Top 10 Rules for Reading Tarot Cards

reading tarot

What You Need to Know

When you’re reading tarot there’s a lot of lead way for you to be creative. You can show off a personal flair with your spreads, shuffling techniques and the way you incorporate your unique personality into the way you connect with clients. But I do feel like certain things should be paid attention to when you’re working with the cards. I’ve compiled the top 10 guidelines that I think are most important for new and seasoned readers:

1) Don’t over think it, first impressions are usually correct.

When you’re new your brain is on overdrive trying to remember everything. But when we try so hard it often has the opposite effect. I’ve learned over the year that your first impressions of the cards are usually the most accurate. Even when you become more well versed in reading tarot, you’re going to have a moment from time to time where you look at a card and it doesn’t make sense. The same rule applies in these types of situations – always trust your gut!

2) Practice, practice, practice!

I’m not sure why people think learning tarot is something they can pick up over the weekend. But let me assure you – it’s not! As a new reader it’s frustrating when you see people reading tarot easily and pulling crazy information out of the cards. Especially when you’re not seeing the same thing. Most of the time this happens simply because of a difference in experience levels. Please know that every good tarot reader has put in the time and effort to learn their craft and that’s why it looks easy.

3) Don’t read if you’re feeling sick, tired or irritable

The worst thing you can do is read tarot cards (or do spiritual work) when you’re not at 100%. You might notice that in addition to not feeling so great, your skills might be harder to access. Another issue that comes up is that your abilities might now work as well as they do normally. And let’s not forget that pushing yourself will deplete your energy and make you feel worse than when you started. Don’t be afraid to say no when you need to. It’s important to learn how to take good care of yourself if you’re going to read tarot cards for other people.

4) Have a tarot buddy to ask for help or trade readings with.

This one is a must! It’s always a good idea to have someone to talk to about tarot whether you’re learning or have been in the game a while. This way you have someone to ask about strange things that happen and you can ask for advice in places where you’re getting stuck. Last but not least, having someone who can read your cards for you when you’re upset and things aren’t making sense is invaluable. The buddy you choose can be more advanced than you or on the same level. You’ll get the support you need either way.

5) Be honest, but also remember to be kind.

Sometimes the tarot cards can really lay it down. If you’ve ever experienced this you know exactly what I mean. But what happens when you have to relay difficult information to a client? Or the cards are showing you that their bad behaviors are actually causing the situations they’re asking you about? It’s a sticky situation indeed. I’ve found that the best way to handle it is to be honest about what you see, but to deliver the message in a kind way. A good gage is to ask yourself if you would be offended if someone said the same thing to you. If you can accept the way it is delivered, chances are your client will be able to hear it too.

6) Never make decisions for anyone.

I cannot stress this ENOUGH! It’s not your job to make decisions for someone else’s life. You don’t know what they need. The information you get from them may not be the whole story. And it’s not a great idea for the integrity of your business. When you tell a client what to do and they take your advice, they might not like the way things turn out. And guess whose fault that is going to be? Yours. Clients usually push you to do this when they don’t want to be responsible for their choices or they sincerely don’t know what to do. Your best bet is to use the cards to help them understand their situation as thoroughly as possible so they can make a good decision for themselves.

7) Stand your ground if you know the message you’re getting is correct.

I can’t tell you how many readings I’ve done where someone was arguing with me about what I was seeing. Or tried to bully me into giving them the answer they wanted. (Which coincidently was not the answer I was getting.) It’s important to have confidence in your abilities and stand your ground at all times because your reputation is on the line. All you need is to give in one time and then that person gets upset and thinks you’re a liar and a charlatan. You should always tell people what you see, not what they want to hear.

8) Never guess & don’t make shit up!

I still have no idea why people do this! It’s just bad business and it can really screw up someone’s life if they receive inaccurate messages. Remember, the tarot always gives us the correct answers when we lay out our spreads. But it is your job as a tarot reader is to interpret the messages correctly. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you don’t know the meaning of a card. Nothing! People will have a lot more respect for you if you’re honest. If you get caught in this situation and you start to panic, just let the client know you need to refer back to your book to confirm what you’re picking up is correct. Then let your book guide you to the correct message. You should never try to fake your way through it. People take what you say very seriously and it’s important to the integrity of your craft to be as accurate and honest as possible about what you see.

9) Every reader works differently. Know your strengths and develop your own style.

Sometimes it’s hard to see someone reading tarot and doing it the way you wish you could. The truth is that each reader has their own style and set of gifts. Spirit won’t give you the ones you want but you’ll definitely get the ones you need. While this can be frustrating at times, remember that people aren’t looking for a cookie cutter type of tarot reader. They want someone that resonates with them. Which is exactly why it’s so important to have diversity within our community.  It’s important to lean into your strengths and try to figure out how to take advantage of them to separate yourself from the crowd.

10) Don’t be afraid of reading for other tarot readers!

This was a big one for me when I first started out. I wasn’t very good yet and I was completely intimidated by people who were more skilled than me. Even after I felt confident with my cards there was a period of time when I was worried that another reader would interpret a card differently and I would be “wrong.” (None of those things ever happened by the way.) But I did learn something very important during that time. Every tarot reader has their own relationship with the cards. They interpret each one according to their own connections and experience. If there are psychic abilities in play too, all bets are off. Readers typically get to get their own unique messages so do don’t be afraid to do your thing. I’ve impressed some seasoned tarot readers over the years that I know were a lot more advanced than me. Never underestimate what you can do. As long as you learn to trust yourself and your cards, you can do readings for anyone.

Reading tarot cards is a big responsibility but it can also be a lot of fun. I hope these guidelines take some of the pressure off and inspire you to really go for it.