After having taught several Tarot classes, I found that one of the most difficult things for my own Tarot students to perform would be to find ways to continue practicing their Tarot abilities after they have completed my course. I am able to help students find card meanings that work for them, I can show them the steps to consider when doing a reading, and I can describe to them a selection of useful spreads. But unless they put all that theory into practice, what they heard in class will probably fade from their minds, and ultimately they will end up with little more ability to browse the cards than they had before taking my course. Indeed, practice is the essential last step in the learning process.

Some students are lucky enough to have friends or family who are receptive to getting a Tarot reading, but many are not. And even those with access to willing subjects may benefit from additional means of practice. Bearing that in mind, I have compiled the following list of ways a beginning Tarot student can practice the art of reading Tarot cards. (Obviously, these suggestions also can help an advanced student hone their Tarot abilities as well.)

The most obvious suggestion is to find a "Tarot Buddy" with whom you may get together occasionally to be able to do readings for each other. Alternatively, the both of you are able to take turns doing self-readings wherein you perform a reading for yourself while your spouse observes and comments where appropriate. Readings for ourselves are generally the hardest ones to perform, but with a goal observer to inform us when it is our ego, not our intuition, that’s talking and to assist us see around our blind spots can be a valuable aid to learning how to read Tarot cards.

The problem with this idea, however, lies in locating such a Tarot Buddy. I encourage my students to make such connections with different people in the course, but there are different ways as well. For starters, some occult bookstores provide a bulletin board where you might post a request for a Tarot Buddy, and some stores host occult or new age events where you are able to meet other Tarot enthusiasts. The chance to meet and connect to other Tarotists is among the numerous attractions of such occasions.

Neighborhood Tarot clubs are another fantastic way to meet different Tarotists. If you’re lucky, you might be able to locate a Tarot club close to you, but if not, consider starting one of your own. The Tarot School’s Tarot Tips newsletter is a great spot to post an inquiry about a club near you, but you also might try using one of many online Tarot classes. (by way of instance, there are quite a few Yahoo! Tarot groups.)

But what if you just can’t locate a Tarot Buddy? Ironically, this choice tends to be feasible for some people, particularly those who are not residing in a large metropolitan region. Fortunately, if you do not have anyone — a friend, relative, or Tarot Buddy — to perform readings , there are different ways to practice.

Although the hardest person to perform a reading for is yourself, you are, by far, the most available subject for readings. What usually makes self-readings so hard is that whenever your ego gets a vested interest in the outcomes of the reading, it will attempt to see this here intrude and yell down your intuition, which it may do quite easily. Meditative practice can help you overcome this problem, but a simple way to get around it would be to begin with small, one-card readings for comparatively trivial queries, i.e., queries where your ego doesn’t have much of a vested interest. After all, being able to perform a ten-card Celtic Cross reading to gain insights into your love life, as an instance, is a noble goal, but for many Tarot students, it is an overly daunting challenge. Listed below are but a Couple of suggestions for minor concerns that you might use:

What should you do for supper — go out (and if so, where?) Or make something at home (and if so, what?)

What movie should you go to see (or to rent)?

What interesting thing would you do today?

Pulling one card daily and recording its own message to the afternoon is a common practice named Tarot Journaling. The following are some suggested ways to journal with the cards, but there is no right or wrong way. Don’t hesitate to experiment until you find what works best for you personally.

One journaling technique that works well is to decide on a card at the morning and notice what it seems to say at the time. It may be a remark about your plans for the day, or its message may be more general since it concerns what is happening in your life right now. Sometimes the concept of the card may address very practical problems, and sometimes it may lend philosophical or religious insights into the state of affairs. Whatever the situation, when you delve into a card to locate its significance to your own life, you essentially are doing a one-card reading for yourself.

Then in the evening you are able to reflect back to the events of the day to see in retrospect what the significance of your everyday card was. This measure might provide invaluable feedback on how well you did your one-card reading in the daytime.

Besides using your everyday card for a general one-card reading, you are also able to use it for a very specific intent. Currently, I am using my everyday card to reveal what I should be grateful for in my life. As another example, you might use your everyday card to suggest an affirmation for the day. These more specific ways of journaling with a Tarot card provide excellent practice at the art of interpreting a card’s meaning within the limitations of a positional definition, which is what you need to do to your numerous cards at a multi-card disperse.

Another tip would be to perform readings for famous individuals, such as someone currently in the news or an historical figure at a certain crisis point in her or his life. You also can perform readings for fictional characters, perhaps to determine where their lives may be headed after the end of the narrative. My novels KnightHawk’s Tarot Readings, Tarot Tells the Tale, and Tarot: Get the Whole Story all provide lots of examples of the process.

Should you care to get a little more philosophical with your readings, you may use them to address metaphysical difficulties. You might, as an instance, attempt to perform a reading to answer the age-old question, "what’s the meaning of life? " For excellent examples of such readings, visit the publication The Forest of Souls wherein the author, Rachel Pollack, presents "Wisdom readings," which she uses to delve into thought-provoking problems like the essence of the soul and of divinity.

So you may see that practicing your Tarot skills may take many forms. You may do readings for God (as Pollack did) or for Abraham Lincoln or Scrooge (as I have). You are able to keep a Tarot Journal, use the cards that will assist you make dull, everyday decisions, or share readings with a Tarot Buddy. But no matter how you choose to work with the cards at a divinatory practice, you may deepen your knowledge of the Tarot and hone your ability to perform Tarot readings. And although (contrary to the old adage) practice may not make you perfect, it surely will bring you a bit closer to that lofty goal.

In May of 2005 he had been among the featured instructors in The Readers Studio.