You walk through a curtain of beads and charms into a dimly lit backroom. A lady in over large hoop earrings sits at a velvet covered table waving at a crystal ball and cards ...''You will meet a tall dark stranger'' she says...
If you have not had a Tarot reading before, this may not be too far from what you imagine it to be like! Perhaps, once upon a time it was, but today, Tarot reading an art practised by many in all walks of life. Some of us don't even have our ears pierced ;)
So what is it really like to have a Tarot reading ? Let's have a look at some common myths, misconceptions and what you can really expect when you make that booking.
What 'is' Tarot?
A Tarot deck contains 78 cards split into 2 groups known as major cards and minor cards. The minors, short for minor arcana represent day to day events and energies. The major arcana often show larger forces at play and underlying spiritual lessons. These are the 'named' cards like The Lovers, The Fool and The Hermit that you likely have seen in movies or on TV, (probably being grossly misrepresented in a horror movie or ghost story but that is a post for another day!)
Together the cards make up a language of symbols and archetypal energies that the skilled reader can translate into messages of advice and guidance. They tap into the unconscious and allow us to open open up to our intuition and higher selves.The Tarot is a wonderful tool for empowerment and emotional healing.
An important point I want to make here is that not all Tarot readers consider themselves to be psychics. Most people have some psychic abilities but they tend to come in flashes or psychic 'hits'. Even those readers who are psychic cannot turn it on like a tap on demand so do not advertise themselves as such. Many modern readers are more akin to holistic life coaches who use the cards to guide clients in making their own informed choices and exploring what they can do to take control in their life, rather than what you may think of as 'fortune telling'.
What It's not
Tarot is not 'spooky' or 'evil'. There is actually a lot of Christian symbolism in the Tarot especially some of the older decks and the well known Rider-Waite deck in particular. Having a reading will not bring you bad luck nor will the cards create the future just by coming up in your spread. There are a lot of superstitions like this around the cards and none of them are true.
Sadly there are those who will exploit these fears and call themselves readers some even claiming to go as far as lifting or placing curses! It's no wonder someone unfamiliar with Tarot may be a little uneasy about it with bullshit merchants like that around waiting to tell them that they are cursed and it can be lifted for the low price of their life savings!
There are no 'bad' cards. Some do show more challenge or larger obstacles to overcome than others yes, but they all have their positive points including giving advice on how to deal with such challenges. A good reader will not frighten you but instead leave you feeling ready for anything that may be coming your way.
Before you book.
There are lots of ways to have a reading these days. You can go to see a reader face to face in their home or at a fayre, or choose to not even leave your house and have your session via email, the phone or video chat. How things work will vary of course depending on the format you choose and the style of reader, but there are some standards that I feel should be met in a paid professional reading.
Before booking a reading you should make sure you know what your readers approach is so you can be certain you are good match for each other. Some are mediums and can aid you in speaking with lost loved ones, others cannot. Some readers will read for prediction, others do not.
Personally I do not believe our whole future is set out for us but that we can explore the potentials of a situation or short term outcomes that are already set in motion. This allows us to change course if we don't like where we see we're headed and the cards will provide guidance on how to do so. They are sign posts on life's journey, there to aid us in creating the life we want not to do it for us. You are still ultimately responsible for your own actions.
Your reader should have a clear code of ethics and terms available for you to read. Mine can be found here on this site. This should cover things like reader-client confidentiality, other ethical concerns and any refund policy.
An ethical reader will not read on or predict death, diagnose health issues or give professional legal or financial advice. Health to me includes mental health. We do not read for under 18's or those who are not present at the time of the reading. If you want to know what your ex is thinking or who Auntie Mabel is naming in her will, you need to hire a private investigator or lawyer rather a Tarot reader!
We put these things in place for our client's benefit and protection as well as our own. You want to be assured that the person you are about to trust with your personal problems works with honesty, integrity and your best interest at heart.
Your reader should be friendly, welcoming and make you feel at ease. Readings can get quite deep and emotive so you want to feel comfortable and that you can open up to them. If you are seeing the reader face to face the environment should be comfortable and and as private as is possible.
If you have not already discussed the question or situation you would like to look at, now is the time to do so. Be prepared to give some background information on things. This is to help you reader give you the most appropriate advice. A card has an untold amount of possible meanings so if you want more than generalities from your reading, context is key! For instance it is very helpful to let your reader reader know if you are single or in a relationship before asking a love question.
Your reader may also wish to rephrase your question with you to get the most helpful advice. Proactive type 'How?' questions are usually more beneficial to the client in the long run than those of the more passive 'When?' and 'Will I?' variety.
In person the reader will either ask you to shuffle the cards before laying them out in a 'spread' that they will then talk through with you. Think of it a little like chatting with a good friend over tea, one you trust to give you the best advice and call you out honestly on your bullshit when needed. Unlike your bestie though, the cards can highlight factors and influences you may not be aware of yet.
An email reading will take much the same format, but without the face to face interaction. When I do an email reading I will talk with you via email first so that we can decide where to start. I then do the reading and email you the advice from it, inviting you to chat about it after if you have questions.
What if something bad comes up ?
There is the possibility yes, that a potential outcome you want to explore won't give you the answers you'd like. Your reading may show that no, you're not going to get that job this time or no, he's not the one. You may have challenges or obstacles in your path to what you want. A good reading will not just give you this news and leave you high and dry however.
In my opinion, one of the main reasons to have a reading in the first place is to be able spot these things coming so that we can be prepared and ready to breeze them. Many things can be altered by our own actions and the reading should give you practical advice on how to do this.
Whatever the outcome of a reading, less than great news should be delivered with kindness and honesty. You should always walk away feeling empowered and as in control as is possible.
I hope I've given you some food for thought and perhaps even helped to dispel a myth or two.