Have you ever doubted yourself? If the answer is yes, then read on! I'm going to share with you how I used Tarot to learn to trust myself again and also how Tarot helped me find my way back to myself. We'll look at some counselling theory to explain what's going on when we use Tarot to trust ourselves and ways to help you develop your sense of self-trust with Tarot.
Playing by the Book
Most Tarot decks come with a guidebook that gives the creator's interpretation of the cards or you can buy one of the many, many, many different books written about Tarot to help give you insight into the individual cards. When I first started learning Tarot, I would use these books religiously. For every card that I picked, I would turn to the appropriate page in whichever book and absorb the interpretation written there. I found it reaaaally difficult to go 'off-script' because I would always be concerned that whatever I came up with would be 'wrong'.
I use the word 'wrong' loosely because there really isn't an interpretation that can be right or wrong with Tarot (as I've come to learn) but at that point, I wanted my interpretation to be in line with what the books said. I believed that an 'accurate' reading would be one that was the same as what the books said. Again, I use the word 'accurate' loosely, because I now understand that only the client can say whether a reading is accurate or not, and even when it's not accurate according to them, it doesn't necessarily means its wrong either.....But I digress!
The point is, that I would always default to the books or what was 'outside' of myself, to someone else's opinion or interpretation. It was very difficult for me to trust what was coming to me from inside of myself. I had also equated being 'right' as being in control and so I couldn't cope with the thought of potentially getting something wrong. If I was wrong about this, then what else could I have been wrong about? It would throw everything and my whole experience into question. My experience of Tarot at this point was reflective of my wider experience as a whole. I can see now, that I had a very rigid perspective that allowed little room for error but thankfully I stuck with Tarot as it really helped me become much more flexible (once I started moving away from the books...) and much better at trusting myself.
As I progressed with Tarot, I actually began to find it harder to stick to traditional interpretations of the cards as they were harder to weave a story between when I was pulling several. I also found that if I stuck to the traditional meanings, that my readings were rigid and would become generic as each card would mean the same thing regardless of context or position. Now, I'm not saying the books are bad and that you should never use them! I still use them to refer back to if I need a prompt or a different perspective but when we are rigid in our use of them and don't allow any room for flexibility, then we become more reliant on external sources of wisdom than our own.
Internal vs External Validation
Internal or external validation refers to the point from which we make judgements about ourselves, our experience and our world. Whether we operate from an internal or external perspective depends on how much we trust our own intuition and experience vs the opinions and judgements of those outside of ourselves. It's natural to seek external validation because it's important to feel a sense of belonging and to feel like we are loved so there will be very few of us who act solely from an internal reference point. Even then, it's all fluid; we can refer more internally or externally at different times or in different situations. The issue comes when we need to seek external reassurance more than we care about our own and so we sacrifice what we know to be true or right for us internally, for what is outside of ourselves. External validation can come from a variety of sources ranging from our closest caregivers to wider society and culture, so it's pretty ubiquitous.
My problem was that I was pretty much only operating from an external perspective for much of my younger life and well into my 20s. I've written more extensively about my experience of distrusting myself here and the theoretical basis for trusting intuition here. In essence though, I had defaulted to external opinions and validation so much that I found it almost impossible to trust my own. The thought of making my own decisions was terrifying because I was so afraid of getting it wrong. I felt frozen in time, unable to move forward or to take an active role in my life but Tarot slowly helped me overcome that.
Trust Through Tarot
Trusting your own interpretations of Tarot is a pretty bold and brave thing to do, if you ask me! You're not necessarily rejecting all the knowledge and wisdom about Tarot that has come before but you are being open enough to allow room for yourself in amongst centuries of tradition. Claiming your place, sticking your flag in the ground and declaring 'I have a right to be here and my voice is just as valid as anyone else's!' is as courageous an act as anything else. Even to begin to just feel that your voice is valid and that you are worthy of taking up space can be an astronomical act if you have been so used to making yourself small, but this is what Tarot encourages us to do.
You see, Tarot kind of doesn't work unless you believe in your own voice and believe your opinion to be valid. Why do you think there is a whole universe of unique Tarot decks out there? Because their creator's had a vision and trusted their own voices enough to make them a reality. They weren't worried about the Tarot police hunting them down to tell them that it's wrong! Even if different decks follow the traditional system, it doesn't mean that the cards are interpreted the same. I have several decks where the same card has been interpreted differently by the author. So there are no hard and fast rules, only what you decide to be true and aligned for you!
You'll often hear Tarot readers talk about Tarot being 'reflective' of yourself and your current experience, that it acts as a mirror to who and where you are in that moment. When I first started reading Tarot, my entire point of reference was outside of myself and that showed in my Tarot practice as I defaulted to the books and external opinions about my readings. My Tarot practice was rooted in the external as much as my general experience was. As I developed my Tarot practice and began to trust myself more, I moved away from relying on the books and began listening to and trusting my intuition which then became reflective of my new experience and internal point of reference.
The absolute simplest but most effective way of using Tarot to strengthen your trust in yourself is to just use the cards. Choose a card a day or whenever you feel like it and journal on what comes to mind when you see the colours, the symbols, the figures... That's the easy bit. The hard part is trusting that what you see and interpret is accurate and in alignment with you. You do not need to seek the validation of anyone else to tell you whether your own experience is right or not. How could anyone tell you if your experience is true for
you? Only you can do that!
I would also 100% recommend buying Dusty White's 'The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot Ever!' if you can. It has soooo many exercises in it that focus on developing your own personal interpretations of the cards and so strengthening your trust in your intuition!
Alternatively, I've created my free downloadable cheat sheet and workbook which is also aimed at supporting you to develop and strengthen your intuitive voice when using Tarot!
Click the link to download the cheat sheet and workbook: Read Tarot with Confidence - Gain Clarity Through Tarot Right Now Without ANY Confusion!
If you ever want to chat Tarot or need any supporting on your Tarot journey, you can always come find me on socials!
Until we speak again,