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Learning to read tarot for yourself can be so powerful. It’s not just a fun witchy party trick (although it certainly can be if that’s all you want from it).
In fact, my life changed in so many wonderful ways – both big and small – when I started working with tarot. In this post, I describe seven ways reading tarot for myself changed my life, including processing my emotions more effectively and making more aligned life decisions.
And at the end of this post, I’ll let you know how you can start your own tarot reading journey to manifest some of these amazing changes in your own life.
How your life will change when you start reading tarot for yourself
Here are seven specific ways my life has changed since I started reading tarot cards.
1. I am able to check my ego and connect with my true self.
When we let our ego steer the ship, we run the risk of chasing goals that don’t matter and creating a life that does not align with our true values.
Before I started working with tarot, I was all about my ego. I worked my ass off to achieve impressive goals just to look good. That’s how I became a miserable lawyer! I knew I was smart and studious enough to do it so off Most Likely to Succeed went down her ego’s path.
And although soul-searching allowed me to quit my lawyer job and pursue my passion for teaching, several years ago my ego almost made the same mistake! I owned a stationery subscription box business as my side gig while I taught English part-time. It had reached the blessed point where I couldn’t really grow any bigger out of my home without a staff and my full-time attention. At the same time, I had an eye out for full-time faculty positions at the various colleges I was teaching at. Which was it going to be!?
My ego asked why I would shut down a profitable business that was poised to grow even more. I had already quit one full time job to pursue flexibility and freedom, so why was I flirting with the idea of applying to another full-time position? Was I moving backwards?
My tarot cards helped me to see that the subscription box – a retail business through and through – was not taking me down my right path, which was teaching and writing. They also helped me see that a full-time professor job would grant me the very flexibility and financial stability I wanted.
Consulting my tarot cards helped make my path so crystal clear! Can you imagine the lifted weight that came with that?
2. Reading tarot cards allows me to practice listening to and trusting my intuition.
In fact, all the analytical and comparative skills we are taught in school are ego-driven skills. They are necessary for rational and critical thinking, but they aren’t the only way of knowing and being in this world.
Humans are also intuitive creatures – we have gut feelings, inner knowings, and even the occasional premonition. But we aren’t really taught this in school because it’s not evidence-based and rational. Intuition is a fuzzy gray area that is hard to quantify and thus we don’t trust it.
When it comes to reading tarot, however, while there are certainly tarot card meanings that you must learn, there’s no hard and fast right or wrong. A certain card can mean many different things. You use your intuition to “feel” the message that is being presented in any given tarot reading. That’s really uncomfortable and difficult to do for most of us!
We want to be able to look something up or learn a fact and move on with our lives, confident that 2 +2 always equals four. But in tarot, 2 + 2 sometimes equals four and sometimes equals negative four. Or four squared! You just have to feel it out, and the more you practice by reading tarot for yourself, the better you get at listening to your intuition and trusting it.
(In fact, that’s why memorizing a bunch of tarot card meanings is not the way to learn tarot! I teach you the more natural way to learn in my online tarot course, Read Tarot Today.)
And by trust your intuition, I mean beyond just your tarot cards. You’ll learn to follow your intuition in relationships, at work, and elsewhere.
(Related: 10 Tips for How to Improve Your Intuition)
3. Reading tarot helps me make better decisions.
When we are connected with our true self and are in tune with our intuition, we make better decisions. And by “better,” I mean decisions that serve our highest good.
I already gave you an example of how tarot has helped me make business and career decisions. But here’s another example on a much smaller scale.
A few months ago I was having a particularly trying mental health week. I really wanted to flake on a Zoom call with my girlfriends. But, as anybody who suffers from anxiety or depression knows, it’s hard to tell when flaking is self-care and when it’s just the depression talking. Social support systems are crucial for battling these lows. And I was getting really frustrated at not being able to decide what to do.
I took a few deep breaths, tried to clear my head as best I could, and pulled out my tarot cards. “What should I do about this Zoom call? What is the energy around this call and how might it affect my mood tonight?” I pulled the 3 of Cups, which is a picture of 3 friends clinking their cups together while dancing. The tarot said “Annie, you love your girls! They are here for you and want to make you smile and seeing them will pull you out of this pandemic funk and brighten your spirits.”
And, to perhaps nobody’s surprise, I felt so much lighter after seeing their bright and beautiful faces. I was so glad I had pushed through the urge to crawl into bed and isolate myself, which is so easy to do when you’re having a bad mental health day. If I didn’t have my tarot cards, that’s probably exactly what I would have done and then felt guilty for later.
4. Tarot helps me sort through and better process my emotions.
You can probably tell by now that I’m not great at recognizing emotions, let alone what to do about them. In fact, my therapist officially banned me from responding with, “I dunno, annoyed?” to her all-time favorite question, “And how did that make you feel?”
In my years of working with tarot for self-discovery, I have come up with one of the most handy three-card spreads to use when annoyance or anger overcome me. I ask the tarot what I think I’m annoyed or angry at. Then I ask the tarot what I’m really angry about. And finally, I ask what I can do to process and move through this emotion.
It has worked wonders for me.
To illustrate, I was beyond annoyed at my husband one day. Everything he said sounded so insensitive and judgmental – even his compliments and attempts at encouragement came across as self-righteous. I felt angry and, yes, annoyed, and unsupported. As I disappeared into the bedroom seething and trying to breathe my way out of this mood, I pulled out my tarot cards to figure out what was truly triggering me.
Sure enough, the tarot told me that I think I’m mad about my marriage but I’m actually mad at how overwhelmed I feel with everything on my plate. I actually feel some fear and frustration about my business and some anger and resentment about my day job getting in the way, not being at the point where I can hire assistants to help with the blog, and stuff like that. This feeling of overwhelm and general lack of support made me think I was mad at my husband for being unsupportive or insensitive!
You can’t process and regulate emotions if you’re displacing them and don’t even know it! Reading tarot for yourself can help with this.
5. Working with tarot helps me accept and honor the various phases and experiences of life.
I’ve come to learn that some of us have a hard time processing our emotions because we simply don’t like having them, especially the uncomfortable ones. I, for one, have a whole extra layer of commentary that comes with negative emotions that wonders why I have to feel this way and how I can get rid of the emotion and whether it’s correct for me to feel that way or not.
Have you ever had that experience? You’re essentially judging yourself for feeling an emotion.
But here’s the simple truth that tarot offers: Is this experience or feeling or circumstance in the tarot? Then it’s totally normal to be going through it and you can stop fighting it! And guess what. Everything is in the tarot!
The tarot is designed to mirror the human experience, the universal myth of man’s journey on earth. It reflects the major themes and life lessons we all have to learn at some point or another (authenticity, balance, catastrophe, change). Tarot also covers the everyday circumstances and emotions that comprise the human condition (joy, suspicion, collaboration, deception, rest, overwhelm).
It’s all good and it’s all normal! Tarot has helped me accept this and explore with more curiosity and openness how these themes play out in my own life.
6. Tarot helps an over-achiever like me set goals that align with my highest good.
Drink more water. Lose weight. Save $10,000. Finish my book. Gain 1,000 more Instagram followers. I pretty much never met a goal I didn’t like.
Until I started to work with tarot, that is, and got better at rejecting pursuits that did not align with my highest good.
When I’m dreaming of something, I consult my tarot cards to check in to see if the goal is aligned with my highest good – something I authentically want that fits my values – or just something I want for some inauthentic or ego-driven reason.
For example, at the end of last year, as I was setting my 2021 resolutions, my tarot cards prompted me to consider if I actually needed to lose 10 pounds. Didn’t I just want to feel more energized and confident in my body? Societal pressures on women seemed to convince me that those pandemic pounds had to go. But my tarot cards reminded me that they were actually pretty irrelevant.
If I had had my tarot cards back when I was taking the LSAT, I may have been able to realize that I had 0 interest in being a lawyer and just wanted to prove to my lame boyfriend (at the time) that I was as smart as he was. Wait. I don’t think I’ve ever said that out loud before.
AM I ELLE WOODS!?
(Related: Setting Intentions and Goals with Tarot)
7. I can set intentions with my tarot cards that guide me to show up as my best self each day.
Speaking of setting goals and self-improvement, working with tarot can be a really simple daily meditation. It doesn’t have to be a whole big to-do with incense and dimmed lights and an intricate 12-card spread.
(In fact, I pretty much never do that!)
A great way to work with tarot is to draw a daily tarot card and meditate on its positive energy. What lesson does that card offer? How can you embody the positive energy of that card today to help you show up as your best self?
In fact, here is a free Daily Draw Tarot Journal PDF you can download and print out so you can try this for yourself!
Convinced that you need tarot cards in your life, like right now?
I was originally drawn to tarot because I was an occult-loving, nerdy pre-teen. But when I really dove into the cards as an adult, I quickly realized that reading tarot cards is not about divination and esoteric witchy stuff (you can incorporate it into your witchy practices for sure, but that’s not a requirement).
It’s first and foremost a tool for self-discovery and connecting with your intuition, and those things are crucial for living a joyful, intentional, and fulfilling life.
So, how do you start your own tarot journey? Here are your next three steps!
1. Get yourself a Rider-Waite or other solid beginner’s tarot deck.
2. Enroll in Read Tarot Today, my online tarot reading course that is perfect for beginners.
3. Let me know what pulls you to tarot in the comments below!
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