Many people’s first question when they find out I read tarot is: How does tarot work? Let’s start with the basics first.
What is the tarot?
Tarot cards have a mysterious aura around them and for centuries they’ve been used for fun, divination, and self actualization. With origins in the early Renaissance, the tarot has seen many iterations and makeovers. The tarot deck that has become the standard that many decks today are based on is the Smith Rider Waite deck, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith in 1910.
Tarot is a deck of 78 cards, with a similar structure to a regular playing card deck. What sets a tarot deck apart from playing cards is the inclusion of 22 Major Arcana cards that represent shifts in the soul’s evolution. The 56 Minor Arcana represent universal feelings, actions, and situations from the human experience. So when we ask the right questions, we can gain a new perspective on where we are in our lives, what energies we’re dealing with, and receive guidance on how to move forward.
So, how does tarot work?
I don’t know. But I know that it does work. Especially when we approach it from a place of self-examination, growth, and healing. You can believe that energy, the universe and/or guides bring up specific cards for us or you can choose to believe in randomness and find value in it either way. Shuffle and pull cards any way you want. Get creative with the questions you ask. There’s no dogma when it comes to approaching the tarot. The value of it lies in having an open and curious approach to the cards and yourself.
The tarot is what you make it, so the most important part is to be willing open up to the messages the cards have and let it assist you in examining your life in a healthy and productive way.
Why do I love tarot?
I love that even if you don’t “believe” in it, it can have value. It doesn’t have to be this spooky occultish thing (but can be, if you’re into that!), but an accessible tool for self-inquiry and understanding who we are a little better.
I’ve found it to be really useful and supportive through some really challenging shifts in my life. From deciding career shifts, making moves, having a kid, healing from childhood stuff and even getting my back pain under control, it’s felt like a support system.
Who is tarot for?
The short answer: Anyone who’s curious about it. I believe tarot can benefit anyone who is open to it and wants to learn and grow in this lifetime.
It’s great for: Those feeling stuck or undergoing a transformation, people healing from past traumas, anxious folks, mamas and caregivers, purpose seekers, nervous system balancers, individuals looking for clarity and alignment, anyone who wants to uncover their strengths and superpowers and feel supported.
Should I get a tarot reading from a professional or learn to read for myself?
Both! I think even the most seasoned tarot readers can benefit from an outside perspective. And I also think if you’re at all interested in tarot, you should buy yourself a deck an start learning. The best way to start learning tarot? Pull a card a day and journal about the meaning and how it relates to you.
Want more tarot?
- Read more about how to learn tarot
- Major Arcana Meanings
- 44 Questions to Ask the Tarot
- Read your monthly tarotscope
- Learn more more about my course Tarot Foundations: A course for reading intuitively
- Check out my favorite tarot books & resources
- Book a Tarot reading or Tarot tutoring session with me (Leah Vanderveldt) here