I have been reading tarot cards for almost 30 years. And while I’ve never had anyone NOT want to read their cards, I’ve had to explain a lot about what tarot cards are and do. People often seem nervous — or even scared — for some reason, so I want to explain why that response is not warranted in this article. Tarot cards are really as normal as dream interpretation.
I like to start the explanation by sharing that Dr. Carl Jung (founder of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, shadow work, archetypes, collective unconscious), reported opening therapy sessions with the client with a tarot card reading. This makes a lot of sense to me. Although he was a medically trained professional, his basic research and writing on the subconscious has long been a benchmark in the psychological and behavioral science communities. And tarot is really just a catalog of the subconscious.
Jung spent years identifying something he called archetypes. These archetypes were made up of stories and symbols; myths, metaphors and analogies that seemed to be documented across generations and across cultures. For example, The Knight in Shining Armor is a common archetype. And there are four knights in the tarot deck, all representing a facet, an element, a focus, etc. different.
So the tarot is a complete representation of our subconscious players, so to speak. We all have dreams with similar images or characters. Tarot allows you and I to discuss these elements in a common and understandable format. Otherwise, we should describe in detail—every time—- what you mean or how you felt or what you were picturing in your mind.
A tarot reader offers you guidance or suggestions or even exhortations based on the cards you “draw” or draw. The cards presented are part of about 78 unique cards. After you’ve handled and shuffled the cards (or the reader can do it for you), the ones that appear or appear are the ones you need to see. These cards will represent your blocks, patterns, obstacles, gifts, etc. You may not be able to see them for yourself in a conscious way. The tarot allows you to transmit a message PEOPLE from the subconscious to the conscious. The conversation between the reader and the seeker after the cards are revealed is a large part of the healing or answers sought.
The only real “magic” here is that a tarot reader spends a great deal of time learning about the meanings of the cards and how they can apply to the individual in front of them. A lifetime of exploring and learning about the archetypes and symbolism and myths of the world is not uncommon when one chooses to be a reader. The ability to ask questions or probe with emotional intelligence is also necessary (in my opinion and experience) as the reader is entering some very private areas of the seeker’s mind and world.