How I Learned All 78 Tarot Cards FAST
First, How Tarot Cards Work
If you ask different readers how Tarot cards work, you may be surprised to hear different answers. So, I'll tell you how they work for me.
The science bit: we see what we want or need to see in the cards. The Emperor card to me always means authority, structure, a father-figure. The Knight of Cups means a lover coming into the picture, an offer of love, or working on a new project. When I see these cards in a reading, they evoke certain emotions in me, and I apply those emotions to the question at hand. "How can I succeed in my new business?" The Emperor tells me that you need to gain some control. As a major arcana card, it holds more 'weight' in the reading. The Knight of Cups tells me that you're jumping into this new business with love, happiness; you're charging forth with hope and new ideas. The Emperor suggests that you may need to reel that in a bit and focus on your long-term and short-term goals, so you know that you're putting that happy energy into the right projects to be more successful. The reading is based on my "keywords" of how I know the cards, how this applies to the question, and my intuition which is based on a 'knowing' -- typically derived from my own past experiences and little cues from the client that I pick up on subconsciously, in the tone of her voice, in the words she chooses, etc.
The woo-woo bit: OR what I like to call, The Guide Factor. As much as my scientific side thrives on knowledge and knowing the facts about how the cards work, there are frequently readings that break the logic. You've seen this if you've ever tried to re-ask the same question and shuffle, only to pull the same cards. OR when you ask what your lesson for the week is and that card (1 in 78 chances) pops up frequently over the next week in daily readings.
I've come to terms with the fact that the divine (God, Universe, our Guides) simply have to be interacting. And if that's TRUE: they have powerful messages for us of love and empowerment, they know what each card means to us (even if we decide to change that meaning at the drop of a hat), they know HOW to communicate with us, and we should listen.
Second, How I Learned All 78 Cards
Once I knew that my guides WANTED to use the cards to communicate with me, to give me guidance, to help me find my life's purpose, I stopped worrying about learning and memorizing all 78 cards!
When I stopped worrying about memorizing them, I started giving readings (to myself and friends and family). And when I started giving readings, I learned the cards and their meanings quickly.
I learned by doing, and journaling! To quicken the process, I also used a few tricks:
If you're a visual learner, you may want to use a website or app to easily have all the cards visible as needed and flip through them quickly. I then wrote down all the cards and a keyword that I associated with each card. This was used more as a way to familiarize myself with the cards than to memorize each meaning. In a reading, the meanings might change based on the question.
If you're an auditory learner, you might like to listen to podcasts about readings and/or say the cards out loud while you're driving. Even if you can only remember a handful of them when you start, say them out loud, and try to come up with a general keyword or 'feeling' for each card.
If you're a kinesthetic learner, it may help you to spend time with the physical cards. Hold each card, imagine you're inside each scene, and feel that keyword or emotion on a tactile level.
Spend more time with the cards than with the textbook, even if you want to refer to the book to help with your keywords, that's OK, but trust that your guides will lead you to card-meanings that work for YOU.
For example, the Tarot Mucha deck book describes the 5 of Cups as disappointment, loss. The figure is sad, and 3 of her cups are tipped over. However, when I see this card, I'm always drawn to the 2 cups that remain standing. In many of my readings, I've felt this to mean a sign of hope in a difficult situation.
Start doing readings! If it's too much to sit in front of the person while you work out card meanings, offer to do them via email, and ask the client to provide feedback. That's how I started! The more you practice, the quicker you'll learn, and your guides will help you. For a long time, there may always be a new card that stumps you, that's OK. Take your time, go back to your keywords, then use your intuition to guide you to what feels right.
Don't look back! At some point, you'll be giving a new reading, and a card will take on a COMPLETELY different meaning than it had in previous readings. Resist the temptation to go back to your previous readings and re-assess. Trust that, in past readings, your guides were using the knowledge you had THEN to communicate the correct meaning to you in the cards. As your knowledge expands, your guides will offer new meanings, and your readings will be richer. And that's exactly how it should be.