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The Biggest Challenges in Learning Tarot and How to Overcome Them

By January 21, 2011 December 31st, 2019

blog-20110121-the-biggest-challenges-in-learning-tarot-and-how-to-overcome-themRecently, I asked in a number of different forums, “What’s the biggest challenge you face in learning the Tarot?” Initially, I had assumed the responses would be around being able to remember all 78 cards, or having enough time to pursue learning, but I was wrong! In today’s post, I want to share with you what really stands in the way of being able to learn the Tarot and what strategies you can put in place to overcome these challenges.


Learning to Trust Your Intuition

The single most important factor in being able to read the Tarot is learning to trust your intuition:

“The main problem that I had with Tarot was knowing when to let go of the books and to follow your own GUT feel.”

“For me it was letting go of the rules and allowing my intuition to guide me. When I first started I got stuck worrying about how I “should” be reading the cards.”

“My biggest challenge was believing in myself.”

Learning to trust your intuition is imperative if you are to go from being an amateur Tarot reader to a professional reader. Anyone can look up the meanings of the Tarot cards and select whichever interpretation suits them best. But it takes a truly confident and intuitive reader to begin to read between the lines and weave a story amongst the cards. This is when Tarot truly comes to life and we begin to access insightful information from the cards.

Here are a few quick tips to learn to trust your intuition:

  • Practice silence. One of the best techniques I learned from Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now was to quieten the mind and listen for the silence. This is highly effective in clearing away all of that ‘chatter’ in our minds, to allow for our inner voice to come through. Before every Tarot reading, I stop to listen to the silence.
  • Meditate on a Tarot card. Select one Tarot card and place it in front of you. Allow your mind to clear, and then observe what images, feelings, energies, etc. come to you during this time. Try to forget about traditional meanings, and instead focus in on what you are sensing in this card.
  • Listen to your dreams. Dreams are an excellent source of subconscious information. By keeping a dream journal, you can begin to see the patterns between your dreams and your reality. If you have a pressing question, meditate on it just before falling asleep, and in the morning when you wake up, write down what your dreamt. No doubt you will have the answer to your question.
  • Use the “No Spread” Spread. Rather than using a defined Tarot spread, next time you have a question, just start with one card. Concentrate on the card and what it is telling you, then use it to shape the next question. Continue doing this until you feel clear about what it is you need to do about your concern.

Creating the “Story”

“The biggest challenge I face in learning to read Tarot is creating the story of the spread, and relating the cards to one main issue.”

“I have a big problem with tying one card to the next, especially in spreads… Putting them together in ways that make sense is still a bit beyond me.”

The second biggest challenge is knowing how to bring all of the different cards in your reading to form an insightful and relevant ‘story’ of what is really going on. Often, when we look up a Tarot card meaning, we see a lot of the general meanings associated with the card, but struggle to find out how it relates to the specific issue we’re trying to address. Or, we know what each card on its own means, but when they all come together, how do we create a coherent picture that’s relevant to the client?

Here are some quick tips on how to create a ‘story’ in your own Tarot reading:

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  • Look for patterns. Are most of the cards from a particular Suit? What symbols or colours are common across the cards? Is the majority of the reading Major Arcana cards? Start to look for patterns across all of the cards in your reading, and draw out the key themes that are relevant to the reading. For example, if you see mostly Cups cards, it is reflective of an emotional concern, or if many cards are reversed, then there are issues of blocked energy and confusion.
  • Learn the Elemental Dignities. One respondent had this great recommendation, “I have recently started learning and using elemental dignities and for me, that has worked! It just seems to relate the cards to each other in a way that makes sense to me and my readings are finally making sense and ringing true most of the time.” If you want to find out more about Elemental Dignities, visit
  • Create a summary straight up. Just recently, I have started opening my Tarot readings with a one-paragraph summary of what I see in the cards. I look across all of the cards and think, “What’s my point of view here?” “If I had to answer my client’s question in just one paragraph, what would it be?” It forces me to have a clear picture of what I see in the cards, rather than just going through each card individually. And so far, so good – I get great feedback on this approach!
  • Practice. Choose a simple three-card spread, such as the Past-Present-Future spread, and pull three cards. Now, imagine your client wants to know if they’ll get back with their ex. How would you interpret these cards? Now, your client wants to know if they should move interstate. What’s the story? Keep creating ‘pretend’ scenarios using the same cards and notice how different your story is each time.

Learning to Read Reversed Tarot Cards

Many Tarot students fear the reversed Tarot card! “What? I have just learned 78 card meanings and now you want me to learn another 78?!!” When I asked my YahooGroups members, this was the biggest challenge for them.

If you want to learn more about reading reversed Tarot cards, take a look at my previous blog posts or purchase my Tarot Card Meanings eBook which includes all of the reversed Tarot card meanings.


In closing, I want to say a big thank-you to those who responded through various forums. I am very grateful for the different views people so openly shared with me, and I am glad to be able to now share them with you.


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