Photo credit: Ashley St. Clair Photography
We all have a certain degree of what is called intuition. This may or may not include being psychic as well. Intuition is our innate ability to sense things in the world around us. It is our instinctive or unconscious knowing that has nothing to do with our cognitive abilities of reason and logic. Intuition is a gut instinct that we feel regardless of what we are logically supposed to feel. It lets us know when there is danger or what kind of people are around us. It is our innate inner sense that switches on for certain situations we may deal with when logic isn't the way to assess it. For example; a person may appear to be nice, but our intuition may make sense otherwise. So, in that case, it is wise to keep on guard until the person proves us right or wrong in our intuitive assessment. It may be that the person even seems nice but something isn't quite right with them; so our gut tells us to be on guard, something is wrong. That is intuition. It's that feeling we get in situations where our logic isn't able to address or assess a situation and the feeling is telling us what's happening.
Being psychic is the apparent sensitivity to things beyond what is accepted as the normal range of perception. It can take many forms. Hollywood and the media always make it appear as some extraordinary ability to bend objects and move concrete material with our minds. Although these phenomena do happen and people are gifted with that ability; not every psychic can do that. Some people have the gift to hear things, some see things, some can channel in the spiritual realm.
Just like intuition; a person who is considered psychic has the abilities to innately sense things. Not all psychics execute their psychic abilities the same way. For instance, some psychics possess such abilities as clairvoyance (the ability to perceive things or events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact) and others may be telepathic (able to read or hear what a person is thinking or saying non verbally). Others may have paranormal aptitudes (example: being able to bend objects or move them with their minds) or supernatural inclinations (example: to see and feel beyond the normal range of logic by communicating with spirits). One can have intuition and not be psychic and one can be both psychic and intuitive.
To read the tarot it isn't necessary to be psychic but it is important to tune in to our intuitions. What is interesting however is the more we use our intuitions the more we open up our senses and have psychic moments as a result. Each tarot card has a standard meaning but the difference between a good tarot card reader and an ordinary one is how developed their intuitions are. An intuitive tarot card reader will use their senses and gut feelings, as well as, the literal interpretation of a card to get the full essence of the card's meaning. Like everything else in life the more we use our intuition the
sharper it becomes.
The stronger our intuitions develop the more accurate our readings become. Tarot cards are tools that help focus the intuition for those with intuitive skills. Some people have intuition as a gift, others may have to work harder to open that part of themselves in order to have a little intuition. Many times, those with strong intuitions (to the point of being psychic) may have had it in their families and it is passed along from generation to generation.
Many people that are not open to the idea of the Tarot and intuition dismiss the idea of reading with the cards as a cheap parlor trick. The truth is that most people have a misconception of what a reading is. It's the intuitive gifts that the reader has and how he or she applies them to the cards that makes a reading effective. Most people who read cards are already intuitive to an extent from very early on in their lives, which is what made them gravitate to the tarot in the first place. The tarot is not magic in and of itself when you take the cards out the box. It's the person's energy that is used to create that magical interaction between herself and the cards. It's the person's connection to the cards, their intuition and their interpretation that makes the magic happen during a reading.
Like there are many types of card readers; there are many tarot decks to choose from. What happens is, when a person goes to buy a tarot deck, it is usually the artwork that draws them to that deck. A person will read effectively if they can connect to the artwork on the cards. This is because the artwork gives the person a feeling based on what the pictures mean to them. The symbolism in the cards is enhanced by the affinity the person has to the artwork, both culturally and spiritually.
The other thing that is important for that magical connection to the cards is the life force energy in our bodies. It's that energy in our bodies that circulates through our being and connects us to our spiritual essence. Life force is what gives us a will, a vibrancy and a spiritual connection to things outside of ourselves. This same energy is released when we touch the cards. Our energy is imparted into the cards by just putting our hands on them. When we use the cards in a reading our energy flows into the cards from our hands because we consciously direct our focus to the cards for a reading. Different readers use this energy in different ways. Some will actually let the client touch their cards in order to feel the person they are reading's energy; while other readers won't because they do not want to mix their energy with the people they are reading. I myself do want people to touch my cards but I have friends who are gifted readers who do not. It's up to how we, the reader, decide to work with the energy we have, as well as, the energy of the person who is being read.
When we choose the cards for a spread (and this is true particularly for seasoned readers) the cards embark an energy through our hands and tell us when to stop shuffling and or when to throw a card on the table. This is how it works for me and I know it works for other readers as such. There are also times when I use the other person's energy and have them shuffle and pick the cards for their reading. In either case, it is that same energy that drives the person to pick and shuffle the cards for the message they are about to receive.
The other interesting thing is that the symbolic meaning of cards varies among readers. It depends on how their intuitions interpret and relate to a particular card. For example, the death card for one reader may literally mean someone is going to pass; and for others it may mean the end of a particular period for a person in their life. So if someone goes to a reader and sees the death card it doesn't necessarily mean someone is going to die. It may mean the end of a relationship, lifestyle, or that someone needs to completely change their life. It is all about how the reader connects to the images in the cards and senses how it relates to the person being read.
When one first starts to read the tarot there may be confusion about the interpretation of a card. This is when one's intuition really is asked to work. When this happens it's good to focus all your attention and energy on that card and ask your intuition to tell you what that card is saying. Envision it in your mind's eye and the scenario it conjures in your mind's eye. In this way, it can help give you clarification to understand what message is being given by that particular card.
This is also a good way to develop your intuition in relation to reading the cards. You start by getting the traditional standardized meaning of a card and then ask your inner self, your intuition, what does it mean. You start to internalize the energy of the cards and mesh it with your intuition. This serves two purposes: it helps you memorize each card by a standard meaning and then helps you develop your intuition as to what that card means to your senses. Note the feeling you get when you do this with each card because the feeling you get is the energy that that card draws on. This is what makes the difference between anyone reading cards and a good reader. A good reader is in tune to their energy; the connection they have with the cards and their intuition. These two elements, energy and intuition, are what goes into the cards from the reader to give a clear and accurate reading.
There are those readers who are also channelers and use spiritual guides to help them with readings. These are, for the most part, people who have intuition and a spiritual component, on some level, in which their psychic ability is able to work in the spiritual realm. These are those tarot readers who ask their guides to come in to help them when they do consultations. A guide is a spiritual entity that will help them with their readings. They may talk to them, they may guide their hands or they may actually enter the reader. You do not have to have this ability to read cards.
I myself have guides who work through my hands, but it is not an essential for reading the tarot. What is important is that you are open enough to let your intuition work for and with you when you interpret the cards and their meanings. I am an intuitive spiritualist. I have never taken lessons and don't have the patience to read books on all the symbolism and details of the tarot cards in depth like some many do. My point is whatever works for you; take the basics and run with it to read the cards to the best of your ability.