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Can you read tarot for yourself?

10 minute read

Are you trying to make a tough decision but not sure which way to go? Do you need some guidance during a challenging moment? Are you wondering if you can get some helpful insights from doing your own tarot reading?

People who are taking their first steps on tarot often ask if they can read tarot for themselves. The general concern seems to be about whether it’s possible to get an accurate reading or not as some specialists advise against it.

In my opinion the answer is, yes you can read Tarot for yourself, as long as there’s enough discipline, training, and preparation.

Tarot can bring out the answers you already have within you, by delivering information from your higher self to conscious mind. It can be a great way to check in with the energies working for and against you, as well as assess certain situations and possible points of action.

In this article I will give you some tips on how to read tarot for yourself and what you need to be aware of in order to avoid common mistakes that people do on their own tarot readings.

How to read tarot for yourself

1 – Create your physical space

When you get your deck home, relax in a quiet space that makes you feel calm and centered.

At home find the best spot, properly cleansed (either with smoke of sage or palo santo, or an essential oil blend). You can light a candle or burn some incense and surround yourself by your favourite crystals. Then lay out your tarot cloth.

2 – Create the mind space

Clear your mind by letting go of any drama that you’ve been feeling and take a few deep breaths to help you feel focus and centred on the reading you’re about to do. 

It’s also important to keep an open mind to the possibility of discovering something new in the cards that you might not like. 

Sit down with your deck in front of you and meditate on what you wish to know and be as specific as possible with questions such as “How can I improve my relationship?”, or “What is the best way to deal with…?”

Avoid questions such as “Should I take this job?” as they assume that the tarot will make your decision for you. This will not work as you have free will and it is up to you to decide at the end. Tarot will only help you with guidance on what to focus on.

Once you have your question, write it down in your notebook so that it’s clear in your mind. 

3 – Create the spiritual space

Set an intention for the reading you are about to do and call in your spirit guides, guardian angels or Universal energy to assist you in the reading. 

4 – Lay out your tarot cards

Once you’ve laid out your tarot cards, give yourself time to allow the images and meanings to speak for themselves. Try not to rush into any conclusions. It’s very important to stand outside of yourself and think from another perspective other than your own because personal tarot readings demand a level of intuition and inner honesty that doesn’t always manifest in the first readings.

You can try pretending that you are on the other side of yourself, performing the reading.

Then, go back to your original question and answer it based on what you have explored and felt within the cards. Did the card make your stomach turn, or give you butterflies? Did your hands tingle, or your knees start to feel like they’re weak? Just notice what happened, without judging it. Don’t try to make anything up if nothing is going on as sometimes the underlying messages may not make themselves apparent at first. If you feel you are unable to give yourself a correct reading right away, write down some notes (including the complete reading, the question you asked, the cards, your interpretations and your answer) and return to the cards at a later time.

5 – Keep a journal of your tarot readings

Jot down everything that comes to your mind without second guessing or censoring yourself. Take notes of how you were feeling when you did the reading (Were you calm and receptive?  Were you excited, upset?) How did you feel about your interpretations of the reading?

And a few weeks later, come back to your notes and reflect on the messages you received in the reading and what actually resonated. Over time, you’ll be able to look back and measure how close you were with what you wrote down and how things have unfolded. 

That feedback will help you sensing when whatever is coming in during a reading is from your own intuition or your ego. This is a great way to see where you are doing well and where you might need to improve in order to develop your tarot reading skills.

Reading Tarot for yourself can end up being very confusing and inaccurate, especially when you let your emotions interfere with the reading. It’s important to be aware of the common mistakes people do when they start

Here are some mistakes that you should try to avoid when doing your own tarot readings:

1 – You let your emotions interfere

When you read tarot for yourself, you are just as close to your own inner chatter, denials and desires to see the truth as you want it to be.  It becomes very difficult to think with neutrality. For instance, in the immediate aftermath of a moment of a painful argument with a friend or a break-up you might be tempted to jump into a self tarot reading. However, you will not be in the right state of mind to reflect with calm and clarity. It’s advisable that you take some time to breathe and let the dust settle.

A great % of what you are energetically putting into the tarot, is based on the attitude you read in. Emotions not only influence the energy around you, but the cards you read with. By taking yourself out of the equation, you will receive the “common denominator”….the major “point” of it all. 

It’s essential to read in detachment from personal judgment and emotion so that you can see the topic of concern neither good, bad, or with pity. You need to be able to remain objective, calm and focused during your own tarot reading.

So try to collect your thoughts and meditate on what a particular event means to you and what you wish to learn from it. You may actually find that a specific incident that seemed harrowing in the moment is of no real detriment after all, and that you should be grateful for.

2 – You don’t use the right tarot spread

There are so many different tarot spreads to choose from, starting with a simple one card spread and ascending to the famous Celtic Cross. If you’re just giving your first steps in tarot, it’s a good idea to start with the basics as you will not be familiar with each position of a big tarot spread. Check out some great tarot spreads for beginners.

It’s also important to stick with tarot  spread that aligns with your question. If you are dealing with a complex question, then a 3 card spread will probably not be enough. So check which spread type is most suitable to give you the insights you are looking for.

3 – You draw too many “clarifiers”

Drawing clarifiers is necessary and it makes sense in specific situations. For instance, if you draw the 2 of swords and need to clarify which decision it is about.  In this case drawing one or two extra cards will be helpful and it makes sense.

The problem is when you are not happy with the cards and start drawing a clarifying card, and then another, and another until you finally see something you like. At the end you will be so confused with so many different cards and different messages that you will not be able to understand what the cards are actually trying to tell you. This is a very common mistake.

Remember that if you are dissatisfied with the cards drawn then you might be in the wrong mind space and letting your emotions interfere with the reading.

So, try to commit to drawing clarifying cards only when you really need to or when it makes sense.  And even then, only draw one or two extra cards.

4 – You repeat the same spread multiple times

Let’s face it, when it comes to tarot readings we don’t always get the answers we expect. It’s a common mistake to reshuffle, ask again, and redo the reading until we get the answer we want.

For instance, you just broke up with your boyfriend and you want to know if he will make any movement towards you but the cards reveal a less-than-promising prospect–so you draw a few more, looking for a more positive answer.

However understandable, do try to resist repeating the same spread on the same question several times. This will only further muddle the cards and their meanings with each new reading.

Instead, focus on the original spread at hand and try to interpret the cards’ messages with an open and detached mind.

5 – You choose the most “convenient” meaning for the cards

As mentioned previously, if you are too emotionally involved when doing your own tarot reading, getting true card meanings can be difficult to start with. Second, there is not just one meaning for each tarot card which make things even more complicated. When faced with complex messages and ambiguity, you might be tempted to choose the most “convenient” interpretation for yourself.

Some tarot beginners end up researching lots of different tarot card meanings until they find the meaning that they want and ignore the most common meanings for the specific cards they are looking at.

In fact, it can be very hard to remain objective and professional about your own tarot reading because you have such a deep interest in the matter.

Try to resist the temptation to go finding card meaning that fit your hopes and desires and instead, go with your gut. What does your gut tell you about what this Tarot card and Tarot reading mean? What is your initial reaction? Don’t get stuck on trying to find the perfect, most convenient meaning.

6 – You don’t ask the right questions

When reading tarot for yourself it’s wise to stick to spiritual self growth questions instead of emotional hot topics. Asking questions with a lot of passion and personal eagerness is like a child seeking praise for a picture they have coloured. 

So what type of questions should you ask? Here are some examples:

  • What is my best course of action for spiritual fulfilment?
  • What do my guides need me to know for personal self growth?
  • What personal aspects do I need to develop?

Remember, there’s nothing wrong with interpreting your own tarot cards, but you can easily become your own worst advisor. It’s important to keep an open mind and detach from the possible outcomes which can sometimes be negative. Consider asking the opinion of an objective and neutral third party to get a different point of view if you are unsure that your emotions are clouding your intuition.

Love and light x

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