In last week’s post, we looked at a high-level overview of the Tarot’s history and framework to answer whether the Tarot is evil.
Tarot is not evil. But there are misconceptions, and many folks have been influenced by fear-based and uninformed people in the past. So let’s continue to clear up the misunderstandings.
This post will look at that remaining factor that’s equally as involved in Tarot readings.
We will also discuss commonly misunderstood cards, and I will share some thoughts on learning to read Tarot yourself, with some advice on where to begin.
Core factors of Tarot
As mentioned last week, there are some core factors involved in Tarot, beyond the history and systems design of the cards. These core factors include:
- Card tradition (e.g. Rider-Smith-Waite, Thoth, etc.)
- Specific art of the deck being used (there are myriad decks)
- Person doing the reading
Here’s the last core factor in a reading, and one that can give some people a moment of pause.
Remember how if I go to three different readers with the same question, they will draw different cards that give me the same take-home message? How does that happen?
Here is how I explain it to clients.
I believe there is a higher wisdom in the Universe. The Universe knows the key messages you need when you come to see me for a reading. And so the Universe will bring up the cards that are needed for me to interpret the message you need to receive.
This is where some of you may wonder about the possibility of getting messages from negative sources.
The character of the reader matters
That’s why it again comes back to the readers you choose to see.
A reader who is grounded, has perspective and has a healthy body-mind-soul practice themselves is someone who will be attuned to high frequency.
Ultimately, you need to ask yourself whether you intuitively trust that person. Use your intuition and your intellect. Do you get homework/guidance that you can take away without any pressure to sign up for more readings?
Commonly misunderstood cards
There are two cards that tend to be misunderstood.
- Death card
- Devil card
So let’s not beat around the bush. Let’s talk openly about the core meanings of these cards.
The Death card often creates a moment of panic when a new client sees it. Which is understandable. It says the word “Death” on it, and screenwriters certainly haven’t historically helped.
So what does the Death card mean? This card is about transformation. It’s about the end of one thing and the beginning of a new thing. It’s about fresh opportunities.Acorn + Burdock
The Devil card is also understandably misunderstood. Again, it says the word “Devil” on it and often (though not always) depicts a scary-looking creature.
The Devil card is about questioning what lies you’re believing. Whether those deceptions are limiting beliefs you’ve told yourself, or whether they have an external source.Acorn + Burdock
Neutral basis for reading
While we’re on the topic of misunderstood cards, it’s worth pointing out that no cards are inherently “good” or “bad”.
Some readers choose to assign very specific and limited meaning to cards. For example, I know someone who thinks the King of Swords always means a divorced man…which is extremely limiting, not systematic, and unfortunately belies a lack of study.
A more systematic pedagogy of Tarot reading takes the approach that all cards are neutral.
Let me repeat that. All Tarot cards are neutral. It’s the context of other cards in a reading and what’s happening in a person’s experience that relay the message of cards in context.Acorn + Burdock
Sometimes a card does refer clearly to another person in a querent’s life. And it’s not to say that a reader who believes the King of Swords can only mean a divorced man can’t give useful readings.
It just means the scope and introspection that is available to that reader (and therefore to the client) will be significantly limited.
Where does this leave us?
The answer to the question is that Tarot of itself is not inherently evil.
And we have learned that there are four core factors involved in reading Tarot:
- Card tradition
- Specific art of the deck chosen
Here are your takeaways:
Tarot is a well established system of archetypes of human nature that allow us to tap into our higher wisdom. Whether you believe the higher wisdom is purely psychological, spiritual, or a combination thereof.
There are hundreds of decks and statistically there will be decks with art that doesn’t resonate with you.
So don’t buy those decks! And if your reader pulls out a deck that doesn’t feel right for you, ask for a different deck!
Tarot is a tool that depends just as much on the reader as it does on the art of the deck being used. So choose a reader whom you trust and with whom you resonate.
If you’re not genuinely ready for growth, don’t go see a choice-based, empowering reader (like me!).
Learning to read Tarot for yourself
It’s a beautiful and empowering practice to start playing with Tarot yourself.
Even if you’re still in the all-spiritual-stuff-is-purely-psychological-stuff camp (but then you’re not likely concerned about whether Tarot is evil if spiritual things aren’t real…just sayin’), you can learn a lot from using Tarot.
You can learn about yourself more deeply, enhance your intuition and even increase your self-awareness.
My advice for those who are interested in learning Tarot is to start with one of the traditional decks so you’re learning a core foundation before adding other nuances. I suggest the Universal Tarot deck which is a Rider-Smith-Waite based deck.
If you’re interest in learning more about how to get started with Tarot, let me know in the comments (or message me on Instagram) and perhaps I’ll do more blog posts on that!