If you are new to the Tarot and struggling with memorising card meanings and making sense of blending those meanings in a layout, you may be thinking, ‘There’s got to be a better way!’ And you’re not wrong. You don’t need to memorise card meanings at all. However, I recommend at least knowing where to look up keywords when you first start. You can use the keywords as jumping-off points if you get completely stuck. But today, I’m sharing a post about something that will take you way beyond the level of depending on keywords. The Top 5 Tarot Reading Hacks are the Tarot trade secrets that will take you from novice to pro in a day.
While you can easily memorise the Tarot reading hacks in a day, it will probably take a bit longer to master them. Don’t forget to keep track of all your practice readings in your tarot journal.
I recommend practising with the same deck for learning all the hacks until you feel more confident. Frequently swapping decks may distract you.
Tarot Reading Hack No. 1 – Go On Your Gut Instinct
Go on your gut feeling. Trusting your intuition is the most important of the top 5 Tarot reading hacks. What does your first impression of the cards tell you as relating to the question? You could be tempted to trick yourself into the impression of a ‘no’ for the job you applied for being a ‘yes’ when looking at individual cards. But if you look at the spread and get that internal click that tells you ‘no’ take it. Then make a note of it and continue to read the cards to find out why. Don’t reshuffle and throw some more cards down just because you don’t like what you see. If you do, you miss out on the lesson and only confuse yourself more.
Being able to access your gut instinct in the first instance, requires a sense of heightened perceptive awareness. This usually means being in the alpha brainwave state. Alpha is a relaxed yet focused state of mind that we can learn to achieve quite quickly. It is no good to throw cards down when you feel super stressed about a situation. Go for a run first or lift some weights and get that nervous tension out.
Having a set routine for how you shuffle and deal the cards can also act as a trigger for the Alpha brainwave state. Many readers also find it helpful to light candles or incense before doing a reading as this calms the mind.
Tarot Reading Hack No. 2 – Check the Elements
Next, take in the Elemental Balance. How many of the cards are Majors (Spirit) and how many are Cups (Water)? Is the Element of Fire missing completely (no Wands cards)?
- Spirit (Major Arcana) – Major Spiritual Lessons and Archetypal Themes
- Fire (Wands) – Ambition, Drive, Career, Creativity, Passion
- Water (Cups) – Intuition, Receptivity, Imagination, Emotions, Relationships
- Air (Swords) – Problem-solving, Communication, Ideas, Innovation
- Earth (Pentacles) – Financial Security, Chores, Work, Nourishment, Disease, Physical Wellbeing
Deciding which Element dominates provides important clues for the answer to the question that the Seeker has asked. An Element that is missing completely could show an imbalance, especially if we are looking at 10 cards or more in a spread.
If there are many Major Arcana cards, the reading usually takes on more of a fated feel. The trajectory is more (but never entirely) fixed. There are important spiritual lessons to learn along the way.
A great deck for beginners that has colour-coded cards for each suit is the Gilded Tarot. Colour coding can make it easier to get a quick overview of the Elemental Balance.
Tarot Reading Hack No. 3 – Check the Numbers
If there are repeating numbers, you can read them in a few different ways. You can think in terms of Angel Numbers or you can read the old-fashioned cartomancy way. Or you can make it easy for yourself (no memorisation!) and look at the numbers in terms of 1s (Aces) as beginnings and 10s as ending/new beginnings.
If most of the numbers are between 1-3, the Seeker is at the beginning of a new phase or venture. There will probably be more wriggle room for making changes or setting/adjusting goals, for instance. If you’ve got two or three 10s in there, you can be sure that whatever is going on is near the end.
You can read more about Tarot Numerology HERE.
Tarot Reading Hack No. 4 – Say What You See
Even the most seasoned Tarot readers get stumped every now and again. It has very little to do with not understanding what the cards are saying. Typically, this happens when the reader falls out of that relaxed perceptive state of awareness mentioned earlier. This can be due to either internal or external or external distractions.
At such a time, saying out loud what you see in the cards will quickly back on track. This is because the process of telling a story by simply saying what you see relaxes the brain. It opens the flow of intuition, imagination and inspiration.
Trust that the card with the most significant imagery will draw your eye.
Saying what you see can also be surprisingly effective in terms of giving the Seeker a much-needed aha moment. Suddenly, he is able to see what is actually happening thanks to relating the imagery to his question.
You can ask the Seeker how he feels the story relates to his life. If your story-weaving does not ring any immediate bells, do not be afraid to more questions. You are not a mind reader. As long as you make the questions thought-provoking and more in the coaching style of asking, you are doing a good job.
Tarot Reading Hack No. 5 – Steer Clear of Predictions
The future is not set in stone. What we think today, we live tomorrow. If we don’t like the trajectory we are on, we have the power to change our minds and then our habits. When we change our daily habits, the whole trajectory begins to shift radically even if it is almost imperceptible at first.
While the cards can show trends and trajectories, what happens tomorrow or a year from today can still change. And while it is true that Major Arcana cards typically show a more set trajectory, even that is not set in stone. The Fates/Norns themselves may even intervene for all we know.
So strive to make the focus of the reading on how to get the Seeker from where they are to where they want to be. Help them formulate better questions. Rather than asking ‘Will I meet the One this year?’ try asking, ‘What do I need to know about finding a suitable partner for marriage?’. The cards can always guide us but it is our actions that determine where we end up. If you promise someone they will meet the One and they choose to just sit in the house watching Netflix all year, they cannot possibly meet the One.
Sometimes the Seeker (or you) just wants to know if something will happen. It’s okay. We’ve all been there. All you can promise is to do your best and see if it is likely to happen. To be fair, the cards are often more accurate than the weather forecast. Just make sure that you tell the person you are reading for that it is not possible to predict the future with 100% accuracy. Anybody making claims of being able to predict the future with 100% accuracy is a charlatan.
You didn’t think I would leave you without a bonus tip, did you? They say that a person will forget what you said but never how you made them feel. So, whether you are reading for yourself or another person, always end the reading on a high. Train yourself to look for the silver lining in all the readings you do, even your daily card pulls.
There is nothing Pollyanna-ish about this. It is simply the counter lever we need to the brain’s conditioned propensity for negative thinking. Apparently, about 80% of our thoughts veer toward the negative. We don’t need more of that. We need more encouragement, optimism and positivity. Be the reader who brings light and optimism to the person you are reading for (even yourself!) and you can’t go far wrong!