This is something I hear from a lot of people, and something that I often wondered myself as I first started learning how to read Tarot cards. Can you read the Tarot wrong?

Here’s the short answer: No.

Here’s the long answer:

When a lot of folks start learning how to read Tarot cards, they automatically assume that you have to memorize the meanings or keywords or symbols or numbers on all 78 cards. Then sometimes you have to memorize the meanings or keywords or symbols or numbers on all 78 reversed Tarot cards. Yeah, that’s a lot of stuff to memorize. And some days, it’s a miracle that I remember to take my son to school when I’m headed out the door in the mornings, so memorizing all that before I can start to read Tarot? Not gonna happen.

Reading Tarot as a spiritual practice really is more about connecting with our own intuition, learning how to sense and interpret the energy of the cards as they turn over in front of us. It’s not about looking up the meaning of every card in a book every time you do a reading. It’s about learning how to get quiet, how to wait, and how to watch for the sensations and impressions that pop up in our minds and bodies.

The thing about Tarot is that it doesn’t do anything special – there’s no magic in these cards, although some would argue otherwise. The magic happens inside of you – you, as a unique manifestation of energy and atoms and molecules and consciousness can only interpret the cards as you see them.

Learning the basics of Tarot will definitely help you understand the messages coming through with the cards. But don’t ever feel like you have to stick to exactly that meaning that’s been written down in the little white book – when you get an impression that might seem “wrong”, trust it.

But what happens if I look at The High Priestess and I see an image of a well-dressed wealthy and generous man? Well, when I’m reading Tarot cards for others, I sometimes get impressions and images and even words that seem totally wrong for the reading. But when I convey those messages and impressions, I’m told that they are accurate – every single time. It’s just a matter of learning how to trust myself and my intuition. These extra senses we all have can pick up lots of information that we can’t see, touch, hear, smell, or taste if we just know how to tap into them and use them!

There really is no wrong way to read the Tarot. As long as you’re reading from a place of heart-centerdness (yes, that’s a new word, I just made it up, enjoy) and not from the ego or thinking mind, your readings will be accurate.

Try this centering exercise the next time you sit down to read Tarot for yourself or for someone else:

  1. With both feet flat on the floor, close your eyes. Place your hands in your lap. Start to take slow, deep breaths. Big exhales through an open mouth will help you reset your nervous system and release any excess tension.
  2. As you continue with those slow deep breaths, bring your awareness to your third eye, that place right in the center of the forehead between the eyebrows.
  3. Take 3 deep breaths, imagining the breath and energy is flowing into your third eye chakra on the inhale, and then feeling that energy expand throughout your body on the exhale.
  4. Take 3 deep breaths, this time feeling the breath and energy flowing into your third eye chakra, and then dropping down into your heart center on the exhale. As you exhale, feel the energy spreading from your heart chakra throughout your entire body until your toes and fingers begin to tingle.
  5. For the last 3 deep breaths, imagine the breath and energy flowing in through your heart center, spreading to every corner of your body, every cell as it fills you with glowing green light.
  6. Bring your awareness back to your hands in your lap, and then back to your feet. Gaze down as you slowly blink your eyes open. Now you’re ready to begin your Tarot reading!

Do you have any advice for someone who is worried that they’re reading Tarot cards the wrong way? I’d love it if you’d leave a comment here and share that with us!