Conducting a Tarot reading is so much more than laying out some cards and seeing which pictures come up. It is about accessing your intuition in order to garner hidden knowledge. As such, it is important to properly prepare for a reading.
If you are relatively new to Tarot, here are three things you can do to help prepare for a reading. While this advice is aimed at readers, if you are planning on visiting a Tarot reader, these tips can also help you prepare yourself and enable you to combine your intuition with that of your reader for the best possible results.
Clear your mind and calm your emotions
It is important to always go into a reading with a clear mind, and not overwhelmed by your emotions. Being distracted by problems or preoccupied with emotions blocks your access to your intuition as it is difficult to move beyond these surface issues.
There are many different descriptions of intuition, but for me it is the subconscious. We all have a conscious mind, that is responsible for the day to day chatter that occupies our heads, and a subconscious mind. While our senses (including psychic senses) gather huge amounts of data about the world, our conscious minds aren’t able to process all this information; rather it filters that information to a manageable level. Meanwhile, the subconscious mind gathers and processes the vast amounts of data collected, and does sometimes send it up to us when it is needed, often manifesting as an inexplicable feeling, gut reaction or lightbulb moment.
Tarot is about actively accessing that subconscious information, rather than waiting for it to come up in a moment of need. Therefore, to prepare for a Tarot reading you need to open access to your subconscious intuition. Improving access to your intuition is a long-term commitment, like preparing for a competitive sport, you need to do the serious training as well as the warm up before the match. There are many different ways to nurture your intuition, but two good ways are meditation and practicing presence.
There are many different ways to meditate and a lot of advice available about how to develop a meditation practice, but the essence of meditation is clearing your mind of active thought. Of course, this is impossible, as anyone who has ever tried to think of nothing will know. It is more about recognising the active thoughts for what they are, and putting them to one side, allowing your mind to quiet. Once you quiet your conscious mind, you should have more capacity for your conscious mind to speak with and access your subconscious mind.
There are similarly many ways to practice presence, but the philosophy is to focus on the here and now, minimising distracting thoughts about the future or what is happening elsewhere. This both allows you to pick up more of what is happening around you, improving the data gathered in your subconscious, and increases the likelihood that the subconscious will send up useful information about the present moment.
As well as the training, the warm up is important too, so always conduct rituals to clear your mind and balance your emotions directly before you do a reading. This could be a quick meditation, just 5 or 10 minutes, a prayer, or a positive affirmation ritual.
Link your intuition to your cards
In a Tarot reading, the cards are a tool to help you access your intuition, so you need to work on creating a strong link between your intuition and your cards. Just like with developing your own intuition, this requires both long term training and pre-game prep.
In the long term, to create a connection between your subconscious and your cards, spend time with you cards and become intimately familiar with them. Spend time with the cards in your hands, shuffling them and moving them around, so that eventually you instinctively know how they feel. When a card pulls your attention, draw it from the pack and spend time with it. Re-read the meaning of the card provided by your Tarot guide, and look at the image, see what meanings are strongest for you and what other meanings you see in the card imagery of feel when you hold and look at the card. This will commit these meanings to your subconscious, for your intuition to draw on during the reading.
You should also focus on strengthening your connection with the deck directly before a reading. Perhaps as part of your meditation or calming ritual before your reading, keep your cards with you. If any of the cards draws your attention during this time, take the time to look at it, as it may become significant later.
Create your safe space
Where you do your Tarot reading can be very important, especially if you are doing the reading for someone else. You need a space where you will be undisturbed, and which feels safe and private, as Tarot readings often involve talking about difficult and personal subjects, which require this security and privacy.
The space should also reinforce the clarity of mind and tranquillity of emotions that are needed for the reading. The space shouldn’t have stressful or emotional connotations: don’t do your reading at the kitchen table if it has associations with the business of family; don’t do your reading at your office desk if it has associations with work stress; don’t do the reading in your bedroom, especially if it is linked with relationship concerns. While it is often difficult to find a space that is entirely dedicated to Tarot, finding a space that is tranquil and free of stressful associations is important.
If crystals, candles and other such things are part of your preparatory rituals, keep them in the space you use for Tarot reading in order to keep you grounded throughout the reading.
If you are visiting a reader and you have crystals or other amulets that help you reach a state of calm, consider bringing them with you.
Thoughts and words by Christine H