There used to be an old saying that “you can’t (or shouldn’t) read tarot for yourself”, but thankfully for most tarot readers, we think this saying is utter nonsense.
(If you find a tarot reader who still says or believes this – RUN!)
Most likely this saying was created to prevent beginners who were learning tarot from reading their own cards instead of paying other tarot readers to read their cards for them. (Boo-urns! Hiss!)
Nowadays, beginners are encouraged to read to do their own readings on their own issues and questions in order to better understand the meaning of the cards.
However, there are some people who feel they just can’t read their own cards when it comes to doing tarot readings for themselves.
It’s perfectly fine to have another tarot reader do a reading for you, especially if you feel too physically or emotionally involved to view the reading objectively.
Here we’ll cover how you can do tarot readings for yourself whether you’re a beginner or more experienced tarot reader, even when you feel you can’t read the cards for your own questions or situations.
How to Read Tarot for Yourself (even if you think you can’t)
Here we’ll look at scenarios from beginner to intermediate tarot reader and the blocks that you may experience while trying to read tarot for yourself:
1. (If you’re a beginner) You don’t know all the meanings or keywords of the tarot cards
Now, this isn’t the same as memorization.
But, from my experience, keywords are important.
This does take a bit of some form of memorization, but you just have to find the right learning style or method that helps to make the meanings “stick” for you.
This can be such as a YouTube video, an online course, a class that gives lessons and materials or a book such as The Complete Tarot Kit designed for beginners.
Knowing all the tarot card meanings comes with practice.
So starting slowly by drawing a card each day and writing down the keywords regularly, putting notes around your home, etc., may help to make the meanings become second nature to you.
If you find you’re stuck on the court cards, especially when doing your tarot readings that involve people and situations, Ethony Dawn has the book Your Tarot Court (Read Any Tarot Deck with Confidence) to help understand the court cards inside and out, frontwards and backwards and gain confidence while reading the court cards.
2. (If you’re not a beginner) You know what all the tarot cards mean, but you still go blank during your own tarot readings
It’s not that you don’t know what the tarot cards mean and it happens to the best of us:
going blank in the beginning or middle of a reading for ourselves or others can be frustrating and a self-confidence killer.
Sometimes a keyword that you know by heart can “jumpstart” your memory or playing word association to get the words flowing again (which is why keywords are often important.)
Going blank can be a common occurrence especially during times of stress, fatigue, sleeplessness, chronic illness, brain fog, etc.
That’s when having a trusty book or online resource readily available to help “kick start” the wheels in the ol’ brain to start moving again.
If you work with reversal meanings in addition to the upright meanings, The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals by Mary K. Greer is perfect for meanings of the cards mostly from a traditional/modern perspective.
As long as you remain objective (which we’ll explain more about this later on), the paragraphs, phrases and keywords in this book can help you find the right meaning in those times you just can’t articulate what you’re trying to interpret.
Be sure though when using books or online resources to use also your intuition and “gut feeling” to tell you if a keyword feels “right” as applied to your situation or question for the tarot reading.
For meanings on love, business, life and future predictions, Fortune Telling and Divination has a large resource library available to help get you interpreting your personal tarot readings.
And if you’re really stuck, just describe the card(s) and get “inside” the card to feel, sense and figure out what each of the characters in the cards are thinking, feeling, saying, doing and then apply that to yourself and your question, situation or issue for the tarot reading.
3. You’re not being objective enough during your own tarot readings
If you’re too personally involved or emotionally invested in a situation or problem and try to do a tarot reading about it, you’re likely to instantly colour the interpretation either to your favour or feed into your fears.
If you’re too invested in a certain outcome, find yourself piling up the cards each time frustrated that you don’t like the cards you see or that you’re unsure if what you’re interpreting is true or not, it’s best to take a bit of a break and later find a trusted tarot reader to have an objective look into the cards for you.
The tarot cards definitely pick up on emotions and often project how we feel.
In that case, we may often find that tarot will tell us what we want to hear (or that we think tarot is telling us what we want to hear.)
This happens when we’re not grounded, focused, calm and centered before and during the tarot reading.
While it’s good to use books and online resources to find keywords when you’re stuck or go blank, or if you’re not sure where your reading is headed, it’s important to stay objective and not “cherry pick” the words and phrases that match how you want the outcome to be.
4. You have an emotional or psychological block preventing you from going deeper into your own tarot reading
Sometimes we say we want to know the truth, but we can’t handle the truth. (Hello, Jack Nicholson!)
This can be especially apparent when we do shadow work tarot readings for ourselves or tarot readings that address difficult subjects such as trauma, abuse, relationship issues, childhood issues, family issues, etc.
Shaheen Miro and Theresa Reed (aka The Tarot Lady) have a book called Tarot for Troubled Times which explores how to do tarot readings on the things that may be difficult to self-examine such as addiction, divorce, custody battles, financial stress, and injustice in your community.
Tarot can be a great tool (which is sometimes used in some therapy sessions by trained professionals) to unlock what’s hidden in our shadow self, what’s been repressed and tucked away in the corner recesses of our minds.
However, not everyone is ready to let everything come to the surface.
So, when someone says they have difficulty reading for themselves or that they “can’t do it”, it doesn’t mean or imply that they aren’t a good enough tarot reader.
It may just mean that when looking at issues or topics for themselves, it’s a difficult shell to crack open and there may need to be someone else to mediate and be the “guide” to help them go deeper into a tarot reading about the issue.
Reading tarot for yourself requires a great deal of self-analysis and reflection which some people may try to avoid that for whatever reasons there may be.
It may not be so much that they “can’t” or “unable” to read tarot for themselves, they rather don’t “want” to know or face about themselves.
But, that’s OK.
Everyone is at their own stage or place in their journey and sometimes we need someone else to give us a perspective about ourselves since we may not be able to see ourselves or our issues clearly enough on our own.
That’s when finding a trusted and objective tarot reader who understands your issues or the subject of the issue may be the better choice and who may be able to help you uncover what’s hidden and find insight.
If you find that you can’t overcome an emotional or psychological block when it comes to a tarot reading, you may either choose to leave the subject or issue alone, or you may then consider that you may want to address the issue in counseling or therapy where it’s a controlled and safe environment to do so.
Hopefully this post helps to dispel the myth that you can’t (or shouldn’t) read tarot for yourself and to help find ways to overcome blockages so that you can do insightful tarot readings for yourself.
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