Tarot for the Modern Reader
5 Fail-proof Tips Every Reader Needs to Ensure an Accurate Reading Every Time
Tips for an accurate reading. We all want to give the best readings ever right? We want to be so spot-on with our insights, delivering genius answers that wow our querent and stuns them with our accuracy! We want every reading to be an EPIC reading, with the sitter saying “how did you KNOW that?!?” The last thing we want is to be staring at our laid out cards, a vague idea, knowing THIS card means this and THAT card means that and just kinda walking through them…. ‘Cuz nobody is wowed by that.
***This is the fourth article in our Back to School Series, a collection of 6 posts all designed to help you with your practical reading skills! It presumes you already know how to choose, buy and care for a deck (if not you can visit this post So you want to be a Tarot Reader); and that you have at least a basic working knowledge of each card, even if it's just recognizing the card and knowing a few keywords for each. This series is all about the readings!***
Giving a good reading is about knowing what’s important in a reading, and knowing how to set yourself up for success to begin with. Giving a great reading starts with all of the things you do BEFORE you ever even shuffle the cards! From there it’s a matter of trusting in yourself. Whether you are doing a predictive reading or delivering advice or even doing yes/no readings, these tips for an accurate reading will form the foundation of all your readings.
So these are my Top 5 Tips for making the most of every reading. If you are brand new, this is a good basis for setting up your readings from a good place, right from the start. If you have been at it for a little while, read on for the little pivots you might need to make to really help take your readings to the next level. I also make suggestions for further reading on each tip if you want to go deeper on one or all of them.
Tips for an Accurate Reading #1: Use the Right Deck (for you!)
Now if you know me or have been with me for any length of time, you know that I advocate the RWS deck or a similar clone, especially when you are new, because that's what many books, teaching sites and groups use, to keep it simple for learning. You may end up choosing to stick with this deck for a long time, or you may start shopping around for a new one (or ten!). The most important thing is that no matter how many decks you own or love for their artwork or inspiring images, when choosing a deck to read with, IT MUST SPEAK TO YOU.
You may not care for the RWS style decks. Maybe you love Thoth or Marseilles styled decks, or even ones that don’t follow any system. That’s totally fine too. You want a deck that you love and feel drawn too, not one that somebody says you “should” use. So use what you feel called to use. But here’s the thing: you absolutely need to read with a deck whose images you are able to instantly recognize and connect with. You feel them. They speak to you. And you know EXACTLY which card it is the moment you see it. If you’d like to see my recommendations, feel free to check out this article, The 5 Most Popular Choices for Choosing Your First Tarot Deck.
And as a practical note, when you are reading for others, make sure you are using a workhorse deck. Don’t use something that is going to break your heart if it gets destroyed or lost. When you are reading for others, just about anything can happen. Use something that is easy to shuffle, easy to identify with, and easy to replace when it gets wet, lost, bent or any other myriad of injuries that happens when you start using them for readings for others!
Tips for an Accurate Reading #2: Ask the Right Question
I talk about this a lot, asking good questions is very very important. My example is, you wouldn’t go to your doctor and answer “What seems to be the problem today?” with “You’re the doctor, you tell me!” would you? Heck no! So when it comes to your readings, no guessing games, or testing. Vagueness is NOT good for Tarot readings! A lot of people “don’t have a question” or just want you to “tell them what you see”. Some readers are cool with this, but I’m not really a fan. I prefer to at least have a subject. Tarot is very vast, I could be talking all day.
Let’s say I drew the Empress card for someone. The message would make so much more sense, be so much clearer and resonate so much deeper with them, if we knew at the very least, what life area or topic it referred to (relationship, career, health). So press a bit, and at the very least, nail down a topic to read on. And if you can go one step further to get an actual question nailed down, even better.
At first you will be tempted to start shuffling after they ask their question, however they asked it. But your job is to refine that question in a way that will serve them best. If you aren’t comfortable with prediction, help them reword questions to be more action and advice oriented rather than outcome or prediction oriented. Especially when you are newer you might be more comfortable with this style. Clear questions beget clear answers. Break up ‘multi-question’ questions into single questions. Stay clear of health or medical questions, and legal or financial advice unless you are licensed in those fields.
A Note on Questions…
There is really something to be said about asking the right questions. Aside from wording your questions in a way that will yield the clearest answers, there are also a number of questions that you should refrain from even delving into! I wrote about them here, 7 Questions to Never Ask a Tarot Reader. I also created a guide you can download with Swipe Copy: it’s called my Scripts, Responses and Rephrases for Bad Questions. The article covers the questions and explains why they are not good questions. The companion guide will help you create appropriate responses and teach you how to turn a bad question into a better one. You can get that companion guide right here.
Tips for an Accurate Reading #3: Use the Right Spread
This is another tip that is important especially when you are new. If you want to “free read”, meaning you just pull a bunch of cards and give the info, go right ahead if you are comfortable with that! For most people, especially in the beginning, having CLEARLY DEFINED POSITIONS is extremely helpful. No guessing. This is the current situation, this is the obstacle… ect ect. Figuring out what types of spreads work best for you, and then getting good at a few specific ones is a great idea. I have my 5 card-mini celtic cross that I use time and time again as my go-to spread, and if you’d like to learn more about it, you can find that here, Why the Celtic Cross is Not for Beginners and What to Use Instead.
But when you are using spreads with positions, it’s important not to fall into “cookie cutter” readings. You know, where you say “this card in this position means this, and that card in that position means that”. The cards have to flooooooowww. This is commonly called telling the story in the cards. It’s a manner of relating the cards to each other, not just reading them one by one. This is also something that trips up readers in the early stages.
It can be hard to recognize patterns. First, look for repeating numbers, or repeating suits, a predominance of any. Notice the LACK of a certain suit (example, no Cups cards in a relationship reading? What does THAT say to you?). Relating the cards to each other comes with time, but it is a skill you can practice simply by taking two cards and pairing them up and then determining what you think that means. Do this regularly, it works! Start small. There is PLENTY of info you can gather from a small spread if you use the right one. The fewer cards, the easier the relating will be.
Tips for an Accurate Reading #4: Look for Those You Know
In my Court Card course, I teach you to assign the people in your life to the court members as a way of identifying and recognizing when those people show up in your readings. For example, my dad is verrrrry much the King of Pentacles. I don’t really have any other King of Pentacles men in my life, my partner is a different King and I don’t have a boss. So when the King of Pentacles shows up, if it’s not applying to me somehow, I immediately consider if it’s referring to my dad. And additionally, it helps me associate what the King of Pentacles means.
But this strategy really applies to the deck as a whole, especially the Majors. When I was in college, my program director was very much the Hierophant to me. Education being an established tradition, and he, the teacher. He also held the keys to the Kingdom (my diploma!).
Whenever I saw that card, that correlation popped in my mind. It didn’t mean “higher education” in every reading (cuz’ that would be silly!) BUT it really helped me make associations of tradition, dogma, established order, teaching, etc, based on the fact that it popped up the association with school and my professor. You can do this with any card. Take some time to actually go over the cards and see if you can make some associations now with your own life and the people in it. Who is your mother? Your partner, your best friend? This will help you when you are doing readings later. You can take my 5 Day FREE Mini Email Court Card Course to get familiar with who these people are in your life.
Tips for an Accurate Reading #5: Let the Card Speak to You
Ok the spread is thrown, the cards are flipped over and your seeker is looking intently at both you and the cards, just waiting for your knowledge bombs to start dropping. Chillax already! You do NOT need to start speaking as soon as you turn over the cards. Silence is golden. Take a moment to take it all in. Don’t feel rushed. You need time to really assimilate the cards together. To let their question wash over you as your eyes wash over the cards, scanning for themes and patterns, and relating it all back to what it is they want to know. While the synapses in your brain are firing at lightning speed, it still takes a moment for you to put those thoughts into words!
Now this is where trusting yourself comes into play. It can be scary at first, but just start with what you see. Here is a little trick for when you are feeling completely stuck. The Tarot School calls it “The Voice in the Card”. (Hint: it’s your intuition). When you draw a blank, let your eyes fall over a card until ONE THING pops out at you, and share what you think that one thing means. Even if it sounds silly at the time!
Card meanings are a jumping off point, and good to know, as the knowledge of the signs and symbols on each will ultimately help shape the info you extract from the card in that moment, but even if you had none, you can absolutely read that card! Share what little message comes to you as you slowly look at the card. There is one, I promise. And your readings will be more accurate and authentic if you practice it, I guarantee it.
What’s next in the Back to School Series
I hope you've enjoyed the 4th article in the Back to School Series. If you missed any, they are listed below. Do any of these tips above resonate with you? If you start implementing any of these 5 Tips into your Tarot practice, I’d love to hear about it! Can’t wait to see you back here next week for our next post in the series, which is actually going to be about finding and creating just the right spreads! In the meantime, please share your thoughts about this over in our community on fb in our group Tarot for the Modern Reader, and don’t forget to join us there Friday at 1pm EDT for the related LIVE!
Lesson 1: Reading for Prediction Vs. Reading for Empowerment
Lesson 2: Should You Give FREE Readings as a Tarot Reader
Lesson 3: 3 Ways to Give an Accurate Yes/No Reading
I’m Liza, professional Tarot reader, writer and mentor, and this is Tarot Liza. Everyday we're working to bring our mission of delivering more value and Tarot education to the Modern Reader to life! Welcome! Read more...
- Tips for an accurate reading. We all want to give the best readings ever right? We want to be so spot-on with our insights, delivering genius answers that wow our querent and stuns them with our accuracy! We want every reading to be an EPIC reading, with the sitter saying "how did you KNOW that?!?" The last thing we want is to be staring at our laid out cards, a vague idea, knowing THIS card means this and THAT card means…Read More »
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- What kind of reader are you tarotista? Are you reading for prediction, or are you reading for empowerment? Or do you read for both? Everyone has an Opinion When it Comes to Reading for Prediction vs. Empowerment. Some people will claim that Tarot is fortune-telling, and only fortune-telling. That reading Tarot is all about reading for predictions. Others will take a serious tone and tell you that the real…Read More »
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