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Intuition and Interpretation: Eleven Rules for Putting it all Together


There can be a bit of friction between readers who believe that learning and using traditional card interpretations is an important aspect of tarot reading and those who tell us to throw the books away and just give the information that comes to mind when you look at the pictures.

Here’s my take.

If you have no concept of tarot traditions and have done no tarot study, you may be a very good psychic who uses tarot images, but you are not, by definition, a tarot reader.

If all you do is give rote memorized interpretations of cards and positions you may be a tarot reader, but not a very good one.

If you want to be a great tarot reader, you must be able to use both intuition and interpretation in your readings. Here are eleven rules to help you do that.

  1. Actually study. Read many books, take many classes, memorize as many possible key words and interpretations as you can. Know you cards cold.
  2.  Remember that anxiety is the enemy of intuition. If you are nervous about the reading, your ability to be intuitive will be severely curtailed. That’s one reason knowing your cards is important – the more you know the less nervous you will be.
  3. Let your intuition guide you to the most likely accurate interpretation. Multiple choice tests are easier than fill-in-the-blank tests. If you know a card could mean five different things it is easy to use your intuition tell you which meaning is most appropriate.
  4. Pay attention to everything you feel. During a tarot reading the reader is open to all types of psychic communication. What do you see? What do you feel? What do you remember? What comes into your mind? If you see it, say it, as long as what you see is helpful and for the highest good.
  5. Use good energy practices before, during and after a reading. May sure your ground and center yourself, connect yourself to Source and connect to your client. After the reading, make sure you clear yourself and disconnect from the client.
  6. You are a straw. During a reading, you are simply a conduit for the information. If you connect to the infinite and abundant Source you need give nothing of yourself in a reading. You also need not take on anything of your clients’. This way, you will have all the energy you need and never feel drained after a reading.
  7. If you are unsure what to say in a reading, go back to your book-learning basics. Tell the client what the cards could possibly mean, even if that means giving a list of possibilities. Let the client tell you which meanings fit best. This practice will open up space for more information to flow.
  8. Believe in the process. The Universe will guide the right client to the right reader with the right cards at the right time. What happens in the sacred space of the reading is what needs to happen.
  9. Be in control of the reading. It is your job to structure the reading, figure out which questions need to be asked and answered and what tone to set. Gently, firmly and with compassion make sure that you give the client the best reading possible by keeping the reading focused, on topic and on target.
  10. Know that a card can mean more than one thing at the same time. A card may give a specific piece of information, but may also blend with other cards to give some additional information. Even a single card might have more than one interpretation that is accurate at a given time. Sometimes you don’t have to choose which interpretation is correct because it’s all correct.
  11. Look at the pictures. Sometimes the pictures tell you something different or more than the interpretation does. Sometimes your intuition will focus you on a particular aspect of the card. Pay attention to what you see and how it makes you think and feel, even if what you see is not strictly a traditional interpretation of the card.


Cards have many possible traditional meanings. Cards also have the ability to communicate above and beyond their traditional meanings. Allow the cards to tell you what you need to know by being open to all possibilities in a reading.

A great tarot reader uses many skills. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that one skill is more important than another. Intelligence and humor, compassion and honesty, spirituality and practicality, interpretation and intuition all come together to make you the best reader you can be.