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How To Read Tarot Cards
02-05-2013, 11:33 AM
Post: #1
I learned to read tarot cards early on in my magical career. I was taught by a Gypsy woman who was friends with the High Priestess that trained me to become a High Priest. The methodology she taught me I still use to this day and I will do my best to put into tutorial form.


Interpretation

First things first. You don't actually "read" the cards, you merely interpret the pictures and/or symbols (depending on the deck you use) on the cards that show up in a specific pattern. So, in short you interpret/translate the patterns that the cards show up in and the pictures on the cards. The main reason for this is that if you do a reading for John and then an hour later you do a reading for Jane and her reading happens to produce the same exact cards in the same pattern their readings won't be the same.

For this reason many adept tarot readers recommend to not read the card meanings in the back of tarot books or booklets. The meanings are never the same for each card. The Page of Cups for Billy Bob will most likely not have the same meaning for Kimberly. So, while your tarot deck may have come with a little booklet of the meanings and a few spreads to practice with or you might have purchased an entire book or two on reading tarot cards I suggest not reading the meanings.


How to Interpret the Cards

So now we know that you don't actually read the cards, rather interpret. But if we shouldn't look at the "standard" meanings for the cards how can be interpret them? Simple, just as with any divination technique you use your subconscious to do the actual interpretation, that is; your intuition. The pictures and symbols on the cards represent something. That something is what your subconscious will be able to unfurl. So, let's get on exactly how to interpret them. This is the method I was taught:

Take your deck and sit in a quiet place. As you begin to shuffle the deck think of your question. Focus your energy and the question into the deck. Do this for about 30 seconds to a minute. Once you feel the deck has absorbed enough energy you can begin to lay them out in the chosen spread (face down or face up is your choice. I prefer face down). As you gaze at each card pay attention to the emotions the pictures bring up. What words pop into your head? What sentences? Use these emotions and words to form a meaning. This should all take place in the span of about 10 seconds. Anything more than that generally means you have not yet learned to listen to and hear your subconscious (or at least having a hard time doing so). Meditation can assist with that.

Let's look at an example: Say you draw the King of Wands (names/titles differ from deck to deck. Mine uses wands and pentacles, swords and cups in place of diamonds, spades, clubs and hearts) and the emotion of insecurity and not feeling safe is conjured up. The word "fear" or "trepidation" pops into your head. It's safe to say that this card represents some sort of fear going on in your life. But how does "fear" fit in to your life? You feel fine right now, and even if you don't you certainly don't feel fearful. Could this be a feeling that is coming in the future? Should you fear an upcoming event? Possibly. Next we'll take a look at how to connect one card to the next (assuming you're not doing a one-card spread).


Connecting & Interpreting the Patterns

So you've drawn the King of Wands and it seems to be screaming the word "fear". But what does it mean? Fear what. Fear of what? Turn over the next card. Let's say it's the Holly King (in standard decks it's called the Hermit). Not minding the "traditional" meanings follow the same instructions as before. What emotions does this card conjure up? What words? Do any pictures pop into your head? Any scenes or events? When I first started reading the tarot I only saw words, then it turned into pictures and about a year or so into it I was starting to see "movies" play out in minds eye. This should eventually happen for you as well.

Anyway, do the words or feelings match up to the ones of the previous card? Say you still have the same feelings of trepidation but the words that pop into your head are different. Let's say for this example the words are "house" and "move". You can probably say that you're (or your client that you're doing the reading for) is having fears about a possible move. Did you recently accept a new job that may require relocation? Are you going to college another state? Or maybe you're graduating college and want to start life anew in a new city. These are, of course, just examples for ease of comprehension of the scenario.

Repeat the process for every card in the spread, noting the feelings, words, pictures, etc that come up and using that to form an interpretation. Connect the meaning of the current card to the ones you've previously drawn for this reading. You'd be surprised at how seamlessly they fit together. With a simple 3 card spread you can map out an entire year and in some cases an entire life if you're skilled enough (with the 3 cards representing the past, present and future).


Comparing To "Standard" Meanings

This is the only time I can recommend looking at standard meanings. I really shouldn't have put this in here but many beginners feel the need for some reason to still look in the back of their tarot books for meanings to confirm that they're "right". So, if you're going to do it I suggest waiting until after the reading. Compare the meanings you came up with to the ones in the book. Were you close to the "standard" meanings or far off? More often than not I'm willing to bet you'd be closer than you thought.

Still, I don't suggest looking at the standard meanings at all. Standard meanings never change which means every time you draw that specific card the meaning will always be the same. This couldn't be further from the truth. I look at standard meanings as a base that the practitioner is supposed to expand upon.


I hope with this tutorial I've helped some beginners get on the road the reading the cards. There are many methods on interpreting the cards, many traditions have their own methodology. Mine is simply one in the bunch. Good luck.

You sold your soul to me, need I remind you?

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02-05-2013, 12:41 PM
Post: #2
There's a local Tarot Card Reader and a Chakra Reader/thing in my neighborhood, should i give it a shot?
How much money does it us usually cost, or does it depend on the person?
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02-05-2013, 12:54 PM
Post: #3
t last, someone who reads them like I do, and dosent just memorize the entry's in a book! I have a very symbol heavy deck that my sister got me, The Vertigo Tarot, with the pictures done by one of my most loved artists, Dave McKean, the guy who did the cover art to the Sandman Graphic novels.
Zero, it's always worth looking into it, not all readers are good, but it's always insightful, even if it's just to see how someone else works.

You would know in words what you have known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.
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02-05-2013, 12:56 PM
Post: #4
(02-05-2013 12:41 PM)Zero Wrote:  There's a local Tarot Card Reader and a Chakra Reader/thing in my neighborhood, should i give it a shot?
How much money does it us usually cost, or does it depend on the person?

I can't say really if it's worth it. I most likely do not live where you live so I cannot say if the reader is a scam or a legit psychic. But I'll say this, for tarot readings anything more than $20 for a standard reading is pretty steep (unless you live in the heart of Beverly Hills or something). But depending on the person they could charge more. Keep it in the $20 to $30 range. After that I wouldn't do it. You should try to learn to do it on your own though.

You sold your soul to me, need I remind you?

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02-05-2013, 01:40 PM
Post: #5
(02-05-2013 12:56 PM)The God-King Wrote:  
(02-05-2013 12:41 PM)Zero Wrote:  There's a local Tarot Card Reader and a Chakra Reader/thing in my neighborhood, should i give it a shot?
How much money does it us usually cost, or does it depend on the person?

I can't say really if it's worth it. I most likely do not live where you live so I cannot say if the reader is a scam or a legit psychic. But I'll say this, for tarot readings anything more than $20 for a standard reading is pretty steep (unless you live in the heart of Beverly Hills or something). But depending on the person they could charge more. Keep it in the $20 to $30 range. After that I wouldn't do it. You should try to learn to do it on your own though.

Alright, just wanted an opinion on it before i confronted who ever works there. And where's a place where you can buy Tarot Cards other than Amazon?
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02-05-2013, 01:59 PM
Post: #6
(02-05-2013 01:40 PM)Zero Wrote:  Alright, just wanted an opinion on it before i confronted who ever works there. And where's a place where you can buy Tarot Cards other than Amazon?

Any occult shop. If you live in a metropolitan area shouldn't be too hard to find. Barnes & Noble should sell them. I bought mine from Borders long before they went bankrupt and bought out by Barnes & Noble. You can also use any occult supplies website.

You sold your soul to me, need I remind you?

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02-05-2013, 02:15 PM
Post: #7
(02-05-2013 01:59 PM)The God-King Wrote:  
(02-05-2013 01:40 PM)Zero Wrote:  Alright, just wanted an opinion on it before i confronted who ever works there. And where's a place where you can buy Tarot Cards other than Amazon?

Any occult shop. If you live in a metropolitan area shouldn't be too hard to find. Barnes & Noble should sell them. I bought mine from Borders long before they went bankrupt and bought out by Barnes & Noble. You can also use any occult supplies website.

I live in SD in the sub urban areas, thanks, i'll check there when i have the chance! Smiling
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02-05-2013, 05:22 PM
Post: #8
here here

"Someone once asked me if there was such a thing as magic. Only if you want there to be. Only if you want it." - John Constantine, Hellblazer #141
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11-19-2013, 10:58 AM
Post: #9
Bumping this thread back up due to some recent PMs I've been receiving.

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11-19-2013, 11:46 AM
Post: #10
Pretty helpful thread. I actually did this by instinct and it's a pain in the ass to trust yourself when doing it and not being worried about creating fairy tales in your head lol. I never trust the books, especially when it comes to tarot, which is not an "exact science", as it were.

I believe in one secret and ineffable Lord; and in one Star in the Company of Stars of whose fire we are created, and to which we shall return; and in one Father of Life, Mystery of Mystery, in His name AHYH!
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