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Tarot Beginners

How to read tarot? It’s as easy as telling a story…


I squinted to look at the clock: 2:30am, already? I sighed, fighting my heavy eyelids and losing, trying to read the same sentence over and over again. Before I knew it, I was nodding my head, and the book was falling out of my grip. As I caught it with a start, I admitted defeat. I closed the book, put it down on the nightstand, and I was out like a light within minutes.

Can you relate? A good story is compelling, engrossing, can’t put it down stuff… my mind was all in, but my body… not so much: after a marathon weekend of reading 24/7, even I had my limits and I was tuckered out.

A good tarot reading is like the best story, come to life in the pictures on the cards. Because that’s all that tarot really is, when you boil it down: pictures on a card. Tell the story in those pictures, relate it to your life (or the client’s), and you have a tarot reading: yes, that’s reading tarot (in a nutshell).

We tell ourselves stories all the time, stories that convince us of why we are the way we are, stories that may legitimize our bad habits: I’m chronically late because that’s how I’ve always been, ever since I was 13 years old; I’m a procrastinator because I do my best work when I feel like I’m in a pressure cooker and down to the wire; I don’t meditate because I tried it one time and I felt like my thoughts were spinning ’round and ’round… can you guess which 2 out of the 3 stories I just related are my own?

Are these stories true or real? Well, they FEEL real enough to us! Our storytelling nature is a common thread… It’s a thread that we can use and to some degree exploit when we read tarot cards. Forget about all the associations and many levels and layers: Tarot at its heart is a visual depiction of your life story, thus far, and most likely outcomes/future leanings, based upon the current pattern your life is/has taken.

If you are just starting to read tarot, you don’t need to know fancy things like Elemental Dignities, Astrological Correspondences, and Numerology (that stuff can come later). Certainly these associations can help deepen your readings, but when you are beginning? They have a tendency to overwhelm rather than actually HELP.

If you’ve been telling yourself a story for months or years and you want the pattern to change, well…. That will take a little elbow grease and some self-work to change those patterns. Stories are POWERFUL. It takes a lot to dismantle the incorrect ones, especially if you’ve been telling yourself the same ones for years.

And the tarot? The tarot cards change when your stories do. I’ve seen it happen. They are the visual representations of those stories we’re churning out about ourselves mentally, all the effing time.

And the best part? The story can always change… and that power is totally yours to wield.


Some related reading:

The stories we tell ourselves and the power of denial

From Someone Who’s Been Given Too Much Advice



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© Hilary Parry Haggerty | Tarot by Hilary

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