There are as many reasons to get tarot readings as there are people, but most reasons fall into two main categories: to get guidance, and to learn about yourself. Tarot can help you cut through the mental clutter and shake up your brain when you’re stuck, and help you understand your inner landscape at a deeper level. It’s also just fun and interesting, and you don’t need a deep spiritual reason to try it out and see if you like it!
What’s a reading?
A reading is when the seeker (that’s you), the tarot reader (that’s me) get together (virtually, in COVID times) with a deck of tarot cards. The seeker often asks a question, but that’s not required. (Here’s an article about asking tarot questions.)
Then the tarot reader shuffles the deck, cuts it, lays out some cards, and explains what the cards mean in light of the question. Usually the seeker walks away with new insights about how to tackle the problem that prompted their question.
You can read tarot readings I did for myself here, here, and here to see what they’re like!
How does tarot work?
There are lots of different theories about how tarot works. Some people think it’s magic. Other people think tarot cards are universal symbols that tap into a collective unconscious. And some folks think that tarot cards activate your intuition.
I’m in the latter school of thought. I think looking at tarot cards (or listening to someone interpret them) helps our brains be like "HEY LOOK OVER HERE" when there’s important stuff that we’ve been ignoring, that we’ve forgotten, or that we are struggling to give ourselves permission to think or feel.
If you do tarot for any length of time, you’ll likely notice something new every time you look at a tarot card--even one you’ve seen many times before. They are packed full of symbols, and your eye tends to go to the thing that your brain is trying to tell you! Or as the reader interprets the card, you’ll tend to hear the parts that are most meaningful to you.
The other thing that makes tarot so special is focus. As the seeker, when you sit down to a tarot reading, you’ve decided to spend that time giving your full attention to your question. Your tarot reader and the cards are focused on your question too. That collective focus can lead to big breakthroughs.
Is it maybe just a little bit magical though? I don’t know, y’all, I’m a Virgo and one time I went to law school! I’m pretty skeptical about the magic idea, but also, the High Priestess keeps coming up in my readings no matter who’s pulling the cards. Is it magic? Probably not? But perhaps more importantly, will I ever learn to be cool and laid back like the High Priestess? Also probably not!
Bottom line: I can’t be 100% sure why tarot is helpful for so many people, but it is, and I think it’s fun and cool, and you might think so too.
What can tarot help with?
Let’s dig into 6 common reasons why people get tarot readings:
1. You’re stuck on a big decision
It’s a classic for a reason! Tarot can be a great way to cut through the mental clutter when a big decision looms. The cards won’t tell you exactly what to do, but they can help you narrow the options, or give you permission to do the thing you know is right.
2. You're feeling confused or uncertain about something
Tarot can help you rummage around in your brain and get more clarity on your life. People often get insights into patterns or unresolved issues that need their attention during a tarot reading. You won’t walk away with all the answers, but you’ll probably know yourself a little better.
3. You want to look back at the past and plan for the future
Lots of people get tarot readings once or twice a year to check in with themselves. It can be a time to look back at last year’s goals, notice what’s changed, and get inspiration for the future. You could do this in January or another time of renewal that’s significant in your culture, on your birthday, or on some other day that’s meaningful to you.
4. You need support during a difficult time
Are you shifting your relationship with substances, like quitting smoking? Trying to get through school? Struggling to find hope during frightening times? Tarot can be part of your support team when life gets hard (although it can't replace things like mental and physical health care). The cards may offer you inspiration, and there’s something magical about making space for yourself via tarot--it can help you feel a sense of connection and purpose as you navigate this complicated, gorgeous, painful world.
5. You’re experiencing a transition
If you’re changing jobs/careers, getting married, breaking up, coming out, changing your relationship to gender, entering menopause, having a baby, or some other big transition, tarot can help you process your relationship to the past and future. And it can help you stay connected to your core self as you grow and explore.
6. You’re curious and it sounds fun!
You don’t actually need a reason to do tarot! It’s fun as heck, there’s always something new to see in the cards, and even a really intense reading usually leaves you feeling engaged and energized. Plus you get to hang out with a gorgeous deck of 78 tiny works of art, a cool tarot reader, and your own fabulous self! 11/10!
There are tons of reasons to get a tarot reading, from a once-in-a-while check-in to a regular practice. Regardless of your reason for wanting a reading, you’ll probably walk away from it with some new insights about yourself and your life. If you’d like to read with me, you can learn more here.