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help with readings

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 25 Aug 2004, and now archived in the Forum Library.

pandora  25 Aug 2004 
I have had this problem for a long, long time and wondered if any of you can help.

When I look at a spread, in my mind I can see what the cards are saying, I can picture it all clearly, but I can not seem to find the words to say it out loud.
This is not a problem when I do spreads for myself, I can just sit, looking up, running through everything going yes, yes, O.K.
But when asked to do one for others I usually say no because I know I will not be able to articulate anything more than the basic theme.

How do I learn to speak what I know I see?


lionette  26 Aug 2004 
Maybe it would help to practice with your own readings by writing everything down as you see it. This way your brain starts putting the mental images into words. After reaching a comfort level with writing, the next step would be to articulate everything out loud, as if you were giving a reading to another.

I have a bit of this problem myself, so hope this helps you as it did me :) 

Bosorka  26 Aug 2004 
Or ask someone close to you. I used my sister. She knew that I´m not good in it yet, and she didn´t mind. Also, I had problem with connecting cards in a spread, and as she asked "what it mean this two/three cards together, she made me think about what to tell. Well, I was lucky with her, as she also tried to learn to read tarot that time and she wondered how it could be read. 

Eco74  26 Aug 2004 
Practice by explaining it to yourself in your own readings.
Then expand it to explaining your reading about yourself to someone else, as if you are telling a student or mentoring someone about possible card meanings.

And ofcourse practice with people you feel comfortable with to make yourself feel more at ease in the situation.

Let it take the time it needs.
Forcing it will only make it harder, but don't let that keep you from trying. Try, and if you fail miserably, practice some more before trying again.
A failiure is never constant, just a sign that you weren't quite ready for the challenge. 

jmd  26 Aug 2004 
Perhaps, instead of trying to say what you 'see', begin by saying (to yourself) 'once upon a time...', and then following through with the story (out loud).

In many ways, there are two different faculties which are being used and developed in a reading situation. On the one hand is the imaginative symbolic quality as reflected in imagery, and on the other the inspired articulated story as reflected in narrative.

Some can certainly spin a good yarn (tale), irrespective as to the imagery; others are able to 'see' into the image without being able to clearly articulate what they see/sense.

Practice in story telling, in describing in clear terms even a small plant which one looks at, may assist in developing both the imaginative faculty and the inspirational narrative. 

Ace  26 Aug 2004 
Start by saying out loud what the card means. this is sometimes received so well, the rest will come as you relax. 

pandora  28 Aug 2004 
thank you all for your insight it gives me hope and a place to start.
It will take time like you say and a lot of practice.

Sadly the imagery, the spontaneity, speed, and clarity that seems to run through my mind seem far more advanced than my vocal abilities.
Looks and feels like I have to learn a whole new language.
When I think about what I see and think it is all so fluid. Shoot me, it is so sad that my speech is all gibberish. Frustrating to say the least.
If you could only read my mind......some song that starts like that comes to mind!
Off to my studies......and the big question is why do i think I need to do this.....perhaps a question for my cards!
Why do we do this? Why do you do this? 

Shalott  28 Aug 2004 
When you do a past-present-future type of spread, you can see the story emerging with a beginning, middle and conclusion?

Do you do your readings face-to-face with Querants? I tend to do mine via email, so I have time to think and type. I'm wondering if your intuition is just too fast...not being overly intuitive myself, I can't give much advice on harnessing this, but if you think that may be your issue, maybe some more intuitive types can help with that?

I'm a writer by nature, so words are my thing, but there are times when I see what I'm trying to say (concept) but the words just aren't there, I find thesauruses (thesauri?) to be enormously helpful, even online: just poke through and hopefully it'll help you find the right words! :D 

pandora  28 Aug 2004 
Thank you Shalott you were I great help. The thesaurus was a fabulous idea and I found just the right kind at Joan Bunning’s lesson site.

I don’t think I am overly intuitive but I have always had very poor verbalizing skills (wish I had your talents) and a mind on fast forward. (according to my husband what I consider “speaking clearly” never ever is.) Always put it down to too much ying in a yang world, now pehaps I see a block or skill never developed?

I seem to have put a “big screen T.V.” in my mind and view all input in graphic form. This works well in many areas of my life, and is a huge disaster in others.

Think I may now understand why my cards have been nagging at me to pick them up and do some serious studying, and why I found this web site.
What do you think......enlightenment comes with the realization that spending this time with my cards is perhaps what I need to move away from my visionary thinking mode into the verbal world. It has certainly emphasized my weaknesses. Well ...thank you cards, you never cease to amaze me. My journey continues.

So Shalott, if you or anyone eles sees a strange woman walking down the street with a handful of computer print outs muttering to herself about everything she is seeing ..... no worries ....... it is only me doing Tarot homework....!


kerri28  29 Aug 2004 
Hi pandora, I just want to comment on your "big tv screen" in your minds eye. This is how I mainly recieve/intuite my readings. Not just with the cards but also energy readings as well.

This type of "seeing" is called clairvoyance. With practise you can slow and finetune the speed of what you're recieving. What I've found worked for me was to ask that the flow of "seeing" be slowed done and I also asked for guidance for clairty or to make my interpreation of what I was seeing clearer for me. 

Sulis  29 Aug 2004 
I have had this problem for ages - since I started studying tarot about 3 years ago in fact. I'm just starting to get over it now. I've never had any trouble writing my readings down - practicing in the reading exchange here at AT has got me used to reading for others but at a distance. I'm still to master reading for others face to face. I've even considered writing the reading but I think that would be very boring for the querant :)

For the past month or so I've been trying to 'speak' my readings, even ones I do for myself whereas before I would have simply written them. It's getting easier - the words are now starting to come when before there was just a blank (unless I had a pen in my hand :)). I'd advise you to just start talking - in time it'll happen - that's what I'm finding anyway :)


Sulis xx 

Trogon  29 Aug 2004 
Pandora, I'm beginning to think this is a somewhat common issue for many readers. I seem to recall others mentioning it in the forums before in other discussions. I've had the same problem as well from time to time. You've gotten a lot of very good advice here already. Many of the ideas have helped me along through the years;

Make yourself fully write out your thoughts on the cards in your own readings. Don't just write... "card A - pain" or "card B - happiness". Write out what kind of pain you feel it is talking about, where it comes from, what it's doing there. Write out what kind of happiness... inner peace-type happiness or happiness in the physical world? And write them out in words that someone else would be able to understand.

If you haven't already done so, start a "Tarot jounal" for yourself (a loose-leaf binder will work well, as you can add pages as needed). Devote a full page of the book (front and back if you think it'll be necessary) to each card of the Tarot. Then, when you study a card, write down your thoughts on the meanings of the cards, what they say to you... you can put down the "traditional meanings" but expand on them, add your own thoughts. And, when a different meaning occurs to you in a reading... add that to your notes in your journal.

These excercises can go a long way to helping you to learn to more clearly put your thoughts and ideas into words. And Shalott's idea of a good thesaurus is excellent, as is investing in a good dictionary. You can use both of these tools to help you build your vocabulary. They've been invaluable to me... ;)

Before your readings, you might want to work on making sure that you are "grounded" so that your mind isn't carried away too much by the images that come to you. Control your breathing and work at slowing your mind down to a pace that allows better verbal communication. I also say a prayer asking for guidance and for assistance in putting the ideas and images that occur to me into words that the other person can understand... I ask for help communicating.

And... if you're of a "new-age" mind, and feel that crystals and stones can help... I have found 2 stones to be of a great deal of assistance in helping me to creatively communicate during readings. Turquoise is very good for creative thought. And "girasol" or blue opal (not as expensive as it sounds ;) ) is also very good for aiding me in being verbally articulate.

I do hope this has been of some assistance. 

Bosorka  30 Aug 2004 
While reading Trogon´s reply, one more thing came to my mind. When I absolutely didn´t know how to tell what I saw, I start to explain in a way - you know, it´s just like if ... Sometimes I used Thirteen´s explanations, sometimes my own experiences. I found out that people tend to underestand it more when I say for 8 swords Thirteen´s "it´s just like when your best friend is in love with a terrible boy and asks how do you like him", than telling it´s a card of beeing scared to tell or somewhat in that meaning. (Though it doesn´t fit to every situation...) 

pandora  31 Aug 2004 
Thank you everyone, so many wonderful suggestions and I will try them all. It is so heartening to know that I am not alone with my struggles. I have tried to meditate and slow down, ground myself, and that seems to work wonders. My only worry is that when I analyze each card and then put the meaning to it through my books, then try to put it all together ...... I have lost that initial “picture”. When I have a firmer grasp of the meanings of each card and given time..... I believe I will be able to do this.

I am always amazed, scared, confounded, at the clear mirror my cards hold up to me but l do not think I will be able to do this for others for a very long time.


Lucretia Luna  04 Sep 2004 
This has been a fascinating thread, with many brilliant suggestions. Reading them all, a rather different thought occurred to me. It seemed to me that your own posts, Pandora, became more clear and focused as the thread continued - possibly the work you have been doing from suggestions. As you do seem articulate with the written word, there may be another block involved when it comes to voicing.

The voice is perhaps the most personal aspect of each of us - try checking out some quickly made TV programmes, soaps, etc. Instead of watching, listen only. How much do you actually believe of what the actors (not characters) say? As an actor, I am very aware of the 'fake' voices that creep in. The connection for you? you ask, impatiently. Or with great patience, if that's the way you are. :)

Well, it may just be that, especially if you are feeling that you are not always clear in speech, your confidence in saying what you see needs some boosting - you may just be feeling vulnerable in that area, as so many of us do when it comes to vocalising anything that matters. I could be on completely the wrong track here, but it is another thought - we all bring our own perspectives to tarot, and sometimes these are what we should look at, as I think you have already been doing, when there is a problem in reading.

Hope you don't consider this an impertinence.



Trogon  05 Sep 2004 
Originally posted by Bosorka
When I absolutely didn´t know how to tell what I saw, I start to explain in a way - you know, it´s just like if ... Sometimes I used Thirteen´s explanations, sometimes my own experiences. I found out that people tend to underestand it more when I say for 8 swords Thirteen´s "it´s just like when your best friend is in love with a terrible boy and asks how do you like him", than telling it´s a card of beeing scared to tell or somewhat in that meaning.

Bosorka! Very good thought! I do find myself doing this a lot too... :D I just don't think of it as I'm doing it. Yes... using illustrative examples which show feelings or types of events and the feelings one might have with them are an excellent way of communicating those thoughts to another person.

Lucretia Luna makes a very good point as well. Listening to others speak without watching them can help you. I think it might go a long way to helping you to realise what works good for communicating and what does not.

I've thought on this question a bit since your original post, Pandora. I do think that communicating ideas verbally to other people can be a very difficult aspect of doing Tarot readings. We can get self-conscious about trying to tell others what these cards are portraying to us. In some respects, some of us may have an advantage over some others in this area. If we have had classes or attended seminars on public speaking (through work for instance, or when in school), or if we have had to learn how to train other people in our work, we have had more experience (outside of the Tarot) in verbally communicating ideas to other people.

For example, I was in the Navy for 8 years. During that time I was sent to classes which taught me how to teach other people in "on-the-job-training" type situations. I was also sent to 2 leadership seminars which partially focused on communicating with other people. Then, in my current job, I have also attended what we call a "train the trainer" seminar. I have been a police dispatcher for 18 years and as such have a lot of experience with communicating with people verbally - with the public, with officers and when training new dispatchers.

The point I am trying to make (in a rather round-about way) is that as you gain experience in communicating these ideas to other people - you will get better at communicating with them. So, as much as possible, practice, practice, practice. ;) I seem to recall that there is an international "club" which focuses on helping to make people better speakers. Does anyone know what that club might be? (Hmm... maybe I need to focus on improving my memory... :rolleyes: ) 

pandora  05 Sep 2004 
Such strange paths we choose to walk, wish I knew where I was going with this. I thought I was just going to learn Tarot, now I feel like I’ve started some kind of therapy! Maybe I should be on the other thread!
Thanks for all your help and support.

Yes, speaking, and saying “something” ..... never a strong point of mine. Listening and hearing/feeling something completely different, a big problem.
I can talk all day and not “say” a thing, which most people seem to prefer but I hate, so truth be told I am considered by most as extremely anti-social. I enjoy my own company far too much and tend to spend to much time in my own mind/world.
I begin to see my natural form of communication is by acts rather than words.
Unlike you my work has never involved much speech, most of my life has been active demonstration, teach by seeing/showing, or selling what I do or create. I am a “no, don’t tell me, show me, can I show you, do you see, O.K. I see now” person.

I am working and practicing with a book “The Heart of the Tarot” which is all two card layouts, situation/challenge spreads and am starting to improve my verbal skills. (much easier with only 2 cards to speak to) My poor dogs are my clients! Don’t laugh..... I am not actually trying to read for them, just to them, practice, practice, practice!
But then I ponder, as I gain this knowledge will I also gain the strength of character to keep silent away from the cards. I have already gotten a few funny looks. Another hurdle but exciting none the less.


Tootsie  05 Sep 2004 
Hi Pandora. I have this same problem too! So, you're not alone. Like Shalott, I'm much better in email readings because I can sit and have the time to let the cards speak to me and send me the message. I have found some success though in face to face readings so long as I was comfortable. I've found that it can be intimidating having a querent waiting anxiously for your interpretations, which tend to get me to the "freeze" point. I also rely to heavily on the meanings, be they from the LWB or a website. Others here have told me to let the card speak to me, tell me the message, and interpret it accordingly. I think you'll find meditation before/during the reading process to be of help. Let yourself truly get into the mode, connect with the deck and the words will come - at least, that's been my experience.

Tootsie :) 

Ace  06 Sep 2004 
Originally posted by Trogon
The point I am trying to make (in a rather round-about way) is that as you gain experience in communicating these ideas to other people - you will get better at communicating with them. So, as much as possible, practice, practice, practice. ;) I seem to recall that there is an international "club" which focuses on helping to make people better speakers. Does anyone know what that club might be? (Hmm... maybe I need to focus on improving my memory... :rolleyes: )

Try Toastmasters International. They teach and help speakers improve. 

The help with readings thread was originally posted on 25 Aug 2004 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the active threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.


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