There’s a point of view that if you’re intuitive, you’ll get exactly what you need from the Tarot cards. Another opinion is that you need to have all of the card meanings memorised, the history of Tarot, and so on to be a good Tarot reader.
Today, I’m talking about my ideas on the topic: can intuition alone make you a great Tarot reader? I also provide you with some questions you can ask yourself to establish your own opinion on the subject.
Brigit: You're listening to The Biddy Tarot Podcast and this is episode 136, Can Intuition Alone Make You a Great Tarot Reader?
Intro: 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. And now, here's your host, Brigit Esselmont.
Brigit: Hello, and welcome back to The Biddy Tarot Podcast, as always, I'm super excited to be talking with you all about Tarot, and in this episode a little bit more about intuition. Now, in this episode I want to talk a bit about whether … Is it enough to just trust your intuition when reading Tarot?
There's a point of view out there that it's fine if … as long as you're intuitive, you'll get exactly what you need out of the Tarot cards, and there's also opinions out there around, well, maybe, you actually need to be good at it, and maybe you need to have all of the background knowledge, the expertise in Tarot, the history, its origins, the traditions and so on in order to be a good Tarot reader. So, that's what I want to talk about today, whether it's enough just to be using your intuitive skills, or if you also need to be, I guess, like, a knowledge expert in the realm of Tarot.
So, we'll dive into that shortly, but first I want to share a couple of five star reviews that were left in iTunes. Really want to celebrate and honor both of these. So, the first one is from Ace of Cups from Canada, and this person writes, “I joined the Biddy Tarot community a little over a month ago, and prior to that I was just reading books and feeling unsure. This podcast is a great reminder of the little things when it comes to reading Tarot, especially when it comes to seeing something different in the cards than the norm, makes me feel much more confident and relaxed.”
Well, actually, Ace of Cups, I think you're going to enjoy today's episode in particular because we are talking exactly around this idea of, like, is it okay to see something different in the cards, and something different to what, sort of, experts, I'm doing air quotes, experts might say about the cards. So, stay tuned.
Now, the other review I want to share with you and celebrate is from Green J A 82 from the UK, and this person writes, “The Biddy Tarot Podcast has improved my relationship with Tarot, not just in terms of the knowledge of the cards, but mainly because it's given me the confidence to trust my intuition and my own interpretations of the cards. I now have the confidence to put down the books, although the Biddy Tarot Card Meanings book is fantastic, and freewheel it with friends and family at parties. Thank you so much, Brigit, and the Biddy Tarot team.”
Awesome, well, thank you, and thank you to you, as the listener of this podcast. I so appreciate you. I appreciate your support, and I hope that these podcast episodes are helping you in one way, or in many ways, to really strengthen your connection with the Tarot.
Now, of course, if you love this podcast make sure you leave a review and a rating inside of iTunes. It just helps us get Tarot in front of even more people, which is super, super exciting.
All right, so, let's dive into today's topic, which is really about whether you can trust your intuition, is that enough to be a good Tarot reader, or do you need to really develop your expertise in Tarot and become, maybe, a sort of technical expert in Tarot? And this question came up a little while ago when a person had asked a very sort of similar question, not exactly the same, similar, about whether this movement towards just trusting your intuition is kind of overriding the origins of Tarot and being an expert in Tarot.
So, I really wanted to explore this on a deeper level, not only just to really uncover my own perspectives, but perhaps give you some questions to help you establish where you sit in all of this. And, as we'll discover, I actually think the answer here is very simple. You'll find out what that is very soon. And, it's also an opportunity to explore this on a deeper level, and what it really means for you, and where you sit with it.
So, I wanted to start off with two personal stories. So, when I first started to read Tarot, and if you know much about my journey you'll know this story very well. When I first started to read Tarot I was about 17 years old, I was studying at university, or just about to, and what I knew then was in order to be good at something you become an expert at it, and you learn all of the technical knowledge.
So, when it came to Tarot, what I did was I studied, and studied hard. I studied all of the Tarot card meanings. I looked at what they meant and how they could be interpreted in a reading, but I also looked at the symbolism and what that meant. I looked at the historical background of the Tarot. I got to understand some of the systems that sit behind Tarot, whether it's numerology or astrology. And, look, by no means am I an expert in astrology or numerology, but I saw the importance of learning a little bit more about that so that it could then influence my Tarot readings.
And, you know, as part of … I think, as part of being an expert, sometimes you get into a memorization pattern. You think, right, I've got to really memorize the card meanings in order for me to be really, really good at them. So, that's what I did. I effectively did my absolute best to become what I thought was an expert in Tarot by doing all of the studying.
And here's the thing, I thought I needed to know everything before I could start reading. I needed to be an expert. My technical expertise had to be top notch before I could start reading. I mean, that's what happens in academia, you need to complete your university degree before you can go on to certain career paths. You just have to do the work, and then you can start practicing.
So, I took that to mean in Tarot that I needed to wait until I was the expert in Tarot, in my opinion, and I couldn't read for others until I had reached that level of expertise. I also thought that I needed to have that external validation, so again with university, you get graded, and you need to meet certain standards and expectations, and so I started to apply that in Tarot and I thought, oh, gosh, well, I need the backing of a Tarot association. I need to sit exams to prove that I actually know something here, and I was really looking outside of myself to confirm that I was expert enough to start reading.
But, here's the thing, I didn't actually start reading for others for a good couple of years of learning to read Tarot. Sure, I was practicing on myself, but it took a few years before I felt like I was ready to read for other people because I was thinking I need to be an expert here.
But, when it came time to actually read the cards, I found that my readings were robotic, because I was trying to only draw from knowledge and technical expertise. I was trying to apply all of those techniques to create a Tarot reading, and yes, I might have ticked the boxes in terms of being able to remember what the cards meant, but when it actually came to the reading it was, like, just dull, and robotic, and I was also stressed and worried, like, what if I was getting it wrong? Or, like, what if I didn't do it exactly the way that the book had told me to do it?
So, my readings just weren't quite what I had thought a Tarot reading was all about, because I don't know about you, but my idea of a Tarot reading was something where you get, like, massive downloads from the universe about what is going to transpire for you, and yet I was getting these kind of like, oh, Six of Swords, rite of passage, Two of Swords, indecision, confusion, and that just wasn't what I thought it was going to be.
So, in this sense, for me, like, being an expert, yes, I had this great deal of knowledge, but it came to the actual Tarot readings I realized that being an expert wasn't enough, and it wasn't going to actually help me, in its entirety, to get to the place that I wanted to be. I needed to have something else.
So, fast forward a couple of years, and this is when I started to realize, you know what? If I want to be an intuitive Tarot reader, I've got to be intuitive. So, I started figuring out, okay, great, I've laid down the foundations of my Tarot expertise. I've got the basics covered. I know the basic meanings, the traditional meanings of the cards. I know the origins of Tarot. I know some of the history. I might not be an amazing Tarot historian, but I know enough.
And, so, I said, right, I can let that part go for now, and instead I'm going to really trust my intuition. When I do a Tarot reading, I'm not going to get all caught up and worried about whether I've got the right meaning or not. I'm just going to really trust my intuition and go with it.
And you've probably heard me say it many, many times, I put the book down, because I think sometimes our books can become crutches, particularly in a reading. We think, oh, I'll just look it up. I don't need to trust my intuition, I'll just look it up. But, when I put that book down, I finally did start to connect in with my intuition in ways that I had not done in the past, and I really went through a phase of feeling my way into the card instead of worrying too much about what it meant traditionally.
Now, did the pendulum swing a bit too much? Yes, I think, perhaps, sometimes it did. Sometimes my meanings were so far different to a traditional meaning of the card my clients would sometimes say, “Hey, Brigit, I read on your website that this card means this, and now you're telling me it means this? Like, what's going on there?” I was like, “Oh, it's my intuition.”
And I started to realize, after employing my intuition even more in my readings, where the place of balance was, was actually somewhere in between, somewhere where I was leveraging my technical expertise and my technical knowledge of Tarot and I was integrating intuition as well. So, for me, the basic … The simple answer to “can intuition alone be enough to be a good Tarot reader?”, I don't think so. I think it's important to have both, both technical expertise and a trusting, or a faith, a confidence level in your intuition.
Now, when I asked this of the Biddy Tarot Community, pretty much 99%, in fact, if not 100% of people said, you know what? Yeah, you do need both. I don't think it's enough to just trust your intuition, and equally, I don't think it's enough just to be an expert in Tarot either, because there's so much more to a Tarot reading than just knowing what a particular symbol means, or when the cards originated from, or where they originated from.
So, if we're to summarize it, or, you know, sum it up, I think you really do need to have both technical expertise and intuition. And here's the thing, if you had expertise only, then sure, you might be able to write lots and lots of books, you might be someone who can talk really confidently about Tarot history, and really share your, like, valuable knowledge with other people, and that's awesome.
There's absolutely a place for people who are solely experts in Tarot, however, it doesn't guarantee that you're going to be a great Tarot reader, because you and I both know, reading Tarot requires not just technical expertise, but it requires intuition. It requires communication skills, even sometimes a bit of counseling skills. It requires life experience to some extent. There's so much more involved in a reading, an effective reading, than just knowing that background of where Tarot comes from.
Now, here's the other thing, if you had intuition only, then you might look at the images and connect with a personal message, but you're missing out on a huge amount of what I call ‘collective wisdom' that's available to you when you learn the basics of the Tarot, and we'll talk a little bit about, so, this collective and individual wisdom in a sec. But, I just wanted to show you that if we just go on the extreme of just being an expert, I don't think that's necessarily going to be … Make us a great Tarot reader. If we go completely to the other extreme and go, right, only intuition, only going to trust my intuition, I don't even need to learn what these cards mean, I think you're missing out on a huge amount, and the ideal is somewhere in between.
And that's why, like, in my courses I'm always teaching not just the technical expertise, but also the intuitive side, and really encouraging people to go within, and really trust their intuition when reading Tarot, and learn those basic systems of Tarot. Get to know what do the suits mean, what do the elements mean, what … Like, the numbers mean, where did the Tarot cards come from in the beginning, what are some of these background systems that link into the Tarot, and so on.
So, actually, I just want to talk a little bit about this concept, also, of collective wisdom and individual wisdom, because I think this is also, I guess, like, the continuum that we have here. So, for me, being an expert in something is connecting into the collective wisdom of Tarot. So, collective wisdom is pretty much, like, what we know of Tarot, and what we, as a collective, agree about Tarot, and this, again, might be, like, the traditional meanings of the cards, it might be systems behind the cards, and so on. And then, on the other side, you've got individual wisdom, and for me this is very much about your intuition and what's relevant to you in this present moment.
Now, I believe that Tarot is super powerful when we're blending both collective and individual wisdom. We are tapping into what people have learned about Tarot, and what has evolved around Tarot, like, the evolution alone, the energy around that is incredibly important, and it's also important to be tapping into your own personal intuition as well, because you're getting personalized messages that are meant for you. So, in a similar vein, combining this expertise with our own intuition, I think that's really important.
So, I wanted to just share a couple of kind of tips and afterthoughts as well with this, and you might notice, this is a little bit more free flowing than normal, but I really wanted to allow a space here to explore it, and I encourage you to do the same. You know, where are you sitting in this continuum of expert knowledge versus pure intuition?
All right, so, here's some of my little tidbits of advice and thoughts. So, number one, study the Tarot, but also integrate your intuition. So, both are really, really valuable. When I first started reading Tarot, I started with the knowledge piece, and then I realized that I needed to add intuition for it to work in the way that I wanted to, and again, this is why I'm teaching, in my courses, both the knowledge of Tarot, but also the sort of practice, I guess, of being able to trust your intuition and have confidence in it.
And, again, it really taps into that collective knowledge and the individual knowledge, and blending those two together. That's where you create the magic, in my opinion.
Now, here's another piece of advice, allow your expertise to grow as you read. So, in the story I shared with you, for me it took a number of years before I felt really confident to be able to read for others because I thought I had to be an expert. I thought I had to get all my knowledge in place and ready to go before I could start reading, but this is actually what happens, our expertise builds and grows as we practice, and that … Like, that's why I've got the free Tarot readings platform, and we see it in so many of our community members who do the free Tarot readings.
So, you know, someone might be taking the Master the Tarot Card Meanings course, they might not know everything about Tarot card meanings just yet, maybe they're halfway through, but they think, you know what? I've already started to learn some stuff, I'm going to jump in and have a go, and they start offering free Tarot readings to the public in exchange for the experience and the feedback, and what happens is they start to learn and discover during that process, and they become an expert in the process.
So, I don't think you have to wait until you're an expert before you can start reading for others, however, you still have the intention to grow and develop your expertise, but don't wait until you're an … A so-called expert, because I don't even know when that day comes. Something about Tarot and something about, just, general, life, you never stop learning, and if you're waiting for that day that you go, all right, yeah, now it's time, now I'm the expert, I think you'll be waiting a very, very long time, because you just continue to learn that you have never, possibly, ever learnt everything there is to know. It's not possible, because there's time, there's space, there's evolution, all of that good stuff.
So, I think jump in sooner than you think, and know that your expertise won't necessarily only grow through study, it will grow through practice, and use your intuition at the same time to really guide you on that as well.
Another piece of advice I wanted to share with you is to know your intention, hey, so know your intention. Now, if you're like me, my intention with Tarot was to be able to use the cards to connect with my intuition and my inner wisdom, and to give me insight into my personal life, and also to start reading for other people.
So, for me, what was really important, again, was not that I just knew what the cards meant, but I had ways of channeling my intuition, and connecting, and trusting, my intuition. So, had I just gone down the path of becoming an expert, I would not have been able to fulfill my goal of becoming an intuitive Tarot reader.
Now, that said, you might be like, you know what? I love everything about Tarot. I want to know so much about the history of it. I don't necessarily need to be a reader, I just love the history of it, or I love the imagery of it, and that's where I'm going to invest my time. Now, if that's your intention then maybe being an expert only is absolutely fine. You don't need your intuition to be kind of an expert in Tarot.
So, just know, like, what is your intention with Tarot, and then create your own learning path that fulfills that intention. Don't necessarily think you have to do what everyone else has done, or that you have to be, like, a 100% expert when really what you want to do is just be able to deliver value to others and … Or just connect with your own intuition. So, that will dictate, also, where your balance is between expertise and trusting intuition as well.
And, I wanted to share a story. This was a while ago now, and it's most … It's ridiculous. It's the most ridiculous story, but anyway, I felt that it was a good fit for this.
So, a long time ago it came my awareness that there was a … A Tarot teacher, I suppose, and he was at a public Tarot event, and he had been making some big discoveries about the Rider-Waite deck, which is awesome. I love that we have people fully dedicated to learning more about the decks, and their origins, and the history, but he chose this public speaking event to point out my website, that on my website I had something that he called incorrect, or it showed that I knew nothing about Tarot.
So, he'd shown an image, or a screenshot, of the Queen of Wands, and the meanings that I have for the Queen of Wands, and, specifically, it was about this black cat. Now, I think I had something about the black cat is a sign of the occult, or kind of the shadows, or the hidden side of things.
And, for me, you know, that's how I connect with that black cat, but he wanted to show that he was an expert, and that's fine, he probably was an expert. But he wanted to say, he said to this group, publicly, while showing my website publicly, she's got this wrong, because the black cat is really Pamela Coleman Smith's black cat, and this is, you know, an outrage because we've got people who are trying to say what these cards mean and they don't understand what they actually mean.
And when I heard this story back, I was like, what? This is ridiculous, because here's the thing, like, he was probably 100% correct, and again, good on him for taking the time and the energy to invest in learning more about the cards, that's awesome, but if you're doing a Tarot reading about how to land your next job, or how to improve your relationship, which one is going to be more important, or more helpful? That it's Pamela Coleman Smith's black cat, or that it is a sign of the shadow self, or the hidden self? I know which one I would find more helpful.
So, I think this is … The reason I tell this story is because I think sometimes we can go a little bit too far with expertise, and again, this is why being so clear on your intentions is really, really important, because if we allow, like, expertise to come in the way of us trusting our intuition, then I think we've swung the pendulum too far in the wrong direction. There really does have to be a balance.
And we can … even just thinking, I've seen sometimes with readings … In fact, I think I even did it myself early on, I could fill a reading with all of the symbolism and sort of the backstory of the card, but at the end of the day this person wanted to know, you know, will my relationship survive? Will I get my dream job? What is my soul purpose? So, all of that background information didn't really matter in the context of the reading. Now, does it contribute to the message that I give to that particular client? Probably yes, but they don't need to know all of the detail and so on.
So, I think there's just this little balance between expertise and intuition, and really be mindful of not going too far, or not being influenced by other people who might want to try and call you out because you don't know something about the Tarot. I think that's the risk and danger of expertise is it sometimes can give this ground to call people out and say that they're wrong and so on, whereas intuition is a little bit more forgiving, and it's like, well, if you feel that way, then you're right. I really do think it's a blend of both.
So, I also just wanted to add in that I think it's important to give yourself permission not to have to know everything, and certainly, when I heard that story, yeah, there was a little bit of me … Like, someone had relayed it back to me and said that this had happened, and I heard that story and I was like, oh, okay, yeah, like a little bit … felt a little bit attacked, but once I got over the ego part of it, I thought, you know what? I don't really care. I don't really care. I'm not going to … I'm not being … like, I don't see this as being called out. I'm not going to take it as I've been called out.
And I have given myself permission, over the years, that I don't know everything. I don't think I'm an expert. I know there's people out there who know way more than I do about Tarot. However, I am helping millions, like, literally millions of people every year with Tarot, and the way I see it, I'm helping them because … Not just because of expertise, but giving confidence, helping people to trust their intuition, giving themselves permission.
And I never kind of waited for someone to say, all right, Brigit, you're ready to do this, you can do it now. I just went ahead and I did it, and I think that's also something that's really important. If you feel that you've got some value to offer, just go and do it. Give yourself permission to be valuable without necessarily having to have ticked all the boxes of expertise, or being highly intuitive, at the same time. All of that will come, but it will come through practice and experience.
So, there you have it. I hope today has been helpful. It is a little bit more loosely structured than I normally do it, but I wanted to kind of just see where this topic would go, and perhaps maybe this is already crystal clear in your mind, you already know where you stand, or maybe it's brought up some interesting questions for you, and I really encourage you to just sit with it and go, well, where do I sit with this? And do I need to improve my expertise? Do I need to improve my intuition? Am I okay just as I am? So, have a play with it.
Of course, for all of the details on today's episode you'll find them over at BiddyTarot.com/136, and if you loved this episode and all of our episodes then make sure you leave a review on iTunes, and also you can subscribe to get the latest podcasts.
And next week, I have a really special guest who is talking all about a Tarot Food Plan. That's right, using the Tarot to inspire you around how you might eat for a healthy lifestyle. I can't wait to share it with you. I think you're really going to enjoy it. So, I will speak with you very soon, and for now, have an awesome week. All right, bye for now.
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