The best way to learn to read the cards is to read the cards. Ermmmm? If only it was that easy. Being faced with a deck of tarot cards can be daunting, even for someone armed with instructions / guide books and YouTube videos and any of the other countless resources available. I was lucky, I learnt to read with friends so I had support and more experienced readers to talk with (you can read more about my tarot beginnings here).
Not everyone is so fortunate and even with support I still found it was a big nerve-wracking leap to read for someone outside my circle. Thankfully there is a supportive, safe place to do so – the “Monthly Tarot Practice” section of the TABI forum. Reefgirl implemented this and does a fabulous job of setting a variety of interesting questions and providing feedback and guidance, assisted by Scorpio.
“When I first started I was overwhelmed, I felt people knew far more than I did and I didn’t know where to go for help if I didn’t understand something, so that’s how the Practice Sessions got started, as a place to check out your skills, gain some more skills, ask questions without feeling a twit and get feedback and help on your readings.”
Reefgirl April 2020
Every TABI member is welcome to contribute, from beginners finding their feet and their reading style to more experienced readers trialling new decks (and / or new reading styles). There are: Questions based on TV shows (most memorably one regarding Daenerys from Game of Thrones (May 2019)) Commonly asked questions such as, “Where should I concentrate my energies this year?” (Jan 2019) and, “How can I keep my resolutions?” (Jan 2020) Topical questions like how to get through the Coronavirus lockdown (Apr 2020) Real life questions asked by TABI members
We all started somewhere; unsure of ourselves and perhaps overwhelmed by conflicting information. There’s so much more to tarot reading than just being able to interpret the cards. Magenta recently wrote an informative piece about tarot customs (here). Online readings remove some of these considerations (eg whether to let the querent handle the deck).
There are plenty of decisions to make when doing a reading, and the practice questions allow the reader to concentrate on the important ones of which deck to use and whether to use a spread (and if so which one). It also gives us somewhere to explore different answer styles, from one liners through to much more descriptive prose. There’s even the question of whether or not to capitalise the T of tarot (I don’t because I believe the magic is in us rather than in the cards) to consider.
I’m writing this article because the monthly practice questions provide such a fabulous opportunity to build your tarot reading confidence. Take that leap! Through these threads I’ve made friends with a few members who were getting into their reading swing too – one even became an endorsed free reader around the same time I did. It’s useful to see how other people read, their decks and spreads and interpretations. I remember being amazed by how consistent some of the answers were between readers. Not always the same cards and yet the same general advice!
Feedback on my readings for the monthly practice questions is what gave me the confidence to apply to be a free reader. In fact that’s where I first flirted out loud with the idea of applying. Read more about becoming endorsed in a future tarot tutorial.
I invite anyone wanting to build their reading confidence to jump in to the practice questions and give them a go. There are several year’s worth of questions available so you’re guaranteed to find one that piques your interest. The feedback is encouraging, and Reefgirl is conscientious about responding to every reading. Finally I’ll like to say thank you to Reefgirl for all the time and effort she’s put into her responses to people, and for setting the questions in the first place. Thank you.
Pyronik has been a TABI member since November 2018 when she jumped straight into the monthly practice readings. She is now one of TABIs endorsed free readers and a frequent contributor to this blog.