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BTP4: 6 Mistakes of Reading Tarot for Yourself

6 Mistakes of Reading Tarot for Yourself

Reading Tarot for yourself is a great way to practice and to use what you’ve learned to guide your life. The Tarot can be so valuable in helping you understand yourself and make the most heart-centered and fulfilling choices.

But when you’re both the reader and the querent, it’s easy to make mistakes. Today I want to focus on the six most commonly made mistakes of reading tarot for yourself, so you can learn how to foolproof your own readings.

In this episode, I’ll discuss:

  • The importance of objectivity — even when your emotions are running high.
  • Pace yourself! Plan out your Tarot reading for ultimate accuracy.
  • What’s in a number? The amount of cards really DOES matter.
  • Why it’s crucial to hold back from researching every meaning of the cards.
  • When it comes to spreads, how to keep them as simple as pie.
  • Timing is everything: Why when you do your readings matters

So, let’s get to it!


Additional Resources

Podcast Transcript

Brigit: You’re listening to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, and this is Episode 4: 6 Mistakes of Reading Tarot for Yourself


Welcome to the Biddy Tarot podcast, where you will learn how to connect more deeply with your intuition and live an empowered and enlightened life with the Tarot cards as your guide.

Listen as Brigit and her guests share their very best tips and strategies to help you read Tarot with confidence.

And now, here is your host Brigit Esselmont.

Brigit: Hello and welcome!

I am so glad that you are joining me today for this episode of the Biddy Tarot podcast.

Whether you’re a Tarot professional or a Tarot beginner, at one point or another you’re going to want to read the Tarot cards for yourself.

I mean, why not? You know how to use the Tarot cards, and you know how helpful they can be. You might be facing a major personal issue, or wanting to explore who you really are, so of course you turn to the Tarot cards to help you.

But do you know how to read for yourself in a way that is accurate and objective?

Do you know when you’re starting to read into the cards what you really want to hear versus what you need to hear?

Or, do you know when you’re consulting the cards too many times?

That’s what I want to focus on today – the six mistakes when reading Tarot for yourself, and how to avoid them.

Let’s get right into it.

Mistake #1: You Read Into the Cards What You Most Want to Hear

The hardest thing about reading Tarot for yourself is that you can end up with a “convenient” but highly subjective interpretation of the Tarot cards.When you’re already emotionally invested in a situation, you’re going to have your own perspectives and beliefs that will ultimately shape your interpretation of the Tarot cards in a certain way.

In fact, it can be really hard to remain objective and professional about your own Tarot reading, particularly when you have such a vested interest.

I think I’ve been guilty of this previously, and maybe you might have as well.

You’re consulting the cards and you’re doing your best to try and keep open to all of the messages, but there’s one outcome that you would really like to have happen, and so you try and find that outcome in those Tarot cards. Well, that’s a bit of a no-no, because ultimately you’re not getting the message that you most need to hear from those Tarot cards.

Here's What You Can Do Instead:


1. Clear your mind before a reading. You can meditate. You can try some deep breathing. You could say a   prayer or an affirmation. The important thing is that you are just trying to let go of any ego-based thoughts or beliefs, so that you can really tune into your intuition, instead.

2. Set your intention to receive what your Higher Self needs. I find this to be very powerful. Just before a reading I say: “I will receive the messages that my Higher Self most needs right now.”

Sometimes those messages might not be the most pleasant, or the most exciting, but we are tuning into the fact that this is what our Higher Self most needs to know right now in order to continue on an enlightened path throughout our journey and our life.

3. Prepare the reading as if you were your best client. I think this is probably one of the best pieces of advice that I have for you in this episode. We often do readings for ourselves and we either rush through it or we don’t really give it the attention that it needs. But if you were to treat yourself as if you were a client, then you might go about your reading in a very different way, a much more constructive and positive way.

Think about it: You wouldn’t be trying to tell your client exactly what they wanted to hear; you would be giving a balanced perspective. Make sure you are giving yourself a balanced perspective as well.

Finally, if you are not sure about your reading, get a second opinion. This can work two ways. You can get a second opinion from another Tarot reader and ask them, “What do you see in these cards? Am I missing something?”

But you can also get a second opinion from a friend who knows nothing about the Tarot. You might say to them, “My reading’s brought up some of these issues. I’m not sure that they really resonate with me. Or I am not sure about them. What do you think? What have you observed?” Maybe they can shed some light on the situation that you haven’t been able to see just yet because you are in the thick of it.

Mistake #2: You Do Multiple Tarot Readings on the Same Topic

One of the biggest mistakes I see other Tarot enthusiasts make is that they read over and over again on the same topic.

I have heard things like, “First I did like a Celtic Cross to see if we’d get back together; and then I did like a Past/Present/Future spread; and then I just did just one more Celtic Cross – just to make sure. Then the next day I started with a Horseshoe spread plus my daily love card…” and so on.

No wonder people end up confused about what the Tarot cards are trying to tell them; because they’re doing too many readings on the same topic.I know this is something I’m guilty of and maybe you can relate as well.

Here's What You Can Do Instead:


Whenever my clients request a Tarot reading on the same topic within a short period of time, I strongly recommend to them that they don’t go ahead with the reading. Instead I suggest that they come back in a month, or they wait until something changes.

It’s the same when you’re reading Tarot for yourself.

I want you to make a commitment right now to read once, and once only, on your particular topic.Just take note of your Tarot reading once you’ve done it, and then put it away and come back to it later. Wait for at least a month before you read on that topic, or until something significant changes.

If you find yourself going back to those cards over and over, then you know that you’ve gotten a little bit off track and you need to maintain some self-discipline so that you’re only reading once on that topic.

Mistake #3: You Keep Drawing Extra Tarot Cards as ‘Clarifiers’

Sometimes it makes sense to draw an extra Tarot card in a reading, just to clarify a particular card.

For example, let’s say you draw the Two of Swords – which is all about making a decision between two options – and then you decide that you’re going to draw another two cards to understand what those options are. In my opinion, that is fine because it makes sense and it helps the cause– the reading itself.

But sometimes you might draw a clarifying card and then draw another one, and another, until you finally see a card that you like.

Sound familiar?

Well, what happens is that you end up with so many different Tarot cards and so many different messages, that you get totally confused and unclear about what the cards are trying to tell you. Or you end up dissatisfied with all of the cards drawn because they’re still not telling you what you want to hear. So it’s really important that you be mindful and conscious when you are drawing clarifying cards.

Here's What You Can Do Instead:


Number 1 – commit to drawing clarifying cards only when you really need it or when it makes sense. Even then, only draw one or two extra cards. If you find yourself drawing another five, six, 10, 20 clarifying cards, then you know that you’ve taken it a little bit too far.

Here’s the really best tip I have for you for this kind of mistake: Ask a specific question when you draw a clarifying card. Instead of just drawing another card to and then saying, “Well, I didn’t really get that first one so I’m just going to draw another one. Let’s see what that says!” Try to understand that first card first, and then pose a question based on what you’ve understood of that card, and then draw the other one.

So let’s say for example, you draw the Eight of Swords. Now in this card you are seeing a lady – she is blindfolded – she is surrounded by swords. The general message with this card is that you’re blindfolded. You’re not able to see something that is actually trapping you in your situation. You might be going, “Oh my goodness, I don’t know really what that means. What am I not seeing?”

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It’s kind of funny in itself, because ultimately the card is saying that, but also the situation is saying that there is something that you’re not seeing.

So when you draw your clarifying card, you might ask the Tarot: What is it that I am not seeing here?

Instead of just simply drawing anything, you’re asking a specific question and you’re getting a specific answer. It is a much more constructive way of working with clarifying cards.

Mistake #4: You Research Multiple Tarot Card Meanings for the One You Want

Unfortunately, there is not just one meaning for each Tarot card. If there were, you could probably get a computer to do all of your readings for you. But instead, there are actually multiple aspects to each of the Tarot cards, which– on the positive side – is what makes them so rich and complex.

But the trouble is that it also opens up the possibility of not really knowing which is the right Tarot card meaning for your reading; which also lends itself to trying to find the Tarot card meaning that you most want. I’ve seen it – again, this is something that I’ve been guilty of – particularly when I was in the early stages of learning to read Tarot. But I’ve even seen it when you do a client reading for somebody and you share the interpretation that you perceived, and felt, and intuited in the reading, and then they come back and say, “Well, I went to this other website (or I went to this book) and it told me that actually everything’s going to be fine.”

Your response is “Well, yes, that is one way of looking at it, but taking into consideration all of the cards in the reading, and the position, I actually felt it was more related to this.”

You can see this pattern happening when we’re trying to look for the thing that we most want to hear; and we’re actually shutting ourselves down to the intuitive messages that we need to hear.

Here's What You Can Do Instead:


Resist the temptation to go trawling for a Tarot card meaning that fits your hopes and desires. Instead, go with your gut. What does your gut tell you about what this Tarot card, and the Tarot reading in general,means to you?

Pay attention to your initial reaction when you see the cards in front of you. What jumps into your mind?Whether you like the message or you don’t like it, just take note of it. Because often times that initial message is the one that’s coming direct from your intuition.

It’s when you then follow up with trying to search through all those books or websites to find that card meaning that you really want that you’ve gone off track.

What’s also really important is: Don’t get stuck on trying to find the perfect or most convenient meaning of the cards in your reading.

It’s really about what is coming to you on that intuitive level as soon as you’ve laid out those cards.

Mistake #5: You Use a Complicated Tarot Spread

Let’s say you want to know whether you want to go to the wedding, or what’s going to come up on the weekend. And what do you do?You go and do a Celtic Cross reading – just because it’s the most popular one, or it’s the one that you find first in your book about Tarot.

But suddenly you’re doing this Celtic Cross reading and you’re finding out about what’s happened in the past, what other people think about the situation, what you’re hoping for, what your underlying fears are, and so on. And really all you wanted to know was whether you should go to the wedding, or what was going to happen on the weekend. You didn’t need all of this extra detail that you get from a 10 card spread.

I don’t know why, but so often the Celtic Cross is taught as one of the first Tarot spreads to use. But this spread is so complex and involved and detailed, it’s often the most inappropriate spread for Tarot beginners, but also for the question you have got in mind.

Here's What You Can Do Instead:


If you find yourself reaching towards a complicated big Tarot reading, just pause for a second and say, “Do I really need it to be this complicated? Can I just simply go back to basics?”

In fact a one-card Tarot reading can be amazingly powerful, particularly if you truly meditate on that card, and go deep into its meaning and its significance.

If you’ve got a few questions for the Tarot cards, or want a little bit of extra detail, then often times you can get away with just a three or a four card Tarot spread, and you will get your answer from those cards.

It’s really important to avoid using long and complicated readings which just open up the path for confusion, and convoluted interpretations; and instead, go for something that is easy to understand, and easy to use, and simple and nice. Go back to basics.

Mistake #6: You Do a Reading in 30 Seconds Flat

I tell you what – I have been so guilty of this. In fact I still do it too, if I’m to be really honest. I need to pay some attention to my own advice, don’t I?

So, you know when you’ve got a question in mind – and you say “I’m just going to quickly pull a few cards on this question,” and you pull out maybe three or four cards.

A few words come to you on the first card – you’re like, “Okay, so that means I’m not paying attention to my intuition. Yep, got it. There’s something I’m not seeing. Okay, got that. I’m making a tough decision, and I don’t know which way to go. Yeah, yeah, got it. Okay, move on.”

And then you’re off to the next thing!

The problem with this is, when you go so quickly through the cards, you’re not really allowing yourself that time or space to really connect in with your intuition, and allow the messages in the cards to really sink in for you. What it results in is quite a shallow reading that has no meaning for you, and no real significance. Because, again, if I’m to be honest, when I do these 30 second readings, do you think that I’m actually putting in place any actions as a result of seeing those readings?

No, and I’ve effectively just wasted my time.

I actually think in some ways it’s a little bit insulting to the Tarot cards, and to your intuition, if you don’t give yourself enough time and space to really explore the cards in depth.

Here's What You Can Do Instead:


Set aside at least 10 minutes for your reading. Ultimately, it could be a good 30 minutes, or an hour, or even a couple of hours. Make sure you are giving your reading enough time, and sufficient time, that it really deserves.

Also give yourself enough time to go through each card. Don’t just quickly gloss over it and think,”Yeah, yeah. Got it. Got it.”

Make sure that you really are unpacking that card, and getting the most out of the reading so that you can then make some good conscious choices and proactive actions in your life, so that you’re really making sense of that Tarot reading.

A Quick Recap

So, there you have it. Those are the six mistakes of reading Tarot for yourself.

Let’s go through those:

  • Mistake Number 1: You read into the Tarot cards what you most want to hear
  • Mistake Number 2: You do multiple Tarot readings on the same topic
  • Mistake Number 3: You keep drawing extra Tarot cards as clarifiers
  • Mistake Number 4: You research multiple Tarot card meanings for the one that you most want to hear
  • Mistake Number 5: You use a complicated Tarot spread
  • Mistake Number 6: You do a reading in 30 seconds flat – it’s got added emphasis to remind you of how crazy a 30 second reading could be


Here is the ultimate piece of advice to avoid making these six mistakes: Treat yourself like a client.

You wouldn't let your client get lots of readings on the same topic; you wouldn’t let them look up a card until they find the meaning that they most want, and then they just run off and say, “Yeah, got it. Got it,” and off they go.

So act as if you are the client and do your very best reading for you as the client.

Reading Tarot for yourself can be incredibly powerful and insightful, if you do it correctly. By avoiding these six mistakes that I’ve shared with you in today’s podcast episode, you’re going to be well on your way to creating accurate Tarot readings for yourself.


If you loved this Biddy Tarot podcast episode, then I would love for you to leave a 5-star review on iTunes. And also make sure that you subscribe on iTunes to get the latest podcast downloaded to your iPhone, or to your computer.

So I want to say a big thank you to everybody who has already left a review – I am so very grateful.

And until next time, I’m sending you lots of love, support, and Tarot goodness, as we continue to journey together with Tarot as our guide.

Thank you and goodbye.

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