I think it was a very needed question to ask. If we start to do something by rote, the thought starts to go out of the process. So I broke it down for our waitress to the following (simplified) process: I learned and memorized the meanings of the cards first. Once I was done with memorization, I felt comfortable using the pictures to form my own interpretations of the cards. The memorization was the foundation on which I built upon.
What follows is a few tips I'd like to share with new tarot readers, gleaned from my own practice with the cards and combined with some advice that was given to me.
- Do not be afraid to say what you see, no matter how odd, obscure, or seemingly unrelated. YOU don't know how related or unrelated a seemingly random song popping into your head as you are in the middle of spread is to the person you're reading for. So say it. What's the harm?
- When I read, I relate situations I'm seeing in the cards to my life as a way to explain what I'm seeing to the client. For example, I once saw the Five of Cups in a reading I did for a kid (no pressure or anything!). I was using the Llewellyn Tarot at the time, and the card portrays a cloaked figure standing on the shore of a river, with his head down, a castle in the distance, and three of the five cups at his feet are spilled over. When I looked at this card, I remembered my best friend that moved away and I lost contact with from my childhood. So that's when I said, "Has a really good friend of yours just moved away?" Sure enough, that's what happened.