All mistakes serve a purpose when you’re learning tarot and they’re so important when it comes to helping you learn. It’s all part of the journey. But, that being said, they do suck a little. In the spirit of sharing, here are some of the common mistakes I made when I was getting started and, more importantly, what I learned from each one.
1. Asking the same question over and over and over… - Will X ask me out? Will I go out with X? Is there a night out with X in my future? I asked a different version of that question so many times when I started reading it’s actually a joke. Honestly? It was obsessive and, looking back now, also mortifying. But with age comes wisdom and in retrospect it’s not surprising that my cards literally never gave me any solid answers to those questions. Sure, the first time I asked about my romantic future with X they gave me the guidance I sought, but obviously the cards said something I wasn’t ready to hear.
So I asked again. And again. And again. And the more I asked, the more nonsensical and inaccurate the answers I received became.
→ What I learned: Ask once. Trust the answer you receive. Adopt a ‘one and done’ mentality. And be prepared that the answer you receive may not be the answer you want, but it’s probably the only accurate answer you’ll get. So accept it.
2. Getting in my feels before I picked up my cards – If something bad had happened or I was elated or upset, I’d automatically reach for my deck as a way of finding comfort. This means that I was always distracted by my feelings when I was shuffling the cards and my energy was confused. This was reflected in the readings I got. If I was upset, chances are the reading would be depressing too. If was anxious and fretting over the worst case scenario, the reading would reflect that right back at me.
→ What I learned – Only consult tarot when you’re calm and clear. Before you pick up that deck take a few minutes to breathe deeply, centre, calm your energy. And don’t let yourself get too emotional. I’ve found that my best readings are ones where I’m totally not stressed about whatever the cards tell me. The more you can detach and be objective about things, the clearer the messages will be. Do not consult your cards when you’re up and down or asking about a super emotionally-charged situation.
3. Seeing what I wanted to see in the cards –
“Why yes, the Tower, the 10 of Swords and the Three of Swords totally mean that we’re meant to be together forever,” – 16 year old me (probably).
I am guilty, in the past, of reading into the cards and seeing what I want to see instead of just accepting what they’re telling me. A classic example? All those questions about X. My cards warned me it would lead to heartbreak but did I listen? No and did it result in heartbreak? Absolutely. Instead I used the tarot again as a tool of comfort, I made myself see outcomes that weren’t actually there.
→ What I learned – So yes, try to be objective when you’re reading which, yes, is hard if you’re reading for yourself but not impossible. Park your ego at the door and see the real message that’s being presented to you – not just what you want to see.
4. Wasting my time on love readings – Guys, why? Why? I want to go back in time and shake myself. I wasted hours of my life doing readings on my own love life and the lives of others. By all means yes, get a love reading done for the craic, but please don’t spend hours every day pulling cards for this tiny aspect of your life.
→ What I learned: It took me SO long to realise that there was and is so much more the tarot can do for you other than just helping you snag a hottie. Honestly, use your cards to connect with your authentic self, use them for spiritual guidance, use them to help you with these hugely important parts of your life. When you use them to empower you to live in your fullest expression, love, in some form, will be a natural by-product of that. So why waste hours of your life asking why such-and-such isn’t interested? It makes no sense.
5. Not trusting my instincts – I could write a book about the amount of times I didn’t trust my intuition. I want to smack myself. I think about all the situations, all the readings that warned me ahead of time and I just didn’t listen because I didn’t trust my intuition.
→ What I learned: Your intuition is so important. Learning how your intuition interplays with tarot readings is an essential skill. A lot of us are afraid of how powerful this natural instinct is but if you can get over that and allow it to bloom and trust it? It’ll change your life. If you’re just beginning your journey with tarot now, start trusting this superpower now – it’s always right and it will never lead you astray.
6. Having zero boundaries – I had zero boundaries as a baby tarot reader and, of course, when people find out that you’re learning tarot, all they want is a free reading. I said yes so many times when I wanted to say no and you know what this did? It just made me resentful and made me pack away my cards for weeks and months at a time if I was feeling burnt out. I missed so many parties/celebrations because I was always stuck in a back room somewhere reading cards for other people, all because I had no idea that it was okay to say no. I had no idea that I needed to protect my energy.
→ What I learned: Boundaries, and firm boundaries at that, are an essential part of the learning process. My boundaries are absolutely sacrosanct now (think Gandalf screaming ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS!’ in the Lord of the Rings). No one bypasses them. There’s time for tarot and then there’s time for me. Oh, and if you want my tarot services? Pay me. Don’t assume my time is worth nothing. The earlier you learn the magical power of boundaries, the better.