How Do I Know Which Card To Pick?

When it comes to reading tarot cards, there is an issue that isn’t talked about enough. How do you know which card to pick?! You can shuffle the deck continuously, asking your questions and trying to sense which card feels right, but even then do you know it’s the right one?

When I first started reading with tarot cards, I used to just pick a card like you would if someone was asked to pick a card for a magic trick. I didn’t really put any thought into it. I mostly got the right results but the more I got into it, the more I started second guessing myself and worrying that I had chosen the wrong cards.

It didn’t take long for me to realise that I needed peace and quiet to conduct a reading, I needed to focus on my question and I needed to feel the cards and not look at them. When I did this, I started to feel a kind of energy around the cards, in my minds eye I could sense the direction if the card I was looking for, it just felt right. I’m not saying you should do as I do, but being completely focused and closing your eyes helps you to have faith that something will guide your hand. I can’t say for sure whether there is a magical force around the cards, it could just be in my head but it doesn’t matter if its magic, spirit guides, your higher self or your own brain, if it feels right then it’s good.

Sometimes even to this day, every now and then I’ll do a reading and one of the cards won’t feel right when I pick it, I then have to make the difficult decision to either put the card back and pull another, or stick with the card because I may have chosen it for a reason, even if it didn’t feel right. I hate it when this happens and other readers have complained about the same thing.

The best thing to do if you pick cards that don’t feel right is to stop. Sometimes you do just have a bad day. Sometimes the connection isn’t there. You could be suffering from stress and other issues in the back of your head and so the tarot reading is being affected. When this happens you need to go off, clear your head, ground yourself and maybe even meditate to try and prepare yourself to do a reading.

It gets a little tricky when you get that ‘wrong card’ feeling whilst you’re doing a reading for someone else face to face. You don’t want to look unprofessional and get another card and there is usually that feeling that maybe the card is right but you just couldn’t sense it. My advice would be to stick with the card. If you get it for every card and it’s just not working then you might have to be completely honest and admit you’re not feeling it.

Another problem with reading for others is, do you let the client pick the cards? I used to let clients pick the cards but Strangely with my latest working deck, I had to stop that. Some decks can be used by anyone and everyone and others seem to work best with the reader. I did a tarot reading for a friend when I got my latest deck, I wanted to practice with them and I let her pick the cards. The reading seemed way off and didn’t really yield any proper answers to the questions asked. At first I put it down to them being a new deck and having no connection with me yet, but then I tried choosing the cards myself and I got an incredibly accurate reading. The message here is, if you’re unsure whether to let the client choose a card, test the deck that you want to use professionally on friends and family to determine what the deck wants. I know it sounds crazy to put it like that, but honestly every deck is different.

If you’re new to the tarot, just remember that choosing the cards becomes easier and even if you have an off day, it will come back to you.

5 Tips for learning how to read the Tarot

Maybe you’ve had a few tarot card readings before and you’re interested in understanding the tarot better, or maybe you’ve just bought a deck of tarot cards and you’re not sure where to begin. Every tarot reader started out with no knowledge of what they were doing or how it all worked. It can seem pretty daunting to learn the meanings of 78 cards, which is why I decided to write down some tips to help others get to grips with the tarot.

5. Imagery

You may think that trying to memorise the meaning of 78 cards is the first thing you should master, but there are different opinions and interpretations for each card. There are also so many different decks of tarot cards with different imagery, and it all depends on what cards you have. For example if you have a deck of Rider Waite cards and you look at the Two of Swords you’ll see a woman who is blindfolded and holding two swords. In the Deviant Moon deck, the Two of Swords shows a two headed man holding a sword in each hand, with a stance that looks like he’s about to have a sword fight with himself. If you were to guess the meaning of the Rider Waite 2 of Swords and then guess the meaning of the Deviant Moon 2 of Swords, you’d probably come up with two very different meanings. The point I’m making is that, there actually is no exact way to read the cards, it’s up to you. Take a card from your tarot deck and look at the picture on it, how does it make you feel? what does the picture depict? is it a happy card or a sad card? is it negative or positive? Once you have established what the card means to you and decide what it’s trying to depict, you can move onto another card and do the same. It is much easier to learn the meaning of each card, if it means something to you. At first it is best to focus on the Minor Arcana cards as they can be very visual and easy to read.

4. Different Interpretations

Once you’ve decided what the cards mean for you, you can then begin reading other people’s interpretations of the cards. It’s good to read books about the tarot deck that you own or look it up online. You can also join a tarot forum and discuss the meanings of the cards with other tarot readers. The point of this is not to change your opinion on what each card means, but to learn how other people interpret the cards so that you might incorporate what they think into your interpretations. You can never read too much about the tarot, every bit of information you can get will be helpful, even if it is just other people’s opinions.

3. Major Arcana

There are 22 cards in the major arcana. When I started learning the meanings of each card, the major arcana was difficult for me because a lot of them don’t have obvious visual clues as to what they mean. For example ‘The Tower’ is quite visual and it is pretty obvious what it’s about, even with a quick glance you can see it’s a very unhappy card, but the magician is less obvious. How can the imagery of ‘The Magician’ be transposed into a real life situation? it just looks like some guy stood in front of a table with one arm up in the air holding what looks like a wand. The Magician is usually perceived as representing talents and is about tapping into your full potential, it’s not obvious to get that interpretation just by looking at it. The major arcana is in an order and each card is numbered. The best way to think of it is by thinking of it as a journey. The first card of the major arcana is ‘The Fool’ and it is actually numbered as 0. The fool is about to go on a journey, and each card represents a major event or change in his life. He is supposed to learn from each event until he reaches the end of his journey which comes in the form of ‘The World’ card. If you try to remember the meaning of each major arcana card as something happening to the fool or something the fool is experiencing, it can make it easier to remember.

2. Court Cards

Learning the meaning of the Major Arcana cards is a walk in the park compared with memorising the meanings of the court cards. For every suit (Cups, Wands, Swords, Pentacles) there are court cards. You can think of them like the face cards in a pack of playing cards (Jack, Queen, King) in the tarot though, it’s Page, Knight, Queen and King. They’re difficult to remember because they don’t have a lot going on with them visually. It’s always just a woman or a man sitting or standing there, and they all look pretty similar. The easiest way to begin understanding them is to think of the elements associated with the suit. For example if I draw the Queen of Cups, I know that Cups are represented by water and therefore the Queen of Cups is associated with love empathy and care giving in the same way that water star signs are associated with emotions and empathy. The element for Swords is air, for Wands it’s fire and for Pentacles it’s earth.. so if I draw the Page of Wands I think of it as representing enthusiasm, determination and motivation, these are things we associate with fire. this system makes it easier for you to get a rough idea of what the court cards are all about.

1. Numbers

Another great way to look at the cards, is by dividing the cards into numbers, this only works with the Minor Arcana cards, excluding the court cards. Firstly you find all of the aces (ace of cups, ace of swords, ace of pentacles and ace of wands) and you put them in a row and look for a common theme. They all depict a hand holding out the item of the suit, they all look quite positive. Each one seems to show a helping hand and they look fresh, like they’re the beginning of something. You can do the same thing with all the other numbers, and look for a common theme. It makes it easier when you pick out a five for example and you’ve memorised the common theme for all of the five cards.

No matter how you choose to learn the meanings of the cards, the truth is, it can take a while to get to grips with. Once you think you know them all, it is still wise to pick out a card every day and analyse it, you might learn something new. It’s great to do practice readings every day and pretend you’re doing a reading for someone, speaking out loud as you interpret the cards can be helpful too. Some people like to make notes about each card and others like to record themselves doing practice readings. The best advice I can give anyone is that there is no wrong way to do it, getting confident with reading the cards takes time, but the way you interpret them is down to you. You don’t have to follow a guide book and memorise absolutely everything about every card, intuition is a big part of it too. It becomes a lot easier when you know that you don’t have to learn the tarot in the way you’d learn mathematics. The answers and the meanings are inside you!