A random Google search on, “How to become more intuitive” is an exercise in strange advice. To clarify, I use intuition instead of clairvoyance because I feel they are on a continuum. It can be difficult to asses what is intuitive information and extra-sensory information. For the purposes of my talk here, I use both words nearly interchangeably because to me, they work so close together they might as well be.
The most common advice via Google for increasing intuition is as follows: meditation, pay attention to your dreams, journal, pay attention to your 5 senses, avoid fluoride, get your chakra (reiki, etc.) energy in balance, eat clean, and avoid alcohol.If this list were in the least bit accurate, by all rights I should be totally and completely lacking any intuitive abilities. I eat nachos, drink bourbon, gargle with fluoride, haphazardly meditate and forget my dreams as much as anyone else. Nor have I used any of these suggestions to increase my ability.
Just like eyesight, hearing and touch, intuition is as natural and reliable (okay maybe not 5 bourbons in). Your intuitive sense is robust. You do not need to be a yogi on the mountain, or a champion meditation guru, or a vegetarian with balanced chakras. Intuition is a gift like all the other gifts we have as bodies, it is innate within you.
There is no need to shroud this inexplicable sense anymore than it already is. Just like eyesight, hearing and touch, intuition is as natural and reliable (okay maybe not 5 bourbons in). Your intuitive sense is robust. You do not need to be a yogi on the mountain, or a champion meditation guru, or a vegetarian with balanced chakras. Intuition is a gift like all the other gifts we have as bodies, it is innate within you. There is no need to shroud this inexplicable sense anymore than it already is.
Intuition is easily observed in children. Most children have an innate sense that at some point begins to fall off. This usually coincides with the start of school. School does not train us for listening to this sense and I would argue, actively dismantles it. We live in a society that does not honor, nor recognize intuition.
In that vacuum what was natural talent atrophies in many. We can see further evidence for the lack our society has for intuition just by the dearth of words to adequately explain this perceptive sense. When our language lacks the words to describe what we are experiencing then it is hard to understand that what we sense is real.
How could you possibly ever communicate your experience to a society that has decided that thing you are describing is not real?
English (in my opinion) is not verbose when it comes to describing inner states and complex emotions. There has been a recent spate of research around how words of a thing change and shape how we feel and what we sense. There has also been research on the use of words and the perception of things like time and color perception. Namely, the language you use to perceive changes what you are perceiving.
Ifind it hard to explain the process of intuition because I am grasping at words (inaccurate, clumsy substitutions) that are not up to the task of my perception. The closest analogy I can think of is trying to live as a person with sight in a blind world. That blind world telling the rarer sighted individuals that the color red is a delusion of their weak mind. How could you possibly ever describe the color red if there were no words for it? How could you possibly ever communicate your experience to a society that has decided that thing you are describing is not real?
This is the first in a series of conversations I would like to have regarding intuition/extra-perception. This first piece sets up the conversation I wish to have with you later. If the advice we get about enhancing perception is mostly off-base, then what works? How can we create language that will help us identify what is going on inside and later explain it? How has a society that eschews this sense affect your intuition and your relationship to it?
As an intuitive who makes her living by using this sense. I aim to question the advice that I have seen so often in fly by night articles (yes, I do see the irony). I also endeavor to replace them with methods that I use and know work. But, caveat here, what I may offer will not work for everyone. Merely, I offer a different way of viewing what ‘this’ is and how to enhance it.
I hope to help you train your sense of your sense, namely, to be able to isolate what is intuition and what is not.
I will offer a three-part series: The first is learning what intuition feels like. Gaining a lexicon that might be useful. Many things that I hear people call perception is often just suggestion. I’ve read bad advice where suggestion and subconscious to conscious conversations were labeled as extra-sensory. I want to clear up the difference so that you can easily recognize when it appears. I hope to help you train your sense of your sense, namely, to be able to isolate what is intuition and what is not. Half the battle here is just to be able to recognize it.
Once we have a clear idea of how and when our active intuitive state is present, we have to learn to listen to it, to trust it, and to turn up the volume so we can hear it better. I have some pretty novel ideas regarding how to do this that greatly increases our ability to catch the impression.
Finally, upon identifying what the sense is like, and training our minds to hear it, we then can learn how to call it on command. Like tuning into a distance conversation we can train our ‘ears’ to pick up on the information from the ambient noise. We can easily put ourselves into a listening state that helps us catch what we need to sense.
If you missed the first part of this series please go to ‘Dump the Pull One Card a Day Advice’ first. It specifically outlines why this advice can overwhelm and confuse a new reader rather than help them build proficiency.
Some of my advice here may feel counter-intuitive.
Q: If we are immediately placing meanings on cards then doesn’t that mean we are not allowing our natural intuition to tell us what we need?
A: Not at all.
In fact, learning just one word per card is creating the scaffolding, the framework wherein your intuition will work with you and through the medium you are using. (I started a series on intuition, here is the intro piece to that.)
Here is what I know and have experienced:
If I am even the slightest bit anxious, puzzling over a meaning or feeling confused, then I am having strong feelings and over-thinking. Intuition does not come the more one ponders.
It just comes.
So we set the maximum conditions to allow it to come.
You will begin to use cards in new ways that are ‘off book’ and you will know they are accurate.
You will build that internal language between your conscious and intuitive selves, but first you have to begin somewhere.
One more thing about formulating a question:Half the work in a good reading (and yes, I know there is a philosophical difference in the tarot world regarding this) is doing the initial work of finding the ‘right’ question.
This work is invaluable to the process. What do I actually want to know? What is causing me concern, really? Why not just ask it directly for God sake’s rather than couching all of that into a mealy, tepid question?
It’s almost as if we do not trust our intuition or tarot to be direct and honest so we hedge our bets by open-ended questions. There is no need to do this! Your tarot and your intuition can handle it.
Open ended questions in general are great, too. But, for the beginner we need to focus on creating a tight enough space to work within.
A few more thoughts about this process:It is better to learn more cards with simpler vocabulary than fewer cards with 10 words of possible meanings. It is better to create conditions that will be successful, encouraging new students to gain immediate proficiency.
The students I have who struggle the most are those that usually carefully analyze something as their way of understanding new information. This kind of approach often can squash those quick, fast, quiet intuitive hits that come out of nowhere. Be on the lookout for this tendency.
Intuitive hits come quick. If you do not know immediately, put it aside, do not stress over it.
When it is ready it will ding! into your awake thinking, like a small interruption.
You have to let go and trust the process. The process you are creating. How magical is that?!
The Road Test
Today I have a meeting with someone concerning my cat. “Will the animal communicator give me a session that will help me understand and engage with my cat better?” See what I did there? I made the question specific and targeted. I even avoided the more nebulous, “How will the meeting I have with the cat communicator lady go?”
Q: Will the animal communicator give me a session that will help me understand and engage with my cat better?
Using the one word I have chosen for each card, I get:
Self-Imprisonment, Reward, and Intimacy.
Looking at the spread I am noticing how the images look together. I erase the borders until it all comes together. (Mary Greer has some excellent exercises that help with this in her ‘21 Ways to Read Tarot’
In my spread, the first two cards reveal two people are looking in opposite directions. One is afraid of the ocean, and one is looking at what she is trying to cultivate. One is fearful, and the other is looking to the garden she wishes to grow.
In the final image, we see two people joined together. The way this ‘comic strip’ narrative unfolds feels good to me. I do not feel the need to switch anything around, so I decide to move forward.
Using the tips above I come to this narrative:
“I am self-imprisoned and cannot see something very obvious about my relationship to my cat, maybe there is some kind of fear that is blinding me. The communicator will give me a reward (probably some kind of advice or insight) that will increase the intimacy and closeness of my cat and I.”
Can I say that this prediction I made was accurate? Was the tarot communicating effectively with me? Do I feel clearer about the reading and understanding what the cards were saying to me?
First, the person I worked with was excellent. She gets a big recommendation from me. The session was relevant, useful, and immensely helpful. A big component of the issues brought up by my cat via the communicator was how my stress was impacting my cat and she was feedback looping that back to me (Self-imprisonment being the major issue — the problems of my own making).
Second, the rewards of the communicator’s insights allowed me to understand how to become closer to my cat. Looking back at the cards after the session allowed me to deepen my understanding about the major take-aways reaffirmed by the communicator.
Not only did this three card spread answer my question regarding her competence, it also explained how her competence was going to influence the relationship I have with my cat.
And I only needed one word for each card to get here.
Looking back I want to make sure that my new technique is actually building the skills I wish to acquire which are:
Gain a simple yet workable vocabulary that (I) will build upon, learn how to apply that vocabulary to a grammatical framework that makes sense, and finally, learn how to apply both the vocabulary and the grammar towards a goal of communication.
Doing a three card spread accomplishes this very nicely in a way that one card pulls may not.
Ultimately, I am aiming to understand how tarot wishes to communicate with me, and how tarot wants to use vocabulary that will be a lexicon we share. But first, we need a simple bridge.
And we can only do that once we have established a tight enough rubric for meaningful exchange.
You still with me?
Have another cat pic, cause… damn she is adorable and we lurv each other.
My recommendation is to just do these three card spreads for a month or two. I know you will be hankering to dig into larger spreads but just keeping your work to this format will cement the lexicon you are building. I suspect that the intuitive insights you begin to have will be remarkable.
Stop reading for yourself.
Read for people on the news or about events you are not actually attached to. That way, you have no unconscious bias or anxiety impinging upon the reading. You will begin to feel when you get a hit and since you have no prior connection or ‘dog in the fight’ the perceptions will be clear. Again, remember I am giving very new timer advice for your first couple of months. You will read for yourself and others later. This is just about learning to build a tarot-intuitive bridge in your head.
I love getting question fodder from reddit. There are tons of people publicly posting and asking for advice there. I love going to r/relationships to get questions. These folks are asking for advice on a public forum (so I feel okay for reading for them) and they will follow up what whatever happened usually. Keep a journal of these and see how well you do.
Okay, that’s it! Thank you for reading and also I truly hope this helps!
But the problem here is that you do not have enough words for the task.
Your one card pull for such a nebulous and wide-ranging question will often cause more befuddlement than actual help.
I find that this popular learning mechanic about as useful as an Ikea build box missing a baggie of those ‘z screws’ which now renders most of your efforts useless. This method does not have enough tools for the task at hand.
Tarot is a language.
Just as in learning a new language, the goal of a tarot beginner is to do 3 things:
Just like learning any language the best practice is to memorize simple grammar and vocabulary together to communicate easy sentences which are immediately usable.
When I studied Chinese, I learned to make easy sentences the first day, “Wo shi Mei Guo Ren” word for word that means “I am an American person.” It doesn’t make sense to just learn “Wo” or “shi” in a vacuum or to learn that there are literally 50 meanings for the word, “shi” just yet.
In order to learn effectively, we have to apply it immediately to a framework we are constructing with a reason for communication.
Tarot is no different.
There is a lot here and a lot to ponder. I might feel a little overwhelmed and confused.
Which of all of this could it mean? Is it talking about me, or someone else? Will I have a clairvoyant message? Is this who I am? Is this who I am supposed to be?
I was on alert for my message to be revealed to me, trying to figure what, or who, or how the card related to me.
So we have run into the first problem, the lack of context. Asking “How will my day go?” and pulling just one card for the whole huge range of what that question could possibly be is only amplifying the confusion we wish to eliminate.
The One Card Confusion Can Cause Frustration and Misinterpretation
1. We have a greater tendency to project what we think the card will mean because it is so wide-ranging and nebulous. In effect, we are stacking the deck towards results we unconsciously want rather than being objective about the process. Tarot becomes a mirror to your own thoughts in this case which is helpful (very helpful) but may not effectively help a very beginner 101 learners.
2. We are not using tarot as a way to effectively communicate. So my day that the Queen of Cups included was a day of seeing clients, having roofers come to my house and leave estimates and finally a trip to the ER to break a migraine. I had quite a day! Was the Queen of Cups me as a reader? Was the Queen of Cups the nurse who gave me the shots? Was the Queen of cups one of my clients? Who knows? But most importantly, did it really communicate anything to me that was useful from the perspective that I needed to know something?
I suggest you flip it.
Pull your one card in the evening, asking it about the past you already know than the future you don’t.
“What do you want to tell me about my day?”
Allowing the cards to retroactively discuss something you have context is helpful.
Going back to my Queen of Cups day, I was able to see how she literally permeated my everything: from my work as a clairvoyant to others, to the healing I advocated for and received from another, and how self-care healing, compassion and getting earnest advice from roofing companies all fit within the context.
Instead of looking for that one thing, I was able to expand my point of reference and learn tarot without the confusion of no context. I saw all the ways this Queen can speak to me. From a learning process this is helpful but if you are like me, you want to be slanging them cards on the asap.
And I am about to show you how in the next installation.
But in the meantime, reverse engineer your card of the day pulls… and do let me know what you think.
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