Reading tarot cards is like taking an enchanted journey of self-discovery on a winding road into the unknown. It is a place where you learn about yourself (as a reader) by claiming and unearthing the distinct meanings of symbols, colors, numbers, weather elements, characters, what they wear and where they are looking – and every single element (clue) on each tarot card. The goal of the tarot journey is to uncover a story – a meaning, a lesson and the way to move forward to meet your next destined moment.
A true tarot reading – like a book – has a beginning, a middle, and a cliff-hanger end – with various plot twists, protagonists, antagonists, theology, history, symbolism and secret messages along the way. There is action, and ego, and procrastination, there is time to move and time to rest, angels and devils, and ups and downs and wins and losses throughout each reading.
There are no two readers that read a card the same way; and, if done correctly, interpretation of a tarot card is highly individualized, and no two spreads are ever read the same way. That’s the majestic world of tarot; like our ability as humans on earth, we have free will – at will - to make decisions. In tarot, the cards help deduce situations through creative inference, and the cards, like the cherished hieroglyphics they once were on the sides of mountain regions, find validity within impossibility.
If read correctly, tarot cards guide us through many of life’s day-to-day activities and obstacles addressing each step in the abstract world of tarot with truth and authenticity, astonishing accuracy and divine truth. Tarot teaches us about finding our true sense of self, our sense of dignity, self-worth and imagination through the story told by the cards and interpreted by experts that have studied the cards and their transcendent worth.
Tarot is an interpretive art, based on intuition, spirit guidance, clairvoyance – and mainly… true experience. As a tarot reader, having a strong knowledge of history, energy, astrology, planetary personalities, religion, theology, spirituality, progressive new movement and various mega philosophers such as Jung, Freud, Aristotle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and an occasion line or two from Dr. Phil will always be a benefit to reading and interpreting tarot cards.
I study tarot every day; and learn something new about the cards, the meanings and interpretations by digging deep and looking at the cards from a new set of eyes each day. My personal question is not, what do the cards mean, I ask, what am I missing in the card? Each card is an integral part of the story, and each card needs to be studied individually with keen interpretation and seeing each element on the card as a value for this interpretation.
Like living beings, or cast-iron cooking pots, my tarot cards retain energy, and flavor with every read and it adds on those elements to the next read. During my readings, many clients have mentioned they feel like my cards have taken on “a life of their own.”
As a tarot reader of 25 years, and formally licensed in psychic arts in Las Vegas, and the spiritual advisor for Karma & Luck, I have read more than 25,000 tarot card spreads – some that I call “deep dive” reads that include 7-10 tarot card decks, oracle decks, charms and light to tiny three card reads that I call “quickie.” reads. I have seen it all at my table – happiness, sadness, fear, elevation, birth, death, love and loss. But the one element that remains true is the form and art of tarot. To me, and to my clients, the cards magically line up the way the Universe intends them to, giving us hope, imagination a mostly, a pathway to move forward with vigor.
When asked to explain the journey of tarot, we (the tarot masters) always compare tarot to the journey of The Wizard of Oz, and Dorothy who changes before our eyes from a co-dependent young girl that has never made a single decision without the help of her Auntie Em and is unable to think for herself. In the beginning, Dorothy, self-proclaims herself as “meek.” By the end of the movie, we see a different Dorothy, one that has embarked upon the Tarot Journey, the Dark Night of the Soul of self-discovery.
At the end she is strong, confident, makes all her own decisions, finds Oz, defeats the witch, and leads her new friends to victory – after realizing the strength was inside of her the entire time. The tarot journey is the journey of Dorothy of the Wizard of Oz with a big touch of Star Wars, and the force of good and evil (Darth Vador vs. Luke Skywalker) – and the development of intuition and clairvoyant understanding, being in tuned to self in such as manner – sight, sound, tough, taste and hearing – all become instrumental in Luke’s enduring growth and understanding of intuition.
May the Force Be With You – is touching upon Luke’s innate gifts of intuition, gut feelings, and spidey senses (when the hair stands up on your arms) to be able to think one step ahead of his opponents’. Much like in the day-to-day world of love, and business, in relationships, situationships, money matters and life… we must always use our gut intuition and try and stay ahead of the curve.
A traditional tarot deck has 78 cards. It has four suits (like a deck of playing cards) Wands (Batons, Staves) - passion/action Swords (blades) - communication, intellect and truth Pentacles (coins, disks, stars, or rings) - money, career, stability and time and Cups (chalices, goblets) - love, romance, passion. The deck is comprised of two separate groups – 22 Major Arcana (also known as Trump Cards, or Universe Cards).
These are the cards that come into the reading to provide divine guidance, divine timing, and messages from the Ether. These cards represent Karma (life’s lessons), human experience and through these major archetypes, they set the tone and meaning towards spiritual advancement in the tarot. The remaining 56 cards combine daily life experiences featuring the wands, swords, cups and pentacles, as well as key royalty – pages, knights, queens and kings – denoting a hierarchy in class and placement, or energetic ability or spiritual elevation.
Like traditional playing cards, there are four Aces in a tarot deck each discussing a new beginning, a new way of life, a new way of thinking, and new way of behaving or a new love or career is coming forth. What is key in understanding the beginning of the tarot journey is that tarot cards should NEVER be read alone. A minimum of three tarot cards will provide a guided message and the tarot cards are read by revealing the center card first, then the next card to the right, and then, circling back to the first card. It is clockwise movement symbolizing that like time, and the tarot’s Wheel of Fortune, the world of tarot moves forward.
The easiest way to explain why tarot cards cannot be read a s a single entity is best described by the letter “a” in the standard alphabet. There are 39 ways to pronounce the letter “a” when speaking a word. For instance, the letter “a” in the word “cat” takes on a different sound then with a silent “e” as in “cake.”
The letter “a” in the word “ball” has a different sound then in the world “wait.” And there are other combinations that sound like “a” and don’t have the letter “a” in it – weight and eight. The same remains true for each tarot card; like tofu that takes on the flavor of what you cook it with; the tarot meanings take on individual meanings with the cards around it.