All readers have cards they dislike (some of them are fives). This exercise helps one see the full potential in every card. Chose the 3 cards from the deck you dislike the most. Now brainstorm and come up with five good or positive things about each card. This is pretty difficult, but you might be surprised at the things you come up with. The first few are fairly easy. In the Waite-Smith 5 of cups for example, there are still two cups left standing, all is not lost; the person in the card has a warm cloak and good solid shoes, which seems to say his physical needs are taken care of; there is "water under a bridge", which suggests that whats done is done and that he should let go, pick up his two remaining cups and get on with his life. I'm sure you all can come up with others.
Many Tarot books and readers warn against reading for yourself. The common thread in this argument is that it is difficult to be objective and that one tends to see what one wants to see rather than what is really there. That is a real danger, however I think reading for yourself can be most helpful, particular in seeing options that you might not have come to on your own. You have to keep all possible meanings in mind when reading for yourself and then decide which one fits best realistically, not hopefully. Reading for yourself can help you change the outcome of a situation, by showing you where things are headed presently and what you can do to change them.
I try to read for myself everyday. It gives me an idea of where the day is headed and how things are going with me on an intellectual, physical and spiritual level. I usually use one of the two following spreads, depending on my mood.
Mind, Body, Spirit: I spread three cards from left to right, with the first representing my mental state, the second my physical state and the third my spiritual state.
Past, Present, Future: Again I spread three cards from left to right with the first representing the recent past or events that have lead up to the present, the second card representing today, and the third card representing the near future. I sometimes use this spread in reference to a problem I am working on or a project or situation I am dealing with, whether at work or at home. It is short and to the point. If I feel I need additional information, I just deal more cards on the cards to clarify the one that is giving me difficulty. For both spreads I also look at the undercurrent card.
This is a reading method I learned from another reader. Whenever she does a reading, she throws whatever spread she is going to use and then looks at the card left on the bottom of the deck. She calls this card the undercurrent. The undercurrent is what underlies the question. It is the atmosphere in which events are taking place. For example if the querent had a question about a relationship and the 4 of pentacles was on the bottom of the deck, it could be interpreted as someone in the relationship not wanting to let go. Perhaps for financial reasons (very common), for selfish reasons, or for security reasons. It could bean unconscious or unexpressed desire which the querent him/herself is not even aware of. Depending on the rest of the cards thrown, letting go might be the best thing. I find the concept useful and use it in my daily readings.
There are many other methods for reading them as well. The use of reversals is not as prevalent as it once was. Many newer beginner books do not include them at all, however you must do what you feel most comfortable with. Arguments can be made for both sides. If you decide not to use them, bear in mind thateach card has a full spectrum of meanings. For example, the three of cups can mean merriment and celebration, but carried to excess could mean drunkenness, or excessive partying.
Some readers see a progression though the Minor Arcana with Aces representing a beginning, twos further development, threes as planning, fours as practical attainment, fives as unbalance, sixes as harmony, sevens as choices, eights as changes and nines as conclusions. Tens are the ultimate fulfillment of the suit and represent a transition which leads back to the Ace.
Various experts have assigned different progressions to each number. Some are based on numerology and some are not. If you are familiar with numerology, you can apply some of its concepts to Tarot as well.
Find out more about Tarot and the Individual Tarot Cards in the DISCOVER section of this website.
Most Tarot Card readers do some type of centering exercise before doing a reading. These exercises can be elaborate or very simple. The method I use is in the latter category.
Before doing a reading I always shuffle the deck. While shuffling I ask God/Goddess to guide my words and allow me to assist the querent (or myself). Some people like to create an atmosphere by lighting candles, burning incense or doing a short meditation
before reading. Whatever your belief system, it is best to approach the cards from a feeling of calm, rather than in a harried, distracted way.
Pray, cast a circle, invoke the God/Goddess, meditate, do deep breathing exercises, or do whatever it is you do to get in touch with your center.
Find out more about Tarot and reading the cards in the DISCOVER section of the Bewitched.com.au website.