Jump to content
Audelia

What was your biggest challenge when you started reading tarot?

Recommended Posts

Audelia

Hi all,

 

I was recently invited to give a talk on tarot to a group of beginners and it got me thinking about my own journey with the cards and the challenges/obstacles I faced when I was starting out (I remember a big one being 'HOW am I supposed to memorise ALL these meanings?!'). But I'm curious - how was it for you?

 

What were the difficult parts of learning tarot? Where did you struggle? What's the one piece of information you have now that you wish you had back then?

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


A x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rodney

I started with tarot back in the Dark Ages before the internet. So for me the most difficult part was learning in a vacuum since I didn't know anyone else who used tarot until I met my ex some 14 years after I purchased my first deck. (Which also happened to be his first deck, but I digress.) I tried to collate all the meanings from different books into a binder. I didn't have a home computer (remember, this was the Dark Ages 😆), so this was done with pen and paper. 156 sheets to be exact, one for each card both upright and reversed. I probably got 10 books' worth of meanings done before I lost interest. I don't regret the endeavor as I think it was worthwhile at that point in my journey. Looking back now almost 30 years though, I wouldn't do it again.

 

There are lots of pieces of info I wish I had back then, and I try to share them with folks now whenever I can:

  • Just because it's written (whether book or website), doesn't mean that it's gospel, so keep what resonates and discard what doesn't.
  • All of the cards have positive and negative sides to them, so there are no "good" or "bad" cards.
  • For me, the imagery is just as important in determining the interpretation as the card's rank and suit because artists, whether consciously or not, will often add details that influence the card's interpretation.
  • All of the suits can talk about any topic. For example, more than Cups deal with emotions. Wands talk about the fiery emotions, Swords talk about the mental emotions and Pentacles talk about long term/foundational-type emotions.
  • A reading is a whole unit that is greater than the sum of its parts and taking one or two cards out of the context of the whole skews how those cards are interpreted.
  • A well-formed question is the basis of any good reading. Without a clear/good question, one is likely to get garbage in, garbage out.
  • Not everyone can read for themselves without seeing what they want to see. That is a skill that some people just are not able to master.
  • It is the Reader's job to base interpretations on the question and card positional meanings (if used). And it's OK to extrapolate meanings as necessary to fit the construct of the question/card position.
  • Most LWBs aren't worth the paper they're printed on.
  • Don't read repeatedly on the same issue.

I'm sure there are more things, but those come immediately to mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AJ-ish/Sharyn
Posted (edited)

read out loud to something. a chair, a cat, the mirror,  before you read out loud to a person. 

We process things so fast mentally. adding, discarding, fluffing, tsk-tsking, but when sitting down to read the cards to a real person a whole new level arrives. We can't assume they will understand context and image.  Or that we are even capable of putting a string of words together that will make sense. 

 

this also helps clarify the need for concise questions, not a rambling paragraph. Fine tune the delivery and the message, both parties will be a lot more confident with the result. I would have been a lot better reader, a lot sooner if I'd recognized this sooner. 

 

Edited by AJ-ish/Sharyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
katrinka
Posted (edited)

It was a long time ago, but to the best of my memory, it was putting the cards in context. I didn't have any books that explained that. All I had in those days was Eden Gray and the LWB excerpted from the PKT, and of course there was no internet, nobody I could ask. I can remember being puzzled when I asked about love and got cards talking about finances, for instance. I eventually figured out context on my own, but it took awhile.

So in that sense, new readers have it a lot easier these days than we did. On the other hand, there's a lot of bogus information going around. So I guess it balances out. 

 

Edited by katrinka

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Barleywine

My biggest challenge was that the only deck I could find locally in 1972 was the Thoth and the only accessible book I had to go with it (other than the Book of Thoth, which was impenetrable for a long time) was Eden Gray's "The Tarot Revealed." So I picked up intuitive impressions from Harris's evocative use of color and form and tried to fit Gray's heavily PKT-influenced meanings into that. Apples-and-oranges for the most part, but I did manage to start reading for others (not well, of course) on that basis. At least Gray's Celtic Cross variation was reliable and it's still what I use today, in modified form.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
xTheHermitx

also cut my teeth pre-internet (early 80's) and pretty much studied in solitude since there was no one who would take it seriously around me.

 

My biggest challenge was just trying to focus on what was important to learn first. I had also just been getting familiar with the Runes, and was just starting to look into Qabbalah and Hermetic studies, so I was sort of "awash" in all of this new found information, and my OCD brain had to figure out where to logically order everything. It took me about 4 years to get a system going that allowed the information to settle into the channels that worked.

 

After all of that, I still constantly battle the question: "Am I getting and using all of the information about this spread correctly?" Meaning, I feel that there is never an "end" to deciphering the cards...and I don't want to leave anything unturned in a read

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Audelia
18 hours ago, Rodney said:

I started with tarot back in the Dark Ages before the internet. So for me the most difficult part was learning in a vacuum since I didn't know anyone else who used tarot until I met my ex some 14 years after I purchased my first deck. (Which also happened to be his first deck, but I digress.) I tried to collate all the meanings from different books into a binder. I didn't have a home computer (remember, this was the Dark Ages 😆), so this was done with pen and paper. 156 sheets to be exact, one for each card both upright and reversed. I probably got 10 books' worth of meanings done before I lost interest. I don't regret the endeavor as I think it was worthwhile at that point in my journey. Looking back now almost 30 years though, I wouldn't do it again.

 

There are lots of pieces of info I wish I had back then, and I try to share them with folks now whenever I can:

  • Just because it's written (whether book or website), doesn't mean that it's gospel, so keep what resonates and discard what doesn't.
  • All of the cards have positive and negative sides to them, so there are no "good" or "bad" cards.
  • For me, the imagery is just as important in determining the interpretation as the card's rank and suit because artists, whether consciously or not, will often add details that influence the card's interpretation.
  • All of the suits can talk about any topic. For example, more than Cups deal with emotions. Wands talk about the fiery emotions, Swords talk about the mental emotions and Pentacles talk about long term/foundational-type emotions.
  • A reading is a whole unit that is greater than the sum of its parts and taking one or two cards out of the context of the whole skews how those cards are interpreted.
  • A well-formed question is the basis of any good reading. Without a clear/good question, one is likely to get garbage in, garbage out.
  • Not everyone can read for themselves without seeing what they want to see. That is a skill that some people just are not able to master.
  • It is the Reader's job to base interpretations on the question and card positional meanings (if used). And it's OK to extrapolate meanings as necessary to fit the construct of the question/card position.
  • Most LWBs aren't worth the paper they're printed on.
  • Don't read repeatedly on the same issue.

I'm sure there are more things, but those come immediately to mind.

Rodney, wow! I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been to source information on tarot back in those 'dark ages' as you say 🙂 I'm curious, do you still have all those written notes? 

 

I love all your insights - especially your note on the suits.

 

Thank you for sharing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Audelia
18 hours ago, AJ-ish/Sharyn said:

read out loud to something. a chair, a cat, the mirror,  before you read out loud to a person. 

We process things so fast mentally. adding, discarding, fluffing, tsk-tsking, but when sitting down to read the cards to a real person a whole new level arrives. We can't assume they will understand context and image.  Or that we are even capable of putting a string of words together that will make sense. 

 

this also helps clarify the need for concise questions, not a rambling paragraph. Fine tune the delivery and the message, both parties will be a lot more confident with the result. I would have been a lot better reader, a lot sooner if I'd recognized this sooner. 

 

I LOVE this tip. It's a fantastic one for anyone starting out. And I agree. I definitely would have been more comfortable reading for others if I had done this.

 

Thank you for sharing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Audelia
18 hours ago, katrinka said:

It was a long time ago, but to the best of my memory, it was putting the cards in context. I didn't have any books that explained that. All I had in those days was Eden Gray and the LWB excerpted from the PKT, and of course there was no internet, nobody I could ask. I can remember being puzzled when I asked about love and got cards talking about finances, for instance. I eventually figured out context on my own, but it took awhile.

So in that sense, new readers have it a lot easier these days than we did. On the other hand, there's a lot of bogus information going around. So I guess it balances out. 

 

I agree. You only have to type the word 'tarot' into a website like Pinterest to see a whole lot of downright unhelpful (and in some cases, completely inaccurate) 'tips' or interpretations.

 

I love your insights on context - it's so important and something that I'd love to see stressed more in beginner books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Audelia
17 hours ago, Barleywine said:

My biggest challenge was that the only deck I could find locally in 1972 was the Thoth and the only accessible book I had to go with it (other than the Book of Thoth, which was impenetrable for a long time) was Eden Gray's "The Tarot Revealed." So I picked up intuitive impressions from Harris's evocative use of color and form and tried to fit Gray's heavily PKT-influenced meanings into that. Apples-and-oranges for the most part, but I did manage to start reading for others (not well, of course) on that basis. At least Gray's Celtic Cross variation was reliable and it's still what I use today, in modified form.

I think I would have thrown in the towel at the start of my tarot career if I had begun with the Thoth. I confess that my love affair with the Thoth has only really just ignited in the past year or so!

 

Thank you for sharing your experience Barleywine. It's so interesting to hear everyone's unique beginning. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Audelia
9 hours ago, xTheHermitx said:

also cut my teeth pre-internet (early 80's) and pretty much studied in solitude since there was no one who would take it seriously around me.

 

My biggest challenge was just trying to focus on what was important to learn first. I had also just been getting familiar with the Runes, and was just starting to look into Qabbalah and Hermetic studies, so I was sort of "awash" in all of this new found information, and my OCD brain had to figure out where to logically order everything. It took me about 4 years to get a system going that allowed the information to settle into the channels that worked.

 

After all of that, I still constantly battle the question: "Am I getting and using all of the information about this spread correctly?" Meaning, I feel that there is never an "end" to deciphering the cards...and I don't want to leave anything unturned in a read

It must have been so difficult to find study resources back then! And I can imagine how overwhelming all that information must have been.

 

I love your question and I can relate to it a lot. I sometimes find that the more I look at a spread, the more I continue to see in it and it gets to the point where you have to really just say to yourself, 'Okay, I'm done here!' and move on. Otherwise you fall into the trap of endless mulling and philosophising on potential meanings and what fits best 🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AeonHorus
18 hours ago, Barleywine said:

My biggest challenge was that the only deck I could find locally in 1972 was the Thoth and the only accessible book I had to go with it (other than the Book of Thoth, which was impenetrable for a long time) was Eden Gray's "The Tarot Revealed.

Nothing much changed in 20 years. By 1992 I was given my first deck which was a tarot de Marseille of which I read for myself and ONLY used the Majors with the aid of the little (not white) booklet that I got given with it. The pips were alien and we simply played cards with them lol. 

Around 4 to 6 months later I was given a Thoth deck by a girlfriend at the time and between that deck and her knowledge my mind was blown. She also gave me the book of Thoth but understand it I could not. She also gave me an old book on Astrology (I forget what it was) but it was good as it told you what each sign meant in simple sentences and keywords and how the planetary correspondants affected them (bloody wish I still had that). That along with Crowley's keywords helped me to start to read. 

The biggest challenge I had back then is the same challenge I am faced with today...

 

How to put the bloody things down and do something normal for a change!

😄😆😂 😄😆😂 😄😆😂 😄😆😂 😄😆😂 😄😆😂 😄😆😂 😄😆

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
xTheHermitx
10 hours ago, Audelia said:

It must have been so difficult to find study resources back then! And I can imagine how overwhelming all that information must have been.

it was actually sort of fun to find resources. I would hop on the city bus, and ride it downtown to the south end of Ohio States campus where a lot of the old record stores/thrift stores/used book stores and "magik" shops were. As an 11-12 year old kid, it threw people for a loop to see me in that area, especially going into the magik shops. I would spend hours in there - and the record stores - and find stuff to read. I did not realize, until I was older, how dangerous that part of town was at the time...but as a kid, especially a punk rock kid, it was awesome!!

 

10 hours ago, Audelia said:

 

I love your question and I can relate to it a lot. I sometimes find that the more I look at a spread, the more I continue to see in it and it gets to the point where you have to really just say to yourself, 'Okay, I'm done here!' and move on. Otherwise you fall into the trap of endless mulling and philosophising on potential meanings and what fits best 🙂

 

I still have to sometimes just force myself to get away from a read...or when I am still studying cards and looking for connections. I am planning on doing my Worm Moon spread tonight, but will probably study it for 2 or 3 days before I post the summary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
xTheHermitx
9 hours ago, AeonHorus said:

Nothing much changed in 20 years. By 1992 I was given my first deck which was a tarot de Marseille of which I read for myself and ONLY used the Majors with the aid of the little (not white) booklet that I got given with it. The pips were alien and we simply played cards with them lol. 

 

that is comforting to hear. I only focused on the Major Arcana for the first 10 years of studying, and always felt I was missing some info, but I wanted to focus on (what I thought) were the more "powerful" cards.

9 hours ago, AeonHorus said:

Around 4 to 6 months later I was given a Thoth deck by a girlfriend at the time and between that deck and her knowledge my mind was blown. She also gave me the book of Thoth but understand it I could not. She also gave me an old book on Astrology (I forget what it was) but it was good as it told you what each sign meant in simple sentences and keywords and how the planetary correspondants affected them (bloody wish I still had that). That along with Crowley's keywords helped me to start to read. 

The biggest challenge I had back then is the same challenge I am faced with today...

 

How to put the bloody things down and do something normal for a change!

😄😆😂 😄😆😂 😄😆😂 😄😆😂 😄😆😂 😄😆😂 😄😆😂 😄😆

 

this is sooo true!!   I also find my self daydreaming at work about Tarot related things....everyone else gets busted for toying on their phones...I get away with daydreaming b/c I can look like I am doing something while doing it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cora

The beginning of my Tarot journey was on 2012. I went to Barnes and Nobles and bought myself the Universal Waite Tarot. I was heavily into witchcraft and thought every witch needs a Tarot deck. I bought this specific deck since very psychic store I seen used this deck. Anyways, I relied on the LWB a lot. Every reading I used I consult the book. Later on I found a site for Tarot (Biddy Tarot) and started following a blog of a woman who drew daily Tarot using different decks. Yet I felt that wasn’t much. Next thing I know I bought over a dozen books on Tarot that I went nuts over. Funny part is I didn’t even read them. I just browse them and left it on my shelves. Well jokes on me. I accidentally donated all my books as well my holy grail books. Now I don’t have any books on Tarot. I just rely on my intuition and play games with my tarot cards. The only book I plan to buy in the future is “The Tarot Playbook” by Lynda Cowles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AeonHorus
3 hours ago, Cora said:

Now I don’t have any books on Tarot. I just rely on my intuition and play games with my tarot cards.

You should come join us in the forums then. We have plenty going on in reading circles, the monthly ISG groups for example spring to mind for you as an intuitive reader. I run a Thoth and a TDM circle that you are most welcome to join too. I also have a fex ongoing exchanges using the RWS system with the Druid Craft and also Anna-K, there is also a Comic book scenario reading game that me and a mate on here are doing in the Exchange forum that you are most welcome to hop into too if you like.

 

Oh yeah and.... Welcome to the forum @Cora 🙂  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cora
48 minutes ago, AeonHorus said:

You should come join us in the forums then. We have plenty going on in reading circles, the monthly ISG groups for example spring to mind for you as an intuitive reader. I run a Thoth and a TDM circle that you are most welcome to join too. I also have a fex ongoing exchanges using the RWS system with the Druid Craft and also Anna-K, there is also a Comic book scenario reading game that me and a mate on here are doing in the Exchange forum that you are most welcome to hop into too if you like.

 

Oh yeah and.... Welcome to the forum @Cora 🙂  

I definitely plan in joining the ISG groups. Okay, you got me in the comic book scenario reading game. That’s in the reading forum? I would love to join that one. It sound a lot of fun 😍

 

Thank you @AeonHorus for the information and the welcome 😄

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AeonHorus

I tagged you in there @Cora and you can find it here too...

 

 

The more the merrier I say 🙂 

And yes it is a tonne of fun. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flaxen
5 hours ago, Cora said:

The only book I plan to buy in the future is “The Tarot Playbook” by Lynda Cowles.

That is a fabulous book for just playing around and getting to know your cards. Thought-provoking in its simplicity. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gregory

It is - it's quite brilliant.

 

My biggest challenge was learning to trust myself.

Edited by gregory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cora
2 hours ago, AeonHorus said:

I tagged you in there @Cora and you can find it here too...

 

 

The more the merrier I say 🙂 

And yes it is a tonne of fun. 

 

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you 😊

I got a question, do you just make up a scenario? Can it be about anything. Also we need to have the ending and the other reader has to figure it out? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cora
2 hours ago, Flaxen said:

That is a fabulous book for just playing around and getting to know your cards. Thought-provoking in its simplicity. 

It’s a fun book and there is an activity where one of you cards commit murder. That has to be my favorite. It’s fun and if you are in the mood to be playful, I recommend it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AeonHorus

I will explain it once you have popped your head in and said hi 🙂 

Meanwhile @Cora read through the past ones we have done already. That should give you an idea...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Veritas

When I started to read cards I had books that I studied.....and then I would go down the rabbit hole of everyone else's interpretation of the card and what they meant.  This became very confusing for me so I started paying more attention to the meaning of the card and what it represented and then what that meaning meant to me.  I feel like if you have a "relationship" with your cards (which is how I feel about them) then those cards are speaking to what they mean to you.  When I read I look at the cards as a story that I'm telling and in that story I rely a lot on my intuition.  I would say the hardest thing for me was trusting my intuition and looking to see or feel the energy of what was being relayed.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.