14 Common Tarot Reading Mistakes to Avoid

Welcome to the mystical and sometimes muddling world of tarot reading! If you’ve ever found yourself shuffling your tarot deck with the same enthusiasm as a Vegas blackjack dealer, only to end up more confused than a chameleon in a bag of Skittles, you’re in the right place. As we embark on this journey through common tarot mistakes to avoid, remember that even the most experienced tarot readers started as beginners, fumbling through their first spreads like a cat trying to understand a smartphone. Let’s dive in and unravel these tarot tangles together!

Skipping the Grounding Process in Tarot

a tranquil reading space, ideal for tarot

Jumping into a tarot reading without grounding is like a child leaping into a leaf pile—fun but potentially messy. Grounding, akin to a deep breath before diving into deep waters, aligns your energy and clears your mind, preparing you for insightful readings. Many beginners, eager to flip the cards, often skip this crucial step.

Simple grounding methods like deep breathing, meditation, or visualizing a connection with the earth can significantly enhance your connection to your tarot deck and shield against distractions. Remember, grounding before you shuffle and deal can transform your session from scattered to sharply focused.

Complex Tarot Spreads: The Celtic Cross Dilemma

Tackling complex tarot spreads like the Celtic Cross for new readers can be overwhelming. While rich in insights, this intricate spread often leads to confusion for beginners.

It’s like trying to run before you can walk. Starting with simpler spreads, such as the three-card layout, is more manageable and effective. These straightforward spreads, representing concepts like past, present, and future, provide clear and focused insights, perfect for those new to tarot. 1

They act as training wheels, helping you build confidence and skill. As your understanding deepens, more complex spreads like the Celtic Cross will become accessible and less daunting. Remember, in tarot, starting simple is often the key to profound learning.

Guidebook Dependency: Balancing Book Knowledge and Intuition

close-up, deeply focused and connecting intuitively with their cards

Navigating a tarot reading requires a delicate balance between the foundational knowledge from guidebooks and the unique insights of personal intuition.

While guidebooks are essential for beginners to understand traditional tarot card meanings, relying solely on them can limit the development of a deeper, intuitive connection with the cards.

Be encouraged to use guidebooks as a starting point, gradually allowing your intuition to play a larger role in interpretations. This approach enriches readings, blending learned knowledge with intuitive understanding, and fosters a more meaningful connection with the tarot deck.

The Minor Arcana: Often Overlooked by Beginners

The Minor Arcana cards often don’t receive the attention they deserve, especially from beginners who are naturally drawn to the more visually striking Major Arcana.

However, the Minor Arcana is crucial for a well-rounded understanding of tarot. These cards represent the day-to-day aspects of life, offering detailed insights into our challenges, activities, and emotions.

The Minor Arcana adds layers and subtleties to a reading, providing context and depth that the Major Arcana alone cannot. While the Major Arcana deals with broader life themes and karmic lessons, the Minor Arcana fills in the details, making tarot sessions more relatable and specific.

Recognizing the value of both Arcanas is essential for any beginner tarot reader seeking to give comprehensive and nuanced readings.

The Pitfall of Multiple Readings on the Same Topic

 mystical tarot reading setting in an outdoor garden at twilight

A common mistake in tarot, particularly for those new to the practice, is conducting multiple readings on the same question. This approach often stems from a desire for reassurance or a different outcome, but it can lead to confusion and contradictory messages.

Each tarot reading offers a snapshot of energies and possibilities at a given moment. Repeated sessions on the same topic can muddle this clarity, creating an echo chamber of mixed signals.

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The value of tarot lies in its ability to offer fresh perspectives and insights, which requires time to manifest. Patience and reflection are key. After a reading, it’s important to sit with the insights and allow them to percolate.

This reflective period gives the reader time to understand the deeper messages and apply them thoughtfully to their situation. You can cultivate a more meaningful and insightful practice by resisting the urge to seek immediate answers through repeated readings.

The Trap of Too Many Clarifiers

Drawing additional cards for clarification, while helpful in moderation, can become a trap when overdone. Pulling too many clarifying cards often leads to more confusion rather than clarity. Each new card adds layers of complexity, potentially clouding the original message of the spread rather than elucidating it.

The key is to trust in the initial reading. The first spread of cards is typically the most reflective of the energy and answers sought. Over-relying on clarifiers can distract from these initial insights.

It’s important to develop confidence in interpreting the primary cards drawn and trust in the intuitive process. This approach leads to clearer, more focused readings and helps to avoid the muddle of conflicting messages that can arise from an excess of clarifying cards.

Reading While Emotional

Reading tarot while in a highly emotional state poses a significant challenge. Strong emotions can cloud judgment and bias interpretation, leading to readings that reflect current anxieties or wishes rather than offering objective insight.

The emotional turbulence can act like a distorted lens, skewing the true messages of the cards.

It’s crucial to approach readings with a calm and centered mindset. If emotions are running high, it may be beneficial to take a step back and allow time for these feelings to settle.

Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or a short walk can help in regaining emotional equilibrium. Creating a ritual or setting a specific calm environment for reading tarot can also aid in establishing the right mindset. 2

By approaching tarot with a clear and composed mind, you can ensure that your interpretations reflect the cards’ true meanings more accurately.

Asking the Right Questions in Tarot

tarot reading in progress, featuring a reader laying out cards in a specific spread on a beautifully adorned table

The clarity and focus of the questions posed are as crucial as the reading itself. Vague or overly broad questions can lead to ambiguous answers, making it challenging to derive meaningful insights. Clear, specific questions help in directing the energy of the reading and in obtaining more precise and actionable guidance.

Crafting well-phrased questions is an art. Instead of asking yes-or-no questions, framing questions that open up pathways for deeper exploration is more effective.

For example, instead of asking, “Will I get the job?” consider asking, “What can I do to improve my chances of getting the job?” or “What should I know about this job opportunity?”

These types of questions invite a more detailed and insightful response from the tarot cards, providing guidance that is not just predictive but also empowering. By focusing on the formulation of the question, you can enhance the quality and depth of the readings.

Interpreting ‘Negative’ Cards in Tarot

Allegedly ‘negative’ cards in tarot, like The Tower or Death, often intimidate readers with their seemingly ominous imagery. However, these cards have deeper meanings, typically symbolizing transformation and change rather than misfortune.

For instance, The Tower can indicate the necessary breakdown of old ways, and Death often represents an essential ending before a new beginning.

These challenging cards should be embraced as vital for personal growth and understanding. Recognizing their true significance allows for more insightful and transformative readings.

By accepting the full range of messages in the tarot deck, you can use these cards as tools for introspection and evolution, turning every reading into an opportunity for learning and growth.3

Context Matters in Reading Tarot

The context provided by a card’s position within a spread is essential for accurate interpretation. Each position in a tarot spread has a specific meaning, influencing how the card’s symbolism is understood.

For example, a card in the ‘past’ position might shed light on previous experiences impacting the current situation, while a card in the ‘future’ position could offer insight into potential outcomes.

Understanding the context of each card about its position in the spread ensures a more nuanced and accurate reading. It allows you to piece together a coherent narrative from the cards, rather than interpreting them in isolation.

This approach reveals the interconnectedness of the cards, providing a deeper, more holistic understanding of the reading. Therefore, paying attention to the context of each card is crucial for tarot readers seeking to offer insightful and meaningful guidance.

Literal Meanings vs. Intuitive Reading

Balancing the literal meanings of cards with intuitive insights is key to insightful readings. Traditional interpretations serve as a foundation, but the depth of a reading comes from tapping into intuition. This approach goes beyond face value, exploring broader meanings and personal resonances.

For example, the Three of Swords might generally signify sorrow, but intuitively, it could suggest emotional release or growth in a specific context. Embracing this intuitive aspect allows tarot to become more personalized and reflective, making the tarot a more versatile and insightful tool.

Unique Styles Among Tarot Readers

Every professional tarot reader brings a unique style and intuition to their readings, which is essential to the art of tarot. Readers need to embrace their individual approach, as it adds depth and personalization to the readings.

Comparing oneself to others can be counterproductive, as each reader interprets the cards through their own lens of experiences and insights.

Recognizing and valuing one’s unique style enhances confidence and enriches the tarot reading experience for both the reader and the querent. Therefore, you should focus on honing the personal approach rather than mirroring others.

The Ideal Environment for Reading Tarot

serene and peaceful tarot reading corner

The environment in which a tarot reading takes place can significantly influence its outcome. External distractions can disrupt the focus and energy flow, leading to less insightful readings.

Creating a conducive space, free from interruptions and noise, helps in fostering a calm and focused atmosphere essential for tarot. This might involve setting up a quiet corner, dimming the lights, or even incorporating elements like candles or soft music to enhance the ambiance.

A thoughtfully prepared environment not only aids in concentration but also sets the tone for a more profound and meaningful tarot experience.4

Trusting Your Intuition as a Tarot Reader

Trusting one’s intuition is a crucial step in delivering insightful readings. Overcoming self-doubt is often the biggest hurdle, as it can cloud judgment and hinder the natural flow of intuitive insights. Building confidence in one’s unique reading style comes with practice and experience.

It involves listening to and valuing the inner voice that guides the interpretation of the cards. The readings become more authentic and resonant as you learn to trust your instincts.

This trust not only enhances the quality of the readings but also strengthens the reader’s connection with the tarot deck, leading to a more fulfilling tarot practice.

Conclusion: Embracing the Tarot Journey

Understanding and avoiding common mistakes is as important as learning the cards’ meanings in tarot reading. From grounding oneself before a reading to embracing the unique messages of each card, the path of a tarot reader is filled with continuous learning and personal growth.

Remember, every card in a tarot deck has a story to tell, and it’s through a blend of knowledge, intuition, and self-awareness, these stories unfold their deepest insights.

Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or an experienced reader honing your skills, each step on this journey brings you closer to the heart of tarot. Embrace your unique path, trust in your intuition, and let the cards guide you to deeper understanding.

  1. https://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/extrasensory-perceptions/celtic-cross-spread.htm ↩︎
  2. https://www.tarotforum.net/threads/how-your-emotions-affect-the-reading.91900/ ↩︎
  3. https://www.ranker.com/list/dark-tarot-cards/colleen-conroy ↩︎
  4. https://www.redfin.com/blog/at-home-tarot-reading-space/ ↩︎

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Christina Johnson

About the Author

My name is Christina, and I am the founder of centerspirited. Being a physiotherapist for several years I have found that many people, including myself, don’t achieve well-being only from a physical point of view. I’ve always viewed a person’s body, soul, and emotions as a whole construct of beauty. Always being a yoga enthusiast, I finally became an instructor myself. On a secret mission to capture spirituality in all of her beautiful shapes, I found myself being guided on a way through ayurvedic nutrition and lifestyle. Through this platform, I will hopefully be able to help other beautiful souls out there find their inner peace and bond with their spiritual selves.

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