When it comes to reading the Tarot, many people find themselves intimidated whether they realize it or not. Between the 70 some odd cards, all the possibilities of their reversed meanings, the hundreds of different layouts available for use, it is completely understandable. I've often heard of many people who say they CAN'T read the Tarot. Let me say that again. I have had people tell me they "CAN NOT" read the Tarot. The ironic thing is, reading the cards are only a conduit. Just as every person is born with the ability to perform magic, we are all born with the ability to read the Tarot.
Now I'm sure some people are calling my bluff right about now as they've failed at reading the cards themselves. Well here's the thing about it. If you've tried and failed to read the Tarot, it's because you're trying to read with a closed mind and a narrow gaze. You don't have to have the meanings of the cards memorized. Hell most of the time the cards come to mean certain things to you as opposed to what they're "supposed" to mean. it's all about allowing your intuition take over.
In my personal use of the cards I've learned very much. I myself have always wanted to learn to read the cards. I have also wanted to learn to fly. I'm sure you can imagine which happened first. I've noticed though that I have an affinity for the cards. I understand them. I read the cards and i don't see the generic answers, I see all possible paths which the cards point to. Basically I read the cards and I get very direct, very specific answers.
In order to get good results out of your reading, there are a few things you need to do. First off, as always in anything occult practice, you MUST meditate. Not very long, just long enough to get your body and mind completely relaxed. However don't try to suppress your thoughts. Allow them to engulf your mind. Actually take the time to think about them. Once you give them your attention they vanish. This allows you to have a completely focused mind while reading. No sense in giving yourself extra work.
Secondly, you'll want to get a mood going. Light some incense, get some candles going, maybe even instrumental music if you can keep your focus. You see, the surface mind will always try to pull you away from things it deems unnecessary. However, if you give it the right mood you would not believe how cooperative your surface mind can be. It just takes a little bribery. Like a kid with candy.
The third point is really more of an option, but something to consider. Call upon either deity, your ancestors, spirit guides, guardian angel, whichever works for you, and ask for their guidance through the reading. As I said, it's optional, but definitely something to consider.
Fourth. Shuffle, cut, and spread. I find the best way to do this is to shuffle the deck and cut it into three piles and set them down in orders 1 2 3. I then pick up deck 3, stack it on top of deck 1, which I then stack on top of deck 2. Now here is where many people fan out the cards and take their sweet time intricately picking out which cards are right. This to me is pointless because by shuffling and cutting you've already put the cards in the proper reading order. Follow whatever layout you're using and simply draw the cards one by one from the top and place them.
Fifth. Read the cards. Now here is where you many people go wrong. You don't want to allow your psychic mind to take over just yet. The cards are laid out. Here is where you want to breathe, relax, and take note of what you see. If anything stands out or brings something to light without your trying then obviously pay attention. Otherwise just let them sit for a second. Have patience.
Sixth. Here is where you want to look at the cards and start the actual reading. Look at what has been shown to you. Something I think a lot of people do wrong is instead of looking at things in an open unbiased way, they'll look at the cards and see only what they want to see. This isn't okay and will make for a failed reading. READ AS IF YOU'RE READING FOR A STRANGER! If you see something you don't like, well good. Now you know and you have the power to change it. Don't look at the cards with a discriminating eye. Here's something else I'd like to add. Many readers will put their cards back in haphazard order. I can't do this because of intense OCD. To me, this seems likes you're asking to be confused. This is why when I read the cards, if there are any reversed then you need to pay special attention, because they're reversed for a very good reason. I have only seen a reversed card once and I'm glad I did. it allowed me to prevent some pretty horrible things.
Seventh. Take note of what you've read. See how it pertains to your question. How did you feel once you took the personal part out of the reading? Did you surprise yourself?
This is just the method I use. but you see, the way I get clearer readings is by taking myself out of it. I read as if I'm being read to. I don't let my emotions get caught up. I read what the cards are telling me cut and dry, and I look at each individual card in relation to my question, THEN in relation to each other.
The bottom line is this: The Tarot can be an amazing tool if you allow them to be. it's all about your willingness to read that which you don't want to see, and your ability to distance yourself. Hope this helps all you future card readers out there.