This article has been rewritten, thanks largely to the helpful comments which have helped me to better view and articulate my ideas. Some of the comments reflect the older versions of the article, so bear that in mind while reading. Enjoy!
I answer a lot of questions about how I know so much about Tarot, and how I reach many of the meanings and ideas I have during readings or lessons. The real answer is that while I have a lot of information about the cards like history and correspondences to other systems, I rely almost entirely on my intuition to guide me. I experience my response to a picture on the card, and then analyze my response – I ask myself questions; Why does the three of swords card make me feel sad? Is it the dreary weather, the allusion to heartbreak, the violence? What about that combination cultivates a sad response in me, and how might it be different for other people? What if I felt angry about this card, what might that mean for me? And so on, forever. This brings me to a personal connection with the image, and a degree of experience handling the card and its possible impacts upon people. A big part of this process is being honest with myself and uncritical of my automatic responses. Tarot is a visual system first, so being able to see and feel in response to what you see, is the only skillset one needs to use the cards.