What are the signs you’re no longer a Tarot beginner? How do you know that you’re ready to advance your Tarot reading skills? How can you improve and develop your Tarot? When is it time to start learning how to read Tarot like a pro?
It’s easy enough to know when you’re a Tarot beginner; everyone knows when they are just starting out at something that they are not yet ready to cross over into expert level. However, most Tarot readers are unsure when they should be learning advance Tarot techniques; if you fall into this category, this post is for you!
So, how do you know that you’re no longer a Tarot beginner and are ready to advance your Tarot? I tell my students, if they can say yes to the following points, they should be going beyond the basics:
1. You Own a Deck which Feels like ‘Yours’
Beginners usually don’t own their own deck. The first (and obvious) step in Tarot is owning and handling your own deck, but someone ready to advance their Tarot has went beyond this. Tarot beginners are often unfamiliar with their decks; their first decks feel impersonal and don’t yet feel like ‘theirs’.
By contrast, those who are ready to improve their Tarot have what can only be described as a relationship with their decks. They have a special bond with their main working deck.
Having a personal relationship with a working deck is different from owning lots of decks. You can own lots of decks and still be a Tarot dabbler. You can also have a working relationship with many decks, but still be an advanced reader. The quantity of the decks is irrelevant. What is important is that you feel like your cards have a special energy and attachment to you.
I make the point about many decks, because a lot of readers make the mistake of believing that buying lots of decks means that they will become better at Tarot; this isn't necessarily true. However, being on the search for something more can be a sign that you’re ready to advance your Tarot.
Years ago, when I wanted to advance my Tarot and go beyond the basics I made the mistake of buying too many decks. I don’t know why, but I just assumed that having more decks meant my Tarot would get better (it didn’t). This is how I actually ended up coming across (and dabbling in) oracle cards. Which brings me to my next point.
2. You know a Tarot Deck when you See One
Kind of obvious, but you can tell the difference between a Tarot deck and, say, an oracle deck. If someone tried to convince you that their oracle deck was a Tarot deck you could confidently argue that it wasn’t.
3. You Know the Structure of Tarot
You know that Tarot is structured into Major and Minor Arcana with Court cards. You’re well aware that there are 22 Majors, and 4 suits. You know what the suits are and know they are numbered from 1-10 with Pages, Queens, Kings and Knights.
One of the first things you learn as a Tarot student, is the structure of Tarot. If you know your way around a Tarot deck, the structure of Tarot might seem pretty obvious to you. However, Tarot’s structure is something which absolute beginners do not know.
It is difficult to tell for yourself if you’re personally a beginner or not because you will take for granted the fact that those just starting out are not confident in this stuff. Beginners could be shown a deck with 3 suits and assume that this is how Tarot is structured. Therefore, if you know the structure of Tarot, you’re no longer a beginner and should be looking to improve your Tarot.
4. You know the Card Meanings
Another obvious one, but you have to know Tarot card meanings to be ready to take your Tarot reading skills to the next level.
Don’t worry, everyone has one or two ‘problem’ cards they always forget or freeze up over, even advanced readers. However, as someone who is not a beginner you know all of the basic card meanings, even if you still have your problem cards (mines is Justice, I hate that card).
I should point out, that knowing meanings is different from being able to form interpretations. Creating interpretations to fit the question or spread position is not the same as memorising a meaning. Forming interpretations is an advanced technique and something you should work towards if you want to read Tarot like a pro.
In my Court Card Course, one training is devoted to forming interpretations for (among other things) Court cards in outcome positions. Reading the future is a more advanced area beginners struggle with. So, if you want to develop your Tarot reading skills, and improve your Tarot this is the area you should focus on.
5. You have Knowledge of Reversals (Whether you use them or not)
The little book I learned Tarot from didn’t explain what reversals were, but it gave reversal card meanings. For a very long time, I didn’t realise that reversals meant that a card appeared upside down. I also didn’t know that you had to deliberately reverse the cards.
If you know these things, you are no longer a Tarot beginner. A lot of teachers will tell you that you have to use reversals to be an advanced reader but trust me, they’re full of shit (and to be honest, whether you do or don’t has nothing to do with whether or not your readings are advanced). As long as you know what reversals are, then you’re not a newbie.
Another thing I should point out, is that most people who are ready to advance their Tarot have made the decision whether or not they’re comfortable using reversals. Whether you actually use them or not is irrelevant; all that matters is that you have decided. You can dabble here and there if you want, but you should know that 99% of the time you either are or you aren’t to qualify as a non-beginner.
6. You have Made your Mind up About Spreads
As an experienced Tarot reader, you know if you’re going to use spreads. Some readers love them, some hate them. You’re past the beginner stage if you know what spreads are and whether or not you’re going to use them.
Just like with reversals, you’re experienced if you can make a decision with confidence. It doesn’t matter whether or not you actually use them, what matters is the fact that you can decide for yourself and be comfortable in your choices; beginners are not at that stage yet.
Another thing, if you do use spreads, most readers who are more experienced usually have only one, two or three default spreads they use for pretty much everything. They may experiment with new spreads every now and then, but they have a couple of favourites they can fall back on. For non-beginners, it is about quality not quantity because this is another mark of confidence.
7. You Recognise Tarot Decks which have Renamed Certain Elements
Non-beginners can easily pick up differences in decks. If you buy a deck and the Wands are renamed ‘Woods’ or The World is renamed ‘Earth’, you know that this is just the artist’s interpretation, but it is still a Tarot deck.
Again, this comes down to confidence in knowing what you’re looking at. Many people who are not ready to advanced their Tarot do not recognise Tarot cards which have been named something different. In fact, many do not even know that sometimes Pentacles are called Coins. If you know these things, you are no longer a Tarot beginner.
8. You can Give Others Advice
You may not consider yourself a teacher, but you are confident enough in Tarot that you can lightly educate others.
Let’s say, for example, you’re in a shop such as Waterstones or Barns and Noble. There is someone standing there who is looking at Tarot decks - they make a comment that they aren’t sure what they are doing but would like to buy a deck. Do you know more than they do? Could you point them in the right direction? Could you give them your own personal experience? This is something which a non-beginner can easily do.
9. You’re not getting Anywhere from Tarot Card Meanings
Usually, when Tarot readers are looking to improve their Tarot, they look towards Tarot meanings. Tarot card meanings are obviously a massive element of Tarot card reading, so it is only natural that readers often assume that the key to improving their Tarot can be found in meanings.
When you’re ready to advance your Tarot reading skills, there will be an urge to digest more and more Tarot card meanings. You’ll start to look at Tarot in love or career readings, constantly Googling Tarot meanings in different context because you’ll think this is the key to advancing your Tarot. However, the bad news is that learning meanings will only get you so far.
Take Court cards as an example. When teaching, I cover Courts extensively because many readers struggle with reading them. But learning how to read them (and not just their meanings) is one of the main things you can do to advance your Tarot.
Learning how to read cards properly is not the same as memorising meanings. You might know what the Courts mean, but you probably struggle with interpreting them. When do they represent the seeker? When do they represent their lover? When do they represent people outside of the relationship? Learning how to interpret Courts in these situations will help you go from Tarot beginner to advanced reader.
These are things advanced and experienced Tarot card readers know which you cannot easily find in a book, which brings me to my next point.
10. You’re on the Hunt for Something Else
There is only so much you can learn from Tarot books. The vast majority of Tarot books have been written for the mass market, the beginner, who is just starting out on their journey who doesn’t have a clue about deck structure or basic Tarot card meanings.
You know you’re ready to improve your Tarot and advance, when you keep buying Tarot books, but aren’t getting any new information. In fact, the vast majority of resources you try are leaving you feel disappointed.
Like I said earlier, there is only so much you can learn from books. If you’re hunting for more Tarot knowledge, then the next step on your Tarot journey is to find a mentor, or take an advanced Tarot course.
Finally, if you’re trying to improve your Tarot because you wish to get better at interpreting cards for your relationships, below you can sign up for my free Tarot Intentions guide. This guide is 100% free and downloadable on mobile, tablet and computer!