Updated: Jan 15
As long as we have looked for answers about our existence, and believed that there are universal forces that go far beyond us, there has been divination. As long as there has been divination, there has been fear of it.
Tarot reading has been around for a few hundred years now in various forms and gained quite a reputation for itself in that time. In this post, I'd like to look at some of the superstitions, misconceptions and fears around Tarot and those of us who work with it.
One of the biggest misconceptions that I come across as a Tarot reader, is that you cannot believe in the Abrahamic God and read the cards. This is to my mind absolute nonsense. Tarot is non denominational. Whether you believe in a God, several Gods or or none at all, working with Tarot will not take away from that. You may even find a new way to connect with your higher power or deepen your existing connection. I may ruffle a few feathers here and it is not my intention to offend, this is however my belief.
When you look at some of the older and more traditional Tarot decks still available today you will notice a lot of Christian symbolism in the card imagery. This is because at the time some of the earliest cards were Illustrated, religious allegory was very popular in art of all forms. This may put some seekers or students of a religious disposition more at ease. If religious symbolism is not your bag, there are so many decks available now that there will be something out there that speaks to you and your soul.
Tarot is also sadly believed by many to be somehow evil or dangerous. Nicknames such as ‘The Devil's picture book’ and negative portrayal in movies and other media has not helped this fact. Over the years, Tarot has been painted as taboo and something to be afraid of. The truth is the cards are nothing to be afraid of at all.
A Tarot deck is no more than 78 pieces of art with no innate power whatsoever. Having a reading or learning to read for yourself will not bring you bad luck, open a portal to a hell dimension, cause bad things to happen to you or anything else. It will open your mind though and show you a few things about yourself, if you’re willing to listen
A lot of the other fears and superstitions that I come across center around the ‘scary’ cards. I’m looking at you Death!
Death, The Devil, The Tower and a few others can be quite formidable looking laid out in front of you. The thing is though, the Tarot speaks in a language of metaphors, symbols and archetypes. The Devil card no more signifies evil spirits or demons than McDonalds sells clowns. It is a symbol for our baser selves and things that make us human and flawed in its simplest explanation.
Fear of the Death card speaks for itself. No one wants to hear that they or someone they care for is going to die. Death in the Tarot though, talks about the transitional deaths we go through in life, losing virginity, getting married, becoming a parent and so on..the times when you leave a part of yourself behind, far more often than it alludes to literal Death.
As for the readers ourselves, you have likely come across many of the same stereotypes as I have. You many picture an older woman of Romany descent wearing massive earrings and far too much tye die. Not only is that image a little racist, it’s also wildly inaccurate for most of us. Personally I don’t even have my ears pierced ;)
Tarot readers come from all walks of life, ethnicities and genders. We are not all Pagans or Witches, though many are. We are also not all psychic. This may sound strange if you are unfamiliar with Tarot, but it is true.
Tarot is a language that can be learned with no psychic ability at all. Modern uses of the cards include counselling and life coaching based approaches along with other therapies where the cards are used alongside more traditional methods. When you are choosing a reader, be sure to check their approach is what you are looking for. Many do use the cards psychically and with other skills such as mediumship.
The last point I want to cover today is when readers scam. Unfortunately there are people out there who have no reading skills and will take you for a ride happily. A big warning sign of this is a lack of solid ethics. The other major red flag to me is those who try to scare you into buying spells and cures from them by telling you that are you cursed in some way. Avoid these vultures like the plague!
I hope I’ve given you some food for thought here and you might be more open to learning about Tarot as the marvellous tool it is for growth, healing, empowerment and so much more. A real Tarot reading will never leave you feeling scared or that you can’t cope with things, quite the opposite! You should walk away feeling fabulous and well equipped for anything.