The Things Tarot Taught Me that I Didn’t Expect

I don’t know exactly what I expected from tarot, but I suppose I wanted something to help me understand my life a bit better.

It did that and more.

Sure, tarot helped me gain clarity on things that were affecting me. Still, it’s almost like there was this hidden curriculum of practicing tarot — diving deeper than what was on the surface of why I pulled cards or what led me to tarot in general.

For me, tarot became an integral tool that helped me see beyond my current reality, understand the complexities of my feelings, and find solutions to the challenges I experienced. 

Tarot connected me to myself – my past, present, and future – and showed ways I could heal.


Readings cards felt divine, meaningful, and really fucking cool to do—but that was only part of it. Reading tarot was a process that turned into a practice. Learning the cards, their symbolism, developing a personal routine, all of it became an exercise of self-trust. Reminding myself to have faith in my interpretations of the cards over and over and over became a new way of thinking—one where I became confident in my choices even if they were hard, displeasing to others, or complicated.


Along with the habit of self-trust, reading tarot changed the way I thought about myself, my life, and things I was previously taught. Reading tarot is not an intellectual process. Because we are taught that logical, rational, fact or evidence based decisions are the only ones that count, learning tarot was like changing the codes to my robotic, formulaic way of doing things. When I started to remember intuition, what it feels like to connect to energy  around and within, it showed me that the way I was making decisions wasn’t working. I wasn’t happy in any area of my life. Letting go of what I “knew” or “thought” allowed the information to come flowing in force that my gut, my body, my spirit, my shoulders, my clenched jaw, my closed fists all were trying to tell me. Unlearning the conditioning gave me a chance to realize that many ways are possible other than the approaches to life I was taught.

New Pathways

With the glow possibility all around me, I could begin to read cards in a way that showed me information beyond my current understanding. My life felt like a construct formed by my family, schools, societal expectations. These limitations were the only frameworks I had to make choices for my life. The cards, however, they don’t know those bounds. Pulling a spread of cards laid out options and opportunities that my current framework didn’t have a way of finding. I found myself getting more creative, more curious, more confrontational about my life.


All that being said, looking back at my life and the introduction of tarot in it, tarot helped me find language and acceptance for the things that I knew deep down were affecting my life. My anger, my codependency, my people-pleasing… it all came from somewhere. Tarot helped me break down and get to the root of some of these manifestations of pain or neglect. It helped me show up more fully to challenges, in ways that honored my feelings, my boundaries, my experience, my power, without denying dignity from people around me. I learned to detach my decision making from what made others more comfortable or stand firm in boundaries even when it made others uncomfortable. 

These are just some of the ways that tarot helped me to be more present, and on purpose in my life. 

But these are the ways I did not expect.

That’s why tarot can be overwhelming to learn at first. You’re not only processing what drew you to the cards in the first place, or learning all 78 cards, it’s the unexpected information they draw out — it’s the lobster or crab in the water, coming to the surface to remind you there is a whole ecosystem beyond, in your depths.


RaDonna is a vivacious (and messy) tarot teacher, aka your new tarot BFF, who guides aspiring tarot readers like you to meaningfully connect with your intuition, trust your experiences, and feel more confident about your choices through classes, community, and readings. Summer Tarot Course Opens on the Solstice

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