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How Do Tarot Readings Work?

Updated: Jan 28


How tarot cards work
Tarot Card Readings

How Does the Tarot Work?


A Tarot Card reading is based upon the belief that there are no coincidences and that there is nothing random occurring in the universe. When a person seeks a tarot card reading, although they may think that this is a random act, they are in fact experiencing another facet of the interconnectedness of life itself.





A Tarot deck is composed of 78 cards divided into 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards. The word “arcana” means secrets or mysteries. A tarot reading is unlocking the secrets or mysteries contained in the cards to provide insights into the question you pose. It is based upon the synchronicities that are evoked by the images in the cards and a reader’s interpretations of these underlying energies.


The 22 Major Arcana cards refer to major life events and the Minor Arcana refer to the more mundane, day to day events. It is thought that Major Arcana are events that are certain to happen because they are part of everyone’s soul growth. The Major Arcana represent those experiences that are needed to continue to grow and evolve as spiritual beings. The Minor Arcana provide the focus of the current situation whether it is money, relationships, mental attitudes or motivation. They are not considered predetermined and can be shifted if certain actions take place.


The Tarot evokes interpretations on several levels, from the mundane to the spiritual. Consulting the Tarot offers perspective, guidance and an overview, as well as a context for detailed insights into real-life situations. Using the Tarot this way assists your decision-making towards a more fulfilling life journey. Moreover, context for guidance is determined by the way the cards are laid. There are numerous ways to lay out the cards, known as a “spread”, in which the placement of any card has a meaning. Each spread provides unique insights that help you construct a complete picture of your situation.


Whenever cards are arranged in a spread, they tell a tale or provide a snapshot of your current situation. Each spread weaves a tapestry of your life. It can also reflect issues you need to confront and work on, as well as what’s in your subconscious.


A Tarot reader’s task is to interpret the symbolic images of the cards in the context of a spread, considering the meaning of the adjacent cards thereby providing you guidance for personal development and growth.


The Importance of Asking the Right Questions

Tarot Cards are quite literal, so it is important to phrase your question succinctly to get the best answer to your inquiry. Poorly worded questions can create confusion and generate a lot of misinterpretation. For example, combining too many topics into one question may result in the tarot cards just focusing on what it believes is the underlying issue and will not address all your questions. Instead, it would be better to tailor your question to one specific issue and then ask another question for a separate issue, etc.


Here are some examples of how to phrase questions:


· What do I need to know about the issue I have in mind

· What is holding me back from ….

· Why am I experiencing this obstacle

· What can I learn about this experience

· What is the best way to handle this issue

· What do I need to focus my energies on this year

· What do I need to develop to attract the right relationship for this lifetime?

· What do I need to work on to help this goal manifest

· What are my strengths


Identifying what you want to know determines the number of questions to be asked and thus the number of cards required. Keeping each question short and basic helps clarify the process even further. Asking open-ended, double-barreled questions creates uncertainty, so stick to one straightforward query across a small number of cards.


How to Interpret the Tarot Cards


Learning how to read Tarot Cards is a lifelong journey. Over time you will know the significance of each card and you will begin to develop an awareness of the energies underlying each card and its bearing on the reading. The language of tarot is the language of storytelling – there is a plot. A who, what, why, how and when aspect being described by the cards. Because you are dealing with the subconscious and the underlying energetic frequencies, many times the issues that are raised in a reading are outside of the question being posed. This is because Tarot is pointing to those issues that have led up to the question being asked and it is pointing out those things that must be addressed in order to bring about a particular result.


Always bear in mind that the Tarot works through intuition rather than logic. It is essential that you allow your imagination to wander through the dream world of the tarot pictures in much the same way as a child would approach a fairytale picture book. The Tarot images work on an unconscious level; they are like mirrors reflecting knowledge buried in the deepest realms of the mind. That dark unconscious part of the mind contains knowledge that the conscious mind is unaware of, and the tarot acts as a bridge between the two, using the archetypal nature of the imagery to feed information from the unconscious to conscious mind. Answers to all kinds of questions can arise from the unconscious through fantasy, intuitions, and dreams, all of which are stimulated by the tarot when it is sensitively and seriously approached.


To put it simply, a Tarot reading consists of three components:

· You, the reader, and intuition

· Your understanding of each card’s symbology and significance

· Your ability to interpret the significance of a combination of three of more cards in a spread.


Learning Tarot is like learning another language. Although each card has a particular meaning, it their combination that actually provides context and guidance in a reading.


The more self-aware you are and the more you work on improving and evolving as a person, the more meaningful your readings will be. If you are intrigued by Tarot Cards and would like to learn how to interpret the cards for yourself or others, why not sign up for an introductory class on how to read tarot cards? You can get started by simply clicking the link here.


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