A Look Into Tarot Cards

Tarot cards are growing in popularity as more and more tarot card readers get famous through social media, but what is the history and cultural appeal behind them?

May 27, 2022


Camdyen Tate

A tarot reading explaining how it is a time for relaxation and self-care.

Tarot cards are an art of intuition. They are tools to open minds and bring new outlooks on life. Reading tarot cards is a way of washing away all the worries of everyday life.  I first started using tarot cards a month ago when I got them as a birthday gift. With 78 cards to learn, it seemed a little intimidating. 

After I did a few readings and got to know my deck, I quickly realized that tarot readings are not difficult at all. Over the past month, I have learned to read tarot cards and I became more comfortable with them, which has opened my eyes to  many benefits of reading them.

What are Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards are notorious for their association to witches and psychics. There is a common misconception that tarot cards have a mystic past and come from a long line of fortune telling and psychic abilities. However, these mystic cards simply started out as playing cards. Tarot cards originated in northern Italy during the late 14th or early 15th century.

They were used in a game popularized in Europe known as tarrochi. While tarot cards received their name from southern France, their mystical meanings were not revealed until the 18th century.

Tarot cards are a deck of 78 cards consisting of the major arcana (22 cards) representing impactful situations with long lasting effects, and the minor arcana (56 cards) everyday situations, personalities, and life themes with short-term effects. Readers of these cards use their intuitive abilities to get an answer to any questions they may have.  These cards are thought provoking and stimulate problem solving by giving the reader a push in the right direction.

 Celebrity tarot card reader, Angie Banicki, states how tarot reading “is not like looking into a crystal ball. Rather, a reading is simply meant to be a tool to help people better understand themselves.”

How are Tarot Cards Beneficial?

Tarot cards are a great way to bring clarity to any current situation the reader may be facing. The cards act as a tool that “help us to more deeply understand ourselves” through “images representing archetypal human experiences”. 

Tarot cards can be used in prayer as well as meditation or any spiritual journey, however, the cards can be used without any religious or spiritual undertones. The cards provide insight on your life in tangible form. They offer a new perspective on different life experiences and situations no matter what religious or spiritual background one may have.

Sarah Chappel, an author that writes for makeitgrateful.com, has stated how reading tarot cards has helped her step more firmly into her own power and to discern between the things she can control in my life and the things that she can’t. 

When used properly, tarot can sharpen intuition and empower readers to handle situations more confidently.

For some people the use of tarot helps them deal with anxiety and other issues.

I struggle a lot with anxiety; once I started reading tarot, I spent less time in my head worried about every little situation I had to face. Doing a quick reading will answer any of my worries and brings the clear peace of mind I need to keep me grounded. No matter what questions I have, whether they pertain to a relationship or school, my cards always answer them without disturbing my peace.

Reading tarot cards can also help readers stay motivated. They give readers something to look forward to. For example, if the five of pentacles in reverse is pulled, this lets readers know that their time of hardships is coming to an end, a relief period is near, giving readers time to relax and de-stress.  

 These cards open doors to new perspectives and gives the reader the ability to find the courage and strength to make decisions they would not have been made prior. Tarot readings are the brutally honest advice that people need to grow and break from the repeated cycles that do not encourage growth.

They provide the reader with a message, but the reader themselves must use their intuition to apply that newfound information to their current situation. There is almost a sense of fulfillment in reading tarot cards because it guides the reader, but leaves enough room for interpretation to allow the reader to solve their own problems. 

The Myths and Misconceptions of Tarot Cards

Tarot cards are commonly mistaken to be associated with the devil, this could not be further from the truth. Though the cards originated in Roman Catholic Italy, which is overwhelmingly Christian, author Bev G  debunks tarot myths in her article “13 Myths and Facts about Tarot You May Not Know”

Tarot cards are not related to anything religious or spiritual, they are simply communication devices.  The special thing about tarot is that there are no concrete rules, they are there to work with the reader however they choose, whether that be to “call up” the devil or get in touch with your higher self. 

 Everyone is going to interpret the cards differently and what the reader chooses to do with them is their business.

Another common misconception is that tarot readers must practice witchcraft and/or follow pagan beliefs to read the cards. Rather, tarot reading is an open practice for anyone willing to learn and open their mind to the interpretations of the cards.

The art of tarot reading is a skill and comes with much practice. Though tarot cards can be used in witchcraft, they are simply a way of gaining a clear perspective and better understanding about yourself or your current situation. 

Tarot cards are simple cards with no magical properties connected to them. They are, rather, imbued with their owner’s energy. The real magic of the cards comes from within the reader; imagination, memory, and emotions should be connected with the cards.

There is no magic involved in tarot readings, though they can aid in casting spells if used in witchcraft. However, the cards are merely a search engine for life advice. 

How to Start Reading Tarot Cards 

There are two distinct types of tarot card readings, question readings and general readings. Question readings pose a specific question to ask the cards. Whereas general readings, also known as open readings, are more open-ended readings that focus on where the reader is headed. 

Though tarot is not meant to answer yes or no questions, they can help guide the reader to make the right decision. It is important how readers word their questions as asking close ended questions can limit your options. Tarot reader Joan Bunning puts it perfectly: “Asking how you could encourage your mother-in-law to move out, as opposed to asking how you can get along better with her, is narrowing the scope of the true question by answering it before you even get started.”

As stated earlier, the tarot deck is made of 78 card divided in major arcana and minor arcana.  Major arcana cards are the first 22 cards of the deck consisting of the Lover, the Fool, and the Death card. These cards represent principles, concepts and ideals cover major events and impactful situations and come with long lasting effects.

What to Take Away 

Tarot cards are a look into new perspectives; they are a pair of glasses to clear your vision of any worries or troubles. Not an immediate fix, but rather a guide in the right direction. An accessory to a better, easier life. A blurry past is left behind now that you have the cards to better your vision.

Tarot cards are a safe place and a safe practice for anyone to take part in. Along with the added self-care, tarot cards are a great way to decompress after a long day. 

My personal experience with tarot has been nothing but positive outcomes and has helped me better myself and get me further along my journey so far. Tarot cards are not for everyone, but for those willing to put in the work for a better version of themselves, these cards would aid in their journeys of self-discovery.

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