Aeclectic Tarot
Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Forum Archive
Library Index

Self-Readings vs. Readings for Others

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 05 Sep 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.

ChrisTheObscure  05 Sep 2002 
Hey everyone!

I'm Chris and I'm fairly new to the forum; I've been studying the Tarot for a couple of months now and I'm excited to increase and share that knowledge in this community. I normally use the Haindl tarot, occasionally I will use the Legend Arthurian Tarot.

My question is this: I've found that when I do readings for other people, I really seem to be attuned to the cards - ie, I'll lay out the spread and immediately words, images, thoughts will pop into my head, and I've found that most of the time, much of what I'm saying seems to be right on with the querent.

My problem is that while the cards seem to allow me to do readings with others, I can rarely perform a clear reading for myself. I lay out the cards and try to be open to what they're saying, but I almost feel like I'm behind a mental wall - often I can't get any more insight from a self-reading than what the little booklet says is the interpretation of the individual cards. Is this normal? Has anyone else had this problem, and if so, how can I over come it? I first became interested in tarot as a means of self-discovery and knowledge more than anything, and so I it's tough for me not to be able to do a self-reading. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!


Strega  05 Sep 2002 
Just wanted to say hello and welcome to Aeclectic. :) 

Laurel  05 Sep 2002 
Hi Chris and welcome!

Self-reading is a little like psychotherapy; it can be hard at first because you don't know what to expect and aren't even sure of the questions. I have a suggested plan of attack, which might be helpful- or not. :)

1) Keep a journal of your self readings. Write down the date, time, and location the reading is taking place. Sumarize how you are feeling in a word or two before the reading.

2) Use simple 1-draw or 3-card spread as opposed to a Celtic Cross or something more complicated.

3) Ask questions like "What kind of project should I focus on today?" or "what are my best qualities?" or "How am I really feeling?" Ask the question outloud.

4) Write down the question and the cards that come up before you try to interpret them- and talk to yourself outloud. Take notes. Write down your answers even if they are "I have no idea what that card is doing there!"

5) Let the conversation with yourself flow until you've reached a good place to stop.

6) Keep doing this. You should try and self-read a little every day, and make it consistent. Over time, it will become easier and easier. You'll be able to look back through your journal and probably add in additional comments or see clearly things you couldn't before.


ChrisTheObscure  05 Sep 2002 
Laurel - thanks for the suggestions! I tend to be a fairly analytical person, ie, I want to know every nook and cranny of every aspect of every question, so I've been using more complicated spreads. Perhaps that's the problem :)

And thanks for the welcome! I'm glad I found this place.


Strega  05 Sep 2002 
Chris: You want to use your intuition - not logical analysis. ;) 

Trogon  07 Sep 2002 

First off, welcome to Aeclectic Tarot... I hope you enjoy this community as much as I have. What a wonderful bunch of people! :D

I'm relatively new to Tarot as well (at least by the number of readings... slow starter here :rolleyes: ). I also have noted that I have more trouble with readings for myself than for others (though I'm getting better). I think that this may be partially due to the idea that, as Laurel stated, "self-reading is a little like psychotherapy; it can be hard at first because you don't know what to expect and aren't even sure of the questions"

Another aspect is that perhaps, sometimes, the Tarot gives us answers we don't particularly want to have. Sometimes we carry around certain wounds which we've refused to acknowlege - the Tarot can sometimes re-open these wounds. This isn't a bad thing though... it can allow us to deal with the cause and help the wound to start healing, though this can be a painful process. I know from personal experience that this sort of deep, personal, delving into one's psyche and spirit can bring a reluctance to see what is in the cards. I'm not sure I've put this very well, but hopefully you'll see what I mean.

Laurel - your suggestions sound like they'll be very helpful, thank you! Have printed them out...


Mojo  07 Sep 2002 
While keeping a Tarot journal is a valuable learning tool, it is only truly effective if you have the self-discipline to go back through the journal from time to time and review it and learn from it. Unfortunately, I know precious few people who can maintain that level of commitment to the process.

However, the idea of writing down your readings and their interpretation is vital when doing self-readings.

When reading for other people, it is much easier to remain objective in your interpretations. But when reading for yourself, you will almost always have a tendency to "filter" your readings by what you want them to say, rather than what you are actually seeing.

The best way I have found to avoid this trap is to handle my personal readings the same way I would a remote reading for a regular client. I layout the cards and then I go to the computer and I type up the layout and my initial "gut" reactions to it.

Next (and this is important!) I walk away from it for a bit and come back to it later to do the actual interpretation. When I do the interpretation, I do it by writing it out as if I were sending someone an e-mail. This removes a lot of the personal bias and allows me to do a much more objective reading than if I just sat down and tried to interpret it on the spot.

Unlike a journal, you get much closer to instant gratification this way. 

fairyhedgehog  07 Sep 2002 
I find this all very strange, because self-readings are the only sort of readings I can do :)

When I read for myself, I don't try to be objective at all. I often immediately know what a card is about, but when I don't, I think around possible meanings or turn to a book. I tend to get an 'aha' feeling when I've got some sense out of the card.

Maybe it's to do with the fact that I don't try to predict the future at all I just try to clarify what is going on at the time? 

the hermit  07 Sep 2002 
Another method for self-reading practice and one that will also give you "practice" in preparation for doing readings for others is to sit down with a tape recorder and tell the story just as you would for a client. The small mini-recorders are quite inexpensive now and if you’re serious about reading for others, it can be an excellent tool. And you can use it to keep a record of your future client readings so there is no misunderstanding about what you did or did not say.

Read the cards out loud. Describe the positions, think about how they relate. But don't let yourself over-analyze what each card’s “meaning” might be... just tell what you "see". Remember, the cards aren’t single units, they forge a story, a set of possible pathways that you must weave together. Mold the story, keep it flowing, walk the pathways.

No matter how you view the tarot and how or what YOU use it for...
as others here on the forum have pointed out numerous times, first and foremost, you are a storyteller... NO! you are THE storyteller. The weaver.

Practice weaving the tale. 

Fuzzmello  08 Sep 2002 
You've pointed out an obstacle I doubt I'll ever completely overcome, my man.

Reading for myself became a whole lot easier when I finally reached the point of not trying (ok, not trying as much) to control the outcome.

I put a lot of time and effort into learning Tarot. All that's wasted if I don't allow the cards to speak to me openly, without my trying to filter the results. Honestly Chris, it just took time and practice.

Keeping a journal and being faithful to daily readings are the best and fastest methods I can recommend to overcome the natural tendency to "improve" what the cards are saying.


Alex  10 Sep 2002 
read for myself without feeling I'm re-stating the obvious.

Keeping a journal helps but some readings make sense to me only after time has passed and things have happened.

The "your readings" forum is helpful though. 

The Self-Readings vs. Readings for Others thread was originally posted on 05 Sep 2002 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Forum Archive

Aeclectic Tarot Forum Links
· Tarot
· Tarot Special Interest
· Beyond Tarot
· Forum Library

Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Angel Decks
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Cat Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· List All Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· Tarot Books
· What's New

Copyright © 1996 - 2019 Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Contact us.