What are Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards are a deck of 78 cards depicting various characters and scenarios in conjunction with four suits - Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. There are 22 cards in the Major Arcana, including such well known cards as The Devil, The Fool, Strength and Death. Tarot cards are used by readers as a tool for cartomancy (divination or fortune telling through the use of playing cards). The cards are laid out in a pre-decided spread, with each position and it’s meaning being chosen beforehand I.e ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’. Once the cards have been shuffled and placed in their positions, they are then turned over, revealing to the reader the answer to their question. A Tarot reader will then use a combination of knowledge of the Tarot and the card’s meanings and their own intuition to communicate to the querent (the readee) the answer to their question.

How does a Tarot Reading work?


On a practical level, a Tarot Reading begins with the querent (you), asking the Tarot Reader a question. Sometimes a conversation might commence about the best way to phrase that question. Personally, I want my clients to get the most out of their reading, so if I feel their question could be phrased better, I will discuss this with them in order to get the most detailed reading possible for their time.


Once the question has been asked, the Tarot Reader will begin to shuffle the cards. Often they will close their eyes whilst doing this. It helps to block out external distractions and allows them to tune into the cards and the querent in a more concentrated way. Whilst shuffling the cards, the Reader will ask the cards your question. Personally, when I work with my deck I like to talk to the cards about the person I’m reading for. For example if I am reading for a man named Paul Johnson, I may say something along the lines of ‘This reading is for Paul Johnson, Paul was born in 1978 in Austin, Texas. Paul would like to know if he would benefit from going back to further education and becoming a mature student, in spite of his anxieties around the matter’. I will keep shuffling, and keep talking to the cards until I feel they are ready.


Once the cards have been shuffled, they are then laid out in a pre-decided spread that best suits your question. They will then be turned over and the reader will begin to decipher the messages within each card and how they might relate to each other.


What should I ask the cards?


You can ask the cards anything you like! However, if you simply want help deciding which trousers to wear to an interview, this may not be the best avenue for you. Questions that are simple and hold little weight for the querent are not advised. The kinds of questions that hold well in a reading and offer the most to someone looking for a reading are questions about life, relationships, career paths etc. Questions about decisions we are finding difficult to make, guidance when we have more than one option to choose from, or confirmation that yes, we should indeed move across the country to pursue a career in biochemistry. 

How should I phrase my question?


Be as direct and specific as possible. If you want to know wether or not you should move across the country for education, don’t ask ‘is so-and-so a good school?’. Your chosen University may well be prestigious, it may come with high praise for it’s arts programmes. However if your concern is wether or not YOU will be happy there, your question has not addressed this. You would do better to ask, ‘I am 23 years old, I’m looking to complete a biochemistry degree, and I struggle with social anxiety, is so-and-so school the right choice for me?’, then your answer will be just as specific. Maybe it becomes apparent that although the school’s arts programme is great, the science programme is lacking. The cards might also tell us that you will find yourself enjoying social situations.

Are Tarot Cards scary? 


Not at all! Unlike the false narratives that surround Tarot Cards (found mostly in movies about the occult written by men who’s idea of a Tarot Reader is a woman in a dark room telling you that you’ll die soon) Tarot Cards are actually a very positive tool. The scariest part of a Tarot Reading is the potential for the querent to have to face situations head on that they have been subconsciously avoiding (who likes to admit that the degree they spent 6 years working towards no longer serves their desires, or their marriage may be crumbling). Most of the time however, the cards just serve to illuminate what we already know or want deep in our subconscious, making decision making easier and giving us the confidence to work towards new and better things in our lives.


What if I receive the Death card?


If the Death card appears in your spread, it does not mean you will die anytime soon. The Death card represents a situation, relationship or thought cycle that has run it’s course. It is no longer serving you and the end was inevitable and necessary. Subsiquently, space has now been made for growth and fulfilment, new opportunities for joy once the old cycle has ended. The Death card is actually one of my favourites. I spent so many years in negative cycles in my own life, negative relationships and negative mindsets, that when the Death card finally started appearing for me, it meant that my turmoil was ending and I had finally reached a place of growth and inner peace.


How many times can I have a Tarot Reading?


You can have as many readings as you like. However, it isn’t advisable to ask the cards the same question twice. For example, if you ask ‘how do I find the right partner for me?’, and the cards suggest that you work hard to manage your inner turmoils in order to find yourself before you find a partner, and you think ‘nah I can’t be bothered to do that’ and you ask the cards again, your second answer will be vague or murky. The cards don’t like to be asked twice unless significant time has passed or the circumstances surrounding the question have changed. They are here to guide us in our situations as they truly are, not how we wish they already were. 


If you have multiple questions, or regularly wish to consult the cards on different matters, then there is no limit to how many readings you can have. Some people draw cards daily and weekly for general guidance. They like to know what to look out for at work or in the home. Others may choose an in depth reading that addresses their one burning question. It is up to the querent.