). In my opinion, it’s not necessary; any ritual you uphold before reading is a personal choice.
I once had another reader tell me that my opinion wasn’t worth his time because I didn’t incorporate the Kabbalah into my readings. Apparently, according to him, I was too stupid.
Tarot is not a cult. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, and you’re not above or below anyone in any way if you choose to do or not do certain things.
The Lovers: Passion Pays
How do you become an award-winning Tarot reader and get noticed in this industry? This would entail a post in itself, but in a nutshell, Tarot must be your passion. You must really have a knack for asking questions, studying, and committing yourself to Tarot. Instead of watching movies, you would rather read Tarot. Tarot should be your ‘go-to’ for everything. You must want to share this passion with the world – or at least whoever you can.
The Chariot: Fame isn’t Everything
Honestly, it’s not. I know some readers who have over 200k followers on Facebook but cannot cope with life.
It’s easy to look at the success of some Tarot readers and start to feel major comparison anxiety. However, there’s a lot of work that goes into maintaining a following, especially if you have that following because of a sensitive or unusual subject matter such as divination.
There was one point in my career when I had a successful fortune-telling blog, and about 15K subscribers and followers. Trust me, back then, that was a lot for a diviner. I thought that was what I wanted, but I was relatively young (24-25) and found my popularity difficult to cope with.
I would go to the bathroom and come back with 90 new notifications. I had other readers rating me one star on my business page and sending me messages and hate mail calling me ‘gypo’ and ‘bitch’. When one of my best friends was low on money, she stole my business ideas and tried to destroy my company. I had crazy clients who became obsessed.
The pressure I was under from my business and personal life caused me to eventually have a bit of a breakdown and delete my website, along with many of my social media accounts. Once I realized what I had done, it was too late, and all the hard work I had put in over the years vanished. I went into a depression for quite some time.
Now that I’m older and more experienced, I know how to handle the reality of having lots of monthly visitors to my site, but I still never expected to get to that point. Learning Tarot has taken my life in a direction I never would have dreamed on my own.
Justice: Problem Cards can be Fixed
A problem card is a card you just can’t ‘get’, and for a long time, Justice was my ‘problem’ card. However, I eventually had a couple of personal experiences that changed the way I went about interpreting this card.
Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow of life. Often, you won’t truly ‘get’ a card, but don’t worry or fret about it. As time goes on and you experience life, you’ll eventually overcome this issue. As for Justice, it took me a good 15 years to properly understand it, but I got there eventually.
The Hermit: Don’t Forget You’re Doing it for You
I have a kind of love-hate relationship with the Tarot community in general. There are those who I love and those who I despise. There are months on end when I’ll happily converse with anyone and everyone, and times when I can’t bear to scroll through my Facebook feed.
From what I’ve observed over many years, I think many folk in the community feel the same way. But you know what? That isn’t Tarot. Tarot isn’t pedantic. Tarot doesn’t steal ideas, have an ego, or be hypocritical. Tarot is what it is, and it’s sad that people allow themselves to be worn down by others. We didn’t get involved in Tarot to have to deal with other people.
Most Tarot readers read in solidarity – they don’t start in order to make friends. You don’t have to make Tarot friends or deal with anyone in the Tarot community if you don’t want to. Something that starts as an enjoyable hobby shouldn’t end because of bigger kids in the playground. The only friend you need when reading Tarot is Tarot.
The Wheel of Fortune: Interest in Tarot Waxes and Wanes
Remember I said that passion pays? Well, breaks are also normal.
There will be times when you feel you’re going around in circles with your Tarot studies. You’ll feel filled with enthusiasm one day, then suddenly not want to look at your deck for months on end. Don’t feel guilty about abandoning your deck for weeks, months, or even years at a time. Life experience is Tarot experience, so soak some of that up on days when you’re less enthusiastic over Tarot. Tarot should be fun, not a chore.
Strength: You Must Grow Confidence
To be a good Tarot reader, you must put yourself out there. If you’re reading a seeker and you get a feeling this card means this or that, go with your gut and say so. If your confidence doesn’t pay off, don’t worry about it.
Confidence and accuracy isn’t something you can force. Even the best readers still crap themselves. In fact, probably only great readers crap themselves or have a little anxiety with new seekers, because they care about Tarot and doing a good job (those who always do a bad job often don’t worry about it so much!).
The Hanged Man: You May Not Like the Answers You Seek
Through a Tarot reading, you may discover that things are completely different from the way you imagine them. Relationships might not be as fulfilling as you envision. That fabulous career opportunity might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Be prepared to be told these things through your Tarot cards.
Also, when asking questions to the wider Tarot community, be prepared not to get the answers you would prefer or the ones you’re looking for. Be open to opinions and the views of others, as this is what community is all about. There wouldn’t be much growth in Tarot if we were all vanilla.
Death: Sometimes, Death Does Mean Death
It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then, you really do get a literal reading, which is so much fun and worth adding to your diary or journal (if you have one). Again, this is one of the reasons why you should learn how to form a relationship with your deck; if you have a good connection, you can often tell the difference between whether a reading is literal or figurative.
Be constantly open to new interpretations. Play around, have fun, and see what you can come up with.
Temperance: Give Yourself Credit
A lot of readers think they aren’t so good or don’t give themselves the credit they deserve. However, if you work your ass off for Tarot, there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’m quite a good reader.”
Moreover, if you’re working on your mediumship skills and consider yourself to be a psychic, there’s nothing wrong with calling yourself a psychic and using these abilities in your readings. Be who you are.
You need to have a realistic balance of confidence and modesty, because this means you can concentrate on your strengths and tackle your weaknesses. Saying you’re good at something you’ve studied hard at isn’t a bad thing. It is healthy.
There is a difference, however, between knowing you’re good at something and thinking you’re the be-all and end-all authority on it.
The theme of Tarot is that there’s always something new to learn, and that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Never forget the fact that, although you’re a good reader, there may always be better out there. I may have once won the Young Tarosophist of the Year Award, but there’s probably some 14-year-old at home in an apartment in the city who can wipe the floor with me. Balance goes a long way.
The Devil: Check Your Motives
It’s pretty obvious who’s in certain businesses for the wrong reasons – the wrong reasons here being money and fame. As I mentioned before, the psychic industry runs on trends, and with this comes the fact that everyone wants to be or discover the next big thing. Everyone crawls onto the bandwagon when they think something’s going to make the big bucks and be the next Angel Therapy or The Secret. It will be very shady and noticeable by others in your industry if you rebrand your whole spirituality to follow trends that are clearly gaining momentum. Stick to what you genuinely believe in.
When I was first online, I noticed how much my style of doing things differed from a lot of other people. I tend to focus on teaching predictive readings that can be applied to real life. I’m not afraid to venture down the ‘will he come back?’ rabbit hole and take my students with me.
When I first got online, it appeared that no-one else openly admitted they gave or taught what I would consider ordinary readings. Often, this is actively discouraged. I faced a lot of criticism and backlash that greatly affected my life and business. There was a time when I was even hounded daily for something I once thought was standard in this industry. It wasn’t until after I made a name for myself through blogging that I stopped getting public abuse on my social networks (nowadays, I just get the anonymous emails from self-help nutters).
Surprisingly, in the last couple of years, the tide has turned and predictive reading has become rather popular. Tarot readers are actively showing an interest in learning how to make predictions on ‘mundane’ matters, and every month, this website welcomes more and more visitors. It’s safe to say that sticking to my style has paid off.
There will be times when you haven’t yet found yourself or your reading style, and that’s okay. This is something you discover in time, and it’s constantly changing as well. As you develop as a person, your identity as a Tarot reader will also.
The Tower: Tarot Doesn’t Have to be a Career Move
You know what? Tarot study can remain a hobby. I’ve noticed a lot of business courses and professional things flying around, but don’t feel pressured to take the leap and change your life. Trust me that when it comes to knowledge, the studier can be as good as the master; it’s not a competition. You can study Tarot and still keep your day job.
The Star: There is Always Hope
Above all else, Tarot is a fabulous opportunity for happiness. Many people are scared to get their cards read in case something bad comes of it. However, if anything, Tarot shows us that there’s always hope, no matter how bad or dire a situation appears.
The Star is one of my favorite cards, not only because I’m an Aquarius but because of its message. The Star shows us that there’s always hope and a chance for happiness. The message of The Star is that you will get what you want, but not always what you ask for or expect, and I think this reflects all Tarot readings in one way or another.
You may not be able to control the exact outcome of a situation, but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. There will be a moment of happiness and contentment eventually. If life goes down, it must also come up. For every ‘bad’ card we receive, there are better ones waiting for their turn to take center stage.
The Moon: Tarot is a Gateway to the Occult
Often, readers start on one form of divination and are then opened up to others out of curiosity. I learned Tarot first, but then took a heavy interest in Romany Gypsy symbolism and learned how to read dreams, tea leaves, crystal balls, and natural omens. After this, when I became an adult, I learned how to read with Lenormand.
After discovering Tarot, you’ll delve further and further into the occult, and this is very much a positive thing.
Something I loved has very much become a lifestyle and a huge part of myself. Who would have thought a chance encounter with a relative’s cards would have set me up on this great and wonderful journey?
The Sun: Tarot is a Fabulous Opportunity
The many ways in which Tarot is an opportunity aren’t even countable. It’s an opportunity to predict the future or gain advice. It’s an opportunity to grow spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. It’s an opportunity to make lifelong friends and meet people, to laugh, to cry, and to simply enjoy discussing a crappy past, a better present, and a brighter future. It’s an opportunity to leave your day job (if you so desire) and risk everything to give others guidance and help in their time of need. It’s an opportunity to be yourself, share your secrets, and perfect your skills. It’s an opportunity not just to learn, but to experience the wonders of Tarot.
Judgment: This Hobby Could Be Your Destiny
I’m a bit of a romantic. I believe in free will but like to think there are some things in this world that are meant to be. I feel that I was born to be a reader – the signs were always there. Any time I tried to make a career or living out of something else, I was never able to. With Tarot, everything truly fell into place.
Divination pursued me. I once applied for hundreds of jobs and couldn’t get them; I would print off applications and the computer would break, interviews would be disastrous, etc. Oddly, I would always reach for my Tarot cards for answers. The answer was following me around all along. The answer was Tarot. Tarot is my calling. Is the Tarot calling you?
The World: The Journey is Never Ending
The main thing Tarot taught me is that there’s always something new to learn and different ways to learn it. Tarot is read all over the world, and a lot of the juicy stuff hasn’t even hit the English-speaking market yet. You can really take part in lifelong learning with Tarot. You may feel like you’ve learned everything you need to know once you’ve learned the meanings of the 78 cards. But trust me, the journey has only just begun.
What have your learned from reading Tarot? What have been your main Tarot reading lessons? Feel free to share with myself and the Divinerism community in the comments section below (I am dying to hear from you!)