This time last year, fresh off the most brutal breakup of my life, I went to my first ever tarot reading. I was in L.A. visiting my little sister, and on a whim, decided to email Angie Banicki, a celebrity tarot card reader who’s read everyone from Sophia Bush to Billie Eilish. I was extremely excited, but also very skeptical—that is, until two weeks later, when everything she predicted started coming into fruition.
Since then, I’ve had a few readings with her (all uncannily accurate), and was extremely fascinated by how this set of cards could not only predict situations I was about to go through, but also understand my emotions and feelings around each issue. When Banicki announced she was doing a five-week tarot reading class, I knew I had to sign up. If anything, it’d give me a new party trick, right?
I was not only finding a new way to tap into my intuition, but using the cards as a form of meditation.
The class wound up giving me much more than that. I was not only finding a new way to tap into my intuition, but using the cards as a form of meditation. Tarot became an additional avenue to dive into my emotions and digest what I was experiencing in my life.
“For me, when I teach tarot, I want it to help people discover lessons and provide guidance, as opposed to just giving predictions,” Banicki elaborates. While I was nervous about trying the class, I found that I learned a lot from the cards, and I even managed to turn on some of my friends to this outlet.
If you’ve also been thinking of trying out this ancient practice on for size but don’t know where to start, check out the tips below—courtesy of Banicki herself.
Find Your Favorite Deck
“I always like to start with the classic Rider-Waite deck because of the symbolism in the cards,” Banicki explains, and recommended this very deck for our class. The deck is the original, and the pictures correspond well to the traditional meanings. However, as time went on, I also fell in love with the Fountain Tarot deck, which consists of more abstract images on a silver background. I also found using the Fountain Tarot was more fun with friends, since it seemed to pick up the same cards over and over, no matter what we did.
“Over time, you’ll probably find some decks that you find you connect to more after you’ve mastered the basics,” Banicki says. Once you learn the meanings of the cards, Banicki recommends playing around with different decks to see which ones you feel you can get the best messages from. You may find you read for others better with certain decks, or that some just give you jumbled messages whenever you try them. The point, according to Banicki, is to experiment—which’ll also help you have more fun with the cards.
Start With a Ritual
“Getting in the space for readings is crucial,” Banicki says, who didn’t realize at first that when beginning a reading, she would automatically touch a water glass—and superstitions say glass can help focus one’s energy. These days, she centers herself beforehand and sages the cards in order to get into the space of receiving so she can tap into her client’s energy.
Banicki explains that when your mind is cluttered, you won’t be able to connect with spirit, God, the universe, whatever you believe in. While each person needs to find the activities that keep them the most centered, Banicki suggests meditation, lighting palo santo or sage, or finding a crystal that speaks to you.
Before my readings, I personally like to say a prayer of protection, but you can do whatever you want—even go for a run. The main point is to be in a state where you feel fully connected to your intuition and the present moment.
Connect With the Meanings of the Cards
I’m going to be honest here—there are so many cards, and things can get pretty overwhelming when you’re trying to figure out what they all mean. While it’s certainly helpful to check out the meanings online (Banicki loves this website, while I gravitate toward this one), Banicki also recommends simply picking one card for yourself a day and seeing what you think it means. Then, watch your day unfold and see if it resonates.
“I also sometimes sleep with a card next to me, and wake up and see what it may have been trying to tell me,” she says. “Ultimately, you should feel a connection with your cards that go beyond just what themes they represent.”
Go With Your Gut
While knowing what the cards mean is vital for your readings, Banicki notes that sometimes, it’s best to go with your gut. Say you know a certain card means balance, but when it shows up while you’re reading for a friend, you think it’s trying to symbolize inequality. Instead of focusing on what your website or book of choice says and trying to make it fit, rely on your intuition.
“I find that the more you try to make a certain meaning fit, the less it will,” Banicki explains. “If you feel like you know exactly which meaning of the card applies, it’s likely you’re correct. It’s all about building a relationship with the cards and understanding what they’re trying to tell you in that particular circumstance.”
Banicki insists things will get clearer with time, and soon, there’ll just be a moment when you’ll be able to look at the cards and understand exactly what they’re trying to tell you.
It’s all about building a relationship with the cards and understanding what they’re trying to tell you in that particular circumstance.
Practice Makes Perfect
The biggest hesitation I had learning tarot was that I wouldn't be able to read them successfully—after all, it’s called a gift for a reason. This sentiment, though, is exactly what Banicki is trying to disprove. “I look at tarot reading like playing a sport,” she says. “Some people are more gifted and pick it up easily, while others require a lot of practice. This doesn’t mean that you’re not capable of learning—it’ll just require some work.”
As Banicki herself is self-taught, she believes the class will help people who’ve always been curious about tarot but never knew where to start. Once the class wrapped, she encouraged us to practice daily and try it out with friends so we could see what comes up. I’m going to be honest: it was really fun to have people look at me in shock and say things like, “How did you know that?”
While I can’t say I’m completely an expert yet, I do find that there’s a certain solace in the cards, especially when I’m trying to figure out things in my own life. After all, if I can’t find the answers myself, it helps to have a somewhat impartial way to look at things—even if it is a little unorthodox.