How do YOU read your cards.


I'm a beginner as well and I've been overly confused by meanings listed in various books. There are so many meanings, from so many people for each card.

I usually get an inner tug or inner pull to a meaning as I lay out each card in a spread. I usually piece together all of my first, brief impressions and then I go over the spread again and dig deeper.

I do refer to the books every now and again but I've found the more I refer to the books, the more confused I become. My inner voice seems to be more reliable. Sometimes a card will strike a real weird, off the wall meaning with me and when that happens, my intuition is usually right.

Awww heck, I'm still trying to figure out how to read the cards with competence.


When I was a beginner, I used to whip out that little instruction booklet as well as some other books all the time. But with time, I learned the meanings of each cards until I no longer needed the intruction booklet or other books. I remember one day in particular, I suddenly understood everything. It was like *aaaaaaaa* the clouds have parted. LOL. Now my understanding of the cards are based on a combination of that book knowledge, intuition, mythology, etc.


First of all, let me say that .dc is 100% on the money... there is no right way or wrong way to read the cards.

I almost never see the "book meanings" when I read the cards. I've read so many books and I find their explanations of the cards interesting and sometimes amusing. But seldom do the traditional meanings of cards scream out at me during a reading.

My eye is often drawn to the less significant symbols on a card. This is enhanced by the deck I use, the Royal Fez Moroccan deck. On this deck, the central "action" of a card is printed in full color, but the background detail is left in black and white. I love this feature of them! My eyes are always drawn to the stark backgrounds where I find details that almost always define the meaning of the card.

For example.... on a recent reading about a financial matter, the Heirophant came up reversed in a position concerned with actions the querent needs to take. My eyes were drawn to the bare feet of the Heirophant. The message here was humility. I asked him if he was usually pretty smug about his investment ideas and he admitted that he was. So I told him that the cards were telling him that he needed to be a little more humble with this next venture. I never would have gotten that meaning out of a book. (by the way, in a follow up reading he told me that he was let into the deal because the guy who offered the opportunity was impressed that he was able to put his own ego aside for the sake of the deal!)

The point here is to rely on your own intuition and imagination instead of trying to get a textbook meaning out of the cards. Reading books to get other people's insights is great, but in the end, the really powerful readings are the ones that come from the heart.


Quote:starshine says:
I don't read the cards, I listen to them.
very well said. in most cases, i'd have to agree. on ocassion, i'll check through a few different books to gain insight into a card that i may not be "hearing" very clearly. and with some cards, the keywords i memorized infringe on my "hearing" as well, so i'll check with the book. but for the most part, i just trust what the cards say.

i will add that sometimes, i'll look at a card or a spread, and just get a general feeling. it may not be specific at all. and sometimes, that's exactly what i'm looking for. no words, no "meaning" per se, just a feeling or emotion. sometimes, those are the most insightful of all.

and there are other times that i'll get a definate word or suggestion. i remember one morning, i pulled the devil as my card of the day. i had planned on going out to the club that night, but when i pulled the card, it clearly indicated that i'd be better off staying home. who knows what trouble i avoided that night...

luv and light,


smalloli- first step -- take the little white book ( LWB) that came with the deck and throw it away.

second step - keep a journal and write, write, write! Do meditations on the cards and record what YOU see in them. There is nothing wrong with buying a book or two ...or dozens... but the interpretation is UP TO YOU. Do not try to 'memorize' what someone else (even me) has written.

third step- keep doing readings. Tarot is an interactive process. There is no 'passing a test' better than doing a reading and not using a book. Stop worrying that you will make a bad call and the world will spin backwards on it's axis. It takes time - I worked with the cards for almost two years before I felt comfortable enough to do a reading for someone else. When you are ready, you will know.

step four- keep learning. That is the purpose of this forum - to spread the knowledge. I learn something new every day here. Tarot is a life-long process. Get on board and have fun!


Thanx for all the reply. They are all appreciated.

Just another question though. ( though i think i'm suppose to start a new tread...)

anyhows, I started learning the tarot with books on the Rider-Waite Deck, from which I basically nearly remembered all the meaning of each card (by it's symbols suggested on the card itself)

but, I thought the deck itself was very edge-y, unappealling so when I actually brought a deck, I brought the witches tarot (thanx to this site, I actually went through every deck on the site!)

but, when I read it, it has different meaning to the RW deck, and when every I see a card, I will read it as the meaning by RW deck, the the LWB that came with Witches Tarot...

I don't know if it's 'right' for me to do so... because I can't tell if it FEELS right or not...

Any suggestions?


i have the witches tarot as well, and i sometimes find myself looking at that deck for a "second" opinion, when i don't get a clear meaning from my robin wood.

however, i think one achieves "success" when one does NOT rely on previously memoried meanings, or what any book happens to say about any particular card. one achieve success when one can look at a card, and *know* what it's saying, without having to "translate" a meaning in your head. it's a lot like learning a new language. when one first learns, one often literally translates each word mentally into their native language. after a while, the new words, in the new language, make sense in and of themselves, without the need to translate them into ones native language. the same goes for tarot.

further, one cannot simply read a few books, memorize each meaning, and expect to perform perfect readings. (well, there are exceptions, just like some people can learn a new language overnight). it takes time for us "normal" people to learn.

each deck is like a different dialect. the robin wood has a "new england" accent as an example, where the witches tarot has a southern accent. each deck has nuances and different phrasings which the reader should familiarize themselves with before using the deck. just like when the new englander goes to the south, and has to learn what grits are, and what "that dog don't hunt" means. it's english, but it has a different meaning than the literal words would suggest. oh, and please pass the "chawda"...

the most important and effective study tool i've come across is pulling a card of the day and writing ones impressions in a journal. and of course, using the deck for readings.

luv and light,


Tarotbear suggested pulling a card a day and meditating on it and then recording what YOU feel the card is saying. I agree completely. Eons ago I downloaded Joan Bunning's course on Tarot. In one of the first lessons she suggests the same thing and gives questions to ask yourself about the cards. I took these questions and typed them out to make a "worksheet". I made several copies and keep these in a separate section of my journal. Although I am a little lazy about pulling a card for this purpose every day, I will use this worksheet if I notice a particular card coming up often in readings or if I pull my daily card and have trouble "hearing" it. Hope this helps!


I am going to guess that you have the Witches Tarot by Ellen Cannon Reed. If you aren't a Wiccan/Pagan or at least have an understanding of them, that deck will definately confuse you if your only brush with tarot is the Rider-Waite! I dislike the deck, but it didn't stop me from reading BOTH her books and using the deck from a Wiccan/Qabblic standpoint. When you understand the designs are based around their placement on the Tree of Life (which also explains those obtrusive colored spheres in the drawings- they're called Sephiroth), the deck might make more sense on a whole.


Thanx YET AGAIN for the suggestions. =P

I will of course try to look for that book that the creator of the Witches Tarot wrote.

What's a pagan anyways?