Tarot: Trusting Your Intuition

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot
Image by Victoria Constantino

When it comes to interpreting tarot, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend throwing out the guidebook, but trusting your own intuition above all is important. It’s best when you have a working knowledge of the usual meanings of cards and can then draw from that tradition as a springboard to further your understanding. A deepening of understanding comes when you tune into what your intuition is telling you the cards mean—for you in particular, or for the specific querent you are reading for. 

Decks that include symbolism (in contrast to minimalist decks) provide a rich tradition from which we can draw. The symbols themselves—which can be represented by figures or archetypes, animals, what we would traditionally think of as symbols (such as planetary representations), and colors—provide a rich depth of meaning we can use to create interpretations that are unique to us or the querent. Do butterflies symbolize something specific to you, or does the number four hold a certain meaning that only you would know? Those are influences that can factor into your interpretation of the cards. 

If the guidebook says X about a certain card, but you are feeling Y, always trust your instinct. Cards carry messages that impact us where we are, in the moment in which we are interpreting them. Whether a card is a reflection of your current energies or station, represents future possibilities, or what is at the end of the path you are currently on is something a guidebook cannot tell you. This is where your intuition becomes key. The same card could mean something completely different to you depending on when you draw it and where you are energetically at the time.

When you are first starting out with tarot or trying to strengthen your connection to your intuition, writing down your thoughts about each card in a journal can yield insights. Try doing this before consulting the guidebook—you may surprise yourself. When you’re done writing out your interpretation, you can then review what the guidebook says about the card and look for any common threads. This can assist you as you are learning about the cards and can help you develop your eye for symbolism as well as your interpretive capacity. It can also help you to trust yourself more as you confirm your insights with the guidebook’s interpretations, realizing, however, that you may produce deeper insights about the card and its meaning that the guidebook does not delve into.

Trust—that is, trusting our own wisdom and understanding—goes a long way toward improving our ability to obtain meaning and significance from a reading. As with most things, time, commitment, patience, and continued practice will help you to strengthen your connection to your intuition.

Tarot: The Journey Within

Decks: Soul Cards Tarot & Blue Bird Lenormand
Image by Victoria Constantino

Tarot is a reflection of ourselves. When we hold a deck, a sort of energetic transference takes place. It is a connection that takes place all day, every day, and it is as natural as breathing. Anytime we hold something, we are connecting with its energy. It may not be a conscious connection, but it happens nonetheless. When we consider that everything is energy, this isn’t so surprising. Those who are sensitive to energy can connect with objects in this way and obtain any information they may hold.

Anyone who has worked with energy tools, like pendulums and tarot, for any significant period of time will tell you that you can get a skewed or false reading if your energy is off, or not aligned. If you are upset or impatient or having a bad day, for example, or if your thoughts are scattered or you are experiencing anxiety, the cards will reflect this. That is why it is so important to breathe deeply or otherwise connect in to a place of peace before entering a reading, whether you are receiving it or performing it, for yourself or another. Many practitioners develop their own rituals around this, and often, those may include prayer or calling on higher guidance or allies for a message. It can simply involve calling on the highest truth and light to assist with the reading. This is a way of ensuring the truth and accuracy of the cards and interpretation, and that it comes from a place of light to bring clarity and wisdom to the querent.

The way we approach a reading is also connected to the expectations we have for it. If we enter a reading with doubt that it will be of any value, then the cards will reflect that. However, if we enter the reading in a place of trust or positive expectation, expecting clarity to come from it, then that is what the cards will deliver. In precisely the way that the cards reflect our energy, they are also a powerful reflective tool that allows us to peer within. Of course, we can ask the cards anything, which opens up infinite possibilities of exploration for us. If we are examining what we need to release that we may not be aware of, or anything that may be coming up for clearing and healing, or even how best to go about doing the work of healing, the cards can be a valuable tool that allows us infinite insight into our interior landscape.

When we are attuned to our intuition, we can gain exponentially greater value from a reading. In this ideal interpretive space, we can go far, far beyond what the guidebook says to find the meaning and interpretation that is meant especially for us and our specific situation and experience. Certain symbols on the cards may catch our eye, for example; those can hold meanings that we can interpret in ways that are particular to us and, in this way, provide us with unique value. Trusting our instincts when it comes to the interpretation is key, as it opens us up to a greater flow of information. As soon as we doubt, we put up blocks to anything that might want to come through. Overall, tarot provides a medium through which we can tap into deeper and deeper layers of healing, awareness, and understanding that bring us further in our journey into the interior.