I know a lot of you have the question: Do you have to be psychic to read Tarot? I used to think I would need to have clear visions or know all of the details to be a good Tarot reader! So, in the latest episode of the Biddy Tarot Podcast, I talk about just that. I’m going to get into the juicy differences between being intuitive and being psychic, how Tarot helps these “extrasensory skills” (and vice versa), and 5 simple ways you can start to develop your intuitive abilities!
You’re listening to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, and this is Episode 108: Do You Have to Be a Psychic to Read Tarot?
Welcome to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, where you'll learn how to connect more deeply with your intuition and live an empowered and enlightened life with the Tarot cards as your guide.
Listen as Brigit and her guests share their very best tips and strategies to help you read Tarot with confidence. Now, here is your host, Brigit Esselmont.
Hello, and welcome back to the Biddy Tarot Podcast. As always, it’s my absolute joy to be talking with you about Tarot.
Now, today is a really interesting topic and something that I get asked quite a lot about Tarot, and that is “Do you have to be psychic to read Tarot?” We’re going to spend a little bit of time on this to really unpack it and discover “Do you have to be psychic?” Or is there something else? What does it take to be an authentic Tarot reader? Let’s dive into this straight away!
DO YOU HAVE TO BE PSYCHIC TO READ TAROT?
Now, when I first started reading Tarot, the thing that came up for me quite a lot was I thought I had to be super, super psychic, as in I needed to be able to know names of people. I needed to know exactly when something would happen. I would need to be able to see a complete picture in my mind, as if I was watching a movie, in order for me to be able to convey a message through my Tarot readings.
So, of course, I’m freaking myself out because I think, “My goodness! I’ve got to have all of these psychic skills, and I just don’t have them.” I would sit there with my Tarot cards in front of me, just going, “Oh man, come on, psychic ability! Come through right now.” I would just end up completely frustrated and let down because it wasn’t happening.
I would sit there, thinking, “Am I really a Tarot reader? If I can’t see things, and if I’m not psychic, if I’m not hearing voices or messages, and I’m not seeing names, and I don’t know dates, am I really an authentic Tarot reader? Or am I just a fraud? Am I just making this up? Am I fake?”
It really bugged me for quite a while, and it really got in the way of me being able to do my Tarot readings with that beautiful, free-flowing energy until I realised, “You know what? Maybe I don’t have to be psychic to be a good Tarot reader. Maybe it’s all about my intuition and how I use my intuition in my readings.”
It was at that point where I let go of the expectation on myself to be this super psychic person. I let it go, and finally, I was in flow, and it was just a whole different experience. I finally accepted that I had my own unique gifts that I could bring into a Tarot reading and that would enable me to be an authentic Tarot reader.
That’s really what I want to talk about today, this balance between:
Do you have to be psychic to read Tarot?
And if it’s not psychic, what is it?
If it’s intuition, then what is intuition, and how is that different from psychic abilities and so on?
And how can we integrate more of this into our Tarot readings so that every time you are drawing the cards, you’re feeling amazing, and you're feeling really good about what you bring to the table? Not necessarily what you’ve seen in a movie or read in a book about how you should be as a Tarot reader, but really tuning into your own natural abilities.
Let’s start off with this difference between being “intuitive” and being “psychic.”
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “PSYCHIC” AND “INTUITIVE”
Now, I used to think that both were pretty much the same thing, and they were interchangeable. And look, there are people now who will argue that they are interchangeable. I see things a little bit differently.
For me, I see intuition kind of like radio waves. Even as we’re walking around, sitting in an office, walking outside, there are radio waves everywhere. They exist whether you can see them or you don’t see them, you know about them or you don’t know about them. They’re there.
I think intuition is very much like radio waves. Intuition is there. It’s available to everyone, and you’re not either intuitive or not. It’s there. It’s waiting for you, and you ultimately decide whether you tune into intuition and whether you tune into those radio waves.
Now, on the flipside, you have psychic abilities or being psychic. What I see with being psychic is it’s like being able to take a radio and tune it into a particular radio station. You’re taking all of those beautiful, intuitive radio waves out there, and you’re able to turn the dial such that you get clear and crisp music or a clear and crisp voice over the radio.
Being psychic is more about your ability to tune into intuition and turn it into something that is helpful and that will show you a path forward or a possibility and so on.
I hope that analogy in helpful in terms of understanding how intuition and psychic ability are different but also similar. They’re very similar to each other.
You might be wondering, “Right, OK, so maybe the intuition is out there. I know I can tune into it, and if I tune into it really, really well or really specifically, then that starts to turn into more of a psychic ability. Awesome.”
But is intuition, and what does it actually look like? Because we often talk about being intuitive, but it’s one of those words that there’s not really that much definition around “Well, what does it mean to be intuitive? What does it look like?”
Again, if we go back to when I was first starting to read Tarot, I had a very specific vision of what I thought being psychic was about, and I thought it was knowing specific dates, hearing a very clear message in a voice, being able to see colours around people and so on.
What I discovered over time is that it’s not that clear-cut. In fact, it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. I remember reading a book about auras, and in my mind, I thought auras were when you look at a person, and they’re covered in blue, and you can see it as if it was right there in front of you. And there are absolutely people that do experience auras in that way, but what this book was showing me was that, actually, seeing an aura is often about sensing that aura and almost imagining that aura. It doesn’t have to be as if it’s there in 3D, but more than you can experience or imagine the aura. If you were to imagine a colour around this person, what would it be? That in itself is seeing auras.
So, what does that mean in terms of being psychic and being intuitive? I think it’s a little bit more blurred and a little bit more grey, I suppose, in terms of “How do you know if you're being psychic, intuitive or not?” That experience isn’t always as clear-cut as we might expect.
WHAT DOES BEING INTUITIVE LOOK LIKE?
What does being intuitive look like? Here are a few things that have come to mind in terms of being intuitive, how you know that you’re being intuitive…
In fact, just as a side node, this stuff is really important to ask yourself as well:
“What do I think being intuitive looks like?”
When you're clear about this idea of being intuitive, and you’re clear about what that looks like, then you can start behaving as if you are intuitive. You can try it on for size, and then you find that, over time, you become more intuitive. This is an intuitive development skill as well!
So, what does being intuitive look like?
#1 Being open and aware that there is more to life than what you see.
Well, for me, it’s being open and aware that there is more to life than what you see.
Intuition is kind of the silence in between the noise. It’s the layers underneath which we see things. It’s kind of this inner realm, the in-between realm and the everythingness and the nothingness at the same time.
I remember in Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now, and he talks about that whole idea of the silence in between the noise, and that’s the present moment. I think it’s just so powerful.
So, being intuitive is being open and aware to the fact that there is more to life than what we see in front of us. Just simply that awareness is about bringing in more intuition into your life.
#2 Taking time out from your day to really tune in, meditate and contemplate life.
Now, it happened to me yesterday, and I was dealing with a work question, I suppose, a situation that was bothering me and challenging me, and I wasn’t sure what to do. I could have sat on my laptop and done a bit of research and looked things up, try to do stuff, be very masculine, try to get things done and move things forward and so on.
But I thought, “You know what? I need to call on the intuition here. This is more than just thinking it through. This needs my intuition.
So, I laid down on the couch, and I started just checking in on my energy. I started visualising some different alternatives that I could consider and visualising the energy, and then calling in my intuition and just seeing what came up.
That allowed me to really tune into the energy of this situation so that I had another layer from which I could make better decisions, more conscious decisions.
So, being intuitive, say in business for that example, means taking that time out to tune in, to meditate and to contemplate, instead of just being in the “must get it done” mode. We’re also embracing our sacred feminine energy, which is just to sit and receive and surrender and trust and all of that good stuff. That’s #2, being intuitive really looks like taking time out from your day and honouring that time.
In fact, as another side note, I think it’s Deepak Chopra who says, “If you’re busy, you need to meditate for an hour a day. But if you’re really busy, then you’d better meditate for two hours a day!” It just goes to show how much value there is in taking some time out to really tune into things.
So, number three—what does being intuitive look like?
#3 Separating the ego from the higher self.
It’s also about separating the ego from the higher self. What does this really mean? Day to day, we are so caught up in our heads, and our ego is often running the show. Our ego is often defined by our fears, our anxieties, that FOMO, a mentality of lack.
“What if I miss out?”
“What if it runs out?”
“What if there’s not enough time?”
All of this stressy stuff, right? And yet, beneath all of that, once we strip our ego, what’s left? It’s our higher self, and this is also the silence between the noise. The noise is the ego; the silence is the higher self when we understand that we are not our egos, we are not necessarily our thinking mind. In fact, we can observe our thinking mind, and instead, we start to see that there is something else. We are something else. We are our higher selves. We are our soul. We are the universe. We are all of that good stuff.
When we acknowledge and we see that separation, that’s when we can start to connect with our intuition. Ultimately, our intuition is kind of the energy flow that happens through our higher selves, and when we’re in touch with our higher selves, we’re in touch with our intuition. It’s very important that you are able to see that separation between ego and higher self and to know “When is it my ego talking?” versus “When is my intuition or my higher self talking?” Very interesting.
#4 Trusting your gut.
What else does being intuitive look like? Well, trusting your gut. When something doesn’t feel right, what do you do? Do you just keep pushing and persevering and hoping that awful feeling will just go away? Or do you stop and say, “OK, something doesn’t feel right here—what’s really going on?”
Again, it’s similar with the ego and the higher self. We can get so swept up in the day-to-day and think we’ve just got to keep going, push, push, push, and meanwhile, we have this lingering feeling of “Uh-oh, nope. There’s something not quite right here.” Being intuitive is listening to that and going, “Yeah, OK, something is not right here. I don’t know what it is yet, but I’m going to just pause and tune into what that feeling is instead of just trying to push through it and keep moving forward.”
I think trusting your gut is also, when you're making decisions and giving yourself that time to really tune in and trust your gut, even if it’s a little bit different to what you think is the right answer, your gut might actually be telling you something a little bit different, and that’s often because, you know, if you think it’s the right answer, you might be a bit disconnected from your higher self, and yet your intuition and your gut is trying to say, “Hey, no! There’s this other thing over here.”
#5 Paying attention to synchronicities and symbols in our lives.
Another thing about being intuitive is also about paying attention to synchronicities and symbols in our lives. It pays to look around you and be open to the recurring signs that are happening around you. Just a very simple example would be when someone mentions a book, and you’re like, “Oh, yeah, this sounds interesting,” and then, literally, within a few hours, you’re on your Facebook feed, and someone else has just posted a thing about that book. You’re like, “Oh, OK! That’s interesting.” And then you're out with a friend for dinner that night, and she says, “You know what? I read a really good book last night, and it’s this.”
Paying attention to those synchronicities can be really helpful because maybe you then go ahead and pick up that book, and it changes your life for the better in some way or another.
Or maybe you follow those little breadcrumbs. Your gut says, “Instead of working at home today, maybe I should go out and work at the café.” And you go, “All right, off we go. Off to the café!” You get to the café, and then you meet an old high school friend. You’re like, “Oh, well, hello!” And then you're having a chat, and then maybe another thing happens from there. You’re just following these little breadcrumbs all because you're paying attention to the synchronicities.
These synchronicities happen as a way of allowing our intuition to talk with us and communicate with us but through tangible things. For me, being intuitive is paying attention to those synchronicities and those symbols.
#6 Trusting and surrendering to the process.
And then, finally, I believe that being intuitive is about trusting and surrendering to the process. What does that mean exactly? Sometimes we can have a desire or a goal that we put out there, and we have a bit of a choice. We can start stressing out, thinking, “Right, how am I going to make this happen? What do I need to do? Oh, my goodness, that’s all very hard in a short amount of time. I don’t know how it’s going to work.” We have a bit of a freak-out, and it kind of takes us off track.
Or if we’re being intuitive, we might say, “All right, I have got my goal. I’m feeling very energetically connected to my goal but in a healthy, detached kind of way.” We just surrender that goal to the universe, and we say, “Universe, I trust that you will support me in reaching this goal in the way that is in most alignment to my highest good.” Instead of striving and pushing and persevering towards that goal, we allow ourselves to be guided by the goal, and we allow ourselves to be in flow.
As an example, last year, we made the decision that we wanted to move from Melbourne to Queensland, the Sunshine Coast. We had looked at a few houses in late September, and then we had made the decision. But we looked at the house, and we thought, “OK, there’s nothing there. There’s nothing that we really, really love.”
Once I make a decision on something, I want it to happen straight away. I’m very action-oriented. My mind was going, “Right, how are we going to make this happen? How on earth are we going to find a house when we live in Melbourne? It’s a 2 ½-hour plane trip up to the Sunshine Coast, $1,000 every time. We have two young daughters that we need to look after. How is this going to happen?” I got myself into quite a bit of tizz about it, thinking, “How? How?”
And then I stopped and said, “Hang on! I’m intuitive, so what would an intuitive person do? She would just trust and surrender to the process.” I said, “OK, fine. I will hand this over to the universe. Universe, I would really like to move up to the Sunshine Coast. I trust that you’ll show me how.”
I also had this other intuitive feeling that we would find the right place at the end of November, and I would know for sure that it was the right place. I made sure I helped the universe in this process, so we booked in a trip up to the Sunshine Coast in that last week of November because you’ve got to give it a chance, you know?
We booked it in and came up. Still we looked at about nine places, and nothing was just hitting the mark. Everything was 9 out of 10 but not 10 out of 10. I knew I had to trust the process.
Then, over a coffee, my husband is looking up the real estate site and then finds this house and says, “Oh, this one! It’s dropped by 100K—do you want to check it out?” I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, maybe we should!”
We went, and I literally walked in the door and was in tears, going, “Oh, my gosh! This is it!”
For you Tarot lovers, I went into one of the rooms, and I saw the Starchild Tarot deck. I’m like, “Ah, yes! Talk about synchronicity! Yes, that’s it. That’s my sign. This is the place.” And it all happened from there.
The moral of that story is sometimes you just have to trust the process and not worry too much about the how. The universe will take care of the how. You just need to decide what it is that you want to create and why, and let the universe do the how.
Now, of course, this is all a bit of a side note, but you would still need to take some action, but being intuitive is about trusting and surrendering to the process and being in flow and following that flow.
WHAT DOES BEING PSYCHIC LOOK LIKE?
I know that we’ve just spent quite a bit of time on what being intuitive looks like, but I want this to really lock in for you because I think we get so judgmental and self-judging around “Am I intuitive enough? Am I psychic enough to read Tarot?” If you start to answer that question of “OK, well, what does ‘being intuitive enough’ really look like for me?” you might start to realise, “Actually, I’m doing quite a few of those things. Maybe I’m more intuitive than I realised.”
Now, it’s the same thing with being psychic. What does being psychic look like? Well, for me, I think it has a lot to do with the “clairs”:
You can hear things. You can hear messages. Interestingly, with this one, I have always expected that, well, being clairaudient, you should be able to hear it as if someone is talking in your ear, but it doesn’t necessarily work that way. Some people do have that experience, and others will simply have a sensation as if someone was talking to them and sharing a message.
It’s the same with being clairvoyant. I thought originally you had to just see it as a very clear movie playing in your mind, and you could see every single detail, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Sometimes being clairvoyant is more about seeing a scene that then has a metaphorical connection. It’s like when I wanted some guidance around a creative project that I was working on, and instead of getting very direct guidance, what I saw was an aboriginal man in the forest throwing a spear, and I’m like, “Come on, intuition. This is not helpful. What is this?”
Then the aboriginal man turns to me and say, “Nuh-uh, you’ve missed the point!” Have a look again while I shoot my spear.
The second time, I was like, “Oh! You’re not just throwing a spear into the forest. You are aiming towards something very specific and then throwing the spear. Then what I realised was that movie image I had in my mind was a sign that I needed to be more specific with my goals, and so I was, and that helped the creative project a lot more. Clairvoyance doesn’t necessarily have to be that really clear movie screen. It can also be more of a vague picture, and that’s enough.
Now, there are other ones…
Clairsentience—having a feeling or a sensation.
Claircognisance—a knowing about something (That’s something I certainly link in with)
Those are the “clairs”! That’s what being psychic can look and feel like, but again, it’s important to clarify what you think that being psychic looks like, and don’t bring on too much expectation of yourself.
We’ve talked a bit about what the difference is between being intuitive and being psychic, and then what it actually means to be intuitive, what that really looks like, and I’ve shared what I feel being intuitive looks like, but I also want you to check in and say, “OK, what do I think being intuitive looks like?” because it might be slightly different, and that’s OK. Once you know what being intuitive looks like, then you can start working on developing that and becoming that.
DEVELOP YOUR INTUITION
Now, there are a few things… This is probably a whole podcast in itself, but there are a few things that you can do to develop your intuition, which will then support your Tarot readings.
Things like meditating—literally just the simple act of sitting there and seeing the separation between your thoughts and yourself, that separation of ego and higher self. When you’re meditating, all you're doing is just observing the thought and realising that you are separate to your thoughts, and that in itself is powerful, and just having that capacity and ability to separate is very helpful.
Another way to help intuition is to do journaling and free writing, just allowing your intuition to flow through you as you write and communicate and articulate what’s going on.
Of course, using Tarot is the perfect way to develop your intuition. You might be like, “Oh, but hang on—I need intuition to read Tarot!” but trust me, Tarot is, I think, more of an intuitive development tool than a tool for intuition. Does that make sense?
Another way to develop intuition is to sync up with the natural cycles, being aware of the lunar cycles and how they influence you on that more subtle level. That will certainly help you become more intuitive. In fact, now that we’re living on five acres, we’re very aware of what the moon is doing because the full moonlight is streaming through our windows at night time while we sleep. We don’t have blinds anymore. It just reminds me that full moon can get a little bit cray-cray, and things can feel like they’re spiralling out of control.
And then I know that between the full moon and the new moon, I’m in this… Well, actually, no—let me flip it the other way. Between the new moon and the full moon, I am adding, adding, adding. My work schedule gets busier and busier and busier. I’m adding new projects. I get to the full moon, and I have a complete freak-out and go, “Oh, this is too much!” and then from full moon to new moon, I’m stripping away, stripping away, stripping away and doing a lot less. Just my simple connection to the lunar cycles is helping me connect in with these more subtle energies that are influencing me.
Some other things…
Being around others who are intuitive is a great way to develop your own intuition because you see what is normal. Intuition is normal! And you can see what’s possible and just how people live their lives when they’re being intuitive.
Remove expectation of what intuition should be
And I think the final piece around developing intuition—and trust me, there are so many different ways you can develop your intuition—is just simply to remove expectation of what intuition is or should be.
If you're hearing yourself saying, “To be intuitive, I should be able to see this clear movie screen,” then you need to pull yourself back and say, “Hang on—am I expecting too much?” Maybe we can put forward an idea of what we think it is and then open the space to explore: “Well, what is intuition as I’m experiencing it?”
We’ve done quite a bit around intuition, and I hope now you’ve got an appreciation or a deeper appreciation of what intuition and how free and fluid it is, and how you can start to bring more of it into your life.
Now I want to get to the original question, which is…
DO YOU NEED TO BE PSYCHIC TO READ TAROT?
And the simple answer is no, you don’t need to be psychic. You simply need to be open to trusting your intuition and connecting with your intuition. I think this is why I love Tarot so very much: it’s actually that vehicle or gateway to connecting with your intuition. Tarot is designed to support you in connecting with your intuition. It has the imagery, the symbols, the spiritual lessons in the cards, and each one of those is designed to get you more in touch with your intuition. That’s a perfect, perfect system.
You might be going, “Oh, I’m not intuitive enough to use Tarot.”
Well, guess what! You don’t have to be. Just start using Tarot, and then you’ll become more intuitive. We might actually have the chicken and the egg the wrong way around, thinking that we have to be intuitive to start reading Tarot, because really we have to start reading Tarot to be intuitive—you got it?
A neat way of just getting started with Tarot and just started with being intuitive: just start reading for yourself. As you read Tarot for yourself, what you're doing is you're allowing yourself access to your subconscious mind, which I believe is interchangeable with intuition. My psychologist mother might disagree, but I think reading Tarot for yourself, you’re in touch with your subconscious. You tune into your intuition, and you start to see how those two intertwine.
Now, when you're reading for others, I think you probably do need a little bit more intuition, so definitely start with yourself, so you can open and access your intuition. Again, reading for others, you can just get started by having those traditional meanings of the cards and doing a reading. You will still be surprised at what comes up in those readings even if you're simply reading from a book, and hopefully, that will then spur you on to go, “Hmm, maybe I can connect with my intuition. Maybe there is something more here, and I can take this reading deeper with a client.”
I think the way to really take it to that next level from traditional book meanings to something that’s much more intuitive is to look more at the stories in the cards, the symbols and the connections between the cards.
Instead of saying, “Six of Swords: rite of passage,” or “Empress: abundance,” or “Emperor: structure,” take it that little bit further.
“Six of Swords, Emperor and Empress? Maybe you're moving away from home and from your mum and your dad. You’re moving away from home, and maybe you're a bit sad about that, and maybe you’re leaving behind your family, but you know that you're moving to something new.” That becomes much more of an intuitive, free-flowing process when you connect with those stories.
So, let’s go back to the question: Do you need to be psychic to read Tarot? No, you don’t, and in fact, Tarot will actually help you become more psychic and more intuitive over time the more that you open up to it, so rest easy, my friend! You're exactly where you need to be, and Tarot will absolutely help you in becoming more intuitive.
Now, there’s just one final thing that I want to cover before we wrap it up for today. It’s funny—I thought today was going to be a really short episode, but we’re hitting half an hour here! Very good.
So, the last thing is, oftentimes clients expect us to be psychic. They go, “Tarot reader=psychic” because that’s what’s been portrayed in the media and so on. But it’s really important that you don’t fall victim to that expectation and stop putting unrealistic expectations on yourself to suddenly be psychic because your client wants you to be. Clients might want you to be able to name their future husband.
They want you to say exactly where they should live and so on, and if that’s not in you, if that’s not part of your makeup, you can either freak out, say, “OK, I’ll give it my best,” and then realise that it’s not working for you and disappoint both parties, or you could say, “You know what? Being a Tarot reader doesn’t mean you're necessarily psychic, but I have my own natural gifts and abilities, and these are the ways that I can help to serve you.”
Maybe you're a natural counsellor or a natural coach. Maybe you have an ability to just hold space for someone and be a witness to their story. Tap into what your natural talents are instead of trying to feed into an expectation that someone else might have of you as a Tarot reader, and that will also give you a little bit of extra leeway and flexibility to really be who you are and why you're here on this earth.
So, my dear friend, in closing today, I want you to just check in with yourself at this stage. I want you to ask yourself:
“Am I intuitive?”
Whatever your answer is, I also want you to ask yourself:
“How do I know this to be true?”
Similarly, I want you to ask yourself:
“Am I psychic, and how do I know this to be true?”
Very interesting. A couple more. Do you believe that you can read Tarot authentically if you do not believe that you're psychic? Now, originally, I thought, “No, I can’t read Tarot authentically if I don’t believe that I’m psychic,” but I want you to check in with yourself after listening to this podcast. Do you believe you can read Tarot authentically if you do not believe you are psychic?
And finally, what if you were open to the possibility that the more that you read Tarot, the more intuitive and psychic you’ll become? What if you were to be open to the possibility that the more that you read Tarot, the more intuitive and psychic you will become?
I shall leave you with that parting thought. Now, next week, I’ve got a really lovely guest joining us on the podcast, and she is going to share a little bit about how Tarot readers can start getting acquainted with the Lenormand cards. Lenormand is something that I don’t know much about, but I certainly hear about it because I know many people are either making the switch, or they’re using both, and I brought on our guest to tell us more about those cards. Tune in next week, and for now, just enjoy your Tarot cards, connect with your intuition, see what’s possible, and have a great week. Bye for now!