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The Basics of Tarot: Understanding Intuition

So in the post: Reading the Cards, I briefly mentioned here and there about why intuition is important to be included in your Tarot reading process-

But why?

And what exactly is “intuition”?

If you’ve ever had-

How do I know I’ve drawn the right cards?

How do I know I’ve interpreted the cards right?

How do I know I’m delivering the right messages?

How do I know it’s intuition and not ego talking?

Popping up like daisies in your mind when it comes to reading Tarot- firstly, know that you’re not alone!

Almost every reader, whether new or experienced will face such questions from time to time. Coming to not only understand but to trust and rely on intuition is definitely one of the more challenging aspects Tarot asks us to do!

Why is a rabbit hole for another time.

But Albert Einstein sums it up pretty perfectly-

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Intuition is a “skill” that each and every one of us naturally possesses.

We’ve always had it. Always will!

The problem though that gives rise to such doubting questions over it is that most of us just don’t know how to listen to or speak it’s language anymore.

So when we venture into something like Tarot- an art that needs intuition involvement to be understood and interpreted, this gap in our knowledge has us chasing our tails, second-guessing, and doubting whether or not we’re truly coming from a place of intuition in our practices.

Before we dive into the main meat of this post- why intuition is important for a Tarot reading, I first want to explore with you what it is-


Because intuition is telling me to.

So, What Is Intuition?

Alright kids, hold onto your hats cause this bits gonna be a wild ride…

So, surfacely- how the general consensus has come to understand and define intuition, is that it is a feeling of knowing something without knowing why you do.

That feeling you get about something you can’t put your finger on.

Now, for me, intuition isn’t just a feeling. It’s a bodily/neurological process in which one can access the subconscious realms of their mind and the information that’s stored within it.

The feeling side of intuition is one of the ways our body communicates this knowledge.

Kinda like, you know when someone frightens us, we feel scared. In a lightning-quick process, our minds have communicated to us that this was scary and our body communicates this information through emotional and physical reactions.

Now why intuition has solely become known to be a feeling instead of a process that combines the mind and body, is down to a piece missing within the process. The mind.

When we get those feelings about knowing something without knowing why, we actually do know why. It’s just not information that’s accessible to us consciously.

So when people speak of “honing” intuition, it’s about learning how to follow those feelings to the information being presented by the subconscious mind.

But what is this bodily/neurological process?

It’s common knowledge that every day we are bombarded with information and that not all of this information is stored within the conscious mind. The vast majority of it is stored within our subconscious.

The information that’s stored there- aside from “uncontrollably” coming out in lucid states, like in dreams, it’s perceived that this information is inaccessible.

(Just like it was perceived our brains stopped developing after a certain age too 🙄)

It helps to think of your subconscious mind is a vast, expansive library and your conscious mind is the library's front section containing all the most relevant, most used books.

Every day new books- new information is added to your subconscious library, but only a select few will be shelved in the section of the conscious mind.

Now, within this library of ours, is a door…

Behind this door lies the collective consciousness “library” of the Universe.

I firmly believe that we are all “manifestations” of the Universe experiencing itself. Every plant, person, tree, star- are all ways in which the Universe has manifested itself into “being”. Which in that, means we are all interconnected because we are all part of the same collective consciousness- the Universes.

As “manifestations” of the Universe experiencing itself, we have the ability to access its- or rather our innate wisdom.

All that ever was, is, and will be (on the current trajectories, that is) is accessible within this library. This “room” of the library- I see it as massive. I’m talking massive like in that scene in the first Harry Potter movie where he sees the moving staircases for the first time- where they seem to never-endingly stretch up towards the sky… That “room” is where all the knowledge of the Universe as itself is.

From that room are billions of doors that lead to the individual subconscious sections of all the ways the Universe is experiencing itself. It’s a hive of activity, with books- information being passed back and forth between the Universal consciousness and its individual subconscious sections (our libraries).

With me so far?

Okay, now intuition in this metaphorical scenario, is the librarian.

The “person”, the neurological process that has the ability to bring “books”- information out from the vast depths of this library and deliver them to the conscious section.

Where feeling comes into it, is as I said earlier, are the resulting bodily reactions from this information. But why for many of us we’re left with the feeling that we know something but don’t know what that is, is down to, I believe, something akin to us receiving a notification on our phone and ignoring it.

We get that ping, the alert, but then we don’t get the message behind it.

As dear Albert was saying, we’ve forgotten how to access it.

None of us nowadays- except perhaps those that were raised by people in-tune with this process I know to be as intuition, are taught to value or exercise this ability.

Which perhaps proffers an explanation as to why something such as Tarot has been and in some cases, still is considered to be “elitist.” Only those with this “gift” have the “right” to engage with such arts.

But this “gift” resides within all of us.

An imbalance, in which, as Einstein quite rightly said, the rational mind has been given too much reign over the realms of thinking and has “weakened” the intuitive mind. Like a muscle in our bodies that has never been exercised, the intuitive mind within each of us needs not only acknowleding, but feeding and exercising in order to become strong enough again for this balance to be restored.

And Tarot is an excellent way to do that!

So to recap, incase I lost any of you on the way to this point-

Intuition is a neurological/bodily process wherein information from the subconcious is brought to the concscious realms of the mind.

Our body, through feeling alerts us to this information. (And when paid attention to can also convey this information)

Where intuition starts getting confused as a feeling rather than being a whole process of things going on, is down to the unfamiliarity of how to access this information.

But How Do You Know You're Thinking "Intuitively"?

Now, it could just be me, but I found that when I was “delivered” intuitive information, I concentrated far more on the feeling itself, rather than what that feeling was trying to tell me.

The logical mind would immediately get to puzzling over what this feeling was, and where it came from- and the “intuitive” information that was passed through this feeling, would get ignored.

Visually, I see this as like two polar opposite people working together on a project. Logic’s the loud, bossy, egotistical, I think I know everything sort and constantly talking over and not letting the other person, intuition, get a word in edgeways.

At least for me, this is how I’ve come to know when I’m not thinking intuitively.

When the logical mind is trying to overtake the “project”, this tells me that I’m not giving my intuitive mind a chance to have its say.

But how do you discern the difference between a logical thought and an intuitive one?

Well here’s where it starts getting a little tricky- because logical thoughts can convey information in the exact same way as an intuitive thought does. That is, not only conscious knowledge in the mind but also through feelings and sensations in the body.

How I’ve come to discern an intuitive thought from a “logical” thought is by “checking in” with that thought. If it seems to be coming from a place within me, it’s very much likely logic, if it doesn’t seem like it’s coming from me, it’s intuitive.

Not very helpful I know, so let me try to illustrate with a reading-

So I was presented a situation through the cards which through logical deduction of their meanings, allowed me to arrive at the conclusion that they relayed a situation in which someone was in love, wanting to move things forward, but, with The Moon slap bang in the middle of it all, may or may not be seeing things as they are.

Very easy to deduce, I was thinking logically and rationally there. This was coming from a place of me.

Alongside this, my mind was very suddenly going everywhere, my stomach was churning like a washing machine, I felt like I was on cloud nine, but there was a wrenching feeling of uncertainty in my gut.

Having no reason myself to be feeling such things, or to be influencing such sensations, this tells me this is information proffered through intuition.

(Incidentally, this is one of the reasons why experienced readers will always tell you to leave your own emotions out of the reading process. It makes it much easier to discern between your own and those you’re experiencing from the energies you’re reading for!)

Now added to this sudden flurry of emotions and sensations, came a “knowing” that this person was getting carried away with their emotions, that they weren’t seeing the situation for as it was, they were getting carried away with fantasy.

Logically, I wouldn’t know that, I don’t know this person. Therefore the information being presented is through that of the intuitive process.

On top of that, despite this “knowing”, whilst looking at the cards I was trying to look at them through rose-tinted glasses and was fiercely trying to twist them into a happily ever after story.

Again, this told me it was intuitive information being proffered. I approach readings unjudgementally and impartially. This attempt at twisting the story into something it wasn’t, was not coming from me.

All of this information combined- the cards meanings, the logical deductions, and the information proferred through intuition, when pieced together, told me the truth. That here we had an infatuated person who was letting their emotions warp the reality of the situation and was being encouraged by the fantasies they created to make a decision/make a move on their love interest they had not thought through.

When such “truths” come to light, again, at least in me, a sort of “harmonic” sensation arises, kinda like that first sip of a warming cup of tea on a cold rainy day- wherein both the logical mind and the intuitive mind are balanced. They both agree.

This sensation, purely through practicing of readings- it showing up always around the time I’ve collaborated with both intuition and logic to reach a message, I’ve come to know as a sensation from me, not influenced by other energies, and is my “signal” that I’m on the right path.

Why Is Intuition Important For Readings?

Not just intuition dearie, logic is needed too!

That is if you want to be giving effective and accurate readings!

Intuition to access and receive the relevant knowledge/messages pertaining to the reading, and logic to piece together what this information equates to.

Otherwise, if you’re coming at your readings solely from a logical perspective, you’ll find you’re given a very “flat” and confusing situation. Anyone who has tried doing a reading from the meanings of the cards alone will tell you how much it’ll make your head spin with all the potential possibilities, outcomes, interpretations…

You need intuition's magic touch to be able to pinpoint which meanings are relevant, which outcome will unfold- to be able to garner the full truth of the situation. Else it’s like trying to follow a compass with no idea where it is you’re headed to!

Not only that, but in readings, intuition is what, effectively, let’s you get inside that person, that manifestation of the universe's head- their own library…

This is where you’re getting that information from. Thanks to your helpful little librarian!

And without that, as I said, you’re just left with the meanings of the cards which yeah, will give a reading, sure- but you’ll find yourself doing a lot of well it could mean this, but it can also mean this, oh and that, and this-

Your querent will very much be likely walking out with more questions than answers… Not great really considering most are drawn to tarot for getting answers!

On the other hand, however, if you’re coming at readings solely from an intuitive process, you’re likely going to end up “thinking” and “feeling” in the ways of the energy you’re reading for and twisting the reading to fit their agenda.

That’s why you’ll find some readers won’t do readings for themselves- remaining impartial to the cards' messages, especially when they’re telling you something you don’t want to hear is very difficult.

It’s like I mentioned in my own reading example a little while back- the intuitive information I was getting was presenting itself as trying to twist the outcomes of the cards to a happily ever after story. If I’d blocked out logic in that time and solely relied on the intuitive, that person would have gotten a very different, and very inaccurate reading.

In order to give the most effective readings then, you need that balance of both, of intuition and logic to proffer truly insightful messages.

Most of us have got the logic part down already.

Where we struggle, particularly in the beginning of learning Tarot, is putting that intuition to work…

But How to Hone Intuition?

We’re getting a little long into the post now, so I’m going to be doing one solely devoted to this in the near future-

But in a nutshell, practice.

As I said in the beginning, like a weakened muscle that hasn’t been worked out for a long time, you need to do things that build its strength back up.

Meditation, for me, has been so far the best way not exactly to “hone” intuition itself, but to train myself in “expanding the mind”, to be present without really thinking, to be able to keep logic out of my head long enough to receive that intuitive information, and to be able to observe the intuitive thought- without judgment.

From there, it’s about learning how to recognize and differentiate between your own information and that of someone else’s, and interpreting what that information being presented is telling you-

And that, quite simply, just takes practice.

The more you do it, the easier it gets. The more comfortable you get with it, the more confident and trusting you become of your intuitive interpretations.

How to practice- reading for others is your best bet.

I actually learned through doing general readings predominantly- reading for people close to me was too “risky” down to the simple fact at that time I wasn’t so skilled in reading impartially and unjudgementally.

It would’ve just added more confusion to the mix.

You can check out how I did that in this post if you like! It’s not a method for everyone but for me at least, a person that learns and thrives best when chucked into the deep end of things, it helped to begin to hone my skills pretty quickly.

Otherwise, I think that’s where I’m going to leave this post today!

I hope it gave you a bit more of a clue into forming your own ideas about intuition- or was just a nice way to pass some time!

See you in the next post!

tarot reader, tarot reading, athena amhurst, tarot, personal readings

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