Photo courtesy of Unsplash.
Tarot cards are like writers - each deck tells you a story.
Most dismiss tarot, astrology, and metaphysical belief systems as purely fiction. They will humor it during Halloween season maybe, despite the rings of truth in a reading. The mystic doesn’t often clash with the reasonable, or the logical. As we progress into this modern age, we begin to question and rule out supposedly false belief systems, and there’s no doubt that there’s a sense of spiritual indecision sparking across the globe.
Tarot is used for fortune telling, gaining insight into people’s personal past, present, and future. Today, around 52% of religiously affiliated young people aged from 13 to 25 no longer feel trust toward organized religion. 60% of unaffiliated young people say they are at least slightly spiritual. Gen Z is the least religious generation yet. A recent study suggests that young people raised without religion are more resistant to peer pressure and more tolerant of diversity than their religious peers.
Another thing that is causing younger people to get involved with the tarot and spirituality is TikTok. #Witchtok, a hashtag and trend on the app, has exploded. more people have been exposed to Tarot through people's videos and a lot of misinformation has been spread regarding the practice. As more people get into spirituality, more people will hop on it as a trend rather than a belief system. Exposure is ultimately a good thing, but there are people who do tarot for the wrong reasons.
TikTok tarot readers will oftentimes give very general messages leading to confusion. This isn't saying that every TikTok tarot reader is inaccurate, but it's difficult to discern who is truly practicing and who is posting videos saying what people want to hear to get views. It's also caused people to shop more at spiritual shops. Crystals have become trendy as well, and people think that just by owning a crystal, they are a witch. There have been many debates about the cultural appropriation that comes with spirituality. Some spiritualists will do things that are sacred to certain cultures (i.e. burning white sage), whitewashing it, and engaging in closed practices. Overall, it's very complex, and you should do your research before engaging in any new practices. Read this study to learn more.
Tarot cards have been used since at least the 14th century. As with most card decks, it originated as just a card game, similar to bridge. The first card decks were hand painted and belonged to primarily wealthy families. It wasn’t until the 1700s that tarot began to become more widespread. Soon, the iconic Rider-Waite Tarot deck was created in 1909.
Modern-day tarot doesn't necessarily have a rule book. The basic premise of modern tarot is that anybody can really be an expert based on their intuition. Just memorizing the meetings in a book people tend to try and take messages directly from what they have revealed. There's not necessarily a “right” way to interpret, but there are different ways of engaging with your deck. Tarot is now more interactive for both the reader and the client. The art on most Westernized tarot decks are similar to the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The imagery can be interpreted alongside whatever meaning that you think applies to whatever situation you're asking about. The intention is to hear the message that you need to hear at that moment, and then draw conclusions.
It’s generally helpful to change the tarot card spread to match what questions you want answered, and how long you’re able to dedicate to a reading that day. Here are a few relatively well-known tarot card spreads:
The spread by Illuminated Tarot is generally more hopeful and aims toward you, focusing on a positive interpretation of the situation. As the caption reads, the six outer cards can represent the coming 6 days, weeks, or months. Overall, it varies from person to person based on your interpretation and what you're asking about.
This is a quick and easy four card spread from The Wild Unknown Guidebook by Kim Krans to use when looking to find clarity in any kind of situation. This can be a question about personal development, love, friendships, your career, and so on. The first card represents the overall situation and the bottom three are the contributing factors to that situation, positive or negative.
Originally from Rachel Pollack’s book 78 Degrees of Wisdom, this spread is meant to help reframe the narrative of a story rather than focusing on the outcome. It takes into consideration the inner being, outer doings, past experience and expectations placed on the situation.
The Third Eye spread in the book Illuminated: A Journal for Your Tarot Practice aims to show you short yet rewarding spreads. Including three cards, it focuses on the simplicity in seeing different points of view and how insight can guide our decisions.
Featured in Sarah Faith Gottesdiener’s The Moon Book, this spread is complex reading with ten cards. Each card is meant to answer a different question. It has many interpretations, and you can look at the spread as a whole or each individual card for your meaning.
Before doing a reading for yourself, make sure that your space feels comfortable. Clear off a spot on your desk, table, or car dashboard. Some people might pull one card at the beginning of every day -- making it a daily habit is a good way to get practice. Cleanse your area of any negative influences or internal thought patterns. Open a window, light your favorite candle or incense. Have some crystals handy. These aren’t necessary things, but they can be helpful in setting the mood. It’s important to go into a reading without any expectations, good or bad. A lot of people who study tarot use it for personal development and conflict resolution. Tarot cards can sometimes be very blunt. My advice is: Don’t ask a question that you don’t want to hear the true answer to. Unless you secretly want to know the answer, that is.
Try to think of questions that are unique to your situation. However, don't get too specific because that can lead you down the wrong path or you might not get the answer that you expect. You can journal your findings, record yourself giving the reading, or you can simply take a picture of the cards that you pulled. Whatever works for you can be your common practice. That's the beauty of tarot. After reading these questions, check out 101 Tarot Questions To Ask Your Psychic for a more in-depth look into tarot.
Below I've crafted 30 questions that you can apply to your relationships, career, self, and spirituality:
Whether you take spirituality or tarot seriously or not, there’s no denying that practicing it leads to self growth and reflection. However, be careful, because when used negatively, it can cause people to overthink or make assumptions about situations. A healthy dose of tarot will not promote feelings of gloom, sadness, or despair, but try to guide you toward your highest good. Keep these things in mind when you see someone practicing tarot.