Managing insecurities while learning

TashaTealeaf

I would just suggest to stop putting pressure on yourself and the Tarot. Tell yourself you're playing, exploring, building a relationship. No need to "know what you're doing" in Tarot, now or ever; knowing you don't know is how you keep improving. :)

This is a nice, easy going approach. Thank you for the suggestion.
 

Tanga

This is why I want to do readings. I want to be able to help people gain clarity and control of their lives. I want to provide a service that actually improves people's quality of life.

I did a reading for someone who was going on a difficult path, and they said my reading was exactly what they needed to hear at the moment. It made me incredibly happy to hear that.

Seems to me your doing OK just as you are.

One thing I know - the more I know, the more I know I don't know.
But everyone has a niche at whatever level they are at - in my belief. And life is about just these sorts of cycles.
Trust that what you know right now will be perfect for the people who need it now - coming from the exact package that you presently offer - and that as you grow, you will then fill perfectly, the shoes for the next level, ad infinitum.
Let go of the struggle and just allow it to be.

Choosing the interpretation that is a "match" - is a never ending creative journey of discovery for us all. And to err is natural.

Practice with friends as has been suggested. Offer readings for feedback here on AT, and
look at how other people interpret things here and on other Tarot sites etc.
The tapestry becomes richer and richer as you continue to explore all these things.

:) :)
 

gregory

Basically all my readings are for strangers online. I have trouble reading for people I know because I know too much about them already. I just feel like I'm giving them advice, rather than reading cards.
You aren't alone. I will not read for friends and family. I usually have a view on their situation, and I don't want to risk seeing what I want to see. I won't read for myself for the same reason.

Don't listen to your doubts. Just read. The more you do, the better. We all doubt. Every single time I post a reading here, I think OMG they will HATE it. For my most recent one I had used a deck so weird that I started wishing I hadn't even tried, and I offered to do it again with a more comfortable deck. Surprise. My sitter said it was spot on.

We all know we know nothing. Someone here has under her avvie,"The more I know, I know that I know NOTHING!."

But the cards know... :D
 

Amanda

This is a question for the more experienced readers.

How do you get through the "I have no idea what I'm doing" stage of learning tarot? I know enough to know I barely know anything and it's a little overwhelming.

I've done readings for people where they have said it was very accurate, but how do I know those weren't just flukes?

How do I know if I have any potential? How can I be sure that I am improving and not just floundering?

You will never, ever, know everything there is to know about tarot. It's a tool that directly reflects LIFE... you just have to figure out your part of the 'world' within it. You still might not know what you're doing because like life, tarot might pop up with a new challenge for you at any time... what I've found though, is that those new challenges are appropriately challenging. You know you have potential so long as you know you want to keep doing it. Being 'sure' that you are improving is going to require you to be logical about your own process... because the fact is, PEOPLE LIE. Enjoy the nice lies now while they're being kind to you as you learn. ;) When you get really good... they might not enjoy it so much and you may become collateral damage in an effort to save and protect their ego.

This is why I want to do readings. I want to be able to help people gain clarity and control of their lives. I want to provide a service that actually improves people's quality of life.

I did a reading for someone who was going on a difficult path, and they said my reading was exactly what they needed to hear at the moment. It made me incredibly happy to hear that.

That's awesome! There was a time when I was brand-spanking-new to tarot (still using a book). I did a reading for my mother's friend, and got the Empress. I looked through the book, but the only thing that really 'stuck out' that I knew most about the Empress was that she could represent pregnancy. I told my mother's friend she'd have a baby. She laughed at me, said no way (she was my mother's age, a woman in her 40s at the time and already had a daughter close to my age). I didn't take it too seriously, I was brand new... years later, we were both pregnant at the same time for our daughters. How weird is that?! I had forgotten all about the reading, but she didn't... she apologized for laughing at me. It was such a seemingly impossible thing, but probably the first big 'success' tarot gave me to trust it, myself, my instincts...

Basically all my readings are for strangers online. I have trouble reading for people I know because I know too much about them already. I just feel like I'm giving them advice, rather than reading cards.

I'm also afraid that I'll just cold read people rather than read the cards. Working over the internet removes a lot of that risk. All I have is a screen name and a question, so there's only so many assumptions I can make.

If you get really cozy and familiar around here, you may become aware of people's issues. That's why I have tended not to build long-term relationships here because I would like to stay useful. LOL There was a time that I had looked at a reading for someone in the Your Readings forum, then did a reading request for someone else (I thought) in the Reading Exchange, but the familiarity between the two was strongly within the cards. I had no idea it was the same person, until I did the second reading in the reading exchange... it was just the feeling right there in the cards- the situation was coming across too similar... I alerted a moderator pretty much saying, "Okay, I'm not really 100 percent sure about this, but I think these two people might be the same person... I'm really not trying to get anyone into trouble, but thought I should say something, just in case." Turns out, they were the same person. The cards gave them away (and they were banned for having two accounts). If you know your cards really well, know your own process really well, you will be able to tell when someone is not being straight with you. You are at more risk for that in an online setting. People are less-likely to lie to you face-to-face in a private setting. It's easier to lie in this kind of environment, so just be prepared for that. You have to rely more on yourself than anyone else around here. My advice is, take what works and what helps you progress and blow off the rest. Now, if you are consistently getting the idea that you're doing something wrong, take a closer look at it... other than that though, keep on truckin' along with what's working.

The reason I like tarot is because of the structure. My problem isn't too few interpretations, but too many. Each card is a complex web of associations with layers upon layers of meaning.

Within the context of a spread, I force myself to pick one meaning and stick with it, unless the sitter gives me a reason to say something different. Or else I'd be listing off a bunch of different possibilities and it'd be overwhelming and unhelpful.

My issue isn't figuring out a meaning for the spread that makes sense, but deciding which fit is best for the situation.

If you like structure, you're in the right place. I came with 9 years of mish-mash guesswork, but 6 years here doubled my skill considerably by watching others and learning the logic behind my own process.

How do you normally read? A spread, or a line of cards with no positions (free-flow)?
 

Barleywine

Tarot was a particular system I really couldn't get a handle on in my twenties when I first took it up. I found it too complicated and put it aside in favour of the looser style of oracles. It really took a lot of life lessons for me to begin connecting to the archetypes depicted in the deck. So I guess I'm saying time, familiarity with combinations, and in person readings are a big help in learning to read. A lot of people imagine that to be pressurising but I find online readings the hardest because you are basically blind until the entire reading is done. In-person your querent will tell you immediately if you are off, enabling you to reframe it, look again or garner some information about their situation that makes the card clear.

It also comes down to how many different ways you can see a particular card. In the beginning when all I had to go on was the book meanings it was really difficult to get clear messages. Many book meanings tie cards only to particular aspects of life when they could be relating to something completely different. Getting love cards in a career reading for instance, or all pentacles and swords in a love reading. It takes time to see everything in different lights.

I see two important ideas to take away from this:

In-person readings (while they can be intimidating for beginners) are great confidence-builders because you can have a dialogue with the sitter and together zero in on the message in a spread. I've always considered it a "mutual voyage of discovery" because both participants often learn something.

Going hand-in-hand with this is having several ways to interpret each card (that is, practical, psychological, social, spiritual, and so forth). This enbles you to take two steps back and try a different angle on a tricky interpretation. This has often meant the difference between success and failure in my experience. I work for the "Aha!" moment with every sitter, and having a well-stocked tool-box is crucial for that.
 

MandMaud

This is a question for the more experienced readers.

How do you get through the "I have no idea what I'm doing" stage of learning tarot? I know enough to know I barely know anything and it's a little overwhelming.

I've done readings for people where they have said it was very accurate, but how do I know those weren't just flukes?

How do I know if I have any potential? How can I be sure that I am improving and not just floundering?

I can't read the other answers just now, but for myself, I made a decision to see how big a fool I could make of myself. When my intuition kicks in, it feels just like I'm making it all up in my own imagination... so I went ahead and stated whatever came to mind. Yes, it took quite a bit of courage(!) but I reckoned, I have plenty of experience at looking an idiot when I didn't intend to, so this can't be worse. :D Saying to myself that the "aim" of that thread was to set out to make a fool of myself was the self-talk that allowed me to take the risk.

And I was astonished how many times people told me I was spot on, comments like "How on earth did you get such accuracy?" The times I looked at what I'd typed and couldn't honestly justify it, couldn't see anything to back me up, those were the times I really hit the nail on the head.

Really and truly, I don't feel that it was ME being accurate.

I have to say, it's still scary each time. Instead of trying not to feel that I need to get it "right" or to leave the interaction with my dignity intact, I keep having to make an effort to get it "wrong" and look stupid. And there's still huge relief when most of what I say fits the querent's situation!

So as for managing insecurities... Well, you don't get rid of them. You have to read despite having them. My own way of doing that is to embrace them, walk straight at the scary scenarios instead of trying to dodge. Maybe it would work for you. :)
 

TashaTealeaf

How do you normally read? A spread, or a line of cards with no positions (free-flow)?

I do a bit of both. If it's a quick question, I'll do a non-positional, 3 card pull. For more complex, I use positions. I don't do usually do spreads that are more then 6 cards.
 

SwordOfTruth

I see two important ideas to take away from this:

In-person readings (while they can be intimidating for beginners) are great confidence-builders because you can have a dialogue with the sitter and together zero in on the message in a spread. I've always considered it a "mutual voyage of discovery" because both participants often learn something.

Going hand-in-hand with this is having several ways to interpret each card (that is, practical, psychological, social, spiritual, and so forth). This enbles you to take two steps back and try a different angle on a tricky interpretation. This has often meant the difference between success and failure in my experience. I work for the "Aha!" moment with every sitter, and having a well-stocked tool-box is crucial for that.

I think you and I have a similar style of thinking about the tarot. In my point of view, I'm not a psychic, it's not my job to know the details of someone's life by looking at a set of cards and then choosing the right scenario. For me, tarot is much more of a consultation, someone brings their issue to the table and we have a discussion about it with reference to the cards. I'm a card reader, I interpret the cards in light of what the querent is telling me about their situation. If they choose to with-hold certain information then it's really to their detriment because I will give the cards an interpretation based on what they're telling me.

I don't see tarot as an arena where I bring my psychic abilities to the stage and prove them. Having this point of view has really helped me to explore the cards without judgement or even needing to be right and accurate. I'll give my take and if the other person tells me it doesn't fit, well so be it. Takes a lot of pressure off and I'll either reinterpret or leave it as is depending on the situation. I have been proven right in the past, but being right or not isn't what I care about. I just like the journey of tarot.

There is no destination with tarot, that point where you are a total master. There's no getting there because it's a neverending journey. After 15yrs I'm still learning and I think I will be until the day I die.
 

MandMaud

Don't listen to your doubts. Just read. The more you do, the better. We all doubt. Every single time I post a reading here, I think OMG they will HATE it.

I went back and read through, having thought I couldn't tonight.
Turns out that what I said, gregory had already said. :)

might not know what you're doing because like life, tarot might pop up with a new challenge for you at any time... what I've found though, is that those new challenges are appropriately challenging. You know you have potential so long as you know you want to keep doing it. Being 'sure' that you are improving is going to require you to be logical about your own process... because the fact is, PEOPLE LIE. Enjoy the nice lies now while they're being kind to you as you learn. ;) When you get really good... they might not enjoy it so much and you may become collateral damage in an effort to save and protect their ego.

I don't know about you, Tasha, but this is really helpful for me! About the challenges that life / the universe / tarot throws at us being the challenges that are good for us at the stage we're at. Needs restating every so often. Thanks, Amanda!

Also the bit about learning about one's OWN reading process. Put that at the very beginning of your tarot-teaching book (;)): rather than learning the cards, we're really learning how WE read them. :lightbulb
 

Ledam

Sometimes I have that same feeling of insecurity...and with me happens the same thing of not wanting to read to my friend because I know their situations so well...but I read for them anyway. The thing that works for me is trusting my intuition, even though it can come with some odd things at times, and like others say, embrace that fear and read. You can feel so overwhelmed with the amount of layers that Tarot has. My recommendation is going from the easiest to the more complex things, for choosing for example definitions look at all the cards in the spread and look for patterns like the same symbol in 2 or more cards, something that they may have in common, and use that as a cue. And the most important thing: keep practicing and never lose your beginner's mind, because the day that you lose it, you will be really stuck as a reader.