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What is Tarot? Can It Really Tell The Future?

By: Shaunna Gould

  1. What are Tarot Readings? and how to find a reader

  2. What is Tarot? and what are Tarot cards?

  3. How do I choose a Tarot Reader?

  4. Does Tarot really tell the future?

  5. What culture is tarot from?

  6. Why are there 78 cards, and what are the major and minor arcana in the deck?

  7. What are Oracle cards? are they the same as Tarot cards?

  • What should I ask in a tarot reading?

What is Tarot? and what are Tarot cards?

Tarot is a practice of divination, and divination is an ancient practice of seeking knowledge. Tarot uses a deck of 78 cards known as tarot cards as it's tool. Divination seeks knowledge through the unseen channels of life, also called the supernatural or spiritual. A reading is done when a reader uses these cards to reveal messages for us, sometimes through pulling cards at random or placing them in a set spread. The cards themselves have no power. The cards are just cards, with images and symbols. The cards are the messages, and readers are the messengers

Now, when I say "supernatural and spiritual" let me be clear, I do not mean religious, ritualistic, or otherwise, which you may have been led to believe in movies or media. No, what I am relating to is something that we all have and use daily - our intuition.

Did you know our intuition is a psychic ability? and we all have this, so were all in a way, magical beings. Our intuition is also there to guide us, it's supernatural, and it also knows things we cannot explain, like how something might not "feel right." That's our intuition, or when someone calls us right after thinking about them.

Our intuition is a deep Knowing. This is our magic. Tarot readers who have honed their intuitive and psychic abilities well, including those who are empathic and can connect well to energy, use this to read for others.

How do I choose a Tarot Reader?

Some people like to get readings from a reader they are drawn to or if they like the reading style of that person. Some people have a single reader they go to, others prefer to have multiple readers. It's up to you. You can find cheap, quick readings on Etsy from readers for around $5, or you could get a more in-depth reading done by a reader you've done a little research on first - it depends on what you're looking for.

Listen to your Intuition. I have had readings done from people from all backgrounds including intuitive, psychic, mediums, sensitives, empaths etc. and I am usually just drawn to them. If I search on google or something leads me to them, then I trust this. I haven't had a reading done which has not been insightful to me, just by doing this.

Advice to other readers:

As a reader myself, and other readers might also say, sometimes getting a reading for yourself should be done by another reader. This is because there are times when ego, desires, and biases can get in the way when reading for ourselves. For this reason, when I am looking for answers or guidance in the way of a reading, I go to someone else. I have done readings for myself, but I find myself at times being clouded by my own mind. Since I am aware when this happens, I know I have become too emotionally attached and need to find outside help.

Does Tarot really tell the future?

There is a bit of a misconception that tarot can tell the future, however, the answer for this question is both yes, and no. I have been on both ends of the spectrum and heard different opinions saying that it does, and others that say it doesn't. The major arcana in the deck (which you could just say are major life lesson cards) give us insights into something coming that we are meant to learn, usually on a spiritual level.

Here is my understanding of tarot. From my experience tarot is like a guiding light, it reveals what is possible in the future. Yes, I believe that the major arcana reveals something coming that we must experience in order to learn something major from it, but I do not believe we can foretell everything that will happen for someone to learn that lesson.

Some people might change their route and end up bypassing this lesson for now by repeating a past choice for example, and then later have this same lesson pop up in a reading again, so even with the major life lessons there is possibilities. Future events are often dependant on the client and their choices, tarot just makes these possibilities known, it does not control your fate, but rather, reveals what can be, depending on the other cards surrounding the spread that is telling the story.

What culture is tarot from?

Tarot is ancient and has a rich history dating back to the 1400's with sources saying it could be even older. It has showed itself in every corner of the world. It's origins are unknown but there are several theories out there with some of them speculating that tarot evolved in Europe from gypsies who came from Asia. France and Italy have importance in the evolution of the Tarot as well.

It has been used by groups, individuals, and in various cultures especially in Asia and Europe, so some of these places may have stronger roots in tarot than others. It is difficult to pin down exactly what culture it came from or who developed it, but you can say now that is has become a multicultural phenomenon.

Why are there 78 cards, and what are the major and minor arcana in the deck?

A tarot deck is made up of 78 cards, divided into two groups called the major and minor arcana, arcana meaning mystery. There are 56 minor cards and 22 Major arcana cards. originally there only used to be 22 history suggests, however, the minor ones were created to open up a new door for tarot which looked into everyday life rather than just major life lessons. The minor cards represent everyday situations or emotions, things that can be changed or insights into how to move forward. The minor arcana gives us context and perspective, while major arcana gives us theme and self-revelation.

For example the (Tower) which is a major arcana is pulled during a finance reading, it might be revealing that something major is about to happen in your financial situation that will turn your life upside down, like losing a job, but which may have been needed in order to learn a major lesson and could also have been a blessing in disguise and revealed that you had been holding on too tightly to comfort.

While pulling the ace of wands might indicate we are about to start a new job project that we are very passionate about and which will bring out a new fire or creativity that hasn't been there for a while, a new beginning. See the difference? Major arcana can create a theme in which the minor builds upon to reveal even more information.

What are Oracle cards? are they the same as Tarot cards?

Oracle cards are more personal in nature, they encourage self-exploration. They can come in decks of any size with any kind of imagery. They are often used in tarot readings to provide more information or give further insights into the story especially when it comes to advice. Some readers choose not to include oracles in their readings while others do. Some readers also give oracle only readings when someone is just looking for advice into themselves.

What should I ask in a tarot reading?

There are different types of readings, some of the most common ones are finance, love and relationships, career, and general readings. Some of the most common questions are:

  • What do I need to know about myself and my life right now? (General)

  • Who is coming in for me in my love life? (Love)

  • How can I improve my relationship? (Relationship)

  • What kind of career is good for me? (Career)

  • What do I need to know about my financial situation? (Finance)

  • What advice can you give me into (my situation)? is a great question when you need an answer or are looking for guidance for something specific

  • Should I or shouldn't I do this? Tarot can also answer yes or no questions

There are also readings that are done for 6-12 months and cover these types of questions in greater detail over a timeline.

You should give some thought into your question; some questions breach ethical boundaries which some readers might refuse to answer. Some of these questions would be those involving death, or asking when or if someone might pass, including yourself. Other questions might involve asking a reader to diagnose your physical or mental ailment.

A rule of thumb is, always focus the question on yourself. Often readers will try to help you tailor what you're looking for into a better question that won't break these boundaries while still giving you the information your looking for.


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