When I first started learning Tarot, I treated it like school.
I made notes and flash cards, attempted to cram the keywords into my brain, and struggled to commit all 78 Tarot cards to memory. But no matter how much I “crammed,” I would inevitably forget some of the meanings once I sat down to do a Tarot reading for myself. And even worse, I didn’t really know how to weave the messages in the cards together.
Can you relate?
You see, when you focus simply on memorising the Tarot card meanings, you completely miss the opportunity to create a personal and intuitive connection with the Tarot cards. And you lose the chance to tap into the deeper spiritual wisdom that makes the Tarot truly special.
It wasn’t until I learned intuitive Tarot card reading that it became my passion. When I put down the book and began reading Tarot intuitively, the experience was so much less stressful – and SO much more enjoyable.
It isn’t so much that memorisation techniques are altogether ‘bad’. The problem arises when this is the only way you learn the cards.
The thing is, memorising the Tarot card meanings only uses your left brain (logical thinking). To learn Tarot easily and make the most out of using this spiritual tool, you need to use your left and right brain (creative, intuitive thinking).
Tarot is so beautifully intuitive. By reading Tarot intuitively, you can tap into your deep inner wisdom and access insights you may never have accessed before.
So here are my tips for reading any Tarot card intuitively in three minutes or less:
1. Put the book down
Just put down the book already!
Don’t get me wrong – I love a good Tarot book (like The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings), but a book isn’t going to help you learn how to read Tarot intuitively.
Set the intention now that for your next 5 Tarot readings, you will not go anywhere near a book or a website or any form of Tarot resource except for your own inner wisdom. You’ll be amazed at how much you really do know about the Tarot and how, by letting go of the book, you can really connect to your intuition.
Now, once you’ve put the book down, just start by gazing at the card. What is the first thing that you notice? Perhaps it might be helpful to jot that down.
Once you’ve noted your first impressions, just spend 20-30 second gazing at the card and getting familiar with its imagery.
2. Notice your energy and feel into the card
Next, notice your energy.
How does the imagery in the card make you feel? Is it light or heavy? Do you feel happy, sad, scared, or somewhere in between? It might be helpful to also jot these feelings down.
And here is the kicker – you might intuitively feel a different energy from your Tarot card than what’s associated with the traditional meaning.
For example, the Six of Swords is traditionally about a rite of passage or a mental transition that you’ve got to make. But if you’re looking at the Six of Swords and thinking, “Oh my gosh! That card reminds me of when I had to leave a really difficult situation as a kid, and I felt deep sadness about it, and that’s resurfacing now,” that’s OK!
In the match-up between the book and your intuition, your intuition always wins.
3. Tell the story in the card
Next, describe the picture. What story is it telling? Think about:
- Are there people in the card?
- What are they doing?
- What objects are in the card?
- Why do you think those objects are there?
- Why is the person there?
- What’s in the background?
- What’s in the foreground?
- How do all of these different elements come together?
It helps to literally tell this story to yourself out loud – or journal about it.
Let’s take the Nine of Cups for example. I see a well-fed man. He’s sitting on a little wooden bench, and he’s really happy. He’s smiling. His arms are crossed. And he’s got quite a grand hat on. So, we could assume that he’s from a reasonably well-to-do background, but if I look at his shoes, they actually look quite plain – so he’s not really, really well off; but he’s, let’s say in our terms, “middle class.”
The nine cups are in an arc behind him. And there’s a beautiful, luxurious blue background.
So, the story here is that you’re sitting here surrounded by everything that you need, feeling pretty content and happy and satisfied. I don’t see a lot of movement happening, so we can say it’s a passive card. The energy that I’m getting is that sense of fulfilment, contentment, happiness, and joy.
So, try it for yourself. Draw a card. What story do you see?
4. Relate the story to your situation and answer the question
Finally, relate that story to your individual situation and connect the dots to answer the question.
That’s it! You can do this all in three minutes or less. With practice, it becomes easier and easier to intuitively read the cards.