How To Read Tarot For Yourself

by Theresa Reed on April 10, 2013

Read tarot for yourself

“Can you read the tarot cards for yourself?”

Believe it or not, I get asked that question over and over.  And the answer is yes. After all, who knows me better than myself?

Like many fellow tarotists, when I first started working with the cards, I didn’t have many people clamoring to get a reading from me. So out of necessity, I had to learn by experimenting with my self.

Despite the fact that most readers start by reading exclusively for themselves, I often hear this:  “I can’t read my own cards”.  The reason why is often cited as a lack of objectivity.

While it’s true that an emotionally invested outcome may lead to a less effective reading, there are a few tricks that can help you get past your biases and start reading more successfully for yourself.

  1. Write your reading down in a tarot journal along with initial thoughts.  Come back to it in a few days and see if you have different insights.  This is a great tip as a “tarot time out” often provides clarity.
  2. Get a second opinion.  Share your interpretations with a fellow tarot reader – a fresh set of eyes might give you a new perspective and help jog your sixth sense.
  3. Do the reading as if you were interpreting for a complete stranger.  In other words, detach from your brain (and any wonky emotions) and go through the interpretations as you would for another person.  Consider what advice would you might give them.  Say the reading out loud – or record it to listen back later. This usually does the trick for me (plus it’s more efficient than writing it down or bugging someone else!)
  4. Having trouble detaching?  Before you begin doing a reading, take a few minutes to meditate.  A short period of quiet can calm the mind and emotions, which always lends to a better result.

These simple tips can get you back to reading for you – because nothing is more powerful than being your very own best mystic.



© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2013

I’d love to hear your thoughts on reading for yourself. Do you read your own cards?  Have you ever had problems being objective?  What techniques do you use when you are having trouble seeing for yourself?

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Terri April 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Like you, when I first started reading Tarot, I was the perfect “guinea pig” to practice on. Over the years, I’ve learned, though, when NOT to do a reading for myself. If the question is just too emotionally charged, I step away and give it a few days. I’ve also done your trick of reading aloud as though I were doing the reading for another person. It does work! (Plus, it helps boost your self-confidence.) I feel that practicing on yourself, doing your own readings, is a perfect way to become acquainted with a new deck and helps to form that “connection”. Thanks so much for a great article, and for letting me know that I’m not the only one that uses these little tricks to read effectively for myself.

Theresa Reed April 21, 2013 at 8:50 am

Same here Terri – when I get too bent out of shape about an issue, I know it’s time to put the cards away and leave it alone for a while.

Naware April 11, 2013 at 8:12 am

Great simple tips! Like you I started primarily with myself, but I would also occasionally read for friends here and there.

Like Terri I learned very quickly what times were not good for me to read for myself, the hard way. Sometimes my answer would appear jumbled, sometimes I would just completely blank out on the cards. I know now that was a little caution flag. For some subjects, even now years later I will not read on. For other things that I may have trouble with I’ve learned that sometimes I am approaching the situation the wrong way and I need to take a step back.

Theresa Reed April 21, 2013 at 8:52 am

I’ve always been pretty good at reading for myself, Naware (in fact, I prefer to read for myself) BUT I have had situations where I just couldn’t get a clear read. Thankfully, I’ve been able to find great readers who fixed me up just fine. 🙂 Always good to have a backup reader in your back pocket.


Paige Z April 12, 2013 at 12:10 am

Ugh. THANK YOU. When I was in L.A. this past weekend I got a reading, and the woman told me I should never, EVER read for myself. I was, frankly, a little shocked, since my morning meditation routine involves a daily directional spread for myself. Her vehement words shook me a little and I’m so glad to hear a different opinion from an equally established reader.

Incorporating a daily draw as part of my meditation ritual has been very helpful in terms of establishing objectivity. The early morning is such a magical time. I find that meditating immediately after waking – especially with a cup of green tea – really connects me to my subconscious and allows for intuitive, impartial readings.

However, I DO occasionally read for myself when I am highly emotional: I use Biddy Tarot’s Release and Let Go Spread, which actually harnesses the high-flying emotions and is most effective when used during the peak of emotional distress.

It’s been very useful for me when I’m frustrated and unsure of what it is I’m even feeling or how to get unstuck. I highly recommend it.

Thank you so much for this article, Theresa. It’s good to be reminded that every reader is unique and what works for one may not work for another.

Theresa Reed April 21, 2013 at 8:53 am

Hey Paige

Ugh indeed. I’ve come across readers like that. I don’t do well with preachy people. LOL

Keep on reading, chica – for others and yourself as YOU see fit.


DailyTarot Girl April 15, 2013 at 6:52 pm

I read for myself all the time.
If I am feeling upset about something I try to get as calm as I can first. Then, if I am still feeling “sensitive” I use Angel Cards instead of Tarot.
I think the best thing you can do when reading for yourself is to release any expectations or agenda that you may have and keep an open mind.
Also, when I read for myself, I typically spend quite a bit of time contemplating the cards – I may even leave my reading out on my table for a day or so, so that I can come back to it later and re-contemplate it.

DailyTarot Girl April 15, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Theresa, I love your suggestion of using a Tarot journal – I think its so easy to do a reading for yourself, then totally forget about. But if you record it in a journal, you can come back to it later and see how things unfolded and how it relates to your daily life.

Theresa Reed April 21, 2013 at 8:54 am

Tarot Journals are so essential – I love mine. I will refer back later and often I am surprised at how accurate my initial thoughts were. Sometimes though, I will see the reading in a whole new light.

Brandi April 28, 2013 at 2:03 am

Almost all of the readers I’ve gone to (tarot and psychic) have told me not to read for myself. At first, I just accepted it – I was a beginner, so what did I know? But as time went on, I started questioning that. What did that *mean*?? No one could give me an answer, just a vague “don’t do it.”

Talk about getting a complex about the energy I was putting out.

Back then, I read for myself because I was learning, and I seemed to have normal experiences – maybe an off day here and there, but mostly positive results. I’m beginning again after a long time away, so it’s nice to hear that I can toss out confusing advice!

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