This post is part of my 30-day tarot challenge (created by Ree @ Ephemeral Starlight). To see the rest of my posts for this challenge, please check here.
How much emphasis do you put on the textbook meanings for cards, and how much stress do you place on the “feeling” you get from cards through their artwork/symbolism/etc. (aka reading intuitively)? Do you do both, or one or the other?
Initially, I began reading the cards based purely on the textbook meanings, because I didn’t know of any other way! Once I began learning more about tarot, I did try to pay more attention to the imagery and symbolism on the cards, but still had to rely on the textbook meanings.
At one point, I was doing a more thorough study, and began to work on memorizing keywords for each of the cards. While this was quite helpful, I didn’t stick with it long enough to have each card’s keywords permanently burned into my brain. However, this was a nice stepping stone toward becoming more familiar with the cards.
As my practice with tarot grows, my intuition grows as well, making each reading more and more comfortable to do. So now, when I read the cards, I usually first think of the keywords for the card, then delve deeper with it. I look at the image and think about the symbolism. I try to look at all the cards in the spread together, to notice patterns and flow across the images.
Now, when I see some cards, it’s basically all intuition, which feels great! And sometimes I can look at a quick spread and just rely solely on intuition. However, when to delver deeper “in the reverse” – that is, relying on intuition first, then referring to meanings/lwb – it can often be confusing. The message I got just by looking at the cards won’t always match what the “book” says.
I was at a little tarot group meeting a while back, and we were doing readings for each other. Surprisingly, I was the most experienced tarot reader there, so for each reading, they all looked up the card meanings in this one book that one of them brought. As they were laying out the cards, I pretty much read them intuitively to myself, then watched and listened as they looked up the interpretations. For one woman, they drew 3 cards as clarification on a specific card in her initial reading. Upon seeing the cards, my eyes flashed wide because of the message I got instantly. One of the other ladies noticed, and gave me a wary look. But when they looked up the card meanings, they didn’t really match the message I would have told her.
For this reason, I’m somewhat wary of solely trusting my intuition — yet. It’s kind of like – who do I believe? Myself, or an more unbiased party? Sometimes I think that my own opinions, thoughts, and desires are clouding my intuition, so I’m just getting the message that I want or expect or think I should get. So much self-doubt. Heh.