Pretty much every day, I wake up at 7am, get my daughter up for school and go down the stairs to feed the dog. As I make our breakfast, I wonder why I haven't seen my cat in a couple of days. Mentally, I plan my morning, afternoon and evening out in my head (which, obviously, never pans out that way). In many ways, I am like any other person.
However, I have a not so secret obsession which has taken over my life since I was a small child. This addiction is so engrained in being that it is a large part of my identity. I work, socialise and breath it. My drug of choice, happens to be Tarot cards.
Since beginning my Tarot journey, I have made a career from reading and teaching divination. I have won an award for my work with Tarot, conducted international surveys, been interviewed for the media and this site is set to receive around 50,000 page views this month. I am happy to say, I set out to get other people hooked on Tarot.
Over the years, I have learned many things from reading Tarot, some of which I am going to share with you in this post. So, here it is 22 things I have learned from reading Tarot all inspired by the Major Arcana:
The Fool: The Tarot Journey Starts with Respect
If you want to learn how to read Tarot you don’t ‘need’ hundreds of books, fancy oils, reading cloths, £100 special edition cards or anything remotely similar. You can start reading Tarot from as little as 0.01p if you buy second hand decks from Amazon and use online Tarot card meanings. However, one thing that is essential for a beginner is respect for Tarot as a practice.
I hate when people make comments such as “Tarot cards are only pieces of cardboard”. You know what? On the surface they are cardboard, but underneath they are much more than that.
Those pieces of cardboard know all of your secrets. Your Tarot cards will be there for you at times when no one else ever would be. They grow old with you, adapt with you and form impurities and age marks along with the hands you use to handle them.
There will be times when the Tarot is your only companion. They advise you on which roads to take during your longest nights and deepest depressions. They give you hope when there is none and snap you back into reality when you are chasing an impossible dream.
Your Tarot deck will hold your tears, your nervous sweats and the energy from every promotion they predicted and failed love affairs yous tackled together.
Now, tell me how are they only pieces of cardboard?
If you want to get off to a good start with your deck, the relationship must be there. They must be ‘special’ to you. Carry them around, shuffle often and have a special place for them. Don’t let other people play with them. Keep them wrapped up. Don’t believe in these things? Design your own personal rituals. All that special attention forms a special relationship which pays off.
Can I read with any deck? Dam right I can. But it just is not the same as reading with my own deck which is like an old pal. I can blow dust with any old deck but I can move mountains with my primary one.
The Magician: It Takes Will
Tarot isn’t something you are born with. Learning Tarot is a commitment which, if you stick to you stick to it, you will get results. It is a lifelong process of late nights, notes, practice readings. But Tarot is also a lifelong process of meeting new people and having a constant companion you can refer to for advice and guidance on demand. If you have the will to learn you have what it takes to read Tarot.
The High Priestess: There are Things you are not meant to Know
One thing which I learned very quickly, is that there are times when my Tarot cards just will not allow my questions to be answered. This is because, there really are things we are not meant to know or have to work out for ourselves.
I think some newer readers confuse not being able to get a straight answer with not being able to interpret a card. If a situation is emotional charged and you are not confident in your Tarot skills pull as little cards are possible to answer your question! If you do not get a straight answer, then it will be okay to do another reading in 6 weeks (some say more) or so or when the situation changes (when more things are revealed).
Also, do not feel under pressure to give a client an answer. It is okay sometimes to say, “You know what? I do not know”. It is best to admit uncertainty than to make up a lie. This level of confidence is not easy to build but once you do, you are unstoppable.
The Empress: There is an Abundance of Tarot Related Information
The name of the game is abundance and that game is the maze of Tarot information available. There are some excellent resources for learning so try not sticking to one or two. There are books, YouTube Videos, blogs, social networks and free downloadable guides to get you started (I have some available here!)
The wealth of information can be daunting but eventually you get know what your preferences are.
Do you want an author, blogger who is serious? Or more laid back and relaxed? Is it experience or a fresh approach you are looking for? Once you discover what you like, suggestions for things to try will come out of nowhere. Trying out different learning mediums is a great opportunity to meet people and make friends.
The Emperor: It is who you know
In the Tarot world there are two kinds of people; those in the industry and those not in the industry. Those who are not in the industry, do not realize that much of what you see or are exposed to about Tarot is a result of the close nit Tarot community.
The close nit Tarot community decides what trends are popular, what books are worth publishing and who’s opinions matter. This industry works in a completely different way from what those outside of it expect to see.
For example, an author writes a book. The authors knows that a book will be worth publishing because the community shows their support. Decks used in a book are not chosen by accident but are selected because the author usually knows the creator. Books are promoted by people within the community; in a lot of cases favors such as cross promotion is exchanged. A lot of the reviews you see on Amazon are usually not without bias because many will be written my friends of the author or bloggers who have received a free copy.
Becoming prolific in any industry depends on who you know and Tarot is no different. However, this may seem unfair to the outside who have no idea the reviews of that Tarot book and accompanying course has been written by 20 of the author’s friends.
If you want to learn or improve your Tarot reading skills but don’t know if someone is worth the hype, check them out. Download their eguides, attend their free workshops, follow them on social media. Discover for yourself if they are good enough for you to make investments in.
The Hierophant: Tarot IS NOT a cult
You honestly don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to.
I have observed that the New Age seems to be a bit of a religion in itself and a lot of people who read Tarot are involved with the New Age movement. I had people telling me that if I didn’t “center cleanse” or whatever before a reading I was damaging myself (this was after I had been a reader for a good 16 years mind you). In my opinion it is not necessary; any ritual you uphold before reading is a personal choice.
I also once had another reader tell me that my opinion wasn’t worth his time because I didn’t incorporate the Kabbalah into my readings. Apparently, according to him, I was too stupid (eyeroll).
Tarot is not a cult. You don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do and you are not above or below anyone in any way if you choose not to do certain things.
The Lovers: Passion Pays
How do you become an award winning Tarot reader and get noticed in this industry? This would entail a post in itself but, in a nutshell, Tarot must be your passion. You must really have a knack for asking questions, studying and committing yourself to Tarot. Instead of watching movies you would rather read Tarot. Tarot should be your ‘go to’ for everything. You must want to share with the world, “Tarot rules”! (or maybe just your cat, but share with someone).
The Chariot: Fame isn’t Everything
Honestly it’s not. I know some readers who have over 200k likers on Facebook but cannot cope with life.
It is easy to look at the success of some Tarot readers start to feel major comparison anxiety. But, there is a lot of work which goes into maintaining a following, especially if you have that following because of a sensitive or unusual subject matter, such as divination.
There was one point in my career when I had a successful fortune-telling blog, about 15K subscribers and followers. Trust me, back then that was a lot for a diviner. I thought that what was what I wanted but I was relatively young (24/25) and found my popularity difficult to cope with.
I would go to the bathroom and come back with 90 new notifications. I had other readers rated me one star on my business page and sending me messages and hate mail calling me ‘gypo’ and ‘bitch’. When one of my best friends was low on money, she stole my business ideas and tried to destroy my company. I had crazy clients who became obsessed.
The pressure I was under from my business and personal life caused me to one day have a bit of a breakdown, delete my website and many of my social media accounts. Once I realized what I had done, it was too late and all the hard work I had put in over the years vanished. I went into a depression for quite some time.
Now I am older and more experienced, I know how to handle the reality of having lots of monthly visitors to my site but I still never expected to get to that point. Learning Tarot has taken my life in a direction I never would have dreamed up on my own.
Justice: Problem cards can be Fixed
A problem card is a card you just cannot get and for a long, long time Justice was my ‘problem’ card. My God I just didn’t get it, but I had a couple of personal experiences which changed the way I went about interpreting the card.
Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow of life. Often you won’t get a card but don’t worry about it or threat about it. As time goes on and you experience life, you eventually ‘get’ your problem card. Justice? It took me a good 15 years to properly understand but I got there eventually.
The Hermit: Do not Forget you are Doing it for YOU
I have a kind of love hate relationship with the Tarot community in general. There are those who I love and those who I despise. There are months on end when I will happily converse with anyone and everyone and times when I literally cannot bare to scroll through my Facebook newsfeed.
I feel (from what I have observed) that many folk in the community feel this way. But you know what, that isn’t Tarot. Tarot isn’t pedantic. Tarot doesn’t steal ideas, have an ego or be a hypocrite. Tarot is what it is and it is sad that people allow themselves to be worn down by others. We didn’t get involved in Tarot to have to deal with other people.
Most Tarot readers read in solidarity, they do not start in order to make friends. You don’t have to make Tarot friends or deal with anyone in the Tarot community if you don’t want to. Something which starts as an enjoyable hobby should not end because of bigger kids in the playground. The only friend you need when reading Tarot IS Tarot.
The Wheel of Fortune: An Interest in Tarot Waxes and Wanes
Remember I said that passion pays? Well, breaks are also normal.
There will be times when you feel you are going round in circles with your Tarot studies. You will feel filled with enthusiasm then suddenly not look at you deck for months on end. Don’t feel guilty about abandoning your deck for weeks, months or even years at a time. Life experience is Tarot experience so soak some of that up on days you are less enthusiastic over Tarot. Tarot should be fun, not a chore.
Strength: You must Grow Confidence
To be a good Tarot reader, you must put yourself out there. If you are reading a seeker and you get a feeling this card means this or that means that, go with your gut and say. If your confidence doesn’t pay off, don’t worry about it.
Confidence and accuracy isn’t something you can force. Even the best readers still crap themselves. In fact, probably only great readers crap themselves or have a little bit anxiety with new seekers because they care about Tarot and doing a good job (those who always do a bad job often don’t worry about it so much!)
The Hanged Man: You May not Like the Answers you Seek
Through a Tarot reading, you may discover that things are completely different from the way which you imagine them. Relationships could not be a fulfilling as you imagine. That fabulous career opportunity might not be all it is cracked up to be. Be prepared to be told these things through your Tarot cards.
Also, when asking questions to the wider Tarot community be prepared not to get the answers you would prefer or the ones you are looking for. Be open to opinions and the views of others as this is what community is all about. There wouldn’t be much growth in Tarot if we were all vanilla.
Death: Sometimes Death DOES Mean Death
It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then you really do get a literal reading which is so much fun and worth adding to your diary or journal (if you have one). Again this one of the reasons why you should learn how to form a relationship you form with your deck; if you have a good connection you can often tell the difference between if a reading is literal or figurative.
Be open to new interpretations CONSTANTLY. Play around, have fun and see what you can come up with.
Temperance: Give Yourself Credit
A lot of readers think they aren’t so good or don’t give themselves credit which they deserve. If you work your ass off for Tarot there is nothing wrong with saying, “You know? I am quite a good reader”.
Also, if you are working on your mediumship skills and consider yourself to be a psychic then there is nothing wrong with calling yourself a psychic either and using these abilities in your readings. Be who you are.
You need to have a realistic balance of confidence and modesty because this means you can concentrate on your strengths and tackle your weaknesses. Saying you are good at something you have studied hard at isn’t a bad thing. It is healthy.
There is a difference, however, between knowing you are good at something and thinking you are the be all and end all authority on it.
The theme of Tarot is that there is always something new to learn and everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Never forget the fact that, although you are a good reader, there may always be better out there. I may have once won the Young Tarosophist of the Year Award but there is probably some 14 year old at home in an apartment in the city that can wipe the floor with me. Balance goes a long way.
The Devil : Check your Motives and Know Thyself
It’s pretty obvious who is in certain businesses for the wrong reasons. The wrong reasons being money and fame. Like I said before, the psychic industry runs on trends and with this comes the fact that everyone wants to be or discover the next big thing. Everyone crawls onto the bandwagon when they think something is going to make the big bucks and be the next Angel Therapy or The Secret. It will be very shady and noticeable from others in your industry if you rebrand your whole spirituality to follow trends which are clearly gaining momentum. Stick to what you believe in.
When I was first online, I noticed how much my style of doing things differed from a lot of other people. I tend to focus on teaching predictive readings which can be applied to real life. I’m not afraid to venture down the ‘will he come back’ rabbit hole and take my students with me.
When I first got online it appeared no one else openly admitted they gave or taught, what I would consider, ordinary readings. Often, it is actively discouraged. I faced a lot of criticism and backlash and it greatly affected my life and business. Honestly there was one point I was hounded daily for something I once thought was standard in this industry. It wasn’t until after I made a name for myself through blogging that I stopped getting public abuse on my social network (now-a-days I just get the anonymous emails from self-help nutters).
Surprisingly, in the last couple of years the tide has turned and predictive reading has become rather popular. Tarot readers are actively showing an interest in learning how to make predictions on ‘mundane’ matters and every month this website welcomes more and more visitors. Its safe to say that sticking to my style has paid off.
There will be times when you haven’t yet found yourself or your reading style, and that’s okay. This is something you discover in time and it is constantly changing. As you develop as a person, your identity as a Tarot reader will also.
The Tower: Tarot Doesn’t have to be a Career Move
You know? Tarot study can stay as a hobby. I have noticed that there are lot of business courses and professional things flying around, but don’t feel pressure to take the leap and change your life. Trust me when it comes to knowledge, the studier can be as good as the master; it is not a competition. You can study Tarot and keep your day job.
The Star: There is Always Hope
Above all else Tarot is a fabulous opportunity for happiness. Many people are scared to get their cards read incase something bad becomes of it. But, if anything, Tarot shows us that there is always hope no matter how bad or dire a situation is.
The Star is one of my favourite cards, not only because I am an Aquarius but because of its message. The Star shows us that there is always hope and a chance for happiness. The message of The Star is that you will get what you want but not always what you ask for expect and I think this reflects all Tarot readings in one way or another.
You may not be able to control the exact outcome of a situation but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. There will be a moment of happiness and content eventually. If life goes down it must come up. For every ‘bad’ card we receive there are better ones waiting their turn to take center stage.
The Moon: Tarot is your Gateway to the Occult
Often, readers start on one form of divination and then they are opened up to other forms of divination out of curiosity. I learned Tarot first, but then took a heavy interest in Romany Gyspy symbolism and leaned how to read dreams, tea leafs, crystal balls and natural omens. After this, when I became an adult, I learned how to read with Lenormand.
After discovering Tarot, you will delve further and further into the occult: this is very much a positive thing.
Something which I loved has very much became a lifestyle and a huge part of myself. Who would have a thought a chance encounter with a relative’s cards would have set me up on this great and wonderful journey?
The Sun: Tarot is a Fabulous Opportunity
The many ways which Tarot is an opportunity is not even countable. It is an opportunity to predict the future or gain advice. It is an opportunity to grow spiritually, emotionally and mentally. It is an opportunity to make lifelong friends and meet people, to laugh, to cry and to just enjoy discussing a crappy past, a better present and a brighter future. It is an opportunity to leave your day job and risk everything to give others guidance and help in their time of need. It is an opportunity to be yourself, share your secrets and perfect your skills. It is an opportunity not just to learn but experience the wonders of Tarot.
Judgement: This Hobby Could be your Destiny
I am an bit of a romantic. I believe in free will but I like to think there are some things in this world which are meant to be. I feel that I was born to be a reader, the signs were always there. Any time I tried to make a career or living out of something else I was never able to. With Tarot, everything truly fell into place.
Divination pursued me. I once applied for hundreds of jobs and couldn’t get them, I would print off applications and the computer would break, interviews would be disastrous etc. Oddly, I would always reach for my Tarot cards for answers. The answer was following me around all along. The answer was Tarot. Tarot is my calling, is the Tarot calling you?
The World: The Journey is Never Ending
The main thing that Tarot taught me is that there is always something new to learn and different ways to learn it. Tarot is read all over the world and a lot of the juicy stuff hasn’t even hit the English speaking market yet. You can really take part in life-long learning with Tarot. You may feel you have learned everything you have to know when you learn the meanings of the 78 cards. But trust me, the journey has just begun.
Are you tired of airy-fairy Tarot card meanings? Do you want to make predictions about love, life and death? Well start your fortune telling journey and grab the free Predictive Tarot Meanings e-book below (it's free and available on phone, computer and tablet!)
Cards used in this post are from The Wild Unknown Tarot.
Lisa Boswell is an award-winning psychic reading teacher who currently resides in Scotland. Through her website DivinationAndFortuneTelling.com she teaches both experienced and would be diviners how they can predict the future.
Born into a Romany Gypsy family of fortune tellers, Lisa has had an active interest in the occult from a young age. She specialises in teaching predictive divination, easy mediumship and fortune-telling. Learn more here.