Anatomy of a Tarot Reading

There is a LOT of information out there on the tarot. Like most things, some of it is of high quality – some of it is not – and it can be confusing to know who to listen to when first setting out. 

I’ve struggled with putting out yet another podcast that leans on the Tarot. I’ve asked myself why, when there is so much information out there, I need to add to the confusion.  

After some soul searching I reached two conclusions. 

I believe enough in self-coaching with the tarot that I feel it’s important to get the information out there – I’m willing to risk people feeling confused. 

The best way to learn what works for you as an individual is to try out a variety of methods, techniques, decks, spreads, etc.  Mine – other podcasters – books – and ultimately – your personal reading style will evolve. 

As we move forward, I’m going to make a couple of assumptions about you all.  If my assumptions are incorrect, please reach out and let me know because I want the Moxxie Podcast to be a valuable contribution. 

Assumptions About Your Tarot Knowledge

My assumptions are as follows: 

  • You’re new to the Tarot or interested in viewing the Tarot through a different lens
  • You’re interested in personal growth and development – and have an open mind
  • You may or may not have a deck
  • You may have become overwhelmed trying to memorize the meanings of seventy eight cards and put them away despite being drawn to them  
  • You’re interested in getting to know the real you better 
  • You’re interested in tapping into the subconscious and open to what intuition has to teach us 

As we move on into future podcasts, we’ll be exploring the tarot in depth. First, we’ll wrap up our conversation on the foundational information and then we’ll begin exploring the cards themselves, their relationship to you and your life, their relationship to one another, and sets of questions for each card.  

These questions will allow you, an as of now newbie reader, to begin reading immediately – and accurately.  They will also assist you in developing a solid foundation for your own interpretation of the cards. 

It would be nearly impossible to teach the tarot without making references to traditional meanings. However, in this method, traditional meanings are secondary to the meanings your subconscious and intuition show you. 

Preparing for a Tarot Reading

Now – let’s address reading preparation – something universal – everyone has their own way of preparing and each one is as valid as the next. 

If there’s one thing you’ve likely learned if you’ve listened to previous tarot-related episodes, I firmly believe there is no single correct way to practice the tarot – any more than there is a single correct way to pray or meditate.  

The point is to take some time to ‘land’ in the headspace where you can be your most open, accepting, non-judgmental, and relaxed.   

Your Tarot Reading Space

Some people enjoy creating or designating a specific area of their home as their reading space. Typically, they’ll choose a room or area where they won’t be disturbed – or can request that they won’t be disturbed – a quiet space that feels good.  Can be dimly lit and comforting – or full of natural light and energy. Your choice.  

Some people don’t feel the need for such a space and are comfortable plopping down anywhere to read. I have one room where I do 95% of my readings.  

Stuff – Like the choice of space – your choice to have specific meaningful items – or nothing at all around you when you read is completely yours. Some people choose a specific desk, table, or corner where they can leave items they like to surround themselves with during a reading out and available for use at any time.  

Common items include candles, incense, stones, crystals, photos, etc.  

Some people enjoy the ritual they create through these designated spaces and meaningful items.  

I don’t have an altar or designated table.  However, even I will often light a single candle simply as a way to shift from random daily thoughts and actions to a more internal space. 

Encourage you to use space and stuff – but avoid becoming dependent on them. You want to be able to read anywhere and if you must have incense or your personally meaningful items with you, you’ll be very limited.  

Stay hydrated 

Eat something before if you’re hungry or likely to get hungry – it sucks to lose the moment because you’re stomach is growling 

Tell others in your household you don’t want to be disturbed – and don’t feel guilty about it 

Most Importantly – HeadSpace  

Comfortable seat – area to spread out the cards 

More important (in my opinion) than any of the physical stuff, is the state of your being before a reading. You can have all the candles and crystals in the world and if you’re unable to narrow your focus and ‘come home’ the reading is going to be frustrating and shallow.  

Again – do what works for you.  If you enjoy prayer, pray. If meditation helps you calm and center, spend a few minutes meditating. As my favorite yogi, Adriene Mischler, likes to say, ‘arrive.’ 

The remainder of the podcast is an audio-walkthrough of the way I prepare (most of the time) Not going to lie and say I don’t ever just grab the cards and barely nod at ‘arriving.’ But most of the time. And I do it because, in my experience, my readings are much deeper and more meaningful – whether I’m reading for myself or someone else.  

  • Choose your space and your props
  • Write your question in your journal
  • Sit in a comfortable place – wherever feels good to you – in whatever position feels good
  • Pick up your cards and hold them
  • Close your eyes and look at your third eye – slightly above and right between the eyebrows
  • Take at least three slow, deep, intentional breaths
  • Envision yourself being enveloped in white light for protection
  • Open third eye and door to subconscious 
  • Concentrate on your question and decide how you will be shuffling, cutting, and laying out the spread
  • Open your eyes
  • Keep concentrating and shuffle the cards in a way that feels good to you
  • When satisfied, cut the deck and begin to lay out the cards
  • You choose – lay out cards face up or down

Reading the Tarot Cards

  • Consider how each cards makes you feel
  • Does it bring to mind a specific memory or situation?
  • Does it remind you of anyone you know?
  • Do you experience any physical sensations?
  • What does your gut or your intuition tell you?
  • Record the cards you drew and your feedback for each question abover
  • Consider reviewing monthly. You are likely to see patterns in repeating cards/ themes, and the review will allow you to note where your readings were accurate and inaccurate

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