As a tarot reader, I am always evolving. Learning to read the cards or at least their generalized and agreed upon meanings, is only the first step. Some may think that deciding how one reads would be the next step but that isn't the case. Because how one reads is evolving as surely as the person themselves, slotting ones reading style into a preconceived category such as 'by the book' or 'strictly intuitive' can shape our thinking so that we have a hard time breaking out of our routine.
I started life proudly proclaiming that I was a By The Book kind of reader, and there is nothing wrong with that. If you're comfortable either as a book learner or strictly intuitive, I don't want to dissuade anyone of their preferred style.
What I do want to address is two things: The evolutionary nature of card meanings/situations we read on, and the method I use to explore connections using both intuition and book learned skills.
First, and foremost, the cards exist on a plane of consciousness like our own. Not only do the cards reflect-at any given moment-the thoughts and attitudes of the person interpreting them, but they also change as both points of view and situations shift. For example, you may do a reading on a job prospect one day and divine that this job is totally yours. Imagine your dismay if you receive a phone call later say that they filled the position. Bummer, for sure. Grabbing the cards again you ask what happened, and the cards tell you that they hired someone from within the company. This could have been a last minute applicant or their goal all along-either way you're looking at a situation that can and did change.
Similarly, the situation may not be the one shifting. The most famous case here is the Death card. So many people have joked in one way or the other, "Oh it's the Death card, that's gonna be bad news!" when in reality, it usually indicates a shift of some kind, or a way for the querent (sitter) to make change that they've been doggedly staring at for some time. But what can be said of that card in one reading can and does change in others. For example, if I pull the Ace of Pentacles alongside the Death card and the Chariot, I may advise them to slow down in life as they're doing too much and risking their health by overburdening themselves and being reckless.
Another example-the Lovers is often applauded when it appears in readings, as it can signify romance (though not just that but the hard work that goes into sustaining a long term romance) but alongside two courts from opposite suits and a sword card or two I would say this relationship is work, and if neither of them are willing to compromise it seems like communication may break down. Which, at that point, means it may be time to hit the road.
Now, it isn't all doom and gloom but those are some examples off the top of my head. Let's move on to the second part—the reading itself. When I do my readings I usually just lay the cards out one by one, either in a spread or with no specific position in mind. Lately, however, this too has been evolving.
I will more frequently pull cards and lay them in a pile, using my hands or a pendulum to slide the cards every which way, talking as I do so and allowing the meanings to just come to me as needed. This method started when I would use the entire deck but I have since learned to use this without having to resort to a full seventy-eight card reading. Using this methods allows me slide cards next to each other and get a glimpse of different meanings and messages that come through. Using the pendulum alongside this style of reading will help me pinpoint cards that are going to hold more prominent messages in the immediate for the client. To clarify, I don't use the whole deck but will have the client decide on a topic and I will then pull cards all the way until I get to the Sun card. I chose the Sun card because it seemed fitting as a healthy resolution card.
From there I will then use my hands to mix the pile and move the cards around, talking as I do so—giving my impressions to the client as steadily as possible. I find this style works best when I am allowed to just speak uninterrupted so I can let the messages flow but even with that their verbal feedback is still completely welcome.
Give it a try, have the client (or yourself) select cards from the deck, or cut the deck into piles and choose one pile. Use the cards selected to one by one build your pile and read whatever messages come through. Two things, trust yourself and don't be afraid to go with details if your intuition kicks them to you.