Tarot Readers and how they work

Tarot Cards
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Trusting Your Tarot Reader

Tarot readers are everywhere. In nearly every bookshop you can see a shelf full of cards. An internet search of ‘Tarot Readers’ gives you, incredibly, over 31 million responses, testimony to the popularity of these 78 cards now. From Hollywood, we can also the Tarot popping up from the ever-present comically of the James Bond epic ‘Live and Let Die’ through Hammer Horror and The Exorcist (111) styling’s via the cowboy west in ‘Tombstone’ and more recently ‘Ocean’s Twelve’.


The raft of recent vampire-themed TV shows has also featured a number of Tarot decks, perhaps all too predictably shown in a negative light. Even the ‘much-loved’ realm of TV soap operas does not escape, with programs such as ‘ER’ in America and ‘Home and Away’ from Australia showing the use of Tarot. Advertising is jumping on it too, with a car manufacturer showing Tarot cards flying through the air to illustrate the qualities of their new product. Almost without exception Tarot is depicted as predicting death, doom, and gloom and seen to be linked with ‘the occult’ and things that generally speaking, are mysterious and to be avoided.

At the other end of the spectrum, there is a clear rampant commercialism with some tarot readers that seems to taint just about everything in our world. If you can think of a subject, there is probably a Tarot deck for it. Apart from every conceivable tribal race and mythology, there are Tarot decks for different periods in history, different artistic styles, vampires (them again!), gnomes, fairies, robots, even alcohol and 70’s rock music!

Expressing the Tarot

Indeed there have been many attempts at expressing the Tarot musically, from this author’s own collaboration with new-age composer Kevin Kendle and other works in this field to an album of more progressive rock with the London Symphony Orchestra, by Mike Batt (of The Wombles and lately Katie Melua fame), to Steve Hackett, erstwhile Genesis guitarist, the rock bombast of Rainbow in ‘Tarot Woman’ and perhaps best of the lot, the début album by The Enid entitled ‘In the Region of the Summer Stars’.

The Tarot immediately shows itself then, to be something approaching all things to all people. It is at once intriguing, inspiring, adaptable, and now as we have seen, ubiquitous. Whilst all decks have something to offer, the standard and quality of some packs at best varies enormously. Add to this the enormous range of books available on the Tarot now and it is little wonder that the image of this amazing pack of cards has strayed somewhat from that which many of its fans and aficionados would want.

How Tarot Readers Interpret Images

It has come to be seen as something that tells us what is going to happen and that can and will predict bad events because it is linked to and part of a mysterious world of the occult, black magic, and the like. This article will look at why this is and try and show you that the Tarot is not to feared and most certainly not evil, nasty or scary in any way at all and can actually be seen as the final therapy.

First let us take a look at the image of the Tarot as it is portrayed by these various facets of the media, artists, and enterprise alike. We have already mentioned that is it almost without exception that the Tarot is linked to a mysterious, dark, and sinister world inhabited by characters best avoided, in the daylight, let alone a dark alley! When we consider that OFCOM, the governing body for communications has only recently begun to let use and mention of the Tarot on television, it is perhaps not surprising that it is viewed with such suspicion and mistrust. This author was vehemently told not to mention the Tarot when appearing on a psychic chat program, due to it being ‘linked to the occult’ and that was not allowed. Interestingly, the item after the one on past lives to which I contributed was a so-called ‘White Witch’ showing people how to build a spell to get a lover! Nothing occult there then!

The Occult

When we think about the occult though, what we do conjure up? Images of Devil-worshiping nymphs dancing naked in the woods; dark-eyed and cloaked magicians uttering incantations or something a little more wholesome like the Wicca practitioner giving healing to someone or a Druid conducting a ritual to heal the Earth? The definition of the term ‘occult’, from the Latin ‘occultus’ is ‘hidden’ or ‘secret’. In this sense, chemical formula or the mechanics of a car engine are ‘occult’ to me, as I don’t know anything about either. Nowhere in this does it suggest that there is cause to fear anything.

It is human nature, however, to fear that which it does not know. Either that or ridicule it. The Tarot has been the victim of both these. It is perhaps understandable in some people’s minds that they fear magic and witchcraft – although why is the subject of another article! So it is that this humble pack of cards is guilty by association, with its links to the occult.

Tarot Parlour Game

Historically it is thought it began life more like a parlor game, only for the well to do when they were hand-painted and gilt-edged. The Church, however, more the government at the time, saw them as a threat and so they went underground, as we do when threatened, away from bringing a plaything of the rich and into the purvey of the wise women and men who dealt with herbs, healing and the care of the folk of the village. At some point, they began to be used to fortune-telling and it is here we enter that closeted realm of the hidden and the mysterious.

Thus they remained until, after the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951 and the publishing boom of the 1960s that they surfaced again, full of color and glory, used in psychic fairs, shows, and private meetings or ‘sittings’ as they were known, as a prime method of looking into the future. Still, they retained an air of mystery though since the knowledge they contained had to be studied and worked at to be revealed. Coupled with this was the required ability to be psychic and an attachment to the spiritual world of which we knew little and still arguably, know only a small amount.

Modern Tarot Reader’s Methods

The Tarot readers today, are still trying to shake off its image of something dodgy and become accepted for the book of knowledge, therapeutic value, insight, and spiritual reality that it truly is. We can summarize the reason for this in one word – truth. In 30 years of studying the Tarot as a professional reader, tutor, and author I have never known it not to tell the truth. Of course, people do not or cannot always see or accept the truth easily and can easily deny or feign away from it, since as the saying goes, it hurts. That said, it is now known that more people in America consult a psychic than they do a psychiatrist.

It falls then first to the creators of the many decks that continue to appear, appall and astound to keep up absolute integrity, vision, and quality of their art and secondly to the sensitivity, skill and spirituality of those that profess to be Tarot readers. Give that as psychics we are dealing with the very souls of those that seek our services (the word psychic is derived from the Greek psyche meaning ‘soul’), it is of vital importance that we are always the very best we can be.

The Truth About Tarot

The Tarot concerns itself with the stuff of life – the truth, as we have seen. Those noble souls that are our customers deserve and should expect, the very best that we can do, yet all too often we hear of people debunking and ridiculing our art and profession. Whilst they may have a right to do this, there is a responsibility with the psychic to put across their information with tact, positively, and empowerment. I often sum it up by saying that we help you to help yourself.

So let us take a little look at the tarot readers as fortune-tellers art. It should be mentioned first however that many working in this field do not consider themselves to be ‘fortune-tellers’, preferring the term psychic or even ‘spiritual counselor’. The difference from conventional counseling (which has enormous value) here being the spiritual access that we have, through whatever medium we might use, chiefly the Tarot. As we shall see in our forthcoming examination, the Tarot does not limit itself to the psychological, emotional, and physical parts of our being, but includes the spiritual or soul aspects of the human being and is able to guide all these on a holistic level.

About Post Author

Craig Hamilton-Parker

Craig is a TV medium, author and mystical teacher. I will approve and respond to comments that are short, well-written and on topic. For personal questions and experiences please post on our forums.
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