Intuition vs. the LWB (and Reading without Bias)

Consulting the Little White Book

When I first joined the local tarot meetup group, a little over a year ago, I was excited to discover that some of the different members hosted different events. I decided to start small and went to a Saturday meetup at a local *woo* shop, where a handful of women showed up to talk about tarot and exchange readings. I was hoping to make some new friends and learn from some people who were more experienced with tarot than I was.

Turns out, I was the most experienced person in the room (which wasn’t saying much).

They seemed to want to learn from me, so I demonstrated the way I usually read for myself, but on one of them. I used my Joie de Vivre deck and did a reading for another lady, using a spread from the back of the LWB, but doing my best to interpret the cards intuitively (at least before consulting the LWB).

Six of Coins (6/P) - joie de vivre tarot

Joie de Vivre tarot

Apparently they didn’t like my methods, because after that they decided to do simple 3-card spreads, and just looked up all the meanings in this book that one of them had. I remember at one point, the reader-of-the-moment flipped over 3 more cards to get clarification about one that was already on the table. As soon as I saw the cards, my intuition flared. I stayed silent, but I couldn’t stop my eyes from doing a momentary bulge. One of the women noticed, and looked at me questioningly, but didn’t say anything.

They proceeded to *look up the answers* in their book, which were much more positive and quite different from the intuitive message I had gotten when I first saw the cards. It was at that point that I started to doubt myself.

Was I just being too negative? Was I letting a personal bias cloud my judgement? Why wasn’t I satisfied with the meanings from the book that they all seemed so pleased with?

While it was an interesting meeting, and all of the ladies were nice, I decided that this group was not for me, and I have not returned.

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Trusting Your Intuition

When I was ready to try another tarot meetup, I decided to go with one that seemed altogether different: the tarot collage class! I’m so glad I gave this one a shot, because — as I’m sure you know by now — this has turned into one of my favorite events each month!

What I love about this class is… well, there are many things. But one of the great things is that they encourage everyone to learn to read the cards intuitively. Each week, we focus on one card. We do a mini warm-up reading focusing on the card of the night, and read them intuitively. Then when we discuss the card, though we do talk about the various traditional meanings, the first thing we do is discuss our own intuitive interpretations of the card.

I hadn’t realized how much this was helping me, until I had my first gig!

18 - The Moon - 6/01/13

The Moon (my collage)

I know that not everyone learns in the same way, and that when you’re first starting out with tarot, it can feel quite daunting trying to just look at a card and *have an answer.* And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with consulting the LWB (lord knows I’ve done it many, many times). But I love that the teachers at the tarot collage class still encourage and push us to try (and encourage newbies to put down the LWB and just look at the card).

In this group, I don’t feel judged for looking at a card and getting a message from it. In this group, I like that we are learning, instead of just consulting a manual. In this group, I feel so much more at home, like I belong.

Trusting my intuition is what led me there in the first place, and I love the rightness of it all.

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But What About Reading with Bias?

My intuition has developed a lot over the past year, and I feel much more comfortable reading cards now than I ever have before. But bias is one thing that I do still wonder about.

I go back and forth about reading for myself.

On the one hand, I find it easy to read for myself because I only have to interpret for ME. But on the other hand, I worry if sometimes I am only seeing what I want to see.

And when reading for others, especially those I know, I wonder how much of my prior knowledge about them could be clouding my judgement. I have to admit, this doesn’t happen nearly as much as it did in the past, but I do still wonder.

Do you ever worry about reading with bias? How do you overcome it?

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2 thoughts on “Intuition vs. the LWB (and Reading without Bias)

  1. I have only ever read for myself, but I mainly overcome bias by being a little hard on myself instead of choosing the interpretation that sounds better.

    I don’t know the card meanings well enough to read intuitively, and I don’t trust reading a card by its picture, but I do try to find the meaning of each card that makes the most sense in the context of the question; for instance, if I draw the ten of pentacles when asking a question about my spiritual life, I don’t automatically assume a large amount of money is going to fall into my lap just because that’s the “standard” meaning of that card or it’s what I would like to believe.

    I started trying to train my intuition long before I picked up tarot cards, but doing tarot readings for myself has certainly helped me slow down my thought processes and listen to that voice. I’m sure that eventually I will be able to lay down a spread and immediately interpret it by intuition; but the cards have made clear to me that knowledge + intuition is more powerful for me than simply relying on intuition alone, and this has certainly been true in my life so far.

    • Yes, I know exactly what you mean. For a long time (and even sometimes still) I’d consult the LWB and choose the meaning that made the most sense in the context of the reading. It is a nice way to learn because it got me familiar with the idea that the cards can mean different things in different situations, and that each deck has a different personality.

      I admire those (like my dear friend Irmata) who ONLY read intuitively, and always have! I’m still not there yet, but I’m enjoying the practice and getting better at it. Best of luck in your continued tarot practice! :)

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