Intuition and Tarot

Here, we’ll consider a hotly debated word in the tarot community: Intuition.

An online definition of Intuition states:

“the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.”

You may see many in the tarot communities state they only use intuition and have no interest in the study of tarot or the underlying systems on which it’s based. The result, however vigorously defended, can vary from simple visual interpretation of the images on the cards (which will then vary between decks), to using the cards as prompts in a cold/warm reading, to simply using tarot as a prop in a parlour show. All these approaches may be fun and entertaining and ultimately send a client away happy, yet advertising such as ‘tarot’ feels somewhat deceptive at best and fraudulent at worst.

A good tarot reader will strike a balance, using both the knowledge of the cards and their own instinct to determine how the message best fits the client. A reading based purely on theory will be dry and mechanical. A reading based purely on intuition is likely to stray dangerously into cold-reading territory.

It may help to think of the history and systems of tarot as a collective wisdom that’s been built over the past ~500 years. Intuition is very much a personal wisdom, based on ones own experiences, values and feelings. Both are valuable sources of information and neither should be neglected.

One comment on an online tarot discussion seems appropriate:
“I’m always honest with my clients; If my intuition is pulling me in a different direction I may say ‘The cards say this, but I feel x, y and z’. I feel it’s important to be open about what comes from the cards and what comes from my own mind.”

If you’re interested in reading more about the dangers of cold reading in tarot, Mary Greer’s very thorough two-part blog post can be found below:

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