I have found tarot to be a useful tool to give people an insight into their upcoming year or for a particular issue. I have never had an appointment with a Querent (the person for whom you are reading) who had a balanced or crisis-free life. When people are desperate, they seek answers from others who can help them get through these challenges. They need the hope and solutions that tarot readers can provide.
Studying tarot has always been a fun and relaxing pastime for me. I read many books available on the subject starting in my teens. I did the usual thing in the beginning by practicing on friends, consulting books, and then trying to figure out what the cards really meant. I wondered how to pull all the information together into a cohesive reading in a spiritual, positive, and compassionate way. Then I relied on my memory after a while, but I would still occasionally have to consult tarot books for the precise meanings. It was a very long process.
It was always a mystery to me that all the tarot books had different meanings for the cards so “the student” had to compile information from various sources and eventually devise a “general” meaning of his/her own choosing for each card. There was just too much information available on the subject, too many books, and too many decks to choose from. (I believe at this time, there are over 1,000 tarot decks with more of them being invented every day). With practice and patience, one learns to pick up on the overall vibrations of the cards. Each reading is a totally different experience, even if you place the exact same cards in a spread for two different people! You feel different vibrations; you get different messages, even if the messages don’t make too much sense to you. I usually say, “I received this message for you. Does it make sense?” The Querents generally say that something was confirmed for them or it was something that was a repeated phrase from a departed loved one. So, I’d know I was on the right track.
I remember how difficult it seemed to memorize the seventy-eight cards upright and the seventy-eight reversed meanings. That was one hundred and fifty-six meanings that needed to be memorized! I gave them more interesting and positive meanings by just looking at them; the information is right there! I never understood the meanings for some of the cards and when I asked why a card meant what it did, I got a solid, “Because it always meant that!” Not a good answer for a Gemini.
Do the Reversed Cards Need to Be Negative?
Conversely, my belief is that with the coming of the Age of Aquarius, we do not have to read the reversed cards as negative but should make note of them. I not only note them but usually find that depending upon how many reserved cards turn up in a spread, tells the reader how chaotic, confused, or upsetting the Querent’s life currently is and will be for that person. I find that six upright and six reversed cards in a twelve-card year ahead spread means the Querent will have a perfectly balanced life with its ups and downs just like the rest of us. More upright cards show resourcefulness on how to get out of negative situations and give the Querent many opportunities to get to the path they were supposed to travel. I use upright cards for the energies to form and shape properly from the day of the reading until six months down the road (give or take a month). I use reversed cards in a year ahead spread to denote the meaning of that particular card would not come to pass for at least six to twelve months or half the time span of the reading. It works out quite accurately. It is also useful to know what obstacles are ahead of one, so realistic solutions to the inconveniences facing the Querent can be handled in a very organized, sound, and positive way.
The Totally Tarot Method
For those who would like to learn some quick and easy tarot pointers, here are some suggestions from “The Totally Tarot Method” for the Rider-Waite deck.
Read the cards through the interpretation of colors, backgrounds, and symbolism. In that way, it’s easy to remember any card without memorizing its textbook meaning. If you have more yellow background cards in a reading, then you know this person is very logical and intellectual and may need to balance that quality with some emotion and kindness. If there are too many blue backgrounds, then perhaps the Querent needs to be a little more rational and logical thinking in their approach to life and its choices. Having more gray cards than any other would indicate that the Querent has fears, doubts, worries, anxieties, panic attacks, being overwhelmed, and has a lack of self-esteem. It’s also about them feeling as if they “are on a foggy road and not being able to see the signs to get off!” By this overview, within a few seconds, you would know in essence, what you have to do to make this person comfortable and optimistic. Give them very straightforward interpretations as they need the strength to move forward and to leave the anxieties behind. However, always tell the truth in the most compassionate way you can.
Eventually, the meanings will just come to you after practicing with them because the same symbolism or imagery would mean the exact same thing in another card. For instance, cloudy skies mean that “situations” are brewing behind you; unexpected secrets are going on behind your back. You may be unaware or unprepared for them. Storm clouds indicate, “Be ready for issues with others, perhaps disputes and arguing. Some of these quarrels could happen immediately.” Depending on how prepared you are for these issues will determine if you triumph over your enemies or not.
Level or smooth ground means you are standing on firm ground, that is balanced, centered, focused, and stable; however, rocky ground, in turn, means you may trip, fall, stumble, be on shaky ground, and have unsure footing which would influence your future decisions. Standing in water means there is too much emotion or sentimentality surrounding the Querent or situation. So, the advice would be to “Get your foot out of the water,” by standing on firm ground and starting to think in a more logical and common-sense manner instead of continuing to make emotional decisions that will ultimately be wrong. Only then would all of your issues and concerns be easily solved. I am a firm believer that if the person on the card isn’t looking at a symbol, he/she doesn’t get its benefits or harm. If they need emotion, sensitivity, etc., they must turn around and be aware of what is going on around them. By learning these symbols, associations with the colors, and backgrounds, you can put so many clues together that one would have a meaning for a card without ever having to refer to textbooks.
Lastly, add the four suits (Wands, Pentacles, Swords, and Cups) and interpret the cards by what the figure(s) are doing in the card, holding, not doing, etc. Are the figures happy, celebrating or are they feeling sorry for themselves or look desperate? If they are facing the left of the card from the reader’s perspective, then that person is going in the wrong direction or facing the past. If the figure is looking straight at you from the center of the card then that is what the person is currently going to experience. If the figure is looking towards the right of the card, then they are proceeding in the right or future direction. Putting all the associations together gives the reader a very good indication of the cards’ meanings.
Tarot Doesn’t Need to Be a Mystery
Readings do become more intuitive with time, but it still amazes me that the meanings are different or varied each time. Simply put, WANDS represent jobs, careers, and education and how you handle them; PENTACLES are finances, possessions, and what is important to them regarding finances; SWORDS symbolize conflicts, arguing, fighting, or honor, resolving issues and dealing with each issue one at a time to make sure the path will not be fraught with more hurdles and obstacles, while CUPS are connected to the love, one gives and receives as well as how much of it surrounds that person or the lack of it in his/her life. It also represents love, happiness, prosperity and joy, inner peace, guidance, strength, wisdom, and being extremely happy in your life.
Tarot doesn’t need to be a mystery nor require years of study and practice. I taught many tarot workshops, Zoom and adult education classes, lectures, and private lessons and within eighteen hours, the class knew so much about the modality that they were giving fairly decent readings at the end of the workshop.
Practice is definitely a confidence builder and gives more insight into a reading, so ask friends to help by letting you “practice” reading for them. You’ll be surprised at how many new friends you will attract as soon as they know you need volunteers to practice this ancient art of divination. But please be sure to tell them you are a beginner and doing this just for fun. Many people take this advice as gospel and unless you are a proficient reader of the cards, you may unknowingly cause anxiety, stress, panic, concern, or harm, even if that were not your intent.
Giving this sacred advice or guidance is not to be taken lightly nor used for your own personal gain, (other than a reasonable fee for your time and services), but rather to receive insight into a situation or relationship that may be helpful to the Querent. You are a facilitator of the cards and the Querent must know that if they choose to do nothing with the information you provide, it is perfectly fine. It is their choice. We all have free will which gives us many intentional or unintentional life lessons. They do not have to change their lives; they do not have to learn the lessons of this lifetime nor progress onto the right path. It is always their choice.
You may guide or suggest, but ethical practitioners NEVER employ scare tactics or instill fear. I have dealt with a number of these types of readers. They say there is a curse on the person that they are reading and their family from the old country. When I ask what country that was, they have no answer. Large sums of money are always requested and when you run out of money, I have known readers to ask for diamond rings or expensive jewelry as payment. Many of my clients had been duped in the past and I wouldn’t want anyone else losing money, time, or sleepover these so-called readers. Be wary of readers who want to burn candles for you or pray for you…for a cost. You can burn your own candles and who can pray better for you than yourself? They are just con artists trying to take advantage of those who are in desperate times. Many of my clients had been taken advantage of in the past situations above and I wouldn’t want anyone else losing money, time, or sleepover these so-called readers! One old lady was tricked into giving all the money she had ($20,000.00) which was supposed to buy a new car. The charlatan also took her diamond engagement ring, wedding ring, and other expensive jewelry to take the curses off of, but my client never got any of those pieces of jewelry back. When she asked me how much she owed me for a five-hour reading (because she was very broken), I said, “Twenty thousand dollars!” She laughed. I said, “Why are you laughing?” She replied, “That’s a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a tarot reading.” I smiled, “Yeah, isn’t it? Then why did you give it to her?” “Well, she made me afraid of everything but you gave me choices and options that I could use and I’m not afraid of you!” “Thank you.” Of course, I didn’t charge her. I was happy to be of service.
Honesty and integrity are very important to me and should be to all readers. You are guiding someone’s life so you’d better be sure you know the cards well. The reader helps clients understand their choices and to be able to cope with their circumstances by giving them practical alternatives to their current or future obstacles, trials, tests, and challenges.
In this way, you are guiding souls to a more productive, happy, and forward-moving life and in turn, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and inner harmony because you have made a person’s life a little easier to handle. You have made an important difference in that person’s life and indirectly to the world. You may be the only one that this person trusts or comes to for advice, so make the readings and advice appropriate and for their highest good of all involved, always.