Tarot Card

Frequently Asked Questions

Tarot is a system of divination called cartomancy. The tarot can be used for many purposes but historically it fell into two distinct groups: esoteric and exoteric. Esoteric tarot contains within it deeper spiritual truths and was developed mostly within secret societies. Exoteric tarot, though you won’t hear it called that, developed in the wider public domain and has been used to tell fortunes and predict future events in people’s lives.

A tarot deck consists of 78 cards divided into two main groups: the twenty-two Major Arcana cards, or trumps, and the fifty-six Minor Arcana, or pip cards. A further division is then made with the pip cards as they are divided into four suits: Wands/Staves/Rods – Cups/Chalices – Swords -Pentacles/Disks/Coins. Within each suit a further structure can be found beginning with an ace, then cards numbered 2-10, followed by four court cards that display a hierarchy in the following order: Page/Knave – Knight – Queen – King.

TAROT DECK STRUCTURE:
  • Major Arcana
  • Minor Arcana
    • Wands/Staves/Rods
    • Cups/Chalices
    • Swords
    • Pentacles/Disks/Coins
      • Ace
      • Cards numbered 2 – 10
      • Page
      • Knight
      • Queen
      • King

Tarot provides help by providing clarity to the elements of your situation that you cannot see. If the picture is incomplete, you cannot possibly begin to form an accurate assessment of what is happening in your life, and more importantly, you cannot make an informed decision about how to take things forward.

Clarity comes through being shown the motives of others (and yourself), their intentions (and yours). Tarot pulls back the veil and reveals what is affecting your life. The beauty of tarot is not just how it can show the who, what, where and when, but also the why. A misconception can exist that a tarot reading is either predictive or psychological, but the reality is can do both, and when it does, a fuller picture can seen in the cards before you

It doesn’t always seem to! But, over time, and especially if you keep a tarot journal, you will be able to see how the cards have been directing you and talking to you over a particular issue. One of the benefits of keeping a tarot journal is that you can go back over a tarot reading and glean something new or different from it.

Sometimes we are too emotional, too invested or too close to a problem or issue to see clearly what the tarot is trying to show us. We can also, if we aren’t being fully honest with ourselves, mis-interpret the cards and find when we look back over time, that the tarot was right and we were deluding ourselves..

At other times the answers provided in a tarot reading can feel like a slap across the face because of its brutal honesty. I personally find this with the Thoth Tarot and when I’m ready to see the truth of a situation, it is my deck of choice.

In a word, yes. Sometimes so stunningly so that it takes your breath away. At other times a reading can appear nuanced, or more general but as time progresses, details of the reading can be seen to be played out in your own or the querent’s life.

Some say that the future is not set in stone, and I buy into that also. However, with every choice we make in life, every decision we take, narrows our path toward a destination and so can be predicted by the tarot, or any other divination system.

It is difficult not to, essentially. Tarot has a predictive element to it – we could say prediction is in the tarot’s DNA.

Ultimately, we must make a distinction between divination and fortune telling. Divination is communication with a supernatural power, be that gods, goddesses, spirit guides, spirit animals, angels et al. That communication may or may not provide a direct and disctinct outcome to an issue. It is most likely to contain information relating to your situation, highlighting what you cannot see or refuse to accept.

Some people prefer to use the word divination because it carries within it the connotation of a higher power, a good power. The distinctly religious in society use any form of divination as a means to call foul on its users and so to them, fortune telling falls into the devilish, demonic and distinctly dark arts, within their religious framework. The bible singles out fortune telling as being evil and so divination can be seen to be above this and is therefore the preferred way to describe their work. Within that work, it is very difficult to not make a call about a future, particularly if there is an Outcome position in the tarot spread being used. In the Celtic Cross Spread, there are two.

This most definitely is not true. The old traditions of fortune telling carried with it many superstitions and rituals that were largely baseless but continue to somehow linger on.

You can, and ought to buy your own tarot decks. If someone is going to buy you a tarot deck as a present, you should at least choose the deck you want. This is simply to make sure the tarot deck you work with (for yourself or others) should speak to you. You should enjoy its look and feel and want to pick it up and play with it

To my mind, no, not at all. It’s divine in that it is supernatural and your interpretation of what is good or bad, spiritually speaking, will be derived from your religious experience or influences. Or lack therof.

Some say the Thoth Tarot is evil because Crowley was, or that he consorted with devils and demons. He was a lot of things, and probably a true libertarian in that he wouldn’t stop you doing something utterly despicable, if it was your will.

Crowley’s contemporary and rival, Arthur Waite, was a Christian. He was also the creater of the Rider Tarot and this tarot is littered with Christian symbols and emblems so if you are more comfortable with your tarot having a dash of Christianity in it, this is the deck for you and you need not worry about inadvertently consorting with devils and demons – only angels and the light.

It is an old practice of crossing a gypsy’s palm with silver after they have performed a service for you. It basically describes a transaction, and it would be fair to consider every reading a transaction as it does provide you with value and information you didn’t have before.

A transaction is payment for services or goods and I believe that even friends should contribute towards the exchange. That doesn’t have to be money though, it can be a cup cake and a coffee, for instance. I once exchanged a tarot reading for a facial with a beauty therapist.

Paying for a reading validates the service you are receiving. Asking a friend for a free reading is expecting to take something from them (their time and knowledge, which took a lot of time to acquire) and giving nothing back. Close friends take turns in hosting dinner parties and coffee mornings and so a tarot reading from a friend should still see something done in return.

Some people take issue at paying for a ‘spiritual service’ or what others may call a god-given gift that should be shared freely. I disagree. If it is a god-given gift, then it was to make your working life easier while you help people. Everyone else earns a living and so giving something for a reading should be expected and normal practice.

There are three main types of tarot deck commonly available today and they are:

  • the Rider, also called the Rider Waite-Smith Tarot
  • the Thoth, also known as the Crowley-Harris Thoth Tarot
  • and the Tarot de Marseille Tarot

The Rider and the Thoth both came out of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a 19th century secret magical society. There was a standard tarot deck used among the initiates and this can be found published today called simply the Golden Dawn Magical Tarot.

The Rider was developed and created by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Coleman Smith. It is perhaps the most well known tarot deck in the world and many copies of it exist as clones, that is, redrawings of the original, or the themes contained within it replacated but held to that standard. In the modern age, it was the first tarot deck to present the small cards, the Minor Arcana, or pips, with full scene pictures that enabled its readers to provide a more intuitive type of reading.

The Thoth was the brainchild of the infamous magician, Aleister Crowley, and was painted by Lady Frieda Harris. It draws on many systems to present Crowley’s ideas and is considered by many to be a more difficult deck to learn than the Rider. This is not completely wrong as it is deep, but it is also exceptionally beautiful and well worth the effort of getting to know it more intimately.

While the Rider and Thoth tarot decks were borne out of Great Britain and the magical and esoteric Golden Dawn, the Tarot de Marseille is French and maintains many if not all of its original continental characteristics. It is not the only continental tarot deck, but it is the most famous and widely used. This is the tarot deck that some consider to be the true tarot. The meanings differ somewhat, particularly in the pip cards, and even those well versed in the Rider and Thoth will have to learn new meanings for old favourites if they are to add this tarot deck to their reading library.

Esoteric tarot conveys within it the thoughts, ideas, systems and beliefs that fall under:

  • mysticism
  • gnosticism
  • qabalah
  • astrology
  • numerology
  • and hermetic teachings.

This group of subjects falls loosely under the term, Western Mystery Tradition, which is a term added much later to the systems it came to represent.

You could say that esoteric tarot sits firmly outside of fortune telling, in its early form. If you are seeking deeper truths, or want to experience something that appears outside of yourself, you are seeking the other. This really is an inner process but because we aren’t familiar with this it seems exterior. The truth is that it is within, we are just learning the explanations, they are what are outside.

I think this occured over time when esoteric meanings were developed and a more definite way to derive a meaning came into being. I am, by all accounts, describing a formula, and you can see this with numerology, the elements, astrology and the Tree of Life including the sephiroth and paths.

For example, the 2 of Swords to some means balance, being quiet so as to make a decision, a fork in the road (some also see this with the 2 of Wands). Others see the 2 of Swords as a peaceful situation. Peace (Thoth Tarot) is a shortened way to describe Peace Restored (Golden Dawn). It comes from the numerological (including qabalistic numerology) and astrological associations.

The 9 of Wands is seen as strength by many and yet in the Major Arcana we have a card named Strength. Do they mean the same thing? Why should there be two cards so closely related? Shouldn’t the tarot depict all different life situations and characteristics?

The strength described in the 9 of Wands is of a more militarised version – being ready to strike but not making the first move, defence and formation (see Crowley’s version of this in the Thoth Tarot). This is a little different from the personal strength required to overcome our animalistic nature, which may be seen as overcoming the Devil and its addictions and temptations also…

What does this tell us? That life is not black and white and all is nuance. And so is the tarot – imperfect and constantly evolving.

This can happen in face to face and email readings where you get to see the cards and if you have any tarot knowledge, you may not always agree with the reader’s interpretation. This does not negate their reading in anyway.

You have to look at it this way: you chose them to do a tarot reading for you either out of recommendation or your gut instinct (intuition). You weren’t wrong about the feeling you had about them so let them do their job and accept their interpretation of the cards.

If you were doing the reading, to arrive at their conclusion, you would be dealt a completely different set of cards purely because you both have a different take on some or all of the cards. To enrich the reading, don’t say they were wrong, simply add some of what you felt strongly about to their reading so you’re not changing it or taking anything away from it, but adding to it.

I’m not sure that can be answered fully! But, there are many ways to use the tarot:

  • fortune telling
  • personal growth
  • life coaching
  • spiritual development
  • magic and ritual
  • learning other systems (qabalah, astrology, numerology etc.)
  • creating a vision board and setting intentions
  • other creative areas like character and plot development in novels.

It may be safe to say the uses for tarot are only limited by our own imaginations.

A large enough Tarot spread can give you a very keen sense of the probabilities inherent in a situation, but the specific way that things turn out are, in the final analysis, up to you -- how well you adapt to the ever-changing conditions that your Tarot reading reflects. A Tarot reading gives a snapshot of what is going on in the Present, the time you are picking the cards. It can help you see aspects of a situation that have been invisible to your ego. In contrast to popular opinion, Tarot is a valuable form of meditation on the Present moment that returns insight and advice. Although it does reflect probabilities, it is NOT a form of fortune-telling.

Tarot is excellent for receiving clarity on problems or issues that logic by itself simply can't handle (most of the important ones in life!). Relationships, negotiations, work dynamics, office politics, family matters, spiritual well-being.

It's largely a matter of taste. Try looking through different ones until you find the one or two you like best. Even after that, it's fun to see what a special card might look like in other decks. This is hard to do in physical reality, no matter how many decks you own.

Tarot can predict your likely future, if you continue down the path you are on. They can also show you the alternative paths available to you. However, the Tarot is meant for guidance only and future predictions are not set in stone. Every action you take or don’t take, affects the outcome of your future. So really, your future outcome depends on you. You are the master of your own destiny.  

I will not predict births or deaths. I will not diagnose health conditions or predict the outcome of a health problem, so please don’t ask. I will not give readings on others without their consent. I may tell you about other people in your life in so far as they relate to you, but no more than that. If you want to know about someone else’s private life, please ask them. 

ABSOLUTELY! Tarot Cards provide guidance. You are the master of your own destiny. If you do not like the outcome of your reading, you have the free will to change it. Tarot Cards should never been seen as a definitive prediction of the future but rather as a warning of what may happen is you continue down the wrong path or encouragement that you are on the right path, depending on your reading. If you do not like the path you are on, you and you alone can change that. If you do change, the cards predictions can also change. 

 

Yes, I reserve the right to refuse to do a reading under the following circumstances:

  • If you are under 18 years of age. 

  • If I feel that doing so could negatively affect your mental health. I would advise anyone with a history of mental illness which has resulted in psychotic episodes, delusions or paranoia against having a tarot reading so as not to aggravate your existing condition. If you have mental health issues, please seek the proper help from health care professionals. The services I provide are not a substitute for professional mental health services nor should they ever take the place of a doctor, lawyer, or any other licensed professional.

  • If I sense you are becoming dependent on/ addicted to tarot readings.

  • If I sense you are trying to gain information about someone else without their consent/knowledge.

  • If you ask me to predict deaths, births or the outcome of illnesses or to diagnose health issues.

  • If you ask me for readings about hexes, curses or demonic forces. While everyone is welcome to their beliefs, my readings are based on the concept that each individual is the master of their own destiny and my focus is always on how you can determine your outcome through personal responsibility for your own choices, decisions and behaviours. I do not remove hexes and I do not provide readings on hexes, curses or demonic forces.  

  • If I sense you are drunk, impaired or under the influence of a mind altering substance.

  • If I sense that you are in a distressed or anxious state. It is best not to get tarot readings if you are in a distressed state as your readings can be influenced by extreme emotional turmoil as can your absorption of the guidance provided.

  • If you repeatedly ask the same question hoping for a different answer. If you don’t like the outcome of a reading I would encourage you to consider taking positive steps in your life to change your situation. Asking the cards the same question repeatedly does not work and wastes my time and yours. That does not mean you cannot ask for further clarification to a previous answer but I will not tolerate people asking the same question repeatedly, trying to change the answer. I may refuse to work with you in future if you send me the same questions repeatedly.

  • If you are rude, abusive or disrespectful, aggressive, pushy or deceptive. Firstly, I will not tolerate ill treatment. Secondly, there may be things that you are not meant to know yet. The tarot cards give me the information needed to guide you. You cannot demand a certain answer from the cards, it doesn’t work like that and I cannot work with pushy or aggressive people as pressure clouds my ability to give an impartial reading. With regards to deception, while I understand some people may be sceptical about tarot reading, if you are planning on being purposely deceptive, you will be wasting your money, your time and my time. I take the questions you ask in good faith. So if you are planning on providing misleading information or asking questions that don’t relate to your life, expect to receive a reading that doesn’t make sense or to be refused a reading completely. If you try to confuse the cards, they will confuse you right back. If I sense you are being deceptive I will refuse your reading and any future readings.

  • If I cannot connect with you. Some people cannot be read, some people cannot be read at certain times and some people can only be read by certain tarot readers. If I cannot read you, before you panic, please note that this does NOT mean you’re doomed or that you have no future, it’s just the way it goes sometimes. If sense that I cannot connect with you, I will refuse to read you.

Please note that I reserve the right to refuse any reading without explanation. Please do not take it personally if I decline to read you, I do not mean to offend. If I refuse to do your reading, I will refund your booking fee in full. Repeated attempts to rebook a refused/declined reading may result in administration charges.

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