I was recently at a party where I‘d been asked to do short tarot readings for guests.
Many of the guests who were curious had never had a tarot reading before and while they were interested they were also a bit fearful. I was surprised to learn that there are still lots of people around who think that tarot is about predicting the future. They are either terrified to hear that they only have another month to live or eager to know when they will finally meet their true love, win the lottery, or both.
So first of all, I’d like to reassure all those folks who might be interested in coming for a reading, but are worried about what they might hear: a good tarot reading is not about fortune telling, i.e. predicting the future. A good reader wants her clients to recognise what she’s saying, to resonate with it, to feel in their gut that it rings true. This connection is what will make the client engage with the reading and come away knowing they’ve received something real, something helpful.
This means not predicting future events based on the client’s fears or wishful thinking, but rather pointing towards the likelihood of future events with a high degree of probability. It also means that if the cards point towards a looming unfortunate occurrence, a good reader will present the information with due care and compassion, and frame it in a way that gives the client a sense of control.
I don’t personally believe that the future is set in stone, but rather that there are multiple forces leading towards different potential futures, and that even if something is a person’s destiny, it is our actions which will determine the final outcome. A good tarot reader’s job is to accurately describe the issues the client is dealing with and communicate how to prevent a particular situation from developing or deteriorating, or how to ensure that something good really materialises. In either case, the reading should provide advice on what course of action should be taken to achieve the most positive outcome.
Advice will be specific and focus on avoiding or extricating yourself from negative scenarios, making the right choices, bringing repressed emotions to the surface and outlining strategies to get the most out of every situation and move forward in life. This may require doing something practical, taking a concrete course of action, or it may require changing an attitude or mindset, making amends with the past, giving something up (i.e. gossiping, badmouthing) or a minor change of lifestyle, to mention a few things.
Personally, being also a medium, after checking whether this information is appreciated, I may often also offer advice about spiritual entities the client might want to rid herself of, as well as spiritual entities with positive and uplifting intentions, who may want to guide the client and who the client may want to cultivate a relationship with.
I can also advise the client on how to do this. This aspect of the reading too should ring true, the client should feel at gut level that it is something valuable and doable. Overall, this advice is not so much from me, but from the higher-level spirit world around us who wish to aid and guide the client. The accuracy of the information provided and the resonance of the words spoken should then be seen as ‘evidence’ of the reading’s credibility. Hopefully, the client leaves enriched by tools to work with.
Tarot as a tool has a power in its own right. For me, the more traditional the deck that is used the more powerful its wisdom and insights. New decks with new designs may be pretty or striking, but these often lack the punch of well-trodden pathways. The strength of a reading also largely depends on the reader and how they interact with the cards. Anyone can pull a few cards from a deck and memorise their meaning out of a book. But it takes years of practice to merge your energy with the spirit of the tarot and get spot-on credible results.
Personally, I use the Thoth Tarot (or the Crowley cards), the 2nd most commonly used deck and the most esoteric. The cards are multi-interpretable; they contain lots of esoteric lore, and are also very suited to shedding light on everyday affairs. Crowley’s cards, (like his persona) are feared by some, but for me that’s because they are able to dig deep and shine light in the darkness.
Because the cards are powerful, I play it by ear and am careful not to deliver more than the client can handle at once. If you want relationship advice we won’t be discussing how to advance on your spiritual path, unless one thing leads to another and that is apparently meant to be.