|tarot at the cloisters, one of my favorite places for readings|
So, my husband and I had a mutual New Year's Resolution: learn how to do tarot readings. He's got some ways to go, but I think I've got the hang of it. I can pretty much work with any deck and know most of the card meanings by heart. Most of my friends are getting into it too. So, another thing: I'm only doing this for fun and entertainment and not for spiritual reasons/actual divination.
The worst readings are the ones that go this way: Draw a card. Look up the meaning. Say what the card means. "There are unequal relationships." Next card. Look up the meaning. Say what the card means. "Nostalgia." At the end of it, you just get a bunch of abstract, confusing images. What the hell?! You wanted to know how your vacation was going to go!
Tell a story: Personally, I think this may be the only advice to being a good tarot card reader. The cards already have everything you need to tell a story: a cast of characters (suits), conflicts and action (the pip cards), and events/themes (major arcana). I've heard of writers turning to the cards to combat writer's block. As you go through the cards, make the person the star of their own drama and walk them through their story. This is way more exciting than just "Five of pentacles: Poverty. Next card is The Fool: a new journey. Next is Strength: means 'strength'" Instead read: "You're about to start a new journey you're not prepared for: poverty. But don't worry, because you possess inner strength, you'll overcome it just fine. In fact it'll make you stronger. Let's see how...[turns next card over slowly, building suspense]" It's like telling a story with some props and showmanship.
A good way to practice this with your friends is with completely bogus, made up situations. For the Steampunk tarot deck, we did a bunch of readings like the following: "How will I manage my airship?" and "Tell me about my life in Steampunk Town--what will I do, who will I date? will I be wealthy?" When we did my reading, I was going to start a travel business (we just said airship..of course) with someone, then I was going to be betrayed, then then I'd spend my days in poverty. Sigh. We also pretended to be gang members for another set of readings....those were interesting cop-thrillers. I think this was excellent practice for storytelling with the cards and a great way to build confidence when telling.
Always relate it to the original question: Don't get caught up in the meanings of the individual cards and miss the big picture. Relate the meanings of the cards to each other and to the original question. Remember, people want an answer. Sure, there's times when the cards do reveal something that's more important than the question. Or maybe you just can't think of a way to relate it to the original question. Try harder.
How about you? do you have tarot advice for readings?