8 Tarot Card Mistakes You Must Avoid When Reading For Yourself

tarot cards laid out on a table

Tarot cards are a tool for clarity and guidance, but if used incorrectly, you may experience the opposite effect—confusion and uncertainty. Self-readings come with many advantages. They can be done at any time, cost nothing, and offer a pleasant end or beginning of day ritual. However, when performing a tarot reading, a neutral approach is crucial.

Whether you are a beginner or expert, reading your own cards has many challenges. Will you be as objective as another reader? Or will your emotions cloud your interpretation?

Here are some tarot card reading mistakes to avoid to ensure your experience is enlightening and gives you an accurate result.

What Can Go Wrong When You Read Your Own Tarot Cards?

While plenty of things can go wrong during a tarot card reading, there are few mistakes that are more common than others:

Bringing Your Own Interpretation

female tarot reader with cards

It can be tempting to bring too much of your own spin to reading the tarot. Of course, an online tarot card reading is heart-centered, intuitive, and somewhat subjective. No two readers will ever make an identical interpretation of the cards, but that doesn’t mean you should tell yourself what you want to hear.

Instead, strive to read the cards with an open, unbiased mind. Trust that the cards will present what you really need to know. If you have no faith in the cards, they can’t help guide you and are rendered nothing more than pretty pictures.

Drawing Too Many Cards

Often when people feel they’re not getting the answers that they want, they keep pulling cards until they do. This approach is just another form of bringing your own interpretation to the reading.

There’s nothing wrong with pulling an extra card or two if you need clarification, but make sure to consider the initial spread carefully first. Don’t draw more cards just because you don’t like what they’re saying, either.

Doing Too Many Readings on One Topic

woman interpreting cards

Over analyzing a particular topic is another classic tarot card reading mistake to avoid. When you have an issue that’s close to your heart, it’s natural to want to explore it thoroughly, and more readings may seem like a good way to do that.

The problem is that multiple readings can result in a flood of ideas and possible solutions that may even contradict each other. Tarot reading is a nuanced process, and many factors can affect each session.

How often is too often to keep asking the same question? Experienced tarot readers suggest not consulting the cards on the same topic more than once a month.

Consulting Too Many Sources

There are countless interpretations of the tarot. Refusing to commit to one source means that you end up shopping around for the best answer. Again, this is going to be the answer that most closely fits your own interpretation.

Pick a source and stick to it. It could be the instructions that come with your tarot deck or a particular website. It could even be your interpretation from your own experience of reading the tarot.

Using a Complicated Spread

major arcana

An overly complicated spread is one of the most common tarot card reading mistakes that beginners make. If you use a complex spread, you may feel overwhelmed trying to interpret them. Stick to one-card or three-card spreads while you build your confidence.

Some simple three-card spreads include:

  • Situation / Action / Outcome
  • Past / Present / Future
  • Option 1 / Option 2 / Option 3
  • What’s working well / What’s not working / Key takeaways
  • You / Your partner / Your relationship

Reading While Emotional

Reading tarot cards while emotional is guaranteed to skew your results. Reading tarot cards requires a calm, curious mind. When something has happened to throw your emotions into chaos, wait a while. It might be a few hours or even a few days before you’re ready to get your tarot deck out.

Rushing the Reading

minor arcana

How would it feel if a professional tarot reader rushed you in and out of their space? Not great, right? Would you trust their reading if they were in a hurry to wind it up? No way.

The same applies when you rush a reading for yourself. Take the time, and you’ll find that your interpretation is more accurate.

Asking the Wrong Questions

No list of tarot mistakes to avoid would be complete without this one—asking the wrong questions.  Ask questions based on reality—now not later. While some readers do use tarot cards for future predictions, they are most effective for guidance in the present.

For example, rather than asking, “Will I get that new job?” ask, “What can I do to increase my chances of getting the job I want?” The future is always based on the decisions we make in the present. Let the cards show you the path to the future you want, and you won’t need a deck of cards to show you what will happen.

How Can You Set Yourself Up for an Accurate Tarot Card Reading?

fortune teller using a tarot spread

  • Begin by creating a comfortable, beautiful space for the reading. Play relaxing music. If it’s dark outside, dim the lights and light some candles. Cleanse the space with palo santo or sage if you like.
  • Meditate to calm your mind then choose the right questions for your reading.
  • Shuffle the cards or spread them across a table to move their energy around.
  • Pretend that you are reading for a friend or even a client. Put the same energy and care into reading for yourself as you would for others.
  • Record the reading or journal about your interpretation of the spread. You may want to go back to the reading at a later time.

Tarot cards are a wonderful tool for understanding the past, present, and future. They also empower us to understand the people and forces around us. Now that you know what tarot card reading mistakes to avoid, grab your deck and get started!

alissa monroe

Alissa Monroe is a self-proclaimed “psychic junkie” with over 10 years of experience in the world of psychics, tarot, and spirituality. Her goal is to help people find happiness through spiritual enlightenment and self-discovery.

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