Reading Tarot Cards

When you open your first deck of Tarot cards and focus on a reading, you become part of an ancient tradition of Tarot divination. From the mid-1400s through the 1700s, Tarot divination evolved, becoming a mystical prophecy during the time of Napoleon, when his wife Josephine acknowledged Marie-Anne LeNormand, a self-proclaimed prophet.

When the Rider-Waite deck of Tarot Cards first became popular in the early 1900s, Tarot reading grew in popularity. When you read Tarot cards you attempt to provide yourself or your Tarot client with information and insight into relationships, life and the future. The deck of Tarot cards acts as a guide for the Tarot reader, helping the reader to tap into situations and predictions in the client’s life.

While scientists and psychologists may scoff at the validity of Tarot reading, respected, ground-breaking therapists like Freud and Jung actually studied the symbolism in Tarot cards and attempted to tie these symbols to the type sof patients they saw in their practice, relating the symbolism to the workings of a patient’s subconscious mind.

While there are no scientific programs or psychoanalytical techniques that acknowledge of use Tarot cards or readings, it is interesting to note that psychologists have expressed an interest in this area and how a patient might receive and interpret the information provided in a Tarot reading.

When you are reading the cards in a Tarot deck, you will be using Major and Minor Arcana cards. Clues to reading Tarot cards exist in every level of symbolism reflected in the Tarot cards. For example, Minor Arcana cards are tied to astrological signs, and hence can be read to determine the time of year an event might occur or the influence of the astrological sign under which the symbol falls. The court (or royal) cards are interpreted by the nature of the symbol, e.g. the King is a powerful, commanding presence, whereas the Knight may be represent bravery, adventure and justice.

The modern decks of Tarot cards provide even more detailed symbolism and clarification, so the Tarot reader is well-served to study the Tarot cards for clues as to their meaning. For example, the symbol for infinity appears on some cards in the deck. How might that symbol be interpreted within the specific reading you are doing? Symbols of purity include white robes, while love is often represented by a flower. Symbolism for strength and courage is represented by the earth and the mountains.

The Major Arcana is a more complicated set of cards. Many books have been written on the exact meaning and interpretation of each Major Arcana card.

When you read a Tarot deck, you will not shuffle the deck yourself. If you are reading for the client, the client or someone else will shuffle the deck. If you are doing your own reading, you will shuffle the deck. There are various patterns used by Tarot readers. Some Tarot readers prefer to lay out their cards in a geometric shape. Others will lay out cards in sets of 3, 4, or 5 cards, separating the areas of the client’s life into categories or into past, present and future time periods.

Many Tarot readers use the ‘reverse card’ method of interpreting a card. If the card appears in reverse or upside down when it is laid on the table, the meaning of the card is the opposite of what it might normally foretell.

You will ask the client to focus on what they most want to know. This will focus the Tarot reading to the issues at hand. Your ability to read the Tarot cards and explore the issues defined by the client depends on your openness to information provided by the cards.

Look for the symbolism and consider the overall issues. Trust your instincts! Like everything else, you will get better at Tarot reading as you practice and your readings will become richer and more layered with the subtle nuances of life.

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