Learning to read tarot includes study, such as understanding the system behind your deck of choice, exploring card meanings, working with correspondences, and reviewing reading techniques and spreads. No matter how much one studies, it is (I think) impossible to become a skilled tarot reader without a lot of practice.
People often ask me how they should practice. There are so many ways, depending on what part of your practice you are working on. Getting comfortable reading for others would, of course, require that you actually read for people, using starting with yourself, family, and friends. But I think there is work to be done before that. I think that there is a level of practice that requires feedback, something we cannot get in our face to face readings unless the person comes back to you after the situation has played out. Having someone say, at the conclusion of reading, “that makes sense” or “that doesn’t seem likely” is not helpful, since we have to wait and see how things turn out.
Why do I think we need a period of practice that includes feedback?
1. Getting feedback helps you develop relationships between your cards and spread positions and/or situation as well as helping you see card combinations that will, for you, represent specific things. These are different for every reader; part of becoming a skilled reader is learning the card relationship that come up for you.
2. Getting feedback helps you to identify your tell. Your tell is that experience, again it is different for every reader, that lets you know you’ve hit that flow where you are particularly in tune with your intuition. Knowing your tell helps you deal with those moments where you want to say something to your querent but it seems crazy or unrelated, but turns out to be very meaningful or significant.
3. Getting feedback helps strengthen your confidence.
As I said, doing readings where you can get feedback on a consistent basis can be difficult, especially with people. So my suggestions?
1. If you watch a weekly TV show, are following a news story, or watch sporting events, do readings about them. Reading for fictional characters of a TV that you like and are familiar with is sort of like reading for friends, and you know you will get feedback each week when you watch the show.
2. You can do this before going to a movie.
3. While reading a book, as situations arise for the characters, do readings in between chapters.
These sorts of practice readings give you something concrete to work with and give you feedback right away (relatively speaking), so that you can track your strengths, develop your card combinations, become fluent in your spreads of choice. You can also identify your weak spots and work on improving them.