Which is most important for a tarot reading- Intuition or Knowledge? (as illustrated by the High priestess & Hierophant, Morgan Greer tarot)
I honestly think they are both equally important.
This is a big word with so many meanings, and you need to find your on understanding. From connecting with spirit guides to an understanding that comes with from your own wiser self.
If there are 78 cards, and each card has a range of meanings, and is subtly altered by the cards around it, the question & the spread used- then that is way too many unique meanings for anyone to record in a book, let alone memorize, learn, or retain.
I argue that every tarot reading must include an intuitive leap, an emotional understanding, a connection that isn't quite logical, a right brain moment.
There is too much subtle information for us to process logically- and that is the joy of symbols, pictures, and the human mind (and soul if you like)
I see knowledge as important for two very specific reasons-
#1 It gives context to the reading.
I had a tarot client come to me, with a specific question about her gap year (being in her very early 20's) She had already been to a tarot reader who had talked about marriage, children & the like. The tarot reader may have been very accurate- but her reading was out of context for the client and did not help.
A knowledge of how to set the question, which spread, and the sheer way each card can relate to any question gives you the understanding to apply tarot helpfully. I do think some learning (whether book, teacher, online. Free or paid for) is useful- because of the massive amount of time it would take to understand everything through experience.
#2 Knowledge is a gift!
There is so much wonderful Tarot knowledge out there. People working, researching, learning, exploring tarot & seeking to share their experiences.
Whether you are looking to understand the occult depths of the Thoth tarot, the links between the Hermetic order of the Golden Dawn and Rider Waite. Maybe you prefer a more Jungian psychological approach, or the practical application of tarot for problem solving.
There is so much wisdom out there, it would take lifetimes upon lifetimes to experience. Why crawl along with your own worldview when you can stand on the backs of giants and understand so much!
So how to best blend & balance Intuition & Knowledge?
#1 Start with the image on the card.
Tarot cards are beautiful, and the images & symbols are there to lead us to information. I advise always looking at each card first, Still your mind (focus on your breathing if that helps) and look at the card.
See if anything comes into your mind- thoughts, associations, information, and note it down.
#2 Describe what you see in the card.
I have seen this unblock readers time & time again. It has certainly helped me to find new depths and clear meanings. Simply describe what you see in the card, out loud if you can. No right, or wrong. A verbal description of colour, or small details, or the landscape- you'll be amazed at the insights that can flow.
#3 Consider the placement of the card with in the Tarot Deck.
By which I mean its numerology, suit, name, is it a minor or major, a court card. Which element do you associate it with?
This isn't about just remembering what you have read, but also understanding - what does the number or suit etc. mean to you?
Now turn to your books, or online to clarify the card.
You might find a different angle that really helps, a specific meaning that helps you to understand all your intuitive thoughts.
Maybe a specific symbol, or colour just didn't fit in for you, and you want to understand that.
The research can unlock hidden clues, deepen what your intuition told you, or help you to apply the card to the question.
Enjoy the research, you are using it to compliment your intuition, not prove yourself right or wrong.
I firmly believe that intuition & knowledge are best when used together, neither one is better or worse.
When I read I am looking for my intuition first- what do the cards say to me? then I check in with what does my knowledge of the cards say- does it back up my intuition?
Reading professionally is a huge responsibility, I need both of my skill sets- as an intuitive reader & a tarot geek, to say the same thing.