3 Big Reasons People Don’t Learn Tarot + How To Get Over Them!

I love tarot.  But that’s not news, right?  I don’t just love reading for people and collecting the decks, but I love teaching it to people.  I really enjoy showing people that tarot is not this big, scary, mystical thing that only the few and the initiated can use.  I mean, it CAN be those things if that’s how you want to approach it, but it by no means has to be that way.  Tarot is one of those things that can be super complicated but it can also be super easy.  Like most things in life it’s a combination of your perception and your approach.  Even still, there is a list of about 10 big reasons that I hear from people for why they either give up trying to learn the cards or just don’t start at all.  ALL of these reasons are really just excuses, quite frankly; all of them can be worked with and overcome.

I wanted to share with you the three biggies that I hear most of the time and give you some tips and thoughts on how to work with them rather than letting them create blocks to your possible success.  It doesn’t matter if you want to read for friends for fun or you have dreams of working as a professional reader.  Blockages are blockages and when we see them as being absolutes we never get anywhere.

On March 18th I will be teaching a new round of my recently expanded and improved eight week tarot live online tarot course called In The Cards.  We spend these weeks together learning the cards in a super easy stress free environment without memorizing things, without having to fit square pegs in round holes, and without the illusion of perfection.  Tarot is a journey and in these eight weeks I give you the basics and the keys to creating a path to walk on that journey so that you’re going to love your personal adventure!  Some of the students that I have worked with in this eight week course,  or in my weekend in-person intensive, have come to me with these very three excuses for hesitating with both learning the cards or for signing up to take any tarot course, not just mine!  I promise you, we can work these out!


[fontpress type=”webfonts” name=”Coming Soon” size=”16px” lh=”18px” color=”#00540D”]Excuse #1 – “I don’t have time to memorize all the cards, especially if I have to know upright and reversed meanings.”[/fontpress]


Memorization of card meanings has always been something I thought was a bogus way to read tarot.  If we all just memorized the same 78 or 156 card meanings then what would the point be of having tens of thousands of readers around the world?  Wouldn’t we all be giving the same readings to people?  The only difference would be what cards were pulled but the reading and the meanings of the cards would just be the same every time with every reader.

Memorization is not the way to learn and read tarot.  At least, it never was for me and I know for many other readers it isn’t either.  Pick any card in the deck and I guarantee you that the things in it that really call to you and stand out will change from reading to reading.  Yes, the cards around it and the situation in question flavor those things, but if we already held to a single standard meaning for each card it would seriously limit the kinds of readings and information we could give.

When I teach tarot to my students we spend time diving into a process that I call the Tarot Detective Method.  It’s a five step psychic/intuitive method for reading the cards that allow you to gain a strong, personal feel for what is really coming through in a reading.  We spend time during the eight weeks learning this system, practicing it, and using it with all the cards in the deck in order to learn our own personal tarot language and how it can change from reading to reading.  People walk away really feeling empowered with these tools because they are able to just pick up a deck and do a reading almost immediately and really feel on point with it!


[fontpress type=”webfonts” name=”Coming Soon” size=”16px” lh=”18px” color=”#00540D”]Excuse #2 – “There are so many decks out there, I don’t know which to use or where to start.  People say to use the Rider Waite deck but it scares me a little.”[/fontpress]


I hear this one a lot.  The Rider-Waite Smith deck is the modern day standard for beginners tarot.  It’s the first fully illustrated modern deck, meaning it was the first to have full illustrations on all 78 cards and just the first 22 Major Arcana cards {the Sola Busca tarot published in the 1490s was an inspiration for illustrator Pamela Colman Smith and is the closest thing to a fully illustrated deck before the RWS was published in 1909}.  The fact is learning on the RWS today can help make learning on any other kind of tarot deck a lot easier since most of them take their basic imagery from that deck.  But that doesn’t mean you HAVE to learn with that deck!

During In The Cards I admit that I teach using the the RWS symbolism, but I use other decks as well.  We all get together to talk about decks in the very first week and even during the weeks leading up to the official start of the class in our private Facebook group.  I like to find out what decks everyone is using and then when we have our live calls and our online discussions I’ll pull out the cards other people are working with to help them understand images and symbols in their cards that they may struggle with.  So we talk about how to pick the right deck for you based on theme, color, and the type of work and readings you think you’ll be doing.

You can read with just about any deck.  I wont say you can definitely read with ANY deck…if you use the Tarot Detective Method you could, but you might not feel completely confident if the images in the cards don’t connect with you.  The art of the tarot is a language that speaks to our Child Self and allows us to communicate to our Higher Divine Self and then our Talking Self translates the messages.  The images serve as a trigger and if you use a deck with images that don’t trigger you, you wont be able to read confidently.

Start with looking at the cultural elements of the deck and decide if they resonate with you.  Do the colors seem pleasing to you or do they make you feel edgy?  When you look at the images in the cards do you feel like you’re looking at pictures that have a sense of familiarity for you, or do you feel completely out of place?  Decks that feel like “home” or feel comfortable from first glance are the best ones to start with.  You can develop an understanding of how to use any deck in time, and we talk about how to do that in the course, but when you’re just starting out and you want to use a deck that you enjoy these are some basic guidelines to do that.


[fontpress type=”webfonts” name=”Coming Soon” size=”16px” lh=”18px” color=”#00540D”]Excuse #3 – “There is a lot going on in those cards and I don’t understand all the colors, numbers, and symbols.  If I don’t understand those things I don’t know that I could ever give a reading.”[/fontpress]


39One of the reasons that this is a huge excuse is that you already know most of the symbolism already, you just don’t know it!  Again, we go over all that during the course, but really if you’re reading from a place where your intuitive senses are your guide, you’ll know where to go with your readings and what the symbols mean.  Here’s an example.  Look at this tarot image from Ciro Marchetti’s The Gilded Tarot.  What images and symbols do you see in the card?  What do these mean to YOU…not what they mean to anyone else, what what do you see and what does it mean when you look at it?

Here are some of what stands out…

A hand reaching out…someone is offering something
Cups…are they empty or are they full?
Lush trees and grass…growth and opportunity all around
A squirrel…they tend to gather, store, and horde for their own security and can be very protective of themselves and what the have
A mouse…he’s sneaking around and quietly checking out a cup; mice can be very fertile, maybe he’s trying to show even more opportunities are quietly waiting to be noticed
Birds overhead…getting a bigger picture
Clouds…not seeing things clearly
Person looking on…the figure leans casually looking up at the sky dreamily

If you put this all together and look at it as one big symbol you could take away that the person, as the main focal point, is in a state of confusion, daydreaming about offers of help and opportunity while not seeing the vast amount of opportunity already being offered to them.  They aren’t really seeing the bigger picture because they are so focused on a single desire that may not even be real.  Meanwhile their needs to care for themselves and their security are being ignored.

It’s really that simple!  One card can give a wealth of information without memorization, without knowing a lot of traditional symbolism, and without extensive traditional study of the cards.

We can go even deeper and take into account the colors.  Yellow, orange, and green dominate the cards.  What do those colors mean for you?  For me I see yellow as joy, orange as security, and green as both money and emotions.  I would look at the colors and say that he’s feeling secure in his fantasy, enough so that he doesn’t feel a need to look away from it {because he’s wearing all orangey yellow}.  The green for me just seems to be the background of the scene so I would see this as showing that something emotional or a matter of the heart is the backdrop of the fantasy.  We spend time in the class talking about colors and all the different ways that color symbolism can add layers to your card meanings.

What about the number four?  During In The Cards we spend time talking about numerology and how to use that to add to your readings.  This is a number for building…what is being built or needs to be built?  How does that relate to the rest of the card’s meaning and the reading as a whole?

Reading the cards is simple, really!  It doesn’t have to be a big complicated undertaking   All you need is a plan to learn, steps to build your confidence, and time to practice and get familiar with your personal tarot language.  In eight weeks we  can do that!

Click the banner below to come see more info about the class, see the layout of the whole eight weeks we’ll be together, and get more details about what comes with the class.  You also get lifetime access and support through the private Facebook group!  So any time you need help or just want to practice or even want to toss around thoughts on decks or ideas for working with clients, you’ll have a group of people to support you and do it with!

[fontpress type=”webfonts” name=”Coming Soon” size=”16px” lh=”18px” color=”#00540D”]Signup between today and February 24th and get in for over 50% off the normal enrollment rate!
Registration for the class is open until March 1oth![/fontpress]



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  • Melissa
    July 10, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    When it comes to tarot be open to what you feel when reading, it is important to know the meaning of the cards, but it is your feelings/intuitive take on the cards that give a genuine reading, If we all go by what the little white book says we will be spitting out the same answers verbatim. Love your site.

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