Everything You Need to Know About Performing an Intuitive Tarot Reading

Photo: Getty Images/Khrystyna Bohush
When it comes to tarot decks, learning the traditional meanings of each of the 78 cards is indeed super helpful—especially if you're a tarot-reading newbie. That said, the real magic happens when you go beyond just reiterating a card's meanings and tap into your intuition for guidance and metaphysical wisdom. Reading the cards in this way is called, you guessed it, intuitive tarot.

Meghan Rose, a spiritual advisor and tarot reader, defines intuition as "the ability to understand something without ration or conscious reasoning." So, in the context of tarot cards, the reader, who could be a professional or yourself if you're reading your own cards, receives intuitive messages from the cards that they won't be able to explain with logic. They just know. And because we all have intuitive superpowers, honing your intuitive tarot skills is totally possible with a bit of practice.

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Ahead, 6 pro tips on how to practice intuitive tarot

1. Familiarize yourself with the traditional meanings

Although your intuition will guide you in delivering messages during intuitive tarot readings, Rose says it's still helpful to have an understanding of each card's traditional meaning. For that reason, she recommends having a regular tarot reading ritual where you study the cards' meanings by keeping a journal of readings you do for yourself and asking your trusty tarot deck questions about your life. "The more you connect with yourself and your deck, the more clearly your intuition can arrive," Rose says.

After a while, she suggests referring back to those journal notes and assessing what happened, what changed, and what was accurate. Doing so will help you better understand the cards and hone your intuitive tarot reading skills over time.

2. Set an intention for each intuitive tarot reading

Before performing a tarot reading for yourself, Rose recommends setting an intention or point of focus. This can be as simple as: "Please reveal with clarity what I can expect in terms of love, money, a specific relationship, a decision that needs to be made, my living situation, etc," she explains. The key is for the intention to be clear to avoid confusion. You can also ask specific questions such as, "What can I expect for my day today?" Or, "What energy would be helpful for me to tap into today?"

From there, Rose says you can close your eyes and invite any spirit guides of the purest and highest intention to support you in this reading while you shuffle the cards. Meditating beforehand is also helpful for tapping into your intuition. "Making time to connect with yourself and your inner knowing is a sure-fire way to evade getting stuck in the doubt, analysis, and fear that can reside in the mind as we venture into intuitively reading tarot," she says.

3. Pull cards you're drawn to

Every tarot reader shuffles and lays out their cards in different manners—there's no right or wrong way to do it. Remember, this process is all about intuition, so try different styles and do what feels best for you. Once the cards are shuffled, Rose's go-to method involves breaking up the deck into three piles and selecting the pile she feels drawn to. She then intuitively picks out a card from that pile and lays it out on the table.

If you're a pro at reading tarot cards, you can, of course, get fancy with different layouts and spreads. If you're a beginner, it's easiest to keep it simple with a one-card pull. Or Rose also suggests a three-card spread, commonly referred to as a past/present/future reading, which can help you learn and understand the cards and interpret their meanings based on their placements in the spread.

4. Take in the card's imagery

Before you start analyzing the meaning of the cards, Rose advises taking a moment to simply look at the imagery and the story it tells. "It's almost like pointing a camera before it focuses," she explains. "Get the gist of what you're looking at before diving in." Furthermore, she says, "Imagery is an endless pit of knowledge." It can reveal so much. Even if you've read tarot many times before, you'll likely notice new things every time you examine a card.

5. Pay attention to how you feel

How the cards make you feel is another way to tap into your intuitive tarot powers and gather more insight. For instance, Rose says, if your chest feels heavy, that could mean you're experiencing heartache or grief that could be explored in the reading. Or, perhaps you feel your hands tingle, stomach drop, or just feel lit up with energy when you see certain cards. Note all those details.

6. Trust the process

As you're piecing together the intuitive tarot messages, Rose's biggest tarot don'ts include over-analyzing, second-guessing yourself, or rushing the process. Instead, she says, do trust the messages that come up, let go of perfectionism, and stay curious. Intuitive tarot is a skill, and just like any skill, it takes time and practice to master. Rose adds that maintaining other mindfulness practices, such as meditation, yoga, connecting with nature, or breathwork, will also help you feel in alignment with yourself and make it easier to tap into your intuitive abilities.

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