When I first started reading Tarot cards, I didn’t understand the role that Tarot would one day play in my life. Sure, I wanted to learn to read cards and divine the future.
I had some inclination that Tarot could also tell me about my inner life. But I had no idea how much of a doorway Tarot could be into the intuitive realm.
I was always fascinated by the psychic phenomenon and would occasionally have precognitive dreams, or dreams about things that hadn’t happened yet but would.
But like many people, maybe even like you, I didn’t believe I was intuitive.
I thought only special “gifted” people just walked around being intuitively open and connected with the Spirit realm. Fortunately, I was wrong.
But I’m not “Intuitive”….
Maybe like me, you also stop yourself from going further with your Tarot work.
Maybe you also have heard that intuition is something only a rare few people are born with. Maybe, like me, you were also shortchanged into thinking that intuition was not an option for you.
I invite you to reconsider this.
We are all intuitive. I have come to understand this is a birthright and not a special gift only some people have. Sure, some people open up to it easier than others, but that is the case with many things.
I had to work harder to learn piano than other people, but I always felt very at ease drawing and painting.
Some people have a strong talent for singing, others refine their talent by taking voice lessons.
What I came to discover is there is no shame in acknowledging that we all have a gift for connecting with the Spirit world and higher wisdom some call “Intuition” or Psychic abilities. The only difference lay in how we access it and how comfortable we feel with it.
What is Intuition?
For most of us, intuition is pushed out of us by society. This was definitely true for me. I put a high value on doing well in school. That means, I put effort into valuing what I thought but not how I felt.
Like the society I live in, I learned to give more credibility to logical formulas and things that make sense rationally and not to hunches and instincts.
The biggest barrier for me, when it came to trust my own intuition, was giving credence to a subtle source of information.
Thoughts are loud. Opinions are loud. Intuition is more like a whisper, and on top of that, a whisper regarding something we can’t always verify in the moment.
Learning to trust information that comes from this higher wisdom and is subtle and not always validated easily is challenging, but this is the biggest obstacle to overcome.
When you’ve learned to trust your intuition, you’ll feel the difference between this force and the force of thinking.
Luckily, Tarot is an excellent gateway into awakening your natural intuitive gifts.
Where Tarot and Intuition Collide
Think of intuition as the ability to create music. It comes in many forms, depending on the specific instrument you play or whether you just use your voice.
So whether you play guitar or flute, you are making music. Whether you use Tarot or Runes, you are using intuition.
But there is more to it than that. I have a friend who can sit down with any instrument for the first time and play it beautifully.
She truly is a natural musician with very little formal training. She instinctively knows how to play just about anything.
Contrast this with another person who creates equally beautiful music, but only if they have the sheet music to read in front of them.
Reading Tarot cards accesses your intuition in the same way that reading sheet music accesses your musical talents to play an instrument.
Intuition and the Subconscious in a Tarot Reading
Tarot was designed this way. Each card depicts archetypal symbols. These symbols are universal and speak to timeless themes. They are recognizable to the subconscious. They also evoke an emotional response.
Intuition emerges from the subconscious because the subconscious can bypass the logical mind and ego. Logical mind and ego talk us out of believing in intuition.
Tarot distracts your logical mind with a story. While your logical mind is distracted, your subconscious mind and intuition are engaged.
Intuition and Spirit Guides during a Tarot Reading
With intention, you can take the process further and actually work with Spirit Guides and further enhancing your intuition while working with Tarot.
Some people ask if intuition comes from our own higher wisdom or if it has to come from Spirit. Can you have an intuitive connection but not feel a connection with Spirit?
The answer is yes, sort of. I believe that we all, as people, are intuitive. This is part of our own higher wisdom. Yet I also believe that when we use our “personal” intuition we will still be somewhat limited.
Our personal intuition is the hunch that tells us to leave early, and in doing so we avoid an accident. Our personal intuition is sometimes also referred to as being an “empath” because it gives us deep empathy with others.
Intuition vs thoughts, feelings and beliefs in a Tarot Reading
Yet when it comes to prediction and reading for others, our personal intuition can get entangled with our thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
Let’s say I am doing a reading for a client who I have come to like working with. Challenging cards emerge, the Tower and Three of Swords. If I rely only on my personal level of intuition, I may unintentionally also project my hopes onto the situation.
My biases can get in the way. I may think “Oh no! I hope it’s not her relationship, she seemed so happy with Mark…” and then quickly jump to the assumption that the cards are referring to an unhappy job situation when in fact that is not the case.
Yet if I open up to Spiritual Guidance through guides and directly intending to be led by Spirit, then my own ego is put further out of the way.
I may say to myself “Oh no, I hope it isn’t her relationship with Mark…” to which I will sense an intuitive nudging indicating that yes, it is a problem with the relationship.
Now I can’t backtrack and try to sugar coat things. I have been given a clear sense of what is going on and have to respond accordingly.
Let me make this clear: You ARE Intuitive
I just want to repeat here because by now you may be thinking “I don’t get those nudges so I must not be able to do what YOU can do.” That is not true. I recall saying the same to myself when listening to other Intuitive readers talk.
If there is only one take away from this article that sticks with you, let it be this: You are intuitive. Yes, you.
It doesn’t matter that you don’t see the future all the time. No one does. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know how to “turn on” your intuition. You can learn to do that.
But first you must give yourself credit for having this ability.
This can be hard to accept because intuition works in very personal ways and is often invalidated by family, school, work, and society at large.
Why You Don’t Know You’re Intuitive and How Tarot Can Remind You
One of the best things about using Tarot Cards as a tool to access intuition is that you can be reminded of the intuition that you were taught by society to disregard.
Why you Think you’re not Intuitive
Before we jump to that, though, let’s take a deeper look at why you think you’re not intuitive.
Often it is the result of believing myths that movies and television shows portray about intuition and Psychic Abilities and how it works.
In the movies, an intuitive always comes from a “long line of psychics” or was taught to divine the future by an eccentric aunt or grandmother.
These are stereotypes and aren’t relevant to true intuition. Yes, your bloodline may have been prominent psychics but that is because everyone is intuitive.
So some families may have fostered it more openly rather than hiding it. Just as some families encourage a musical or artistic talent through the generations.
We are often told that intuition means you “see things.” This confuses a lot of people. They expect tangible, three-dimensional images to suddenly appear before their eyes.
You may have that experience (called Clairvoyance), but it is more likely you won’t. It is more likely you may see, hear, sense, taste, feel, or perceive impressions through any of your senses.
The “realness” of these intuitive impressions or psychic experiences can range from vague to clear as if in a dream. Just because an impression seems vague doesn’t mean it isn’t accurate. Yet that is what we assume oftentimes.
You may think you’re not intuitive because you couldn’t predict everything that happened to you, or you may “try really hard” to make your intuition work only to feel like you’re drawing a blank.
This used to be the case for me. But one of the biggest things I learned was that trying really hard doesn’t help.
Trying really hard is a function of the ego. It actually shuts down intuition.
Think of how effective it is when you try really hard to come up with a painting or writing idea. It doesn’t work.
Intuition is about Being Receptive
With intuition, the effort is more about being receptive. If you put effort into anything it should be practice and rigorous self-honesty.
Think of opening intuition like falling asleep. If you try really hard to sleep, anxiety blocks the process. If you settle in and drift off, you fall asleep.
Tarot makes it easier because you can engage with the images and work with the symbols to relax and give your ego a pleasant distraction while your intuition steps up to the plate.
Tarot gives you something tangible to help you access something intangible. This makes it feel less like you’re stumbling in the dark.
You can also keep a journal and ‘test’ your intuition against the cards you pull in a reading. Over time this helps you gauge when you are intuiting vs. when you are guessing.
Engaging with Art is Naturally Intuitive
Think of Tarot like mini portraits of scenes and people. They are a highly artistic form of accessing your intuition. This can bring you comfort and silence your logical mind.
Making and looking at art is a natural way to awaken your intuition. In this process, your emotions and subconscious are engaged. You are entering the world of symbol, color, meaning, and interpretation.
When you interpret a painting at a museum, you are intuiting the intention of the painter.
The same is true with Tarot except that you are taking things a few steps further because the symbols are intentionally created to access your intuitive connection to Spirit.
Exercises to Awaken Your Intuition Using Tarot
Here are some easy steps you can take to begin using Tarot to awaken your intuition. Try to approach this practice from a relaxed state of mind. Don’t think of these as “readings” but as playful exercises.
“Sensing” the Card
This was my favorite game when I was first opening up my intuition. Try doing this both from personal intuition and intentional Spirit connection and notice the difference.
1. Invite your Spirit Guides
What is intentional Spirit connection? It is just that. A simple process of inviting your Spirit Guides and those who work toward your highest good to join you in the session. You can do this through prayer or meditation or a brief invitation that you visualize.
Don’t worry if you don’t ‘see’ or hear your guides. Trust that they are with you. Try to sense their energies.
2. Shuffle the Tarot Deck And Choose a Card
Then shuffle the Tarot deck with the intention of practicing awakening your intuition. Choose a card but keep it face down. Ask for help in understanding the message or meaning of the card.
If you catch yourself trying to guess the card, stop and redirect your focus. It is not about guessing but about sensing.
You may actually see in your mind, an image of the card. You may see a flash of color. You may hear a song in your mind. You may get a feeling of a message or a sense in your body.
3. Write down the Clues
Write down the “clues” you perceive through all of your senses. Don’t rule anything out. Here’s why. Let’s say you see an image of your grandmother’s house and taste apple pie, you feel relaxed and hear birds chirping. Your general sense is protection and security.
Now you turn the card over. You see it is the Queen of Pentacles. Let’s say in this deck she has silver hair, like your grandmother.
She is holding an apple and the Pentacle on the card reminds you of the image of a pie. In the background, there are birds flying.
The impression you get from this card is that everything is secure and is being taken care of.
4. Trust Yourself and Your Intuition
If you were trying to guess the card, you may have felt stumped. Yet tuning in to the impression and meaning and message, you basically had several aspects of this card down pat. It’s a matter of trusting yourself!
In time you’ll naturally go from the symbol of grandma and pie to what these images represent to you which will much more quickly connect you with the meaning of the card.
But for now, go slowly and don’t take any image or symbol for granted.
Conversation with the Cards
Another technique, and one that is fun and meditative, is to engage in a conversation with the cards.
- Pick a card from the deck with an intention in mind. Just one card, not a whole spread.
- Look at any symbols, images, or figures on the card. If you are drawn to a figure or symbol, or an animal or character, use your imagination.
- Invite the character or symbol into a conversation. Ask a question and sense the answer. It may come in a form other than hearing.
- Using the card above, you may ask one of the birds what they can see from their flight. You may then see images in your mind that show you the bird’s eye view or give you other forms of guidance.
An easy way to activate your intuition is to use your imagination. This sets your ego at ease and draws out your subconscious wisdom.
Don’t be afraid that you might be “making it up.” With time and practice, you’ll learn to discern the difference between imagination as intuition vs. simple wishful thinking.
The Less You “Know” the Better
Put the books away. Under normal circumstances, I would never say this about any topic. But when it comes to Tarot and Intuition, the less you know the better.
When you get a new deck, play with the cards first. Interact with them. Meditate with them. Converse with them. Do exercises like the above two with them.
Don’t worry about what a given card is supposed to mean. Instead, feel and sense what it means to you.
More often than not, when you write down your own keywords and interpretations and then check them against the book, you’ll see that you are usually in line with the traditional meaning.
When this is not the case, always trust your own interpretation first. It is what your intuition saw in the cards even if it was not the “prescribed” meaning.
You Don’t “Have to” Meditate, but it WILL Help
Just as you don’t have to seek connection with Spirit to access your intuition, you also don’t have to meditate.
It will help to do so, however. It will help you release the stress and anxiety and judgments that block your natural intuition. It will help keep you centered as well.
Meditating also brings you into closer connection with your guides in Spirit. You’ll feel a more bonded connection and learn their energy signature more easily when you spend time meditating.
Even if you don’t see them or know their names, your state of mind after meditating will make you more receptive to their energies.
Don’t try to empty your mind. Instead, just try to center yourself and focus on your breathing.
Visualize that you are releasing stress and distractions. You may meditate by visualizing a specific card or a character from a particular card.
You may see yourself as the Fool or the High Priestess. You may see yourself walking through the landscape of a specific card as well.
Some Final Words on Intuition and Tarot
We are all naturally intuitive, and while society has programmed us to dismiss intuition in favor of logic and data, you can use Tarot to reclaim your intuitive nature.
Though it takes time and practice to really feel confident in your unique style of receiving intuitive messages, the more you dedicate yourself to this practice the more accurate and aware you can become.
Make intuitive awakening a part of your life. A daily part of your decision making and a part of your schedule that is as important as other forms of self-care.
Nurture your connection to Spirit. In doing so, you’ll be able to read the cards on a deeper level and will also bypass your own biases when you read for others or yourself.