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A beginner’s guide to tarot: How to overcome common pitfalls and myths

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The day is here: it’s your final lesson in our beginner’s guide to tarot series.

You’ve learned how to do an intuitive tarot reading, how to memorise tarot cards, how to create a spread, and how to read times and people into the cards you draw.

Now, for your last class, let’s cover some common mistakes and myths.

Ahead, I’ll hare some of the important, time- and pain-saving lessons or learnings I’ve experienced along my own 25-year tarot pathway, which I hope will sidestep you some trouble and energy.

Myths and misconceptions around tarot

Let’s start by debunking some common things people might say to you when they hear you’re learning tarot.

‘It’s an evil gateway to the devil / temptation / the other side / bad spirits’

Nope, don’t think so. I’ve never met ghouls, anyway.

Tarot is simply a deck of 78 cards with pictures on. It doesn’t have any intrinsic good or bad values, it’s a wisdom tool.

If anything, it opens you up to your own intuition and subconscious.

‘Wanting to predict your future is wrong’

I am not a fan of using tarot to look at every option all the time, every day, in minute detail. I limit my clients’ readings to one every few months, by and large.

And I do think the cards come with a big caveat that we all have own freedom of choice. New decisions can change the outlook instantly. Energies shift. Opportunities come and go. Nothing is set in stone.

Tarot is more of an analysis tool, in my mind, than an exact prediction. I think you’d need to have psychic power for that.

‘You mustn’t buy your own deck, it has to be a gift’

This is an old one, but I don’t think anyone really follows it nowadays as there are simply just too many gorgeous decks out there. I buy all my own decks.

Tricky parts of tarot

Now for some bits of tarot that can be a bit troublesome.

Reversed meanings

Reversed meanings (cards having a different meaning when you pull them upside down) is one thing I’ve never embraced, in part because I couldn’t be bothered learning another 78 meanings.

You can shortcut this by seeing reversals as the card’s energy being blocked, or you can take my approach: flipping the card the right way round and taking the positive message from it.

Doing a tarot reading and having no clue what to make of it

Happens all the time. In these instances, be sure to write it all down and ~park~ it for another day. Jot your impressions and also why you feel you can’t drag a clear answer out and then just leave it. Revisit it in a week’s time.

You learn more from examining and revisiting these hot spots than the straightforward ones

Being asked about topics you don’t want to explore

You will, if you’re reading for others, find there are some topics or questions that you can’t really find answers for in the tarot or feel uncomfortable working on e.g. fertility, pregnancy, illness, death, cheating partners.

We all have areas we don’t want to touch, and that’s okay. Be upfront, say no, say why. You are in charge.

Common tarot pitfalls

There are three, in my experience, tough challenges to getting to grips with tarot but all are able to be overcome, will get easier in time with practice, and are probably where the magic of doing this lies.

Here’s how to navigate each one.

Memorising the cards

No short-cuts here – it takes time and practice. It might take you years, and that’s okay.

Your interpretations will also never be final because as you experience different things, your take on a meaning will change.

Other readers or guidebooks will give you new ideas.

And, you really don’t have to memorise if you just want to avoid this task. Read the cards intuitively or just keep referring to your guidebook.

Interpreting the cards’ meanings in relation to your questions

No one really talks much about how hard this is overtly, but I think this is the main reason people give up or think they can’t do tarot.

Initially, people expect the guidebooks will outline every possible answer to every possible in each card’s meaning, and, of course, that is impossible.

This is your job as a reader. It’s all about lateral thinking. Taking that meaning and twisting and turning it back towards your specific question and making connections as to what relevance and message it has there.

Practice, practice, practice.

Having confidence in your own voice

At first, you probably won’t much want to read for others and you might feel awkward/silly/amateur/fraud-like. Don’t do this until you’re ready and, in fact, you may never do it.

What I have found is that, over the years, I have developed my own unique tarot voice, which is different to my everyday tone.

IRL, I am a Gemini, I am quite sarcastic, unsympathetic, and impatient! But, as soon as I get my cards out, I change. I am much wiser, kinder, nicer, more empathetic and patient. Tarot draws out a better version of me!

I wonder if you will find something similar happening to you as you get to know your cards more and more… this is perhaps the most magic part of learning tarot.

Kerry Ward is the creator of The Good Karma Tarot Deck, which you can buy through Amazon.

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.

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