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Tarot: What it is (and what it isn't)

Updated: Nov 7, 2020

Conjure an image of a Tarot reader in your mind's eye and what do you see? Perhaps a long, dimly lit alleyway, leading you toward a blinking, neon sign. 'FORTUNES TOLD' it beams, and in the corner, a mysterious looking woman who utters "you will meet a tall, dark stranger who will bring you riches, but heartache". Or perhaps, s/he's a psychic who can tell you exactly who you will meet, what you will do, what job you'll get. Exact details of your future, which is absolutely destined to be.


This is too real.


This isn't your fault. It's what the media has placed in your subconscious for years, or shady readers who (unfortunately) are more than happy to prey off of our deepest fears and desires. Professional, modern-day readers do battle with this myth on the daily, so perhaps give one of us a chance to explain what Tarot readings really are - and definitely what they are not.


The following stems from my personal belief and practice - it may not reflect the view of all readers, but it comes from years of experience, growing and learning from many prominent readers I admire, like Theresa Reed The Tarot Lady and Benebell Wen.

Tarot is a Compass. It's not Google Maps.

The Tarot points you North, South East or West. It doesn't give you the address.


Unpopular opinion #1: The Tarot ain't gonna do the work for ya, hunny. Life won't fall into your lap, and a Tarot reading should never and will never prescribe a sit-back-and-relax solution to your problem. A Tarot reading will uncover energy or events from your past you're still carrying, obstacles and challenges around you now and their root cause, allies or adversaries and how you might navigate them, and a potential future should nothing change.


Notice the emphasis on 'no change'. Let's look at your reading like we would a camera; it's a Polaroid snap of this moment in time. The potential future shown is an indication of where you're headed if no action is taken. Like what you see? Great! Keep doing what you're doing, and the universe holds the rewards you seek. Unhappy with the outcome? EVEN BETTER. This means you've been granted the opportunity to make a change, the winds can shift from east to west, and your compass is saying "get up off your butt and go THIS WAY".


Check any reader who tells you the future is set in stone and there's nothing you can do to change it. Humanity has been granted freewill, and you may use that at anytime to set your course toward any outcome. The future is innumerable, it shifts and changes moment to moment based on your actions, intent and desires. This takes me to my next point...


The Tarot (should not) tell you who you're going to marry.

Is there just one soulmate for you?


Unpopular Opinion #2: The Tarot isn't coming along with names, dates, and the time of finding your soulmate. There are definitely readers who may be able to guide you in this direction, but my personal opinion is that this messes with your freewill.


Let's set the scene - you ask me "when will I meet my soulmate". I sling some cards and say "His name is T... I think Todd. Todd is an accountant, or in real estate, or he's a Earth sign. You'll meet Todd in the Fall, of this year or next". These are all things I could divine from the cards (except the name, unless it happened to pop into my mind). Now say you take this very seriously, so seriously you stop dating your current partner or accepting dates at all. You just sit around, waiting for Todd to show up. Guess what - you've just changed the course of your future.


Perhaps you would have met Todd through a blind date you would have otherwise been open to accepting, or through your current partner who works with Todd, OR perhaps Todd would have been a potential life partner, but Bobby (who you would have met before Todd), lit up your world and Todd would have become a distant a second thought!


All of this to say - there are more potential futures, including more than one potential "soul" partnership, than you can imagine. Tarot will show you how to navigate your course, but it won't tell you who, what, when, and why - because that would actually limit the power of you.


The Tarot can predict the future, but you must be open to it.


May your deck be filled with endless possibilities...


Unpopular Opinion #3: It's best to approach your reading without an attachment to an outcome. If I had a dollar for every seeker who told me "oh, that CAN'T be accurate because...", I'd be a rich girl. In order to get the most out of a reading, you must go into it without an attachment to a particular outcome. You sat down to learn what's on its way to you, right? Then don't deny the future message because it doesn't resonate with what you think you know to be true now. (psst ... that includes "how does s/he feel about me" questions as well).


We all know how life can change in an instant - the Tarot has an uncanny way of framing the future in ways we can't imagine now. For example, in a year ahead reading, remember that some of this energy might come to pass in 12 months. A move, a change in job, a long-term romance - all of these things may feel impossible at the time of your reading.


With any reading, I advise my seekers to :

  1. Book a reading only when they can handle the answer to the question, no matter the outcome. (Feeling some kind of way about something? Better to give your emotions space and time to settle before booking a reading).

  2. Remain open to all possibilities and outcomes.

  3. Record the reading / take notes. Let the energy play out over the course of weeks or months. Return to the reading at a later date - you're likely to have a whole new perspective!

I'll always stand behind readers who don't agree with these beliefs, but I know these things to be true in my personal practice. Hopefully I've dispelled a little bit of myth, and a whole lot of assumptions, so your next Tarot reading will be your most empowered yet.




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