Guest Author - Christin Sander
What skills do you need in order to read Tarot? This is a common question posed by those who are curious about learning how to read the cards. The simple answer is no special skills are required, it is something anyone can learn how to do. However, that doesn't mean it is “easy” or that it happens instantly. Those with a need for instant gratification may find they feel overwhelmed and quickly become disillusioned with the process.
The most important skills for someone to develop are patience, dedication, an open mind, objectivity, and creative thought. If you have these traits already, or are willing to develop them, you can learn to read the Tarot effectively. Learning to read the Tarot opens us up to deeper intuition and more well-rounded thought processes through practice.
I always recommend learning to read Tarot by developing faith in yourself and your own interpretations. There are thousands of books available and they can be great for gaining further insights into the cards, but those interpretations don't do a lot of good if you don't really connect with them. Tarot journals are the best way to start to intuitively connect with the cards. As you look at the images and write down your thoughts, feelings, and impressions, you will find that you make a deeper connection with the cards. Personal experience is always more easily recalled than memorizing what someone else has written.
Those who are new to Tarot often give up on it because they feel they can't possibly memorize the meanings of the cards. This is correct, it is very difficult to memorize “definitions”. Tarot is very subjective and although some symbolism has universal meaning, the card interpretations will vary person to person. This is fine and as it should be. New readers often get hung up on “right answers” or approach the Tarot from a hyper analytical standpoint and it doesn't work that way. A readers job is not to memorize set answers and keywords, but to allow the image on the card to speak to his/her intuition.
When we allow the cards to show us a story, rather than trying to put together a puzzle, readings begin to flow more easily. Every card has a picture and every picture tells a story. Your job as a reader is to connect the story you see depicted on the card to the events in the questioners life. It is not as complicated as most of us tend to make it in the beginning.
I also had this challenge initially. I had books and I wanted set meanings for the cards to make it easier to read. It didn't occur to me until a few years later that by trying to mold my readings around other people's definitions, I was actually making the reading process harder. I would second guess my own initial thoughts and intuition, because in my mind I would be thinking “well this book said the card means this”. In every instance, I would later find out that I should have gone with my own initial ideas.
So why have books if they don't give you answers? For insight. Tarot books are great for lending insight and other people's perspectives to the cards. This can help you flesh out your interpretations and to give more depth to them, but your interpretations should always be your own.
So, who can learn to read Tarot? Those who are patient and willing to trust themselves, while letting go of the mindset that someone else holds the only true answers. When you can embrace the subjective nature of it, anyone can learn to read effectively.