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I asked some of my favourite Tarot bloggers, authors and professional readersthe following question:
“What is your one piece of (uncommon/unique) advice for someone who wants to become an expert in Tarot?”
I was blown away by the insights and wisdom each person had to share. From continual learning, to keeping a sense of humour, to connecting authentically with clients, you’ll be amazed too at what these Tarot experts have to say.
Read the Tarot tips and advice below to help you become an expert in Tarot. Responses (in alphabetical order) from Barbara Moore, Bonnie Cehovet, Christiana Gaudet, Diane Wilkes, Donnaleigh de LaRose, George Taylor, Gina Thies, Ginny Hunt, James Ricklef, James Wells, Roger (AKA Tarot Dude), Ruth Ann & Wald Amberstone, Sasha Graham, Theresa Reed and Toni Allen.
And when you’re done, I would love to hear your unique tip for becoming a Tarot expert in the comments section!
Barbara Moore, owner of Practical Tarot and author of multiple Tarot books
“Becoming an expert in tarot includes the same work that becoming an expert in any field entails: read everything. Read everything you can and try to understand what the author is saying and why. In the end, you don’t have to agree with it, but do try to understand it. Keeping your mind open to other truths and other possibilities leads to wisdom. Immediately judging opinions or practices that are not your own leads to fundamentalism. An expert understands the full breadth of their topic, not just their own ideas about it. I applaud those with strong, well-reasoned opinions but am wary of those who judge quickly and harshly.”
Learn more about Barbara Moore.
Bonnie Cehovet, Professional Tarot Reader and Author of Tarot, Birth Cards and You
“The Tarot is not about memorization, it is about living the energy of the archetypes.”
Christiana Gaudet, Certified Tarot Grandmaster
“Remember that tarot is funny. Of course you will study, meditate and contemplate. Of course you will find the spiritual nature of tarot, and the compassionate nature of tarot reading. You will find the magick, psychology, art, tradition, and the serious business of tarot. But as do you all that, and find all that, make sure you laugh along the way.
“Let the cards make you laugh when they speak candid truth. Let humor bring healing to difficult situations. Let lightheartedness make burdens easier. Let laughter drive the message home. Let tarot-inspired giggles build fellowship and offer entertainment. Laugh at the images, laugh with you clients and students, laugh at the deep messages, even as you take them to heart. Above all, laugh at yourself. “Remember, always, that tarot is the Fool’s Journey, and you are the Fool.”
Diane Wilkes, Owner of Tarot Passages
“On one hand, you want to bring your personal style into every reading–be totally yourself, with all the strengths, quirks, experiences, and stories you possess. But reading for someone else is about being in service. The real you needs to be completely present for the querent and remember: It’s not about you. It’s about the querent.”
Learn more about Diane Wilkes at Tarot Passages.
Donnaleigh, leader at Tarot Tribe and professional Tarot reader
“Expert? I strive to be a perpetual student. Realizing there is always more to be learned than what we know is the humility needed to keep an open mind to what is yet to be known. And the more I learn the more I realize there is to be learned.
“Otherwise, have comfort with the decks you use, passion with your ideas, and kindness with your work. Work from a place of love.”
George Taylor, owner of Tarot and Numerology readings website phuture.me
“To become an expert in Tarot you have to forget what you’ve learned. When we learn a skill such as driving a car or playing a musical instrument we have to think and concentrate on what we are doing. Once we have mastered that skill we no longer think about what we are doing.
“An experienced driver can relax and enjoy the journey without thinking about the mechanics of what they do. An experienced musician can play with expression and emotion without thinking about the notes individually.
“Tarot isn’t analytics/logic/reasoning, it’s about intuition and feelings. The quicker you can transition from a thinking and concentrating learner to a instinctive and intuitive reader the quicker you will become “expert”.”
Learn more about George’s website phuture.me.
Gina Thies, Professional Reader and Editor of Tarot Tips Newsletter of The Tarot School
“In other fields, when someone is considered an expert it is usually because of their experience, what can be proven that they know, degrees earned, research they have done and what they have written on their expertise in a particular area.
“I would pose the question, “If you were to describe yourself as an expert in Tarot to someone who does not know about the topic, what would you have to say?”
“I would add that someone that wants to become an expert in Tarot should hold themselves to the same respect and accountability that they would give someone who they themselves consider to be an ‘expert’.”
Ginny Hunt, Owner of 78 Notes to Self: A Tarot Journal
“When I began reading tarot, I was, like most new readers, plagued with self-doubt. My insecurity and inexperience caused me to second-guess my intuitive observations with every card. I was obsessed with “getting it right,” so I studied and researched and read and talked tarot. Through trial and error, reading and research, I became comfortable with my ability to discern the card meanings and give a decent reading.
“I worked for a year through an online psychic and tarot reading website. I began to see some common themes among my readings. Typically, people ask questions about love, money, and health. I relied on my knowledge of symbolism, card meanings, and all the techniques I had learned in my studies. As a result, my readings were technically sound, but I noticed there was something else that brought clients back for additional readings.
“They wanted someone to listen to them, someone to offer an objective perspective on their situation, someone who was empathetic as well as empathic. Someone who asks relevant questions and is attentive to the answers. They wanted someone familiar with their story to continue on their path with them. Ultimately, of course, they desired a good tarot reading, but delivered in a manner that clearly exhibited care and concern for them and their unfolding life. All my “book learning” in tarot matter less than the human connection I forge with my clients.
“”If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1Corinthians 13:1-2, The Bible ) Anyone seeking to become an “expert” in Tarot must not only love Tarot, but love the people one reads for.
“Of course we do sometimes encounter difficult clients. If what we have does not meet their needs, that’s fine, but we should approach each person, each reading, with love and respect. Because the Tarot is primarily about the human experience and it must be experienced in a very human context or it quickly becomes irrelevant both to the client and the reader. Love what you do and love who you do it with.”
James Ricklef, a Los Angeles-based Certified Tarot Master who has written several Tarot books and created the Tarot of the Masters deck
“In short, the answer is, “Follow your heart and your intuition, and find your own path.” You need to find your own sense of the cards and find your own way of reading them. Any book you read, any class you take, or any teacher you learn from – any of that is only someone else telling you what works for them. Naturally, there is value in consideringtheir advice, but any authority you listen to and any book you read (even one of mine) is merely a guide to finding the truths that you will discover inside your own heart while studying and working with the cards themselves. Ultimately, the cards are your best teacher. “Of course, this suggests that another answer to your question is the punch-line of the old joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Answer: Practice, practice, practice.”” Learn more about James Ricklef, read his Tarot blog and follow James on Twitter.
James Wells, author of Tarot for Manifestation
“Remember that the cards are not interpreted willy-nilly, but rather they are interpreted in a context. The readee/client, whether self or another person, has a topic, issue, or theme to explore. The layout we choose or create contains questions and sub-topics related to that theme. “For me, what gives a card’s interpretation more specificity and personal relevance is to talk about it in light of the topic and question or layout position. For example, if a person gets the Star in response to, “What is my best personality trait?”, it can tell him/her that s/he is a generous distributor of resources and a source of inspiration. If s/he gets the Star in response to, “What is my worst personality trait?”, it might indicate giving ’til it hurts or trying too hard to be a “star”. “Any time I get stuck on a card interpretation, I’m probably not remembering to interpret it in light of the conext. If I go back to the topic and the question within that topic, things fall into place much more gracefully.”
Learn more about James Wells.
Roger, Professional Tarot Reader and Owner of Tarot Dude
“Do readings as much as possible. At some point, it’s time to put down the books and notes and simply read the cards. Just as one cannot learn how to play piano from reading a book, so one cannot learn to be an expert Tarot reader without a lot of practice. Take your deck with you wherever you go – read for friends, family, volunteer to read for free at the library or other community events, do readings about the daily news, about your weekend, about your goals, hopes dreams – about anything! The important thing is to practice as much as possible and soon, you will find yourself automatically thinking in the language of Tarot the moment you turn over that first card.”
Learn more about Roger at his website Tarot Dude.
Ruth Ann & Wald Amberstone, Founders of the Tarot School
“Don’t try to become an expert. Remain a perpetual student. Immerse yourself in tarot. “We live in a very fast-paced world, full of pressure to achieve, excel, and perform at ever-increasing speeds. Not only is instant gratification usually expected, the word fast is often associated with easy, and slow with difficult or even painful. “But taking the time to savor the learning experience without constantly “looking at the clock,” is the best way to steep yourself in tarot. Go slowly and enjoy yourself. And someday, when you’ve lost track of the days, you’ll awake to your own expertise.”
Sasha Graham, Tarot Card Reader and Author of Tarot Diva
“You desire to become a tarot expert, my little sugar plum? I will offer you one piece of salient advice to set you well on your way to becoming an expert on Tarot. Set a pair of “tarot glasses” on your beautiful face and peer at your world through them every day. When a situation strikes you ~ decide what card represents it best.
“Do you see that woman screaming at her child in the supermarket? What card would that be? Did you kill it in dance class this morning? Which card represents you? See that handsome stranger across the street? Which court card is he?
“Tarot’s meanings have evolved for over 500 years and now Tarot’s evolution continues with you. Good luck!”
Theresa Reed, Tarot Mentor, Reader and Owner of the Tarot Lady
“If we are talking about becoming an expert, then my advice is to remain a student for life. You must constantly read books, practice with people, take classes and explore every method you can. The more you study, the more you will grow as a reader. Do not become too fond of only one way for there are many worthy paths, philosophies and techniques to investigate. Keep an open mind and stay thirsty. Knowledge is power and the best readers always remain curious and studious.
“If we are talking about becoming a tarot professional, then that is another kettle of fish altogether. The “keep studying” rule still applies but it is also vital that you become knowledgeable about business and most importantly: treat your business like a business. You must have a proper business structure and learn how to market yourself, file and pay your taxes and set fair rates. You must also be comfortable with a fluctuating income so learning to budget is essential. And you must be willing to invest considerable time and resources into your business. Being an entrepreneur is hard work but ultimately worth it because it gives you total control over your life.”
Learn more about Theresa at her website The Tarot Lady and follow Theresa on Twitter.
Toni Allen, Professional Tarot Reader and author of The System of Symbols: A new way to look at tarot
“My advice to tarot students is to throw away pictorial tarots, to know the Major Cards inside out and to learn the meaning of the suits and numbers. Most students find this idea terrifying as they have come to rely on other people’s subjective ideas for guidance. However, once the pictures are out of the way it is much easier to see the rhythm of the reading and to quickly asses which suit is prominent, which numbers repeat, and even which suit is lacking in an initial spread.
“Never forget that the Minor Cards relate to the Major Cards and are not fifty six unrelated pictures, but an integrated part of the whole which symbolise how we are affected by the life changing energy of the Major Cards.
“Always look for the patterns in the spread. Why are there no swords? Why are there so many fives?
“A good tarot reader walks in the steps of those who have gone before, an expert tarot reader trusts in their own insight and intuition.”
Learn more about Toni Allen.