What is a Tarot Card Reader?

Cassie L. Damewood

A tarot card reader is a person who provides entertainment and often presumed guidance through interpreting images on a deck of cards, called tarot. She is frequently perceived to be a psychic or possess special traits of human insight, although she may not actually make these claims. She may provide readings via telephone or computer interaction, in a commercial setting or in her home.

All tarot card decks have 78 cards.
All tarot card decks have 78 cards.

A person in this position is generally considered to be somewhat of a fortune teller. In reality, original tarot cards were never promoted as tools to predict futures or give a person insight into what fortunes may be ahead. Serious followers of tarot claim the cards are only meant to help a person more clearly see the options life offers and hence choose better paths.

Some tarot card readers also use crystals balls.
Some tarot card readers also use crystals balls.

Although many versions of tarot cards exist, all decks have 78 cards. Twenty-two cards are called the keys, which are believed to represent major events in life. The remaining 56 cards are called pips and are thought to influence the key cards.

How the reading is conducted is solely up to the discretion of the tarot card reader. She may shuffle the cards herself or have her client do it. During the shuffling, she customarily asks the customer to concentrate on the issue of concern. The cutting of the cards comes next and may also be done by either person.

Once these rituals are complete, the tarot card reader normally proceeds to lay the cards out on a table in a specific pattern. While this pattern is purely her choice, a common pattern is a simple diamond shape created with four tarot cards. This diamond pattern may be repeated as the reading proceeds or the reader may alter it at her discretion.

The analysis of whether the cards indicate negative or positive trends depends upon their position when they are laid on the table. If the images on the cards appear upright to the reader, that is interpreted as a positive aspect. Conversely, reversed cards imply discord or struggle.

It is generally believed that a tarot card reader should not imply negativity in the reading, regardless of the images on the cards or their positions. She is typically expected to emphasize the positive aspects of each card. To avoid the implication she is offering the customer advice, a tarot card reader is generally encouraged to be objective and broad in her interpretations and readings.

To become a successful tarot card reader requires good communication skills. It is also important to be able to quickly instill the confidence of strangers and exude an air of honesty and compassion. Knowledge of the tarot can be obtained through books or online courses.

Tarot card readers are often perceived to have some psychic ability.
Tarot card readers are often perceived to have some psychic ability.

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Discussion Comments


Tarot card readers are not exclusively female.

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