Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tarot Tip: Reading for Yourself

Card readers seems to differ on the topic of reading for oneself - some feel it's not appropriate (for a variety of reasons) whereas others thoroughly enjoy and benefit from self-readings, and see them as a tool for self-empowerment. It's true that depending on the topic it can be hard to be objective, but I tend to fall in the "it's a wonderful thing to do" camp. Some of my deepest, most touching, and most brutally honest readings have been those I've done for myself.

The Queen of Cups: self-reading since 1450A.D.
Golden Tarot - Kat Black

Here are some tips to make the self-reading practice as nurturing and nourishing (and fair!) as possible:

1) Feel free to read on emotionally-charged issues, but use wisdom! Don't automatically write off weighty self-readings under the assumption that you will never be able to be fair with yourself. Yes, it's easy to misinterpret the cards either way due to subjectivity. You may see a line of challenging cards and convince yourself that D-Day has arrived, or toward the other extreme, you may view them with rose-colored glasses. You may even look for the "catch" in a group of very positive and affirming cards. But before giving up on your ability to understand your own cards clearly and justly, consider this: "If I were doing this reading for a client, what would I say to them?" If you can separate your own fears and judgements from your cards, you may find a powerful message waiting there for you.

2) Don't read for yourself if you're expecting, or needing, to hear a particular answer. (This goes for everyone considering getting any kind of divinatory reading!) The cards tell you what you need to hear, not always what you want to hear. You already know this, and it's far easier to acknowledge that fact when reading for other people. When it's yourself, it can be more challenging. So if you feel you can't handle a certain outcome, don't read for yourself. Take time to work through your feelings and thoughts. If you get to a point when you feel you can be open, then give it a whirl!

3) If you pull a card for yourself and it doesn't immediately make sense, don't dismiss it right away. Give it some time, consider the essence of the card, and what the image is conveying. Let it percolate, as they say. You may be surprised as you recognize an aspect of your feelings or the context of your situation that are important and real, but hadn't been at the forefront of your mind, or you hadn't considered before.

4) Not all questions have to be high-stakes. One of my favorite questions to ask the cards for myself is: how am I feeling about X (insert topic here)? It may seem silly, or like it should be obvious, but simple self-readings such as this can be very illuminating, and can help you to pay attention to important elements of your inner world that you may have been neglecting. Tarot is a great tool for self-awareness and guidance, and that's true as much for the small things as it is for the big things.

5) When in doubt, feel free to request a reading from an impartial reader! Reading for yourself can be a deeply rewarding experience, and can be a great way to grow both in relationship to the cards, and in relationship to your Self. But if you really want some insight about something important in your life and don't feel you can be objective, it's an act of wisdom to recognize that and to reach out to someone else.


  1. "Tarot is a great tool for self-awareness and guidance" I mainly read for myself and almost always as a way of getting more insight in myself and the questions that I have.
    "Let it percolate, as they say" When the cards seem "wrong"I usually leave them on the table to get back to them later on. I never draw cards for a second time. I think that is cheating myself and also missing out on the message that was yet to be discovered. Playing and drawing cards is a favorite pastime for me: just seeing what feelings the cards evoke or what ideas surface when looking at the pictures
    Great post Olivia

    1. Thanks a lot, Ellen! I think self-reading is one of the most enriching ways of interacting with the cards.