Traditionally when I used to read tarot cards, I did the exact same thing and went by the universal definitions from a tarot book. These days you could use online websites to look up definitions of each card. While I am not against reading tarot cards by the book, I do think that reading tarot cards intuitively is better than going by the book meanings. I do recommend if you are a beginner at Tarot, to go ahead and start with definitions by the book because it helps you build a foundation of understanding the use of cards. The best way to study by the book is pick keywords out that hep you feel related to each card. Once you do that, begin writing the keywords on the tarot card. While it may feel weird to write on your cards, its really the quickest way to get to know your deck and connect with your own tarot deck faster. You can read more about this on my post “Tarot 101 Basics of Reading Tarot For Yourself” . One of the things that you don’t want to do is try to look up the definitions while you are reading yourself or your client. Personally, I find it distracting and it can break the flow of the reading because you are always trying to find where you left off an continue from there. Writing on your cards can help you keep the flow of the energy going in your reading. Plus, you will find that keywords can help sense things faster as read each card along the way.
The other thing that is really great about tarot by the book is the use of tarot spreads or layouts. I find that layouts are fun to do and you can use these spreads to get an accurate reading on a situation. However it can also lead to confusion when using layouts because we are trying to related what the position means with a certain card in place. Again, this can break the flow because we are too worried about what it means in a certain position of the spread. It takes time to really master your favorite layouts and understand each cards definitions by heart.
That being said, I strongly recommend reading intuitively. The benefits of reading intuitively are really about connecting with your deck even more. When you start reading your deck intuitively, you develop your own definitions of each card along the way which you can write them down. This will also enhance your readings on a more meaningful level. You will be able to pick up things a lot quicker when you read for yourself and for others. You also won’t have to worry how many times to shuffle or cut the deck. In Confusion will not be there either because you are not working with tarot layouts. Rather, you will be starting with the card you are drawn to first and read from there. Its interesting how tarot unfolds intuitively because its like a story from start to finish. You’ll also find yourself picking up on things naturally without relying on universal meanings of tarot cards.
The idea is to go with the flow more when you do a reading. I absolutely love reading tarot because I can tell you from experience that I have I picked up on things naturally as I explain each card to a client and they are in awe in how I know things without telling them much about their situation. This is because I am having a conversation with each card. I simply tell them at the beginning what card I reading and the basic of the meaning of it. Then I start telling the other messages I receiving as I look at the card. This goes beyond universal definitions so when you start getting ideas, pictures or messages and phrases, just go with it and tell them. You will be surprised at your own self how you can pick things up naturally, it will just come. Playing tarot cards isn’t all linear. It fact if you have a problem remember all 78 cards both upright and reversed, then intuitive readings are the way to go. It allows you to have so much more freedom to do readings in more natural state that create for your own self. Remember there is no right or wrong way to do tarot readings. It’s about what feels comfortable for you, which will give you the greatest accuracy.