Tarot, generally can be quite contentious through religions, especially Abrahamic religions. The question as to whether Tarot is Good or Evil comes up quite a lot. Some view any form of divination as abhorrent, others see it more of a game, nothing to be taken seriously.
Some religions have a core concept of what is right and wrong, permitted or forbidden. Islam and Judaism are two well known examples of this. Their followers use rules to guide their lives into what acts and foods are allowed, and which ones are not.
Tarot is not explicitly mentioned in the great texts of either, which is not surprising, as Tarot was invented over a thousand years after the Qu’ran was written, and many more years after the Tanakh. This article will explore Islam and it’s stance on divination. (Spoiler: it’s not a positive one).
Both texts from Judaism and Islam mention soothsayers. Divination has been practised in one form of another for thousands of years, possibly even the length of human history. There are some interesting passages about divination in religious texts; usually negative.
To start with, it is safe to say that Tarot is considered Haram (not permitted to be practised) within the Islamic faith. Islam views divination and seekers as an insult to Allan and Muhammed.
There is a belief that when an act of divination occurs, the Diviner is in actuality talking to Jinn (or Djinn (Genies)), spirits who have their own agendas. “They twist the word of heaven and spell it out to the diviner, who then adds their own lies”. An interesting quote that puts both diviners and the querent in a negative light.
Seeking a Soothsayer to find our your future is seen as an act of faithlessness. It is said that whomever wants to know the future has no faith in what Allah has laid out for them. Tarot reading, and interpreting Tarot cards would surely fall under this category.
I think it is quite conclusive that Tarot is considered Haram within Islamic belief. If you are a Muslim and practice Tarot, you’ll likely have to think things over.
I’d like to continue exploring divination across the cultures of the world, there is more than just Tarot if you want to perform divination!
Getting a wider view of everyone’s opinions is important too, especially, like Islam here, the opinions of those that view your practice in a negative light.
‘Love’ is one of the most searched for topics online. As a race, humans seek out each other. Many use Tarot to ask about their current relationship, or a potential future love interest. Love is something we find hard to quantify, but something almost all of us desire.
In modern times, it’s become normal to use websites and apps to find a partner. The process can become jarring, repetitive and sometimes disheartening. We might get stuck in old patterns, and the people we are ‘swiping’ for are bringing nothing new to our lives.
Tarot for Tinder
“A unique tarot-inspired method of choosing a potential date by performing a mini-spread for each person”
So get Tinder installed (if you haven’t already), shuffle your favourite deck, and lets get started!
Let’s be clear here. Tinder is for finding somebody you want to become intimate with. You need to be aware of what you’re getting yourself in for here. Human contact. Potential awkward conversations at first. Real life, some might say.
Only go into this if you are looking for somebody to meet up and spend time with. Meeting new people always contains risks, so take the usual precautions when doing so.
So, with the app installed, clear you mind. Get your Tarot deck out of the box, bag or sock (whatever you keep it in!), and place them side by side. A piece of paper and a pen would be useful here too. Look at these tools in front of you. Where witches have an athame, you have a mobile app. Your trusted tarot deck should guide you, so let’s treat it right and give it a shuffle.
Lets get swiping
Open Tinder. This is where the fun begins! Ignoring obvious bots and spam accounts, you should find yourself facing a potential nearby partner. ‘Tarot for Tinder’ has two main methods of potential partner by divination; Intuitive and Snap Judgement. You can choose either method, or start with one and go onto the other. Read them both before trying!
Look at the first, default card. After your initial impressions, draw your first card.
How does the first card match with the person and your initial impressions? Does anything seem to stand out? With the profile and the card together, what sort of persona are you building up? Is this somebody you can see yourself with? Check the card meaning page for more information.
Make you choice based on this. You can take as long as you want, there is no rush.
Once you have made your decision, put the card aside. It will not be used again in this drawing.
If you swiped right (or if you tapped the ‘heart’), then write down the card linked to that person, just in case they match with you.
Keep this card at hand and check up on the meaning and use it throughout your initial conversations. It may open some conversational avenues which you hadn’t considered!
You may discard the cards for people you do not wish to match with. Try not to reuse them in the same session.
As you may have guessed, Snap judgement is a little quicker! This leaves no room for intuition at all, and you are relying solely on what the cards tell you.
Open the app, and draw a card. Is the card positive, or is it negative? If the card is positive, then swipe to the right (or tap the heart). Keep a note of which card belongs to which person.
If you aren’t sure what to choose, or what the card is telling you, then you should look at the ‘Yes or No’ section of the card meaning!
If you do not wish to match with somebody, then discard their card.
Snap judgement can work in your favour. You may match with somebody who you might not have thought you swipe right to. Above all, it is a quick and fun new way to use tinder, and you’re learning tarot meanings along the way too!
Strike those matches
Keep the card you drew in mind when you have your first conversations. It may give you an idea of what to talk about. Perhaps you drew the Eight of Pentacles. Work might be a good topic to chat about. Maybe you drew The Fool. Chat about ideas and adventures you want to do!
It can be easy to draw a blank when chatting with a new person. Hopefully Tarot for Tinder will put an end to this if you choose to use it!
This was just a fun little article I wanted to write before bed, but I think it really can help people out. Go outside of your boundaries, give up control if just for a short while. Give Tarot for Tinder a try, and let me know your results!
Wow, well done on reaching the bottom of the article (it wasn’t that long really though, was it?) Perhaps you just stumbled here by accident, or maybe you’re looking to learn to read tarot as well as a professional. Tarot Nova will cover it all!
Check out the FAQ! You will very likely find your answer there. It’s full of questions I have been asked personal, as well as concise answers to questions I see around. Be sure to check it out if you get stuck.
Finally, why not just jump into our card meanings? Select any suit below and just go crazy! We have concise meanings for every Tarot card, and the even better part? The meanings are growing and being added to constantly. Be sure to check back!
Shuffling Tarot cards has become an art within itself; there are so many ways to shuffle or otherwise prepare your Tarot deck for a reading.
There are a lot of different ways to shuffle a Tarot deck. Maybe you have never considered how you shuffle your deck, or perhaps you have a very unique way of doing it.
Below I’ll describe some well known and some lesser known ways to shuffle your Tarot deck!
Regular hand shuffling
Regular shuffling is exactly what you’d expect. Holding the cards in your hands, picking up some and distributing them randomly within the deck, just as you would with regular playing cards.
This works for so many reasons; it’s mindless nature adds to the random outcome. When you truly want an answer from somewhere else, random shuffling is the go-to method for preparing your deck.
Make sure you don’t peek at any cards, even by accident. If you do happen to glimpse a card, just keep shuffling until you have no idea where it is.
There is no time limit when shuffling a deck, just keep going until you feel happy to stop.
When you do feel that the deck has been shuffled enough, put it down and draw your cards from the top.
This is a practice I’ve been doing more and more, and it works well for larger spreads, or when you want to perform multiple spreads.
Deck cutting involves (unsurprisingly!) cutting your deck, and only using a certain number of cards, rather than the whole deck. Truth be told, there are a lot of ways to cut your deck, so I’ll show by example.
Take your deck and cut it in two. It doesn’t have to be even. Put one half aside.
Of the remaining half, you may choose to shuffle them regularly, or use them as-is.
Deal the spread using the cut cards.
This works especially well if you are intending to perform multiple spreads. using a smaller number of cards overall will keep the theme tighter, and you may get a more concise answer.
A benefit of using fewer cards over multiple spreads is that you may see more repetitions. Take the messages from any repeated cards seriously.
This is an especially good way to shuffle and present your deck when performing a reading for somebody else.
Holding your deck, lay it on a table. Spread out the deck so that the backs of each card are visible.
Ask your querent to choose a number of tarot cards at random. The number of cards they choose should correspond to the number in the spread you are going to perform.
Fanning cards out adds a level of interaction for the querent, and can make the reading more engaging, rather than being a purely passive affair.
Once they have chosen the cards, discard the rest of the deck and work solely with these cards for the spread.
Do you shuffle your Tarot deck is a specific way? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear!
Ever had a question about Tarot which you just felt was too silly to bring up? Don’t worry, the definitive Tarot FAQ is finally here! I’ve attempted to answer questions I would expect anybody new to Tarot to have.
These come from questions I have had myself, friends and strangers have posed to me, as well as common-sense questions that everybody should know concerning Tarot. I thought it’d be best to arrange them all into one easy to find post!
A lot of the headline titles for each question are links; so if the question hasn’t satiated your appetite, simply click the title!
This post will be regularly updated when new questions are sent in, so be sure to check back! For now, I hope you find what you need. If you have a question you’d like to see answered, or maybe you have a different opinion on the answer, then by all means let us know!
What is Tarot?
Tarot is a complex form of divination; using a 78-card deck, which is divided into five suits. A tarot reader will deal tarot cards in a prescribed pattern, and then using the inherent meanings of the cards, as well as their own intuition, they will decode the message that the cards are portraying.
Tarot is used in a number of beliefs and in multiple ways. Tarot is a very complex, but eclectic form of divination; one reader may use a Tarot deck in a completely different way to another.
Is Tarot dangerous at all?
The honest answer here is potentially. Tarot is potentially dangerous. As it is a tool, it all depends on how it is used, and how you interpret ‘danger’.
The cards themselves are not dangerous, but the person who uses them may have an ulterior motive. If you receive a reading; carefully examine the result. Was the reader genuine and honest with you at all times?
If you decide to perform a reading for yourself or others, then you should always look at the message given as a suggestions, advice or counsel, rather than an instruction or order. The tarot gives you a message, but nobody is forcing you to act on it.
Where did Tarot come from?
As with many mystic practices, the origins are not entirely clear. It is generally understood that Tarot cards evolved from playing cards in and around the 15th century.
As a form of divination, Tarot comes about thanks to a french pastor; Antoine Court de Gébelin. He proposed that Tarot cards held mystic knowledge, from the Egyptian mystery tradition, and worked to unlock it’s secrets.’Le Monde primitif’ is a book by de Gébelin, which features a chapter on Tarot.
Gébelin wrote that the Egyptian god Thoth invented the cards and that they held within them the secrets of the Egyptians. He proposed that the Tarot deck was a visual representation of the Book of Thoth. News of this spread, and soon Tarot readers sprung up, interpreting the cards as having meanings and giving out messages.
How does Tarot work?
Tarot works usually through dealing a defined ‘spread’. Cards are placed in certain patterns, each pattern resembling an aspect of the answer to the question the spread was placed for.
A reader will shuffle the deck, place cards, and then define a message from the placement of the cards; the meaning of the cards, and their intuition on the cards.
A Tarot reading can be an intimate and personal affair, and the conversation the querent and reader have can help the reading grow and unlock.
How can I learn to read Tarot?
The best advice anybody can give you (and this isn’t just for Tarot!) is this; Just start. You learn Tarot by doing. You’ll be terrible at first but once you start to learn what cards mean and grow your own thoughts and feelings for them, you’ll become a more confident reader. Do readings for yourself, for friends and family.
For starters, you need to buy a deck. Then you’ll need to learn the meanings of the cards. You can do this while learning spreads. Tarot isn’t a science. Buy a journal and keep it; record your readings and your thoughts about the cards. This could be a whole post (and it likely will soon!)
We also have a free Tarot guide available on Tarot Nova. The guide takes you from a complete novice to a confident reader. Be sure to check it out below! The guide is completely free, and updated frequently, so be sure to check back often!
Do you need to be special to read Tarot cards?
No not at all. It is my belief that anybody can learn tarot. It is a skill you need to practice. There is a lot of differing beliefs in Tarot, and the occult world as a whole. Some people believe in psychic gifts, others do not.
Personally, I do not believe myself to have any innate psychic ability, and I can read tarot cards as well as other readers. Others have told me my readers were right on the money. All you need to do is have the right mentality, and practice.
What is a ‘Querent’ and why do I keep seeing this word!?
Simply put, if somebody is performing a tarot reading for you, then you are the querent, even if you’re reading a spread for yourself!
Can Tarot cards predict the future?
It’s a slight misconception that Tarot tells the future. The Tarot can give you a possible future, but not a definite one. A great way to think about the Tarot is as a separate entity, giving advice. You certainly don’t have to take advice you are given!
Tarot Nova card meanings do have future sections, and many spreads deal with the future. These are in place to help the querent keep these things in mind, and to keep an open mind to potential possibilities. Why might this be happening? What could cause that to happen? How can I stop it? How can I make sure that happens?
Tarot is best used in situations where you need help. A tarot reading will help you see a particular scenario from another perspective. It can ease tensions when you see an argument from the other side, and having a bigger picture almost always helps you make an informed decision if a choice is concerned.
A Tarot spread is the way that Tarot cards are laid out and interpreted. A famous spread is the ‘Celtic cross’, but spreads can have as few as one or two cards. A simple spread is ‘Past, Present and Future’. You deal three cards, each one pertaining to each period of time.
Card meanings on Tarot Nova are divided into category sections to help with reading spreads. The process is quite simple; shuffle the deck, place the cards, read the meanings if you need to and then use your intuition to come up with a message or answer.
It can be a lot of fun to create your own Tarot spreads, but if you are just starting out, then it is best to follow traditional ones to learn from.
The Major Arcana are the 22 face cards in the Tarot deck. Whereas a regular playing card deck has four suits, the Tarot deck has five; four regular numbered suits (Cups, Pentacles, Wands, Swords) and one ‘Trump’ deck, the Major Arcana.
The Major Arcana follow the ‘Journey of the Fool’. Most of the well known Tarot cards; The Fool, The Hermit, The Lovers, Death, belong to the Major Arcana. The Major Arcana each depict a unique scene, usually containing a person, and they each tie into a specific aspect of life and learning.
The Journey of the Fool depicts our journey through life. We start ignorant, grow and learn to completion, and then the cycle returns to the start. Each card in the Major Arcana represents a moment on this journey. Major Arcana cards are more direct and definite compared to the Minor Arcana.
So what is the Minor Arcana?
Each other suit in the Tarot deck is divided into 4 suits; Cups, Wands, Pentacles and Swords. There are 14 cards in each, and they slightly resemble contemporary playing cards. There are numbered cards, and Court cards (Like the King, Queen and Jack in normal playing cards).
The Minor Arcana represent different aspects of a persons life, and each suit represents a different aspect of life; Cups represent emotions. Wands represent will. Pentacles represent possession. Swords represent beliefs.
Are there different types of Tarot card reader?
Definitely! Some Tarot card readers will use Tarot as a therapeutic tool, others will use it as a means to contact spirits or the dead. Tarot is simply a tool, used by many people from different walks of life. Some readers will live the mystic life outwardly, others would have a surprising, regular appearance.
Once you start having readings from multiple Tarot readers, you will be able to tell the different types of readers apart. Experience plays a big part, but also the techniques they use. You could have a completely non-mystical, informal tarot card reading in a pub, given to you by a friend, and it would be just as meaningful as having to enter a Gypsy style wagon and talk to an old woman in a shawl.
Break the rules; if you’re learning to read Tarot then you’ll soon adopt your own style.
My personal style is very informal, but direct. I do not claim to be a psychic when I perform a reading, I just know the meanings of the cards and have my own inbuilt, personal thoughts and feelings concerning them and how they relate.
I will tell people the meaning of the spread, but I will not claim that any authority or otherworldly force has given me this message.
How accurate is a Tarot card reading?
As you may be learning, Tarot is an intuitive art, and not an exact science. Tarot card readings can be accurate and precise, or less on the mark and a bit more vague. Really it can all depend on how you use Tarot and which questions you ask.
Asking a vague question may result in a vague answer. Tarot requires a certain level of belief and connecting the dots. If you use it as a tool, you won’t worry about accuracy. You’ll simply see the message given and choose whether or not you want to follow it.
How much does intuition count in Tarot?
Intuition counts a lot in Tarot! At first I thought Tarot was an exact science, but after you jump the first hurdle it is a very personal journey. You can tell which reader is using their intuition and wisdom in a reader, and which readers are simply repeating meanings they have read in the little white leaflet.
At the start, you should have the mentality of just going with the flow. Read the leaflet that comes with the cards, check card meanings online. Eventually you’ll learn the meanings of the cards and then you’l start to grow your own meanings from these seeds. You’ll effectively grow your intuition the more you practise tarot. Tarot is an art, not a science!
Are Tarot cards religious?
Not especially! Tarot cards are coated with religious symbology; you’ll see the Pentacle for instance, and certain illustrations in the Rider-Waite deck are linked to Abrahamic religions.
Egyptian symbology is also prevalent, and you can see elements of Kabbalah also. Tarot cards take all these influences symbolically to present unique illustrations which makes interpretation easier.
The cards themselves are not religious, and the practice of Tarot reading can be used by people from any religion if they wish. Some may use Tarot cards to talk to spirits or the dead, others will not. It all echoes the eclectic nature of Tarot; it can be whatever you want it to be!
Is Tarot evil?
No, not at all. If it were, then I wouldn’t have made this site. Tarot is a tool. And while it can be used for evil, or negative rituals if the practitioner so wishes, it is about as evil as a spoon, a hammer, or glue.
Nowadays, Tarot is seen as relatively harmless, but this wasn’t always the case. The ‘satanic panic’ trend of the mid 80’s classified many occult practices as ‘evil’, and some are only just starting to recover now.
If you tell somebody you are interested in Tarot nowadays, you may at worst get a strange look. Tarot is becoming so common and well known that you can now even buy decks in regular bookstores.
In any case, don’t let somebody else’s opinion about something affect yours. If you want to give tarot a try, by all means do so!
Do Tarot cards use energy?
You might already be able to predict the answer to this one, but; possibly. Some believe tarot cards and decks contain a certain type of energy. Others do not.
Personally, I don’t. There can be something said of energy as a whole, but I would never go so far as to never let somebody else handle a deck I own.
If you believe in energy, and energy work, then it is likely that a tarot deck you own would maintain it’s own energy, or feel. Many people believe this and use it in their practice, so much so that they need to ‘cleanse’ their decks after use.
This being said, a cleansing ritual can still be something that is worth performing, if just to set the stage and get you in the right mindset.
What does it mean when I keep seeing the same card?
Generally, if you keep seeing the same sign, then you should investigate it. Don’t ignore repetition. If you see a card multiple times, then be sure you are clear with it’s meaning, and then try to work out how it is playing into your life. Repetition may be seen as the universe making sure you are aware of the message it is trying to send.
Once early in my tarot ‘career’ I performed a reading for myself, around my general future. I made a note of the cards drawn. A few weeks later I performed another reading, and it turned up the exact same cards. I won’t go into the spread itself, but the chances of that happening are astronomical. I don’t need to tell you that I paid attention.
What is Tarot suited for?
It is my belief that Tarot is best suited when you are at a crossroads, with choices you are unsure about, or an uncertain future. Using a Tarot spread, you can build up a persona which will offer you advice. Tarot can allow you to step outside of yourself and gain advice which you would have otherwise discounted.
Tarot is not suited for rash, spontaneous hard hitting decisions. I would never use it to decide which house to buy, for example, or use a Tarot reading as a definite answer on how to deal with a partner if there was an argument or similar. Sure, I would draw a spread for both of these scenarios, but I would not follow them blindly.
There are certain aspects of life which some do not read for. A code of ethics is something you should think about when you start reading Tarot cards for others.
Does it matter which tarot deck you have?
Not at all. All Tarot decks follow the same guideline; all will have the same number of cards. Some prefer illustrations which are prettier, others more simplistic.
There is no ‘starter Tarot deck’ when it comes to reading, and no ‘difficulty level’. Some may find it best to start with a well known deck; for example the Rider-Waite deck contains illustrations which support the card meanings.
The Rider-Waite deck is a very common first deck, and the illustrations have had a lot of influence over Tarot today (Thanks Pamela!). If you are choosing a deck, just choose a deck which feels right for you.
Personally, I (currently) only have one deck, the Rider-Waite, and I will use it until it is bare and worn. Others like to collect many decks. Both approaches are fine.
Where can I get a Tarot deck from?
Nowadays, you can buy a tarot card from high street bookstores, or even chain supermarkets. I bought my first deck from Amazon. There used to be an old superstition where you should only ever be gifted (or steal) a tarot deck. Nowadays, this just isn’t the case. It is fine to buy them!
How many Tarot decks are there?
So many. There are new decks created every day. This isn’t something you should worry about unless you aim to collect them all. No one tarot deck is ‘better’ than another.
Some Tarot decks will be a little more obvious with their meanings, some will be more stylised. You should go with your intuition when buying a deck. Buy one which feels right for you.
Are Tarot decks really that different?
Not particularly, when boiled down. There will always be Minor and Major Arcana, but the numbers of cards can change sometimes, as well as the positioning. Strength and Justice are cards which are both commonly swapped, for example.
The real difference is the illustration which comes with the deck. Some tarot decks feel ‘premium’, and have beautiful stylised art, but this is just a question of function and form. All tarot cards function the same, even one you create yourself, with pen and paper.
How do I choose the right deck for me?
Buying your first Tarot deck can be a daunting task, but it shouldn’t be. Tarot decks are quite inexpensive. I did a lot of thinking before buying my first deck, but i shouldn’t have. It just postponed my learning beforehand.
While somewhere like Amazon can be fine (and brilliant, just look at the choice they have!), nothing can compare to going into a shop and buying one. You can see the size and illustrations beforehand in person. Shop around and you’ll find you are spoiled for choice.
Handle a deck if you can, and check out the illustrations. Do you like them? How well sized are the cards? Are they coated or made with a premium card? You don’t want a deck which will damage easily. There are so many decks around that you’ll likely find a deck which feels right for you.
Death is the 13th card of the Major Arcana. It is a tarot card, but it’s meaning might not be what you expect. Rather than referring to the end of life, the Death tarot card indicates change and transformation. While this can include actual Death, it isn’t always the case.
Are there any bad Tarot cards?
Well, yes and no. Some cards are just so negative you’ll never really want to see them except in very specific cases. The Ten of Swords is widely seen as a very negative card, along with The Tower. This isn’t to say that they are all bad, it all depends on the question you are posing.
Is a ‘Tarot Birth Card’ really a thing?
This has been popularised recently, a ‘Tarot Birthday’ or ‘Tarot Birth card’ is a card from the Major Arcana which represents that persons life as a whole. The Birth card is essence forms the ‘theme’ of that persons life.
There are a umber of ways to calculate your Tarot Birth card. You could simply write your birthday out in for following format: (DD MM YYYY), and then add every single digit together.
If the number is greater than 21, then add the numbers together until you get a number less than 21. Look this card up and voila; that is your birth card.
Birth cards can just be another tool in your Tarot knowledge arsenal, but like reversals it is up to you to if you want to use these. Remember that Tarot is eclectic, you can pick and choose how you want to read cards.
What is Cartomancy?
Divination using cards is called Cartomancy. Tarot exists within this, but also other methods, such as Lenormand and Oracle. You can even perform divination with regular playing cards. Other methods of cartomancy can be interesting to read about if you are familiar with Tarot.
Can I trust an online Tarot reading, or a phone reading, or should I get a face to face one?
An online Tarot reading is completely different to a face to face reading or a phone reading. They are all just different experiences.
A face to face reading is usually a personal affair, and you’ll get results instantly. An online reading may take a few days. A phone reading can be seen as a middle ground; still personal but still detached. When it comes to trust and technique however, all methods are as viable as each other.
A face to face meeting should really be seen as the standard, but this isn’t said to discredit online readings, I used to offer online readings myself, and they were a lot of fun and very insightful!
Do witches use Tarot cards?
We aren’t going to affirm the consequent here at all; not all Witches use Tarot, and not all Tarot users are Witches! Many people from all walks of life use Tarot cards on a daily bases, and they wouldn’t want to be called Witches. However, there certainly are some Witches who use Tarot cards.
Is Tarot a scam?
The best answer here is that it can be. Tarot definitely can be a scam. It all depends on who is performing the reading. There are scammers in any field, and there definitely are tarot readers who will perform a session with the intent to sell solutions, or they will only tell you good things so you keep returning to them. Some readers may even ask for personal information, which you should not give away freely.
If you are considering going for a reading, then do your best to minimise the risk of being scammed. Go to a recommended reader. Look up pricing to see if you are paying a reasonable rate.
If there are extras fees involved, then they should always be optional. Agree on a price before the reading takes place. If a reader asks for more money, then you should walk away immediately.
If you are a querent in a reading and a ‘curse’ is mentioned, then you are likely sitting face to face with a scam artist. They will probably ask for more money, which you should absolutely not hand over. Just use common sense, Tarot readings have an air of mysticism about them, but don’t be lured in. You can’t pay away your problems.
How do you pronounce ‘Tarot’?
However you want, really! Most people will pronouce it ‘Tarrow’, rhyming with ‘Harrow’, ‘Hallo’, ‘Marshmallow’. When I started, I wasn’t at all familiar with Tarot, so I even pronounced it Taro[T], with a hard T at the end. As the word is french in origin, it is expected that the last ‘T’ be dropped.
What is the ‘Little white book’?
It’s a common phrase in Tarot; the ‘little white leaflet’, or ‘little white book’, referring to the little book of card meanings that come with some, but not all, tarot decks. These books are usually both quite short and very vague, but they seem to be the starting point for everybody starting out in Tarot, and this isn’t especially a bad thing, as everyone needs to start somewhere.
The white book is intended to give you a head start and easy point of reference before you jump in and start creating your own notes or tarot diary. As we have seen, Tarot is a very subjective practice, and it can help to look at as many sources as possible.
The card meanings on Tarot Nova are a result of this; I spent a lot of time gathering information from many sources, collating it, and adding my own thoughts. Tarot Nova is essentially a digital copy of my notes about Tarot, written in a nice way for others to read!
Should I read Tarot reversals?
You can if you like. Tarot reversals aren’t exactly a contentious issue, but you will find some who do read reversals, and some who never read reversals. Reading reversals is a (relatively) modern technique within Tarot. Personally, I don’t read reversals, but I don’t think they have any less credibility from a standard reading.
A tarot reversal will usually go one of two ways. Firstly, a reversal can mean the complete opposite of the upright meaning, positive turns negative, black turns white, good becomes bad, death into life. The Fool becomes about endings, The Magician about internal solitude, The Eight of Pentacles about being lazy and unmotivated.
Consider reading reversals if you are experienced in the upright meanings of Tarot cards, but remember, you don’t have to read reversals if you don’t want to!
Do I need to take a Tarot course, or gain a Tarot certification?
Nope. What if I told you that everything you could learn from any course is present in books, on YouTube, or for free, on sites such as this. Personally, I have never taken a Tarot course, but gained my experience through performing readings for others.
I would honestly suggest that you do the same. The only thing you need to own is a Tarot deck; no course, certification or other bit of paper.
No Tarot certification is universal, it is just a course somebody has designed. There are certain Tarot Groups however (such as the Tarot Association of the British Isles ) which offer guidance and support in learning Tarot. Groups such as these aren’t to be discredited!
The following is a guest post; Chelsea is 27, and a professional tarot reader from Southern California. You can find out more about her at her website; Pigeon Sauvage Tarot.
I love Tarot. Since I write about it, run an online community about it, and devote most of my social media and any spare cash to it, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I really love tarot. I have been reading since I was a youngster, and I can say without a doubt that tarot has shaped who I am, simply because I have been using tarot for most of my life. There are lots of things I love about tarot, such as the complexity and the fact that holding a deck of tarot cards really is like holding a small, yet complete world in your hand.
For years, I only read using tarot. Sure, I picked up the odd oracle deck here and there, and as much as I liked them, I would almost always use them as an added element to a tarot reading. Tarot was the cake, the filling, and the frosting- and then there was an oracle card acting as the decorative sprinkles.
Then I found myself in a position where I needed to give succinct readings that got to the point quickly. I could get the answers with tarot, but any tarot enthusiast will tell you that more experience leads to longer and more complex readings, not shorter ones! The more you know about tarot, the more layers of nuance you will see in the cards.
That’s when I turned an eye to Lenormand, a system which contains thirty-six cards with names of commonplace items, although they are based on playing cards. It was very quick to learn and I found that I really loved using the system. Where tarot is tons of symbolism and hidden meanings, Lenormand is fast and blunt- after all, the only symbol on a Lenormand card that really matters is the one which tells you its name!
It might sound like Lenormand is the exact opposite of tarot which is mostly true. The main difference between the two is that you will never draw a single Lenormand card- you need at least two in order to read them. This is because Lenormand is read by seeing how the cards near each other relate to one another. If you draw Garden (social situations) and Dog (loyal friend), you can expect a gathering with your closest friends. But if you draw Garden and Mountain (obstacles), you might want to prepare yourself for a rough night! You can add further cards to clarify and give context, and you can place up to five of these in a line. Where the cards fall in the line makes a difference, as how near or far any two cards are from each other will tell you how much they influence each other.
This brings us to the next major difference between tarot and Lenormand- which spreads you use for each one. There are tons of tarot spreads, and you can find one for any topic, using as many cards as you like. Each position in the spread will have a meaning assigned to it- this one means “the situation”, that one means “what to do about it”, and so on. This may rattle your tarot reading mind, but… Lenormand spreads are determined almost entirely by how many cards you want to use. That’s right. They have no names. The positions do not each have a special significance. They are laid out in a gridlike pattern. The reason for all of this is really simple- the way you read a Lenormand spread is by seeing how the cards relate to one another and where they fall. A card placed above another will have a different meaning than the same card falling underneath it. A card touching another card will have a different influence on each other than the same cards spaced further apart. When you lay out a nine card grid, you are actually reading several three card spreads- three horizontal, three vertical, and two diagonal. But you can also look at any two cards to see where they fall and how they relate to each other. It’s a pattern of reading that is both much more simple (no spreads to remember!) and much more complex (all the positions to keep in mind!) than tarot.
I mentioned earlier that the only relevant symbol on a Lenormand card is the one which gives that card a name. This is another big difference between tarot and Lenormand. Whether or not a tarot deck works for you is often decided by how well the symbolism used resonates with you. Ultimately, a tarot deck is a tarot deck because of the symbolism that the creator used to represent each part of that seventy-eight card system, and you might find that a card in one deck gives you a very different impression than the same card in another deck. Symbolism in Lenormand is very different. Some readers will read using directionality- as in, where a figure faces or which side of the card is shadowy or sunny will impact the interpretations- but this is optional. While many decks are beautifully detailed and fully illustrated, the full image isn’t so important, as every single card means the exact same thing in every deck. As long as Clover has a clover on it, it’s fine. The grassy field or blank space behind that clover don’t mean anything. This can make choosing a deck easier, because your only concern is that you like the art and the relevant symbols are easily identified. However, you don’t get much help from the cards when you read, so part of learning Lenormand is memorizing what the cards mean.
The last major difference that I will touch on is how you learn and memorize each system. Most of us don’t want to learn tarot the way one would memorize flash cards, both because you would be losing out on the symbolism and because that would be a lot of flash cards to memorize. Over time, you will learn what each card means, but usually you’ll be learning how to read the symbolism and naturally have each card committed to memory. In my experience, Lenormand is the opposite. You might need to intentionally memorize that Fox can be either an enemy or a job, because the only symbol on the card is a fox. Intentional memorization is less of an issue with Lenormand because the symbolism isn’t there for you to miss out on, and because there are only thirty-six cards. It’s more like learning the parts of a sentence in order to make up a message than learning the complexities that can describe the entire world.
There are plenty of reasons to love Lenormand. I like that answers are quick and can be blunt. I also like that it’s easy to get specific details, and that yes-or-no questions are easy to answer. Probably the thing that I love most is that Lenormand tends to focus on the everyday and on how events will affect the querent in a practical sense. Tarot is my first love, but I can’t imagine ever giving up my Lenormand decks.
Chelsea is 27, and a professional tarot reader from Southern California. You can find out more about her at her website; Pigeon Sauvage Tarot.
Anyone who has dipped their toes into the tarot waters is aware of the Do’s and Don’ts list that seems to pop up on almost every tarot website and blog. Many of these things are superstition (stealing a deck is a no-no, and will not make your readings more accurate!). Some are pulled from tradition (such as sleeping with your cards under your pillow), and some are based in common sense. Most of the latter are along the lines of “What you can, or can’t use tarot for.”
Let me be crystal clear- there aren’t rules in tarot, other than the ones you choose to follow. However, there are certain things that tarot is not usually considered “good at”, and in this article I will go over some of those things with you, as well as how to (gasp!) use tarot for those very things!
One of the first bits of advice given to a new querent is “Don’t ask a yes-or-no question.” This isn’t bad advice, because ultimately tarot is a system created to give nuanced and complex answers, and many layers of meaning do not necessarily tie themselves up into a simple “Yes!” or “No!” But sometimes… well, you really just want to know something on a yes-or-no scale. It is possible to use tarot in this way, but you’re going to have to look at it a little differently. You need to interpret for the yes or no. I would personally recommend going with a single card for this- remember, we want to remove complexity, not add more of it!
Let’s say our querent Holly wants to know if the passion-project small business she’s running will become her full-time job this year. We pull a single card- The Star. Yes. Or at the very least, Holly should be hopeful that sometime this year, her business will grow. You can also add a little more detail to this- possibly, her small business will become her full-time job after she has a setback with her current full-time job. The small business is her beacon of hope during a dark time.
The next thing that I have heard is that tarot should not be used for timing. And it’s true- there aren’t really “time” cards in the tarot. However, you can use tarot to establish an approximate timeline for when something is likely to happen. Personally, I tend to see Wands and Swords as “sooner” and Cups and Pentacles as “later”, but aside from that, you can still use any card in the deck to establish a timeline. For this I would also recommend starting with one card at a time and pulling clarifiers if needed, since you aren’t really looking for the card’s interpretive meaning. The goal is to find out what the card’s meaning says about timing.
Now, let’s return to Holly. She’s excited about her career prospects, but now she wants to know about her love life- so when is her boyfriend going to propose marriage? The card we pull is Temperance. I would say that this represents a period of time between seasons, such as when you can still feel winter in the air, but a few plants are beginning to bloom. To narrow it down, pull another card- Ace of Swords, which represents both duality and cutting away unnecessary things.
I would say that Holly should expect a proposal during the time when the leaves are almost completely off the trees and autumn is becoming winter. I based this on the idea that the “unnecessary” thing that is being cut away are the dead leaves falling from the trees. The duality represented by the Ace of Swords also reflects the duality in Temperance- the time we are looking at is at the middle point, in between two distinct seasons, which are blended and intertwined to create a unique period of time.
The last thing I will focus on is whether or not you can use tarot to ascertain specific details. Tarot often paints with broad brush strokes, and it’s up to the reader to figure out what is being said. I can pull the Two of Cups, Four of Wands, and The Lovers and figure out that there’s probably a marriage proposal in the querent’s future, but there is no “marriage” card in tarot. So can you get detailed answers from a tarot deck?
Personally, I believe you can, but it’s important to keep up a conversation between yourself and the querent (even if the querent is yourself). When you pull a card, think about what that card really signifies. Going back to Holly, she wants to know what her wedding dress will look like. We pull the Nine of Pentacles. How does the meaning of that card apply to a wedding dress?
I would say that this either means that this is a dress she will design (or have designed for her) or a dress that she’s worked really hard to be able to afford. And for more detail, I’ll pull another card- The Tower. This is usually seen as a negative card, but in this case, I think it refers more to the idea that the dress that Holly is currently envisioning won’t be the dress that she winds up falling totally in love with, so she should try on things she thinks she may not like!
It’s true that tarot has some limits, but I think that these tend to be overstated. I think that if you want to use tarot for things on the “Don’t” list, all you really need to do is shake up what you might expect out of tarot, look at tarot concepts a little sideways. The answers are all there for you.
Chelsea is 27, and a professional tarot reader from Southern California. You can find out more about her at her website; Pigeon Sauvage Tarot.
It’s easy for a tarot reader to get so swept away with what they can see that they don’t stop to consider what they should see, and more importantly, what kind of information they should be sharing!
Ethical concerns in regards to tarot is a topic which comes up often, and most readers with even a little bit of experience will be able to tell you what they’re willing (or unwilling) to read for. Everyone will have a different code of ethics, and this article will focus on some of the more common moral questions, to help you design your own code of ethics.
Do you read for health questions?
Health questions aren’t the most common, but they do come up. You might get asked anything from “Am I pregnant?” to “What is this growth?” I don’t personally tell querents anything that a doctor should tell them.
Why? Because I am most emphatically not a doctor. If you don’t want me to decipher your medical charts, then you also shouldn’t want me consulting the cards to figure out what’s going on with your body. I recommend staying away from health questions, although some readers will tell someone that they see something health-related, and urge the querent to see a doctor.
Do you give financial advice?
Do you work in finance? If not, I would also recommend staying away from giving specific financial advice. The key word here is “specific”.
I won’t tell someone which stocks to buy, but I will tell them if they need to save money or if I’m seeing something about a career change. I will also tell them if I see a period of wealth or hardship, and I will also let them know if a career opportunity will be a good option for them.
Do you offer legal advice?
The same thing that I said about doctors and financial advisors also applies here. If you are not a lawyer, I recommend staying away from giving any legal advice. I will give insights into how the case may develop, or pull a few cards to see what impact the legal situation in question will have on the querent’s life.
The questions regarding health, financial, and legal advice can be pretty straightforward, ethically. My own rule of thumb is that if the question would usually require a professional in that particular field to answer, then it’s not my place to answer it.
This is for my protection as well as the querent’s- I don’t want to lead them down the wrong path because I didn’t understand what I was looking at, and I also do not want anyone to seek legal action against me because my misunderstanding had disastrous consequences for them.
Some readers will take these questions, and I would never say that they’re wrong for doing so- but it is an ethical concern that at some point, you’ll have to find a solution for. I don’t mind doing general readings for querents with these types of questions and giving them an opinion based on what I can see in the cards, to the best of my understanding.
This means that they don’t get a diagnosis of their illness, but it means that maybe I can tell them that yes, they should see that doctor, and here are the things they should keep in mind when they do.
It can be much harder to define boundaries when it comes to questions that might touch on a gray area. It’s impossible to completely see from someone else’s eyes, and there is always going to be context that you don’t know about when someone comes to you for guidance.
Are you willing to perform a third-party reading?
There are a ton of people who might approach you to ask about how their partner feels about them, what’s going on in their adult son/daughter’s life, or if their best friend has feelings for the same person they do.
How far are you willing to venture into someone else’s private business, when they haven’t consented to the reading? Some readers will dive right in, and some stay completely out of it. I am willing to read into someone else’s business to the extent that it will help my querent.
Finding out that your partner or your close friend are not who they say they are is helpful. Snooping into someone else’s private life just because it’s eating you up and you can snoop is definitely not helpful.
How will you handle readings for subjects that you personally disagree with?
If someone is cheating on their partner or is the affair partner for someone else, does that mean that you don’t want to read for their relationship question? What if they want a reading about a lie they’ve been telling to someone close to them? I’m willing to take these questions.
In no way do I condone dishonesty, but I do my best to set that aside and possibly try to help someone sort out a part of their life that isn’t going to plan. I’m honest about what the cards say, even if it’s not the advice that I would give based on my personal values.
Some readers may not want to take these kinds of questions, and that’s completely understandable.
Are you willing to read for illegal activities?
This is one of the few topics that I turn down flat. Yes, I know there are laws that are outdated, don’t make sense, or are unfair. I’m still not ever going to assist my querent in doing something illegal, because at the very least I don’t want to be complicit in illegal activity.
To me, the purpose of a reading is to help the querent make sense of their life and figure out how to improve their situation- encouraging them to break the law will not serve that purpose! Many readers will take questions about illegal activity, which is also a valid choice.
That being said, the same kind of legal problem that may come along with giving health/legal/financial advice can also come up when giving these types of readings.
How will you respond to querents intending to make unhealthy choices?
You can see in the cards that their partner is no good, that the dream they’re chasing won’t give them good results, or that they are way too dependant on their parents… but that’s not what they came to figure out.
You can tell them that the person they’ve fallen in love with is totally wrong for them, but they don’t really care about that– they just want to know when they’ll get married. Plenty of readers will choose not to continue the reading, or will refuse to answer the question. I think that’s fine- if you don’t want to give them bad advice, it can be best not to entertain questions about pursuing a path that won’t be healthy.
However, if you do wish to continue the reading, you may want to reiterate what the cards have shown you, and then approach the question. Saying something like “The cards show me that this is wrong for you because of these reasons, however, if you did want to follow this path, this is what will happen,” will still allow you to answer the question and state your concerns.
How do you approach readings for major life decisions?
Sometimes, you’ll be asked to advise on a choice that would completely alter someone’s life. This is a big responsibility, and it can (and should) feel like a heavy thing that’s being asked of you.
While I would never tell someone to do exactly what a tarot reader or psychic tells them to do without giving it quite a lot of consideration, the fact is that once you give someone advice, they can do whatever they want with it. It’s out there, and it can’t be taken back.
So how do you handle someone asking if they should get a divorce, or have a baby, or move to a different country with $40 and a dream? I don’t think that you need to turn down these questions.
Rather, I think you need to figure out how to approach the reading with respect and give the question appropriate consideration. If you can’t do that, it’s best to be honest. Tell them that there’s no way you can tell them whether or not to have a baby with just three cards and fifteen minutes, or that you need to have more context before you can do the reading.
The cards, the knowledge, and the intuition are only part of the tarot experience. It’s also incredibly important to make sure that you are giving readings that you feel proud of, and that you’re happy with the influence you have on the lives of your querents.
Chelsea is 27, and a professional tarot reader from Southern California. You can find out more about her at her website; Pigeon Sauvage Tarot.
Tarot Reader Rebecca, 36, from England, writes an open letter to her heroine, RWS artist Pamela Colman Smith.
You know that project that you inked for Arthur, Tarot Cards, back in 1909? Well, you won’t believe this, but they’re a worldwide phenomenon now!!! No, honestly, I’m not making it up! You’re worshipped by thousands of fans around the world, I swear to God! Books have been written about your life, mate! Somehow, still no one’s quite sure what your exact race or sexual identity are, but I kinda love it that you’ve left us with some mystery there; you’re as enigmatic in death as you were in life – perfectly fitting, wouldn’t you say?
Okay, so I’ll tell you what’s out there on the Internet about you (don’t worry about what the Internet is – that’s a whole other letter)…
You were born in London in the February of 1878 as Corinne Pamela Colman Smith – although always informally referred to as ‘Pamela’ by your parents – and you travelled extensively from a young age, living in Manchester, Kingston, London and New York, the latter of which being where you began studying art at the Pratt Institute at the age of 15.
I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your mum and dad within a three-year period not long after. They come across as really loving, supportive parents and it must have been beyond devastating for you.
Without graduating, you moved back to London alone at the age of 21, in 1899. There, you quickly integrated yourself within the artistic community, working as a book illustrator and touring with Bram Stoker as a set designer for the Lyceum Theatre Group (FYI: Bram Stoker is still massive to this day too. You must tell him to pop in on Whitby, Yorkshire, and he’ll see the proof for himself). I’ve heard it was during your theatre days when Ellen Terry gave you your nickname, ‘Pixie’, which loads of your fans refer to you as still! I know, this is a lot to take in.
To an outsider such as myself, I can’t help but think you must have been absolutely high on life at this point, living in theatres, becoming an enthralled knowledge-seeker of the Occult arts, writing and illustrating your own Jamaican folklore books – your mum would have been so proud – as well as illustrating the books of your friends Ellen Terry and Bram Stoker, amongst various other professional projects including working with the Yeats brothers. I mean, that’s all pretty outstanding stuff, and then there was more…. by your late-20s, you had established yourself as a well-respected and well-known part of the Bohemian scene, hosting regular events at your own studio in London. Remember that magazine you started up, and the three painting exhibitions in New York? God, you must have been buzzing (as we say in Yorkshire). You even aided both the Suffragette movement and WWI efforts through your poster art.
At the age of 31, you drew and inked the 78 RWS Tarot cards that I’ll talk to you a bit more about in a sec’, but I just want to acknowledge that despite leading such a free-spirited and exciting life, you never made the income you deserved. It’s probably a bit grating to hear you’d have been a multi-millionaire now, as it seems you could have really done with the cash at the time.
You converted to Catholicism in 1911 and WWI signalled the death knoll of the arts & crafts movement that you so loved soon after. When you inherited the money from your uncle, you bought a property in Bude, Cornwall, and rented out another to holidaying Catholic priests, as a means of income. You lived there with Nora Lake for years, and in 1951, when you passed away at the age of 73, you left your estate to her (although much of it had to be auctioned to cover debts, sadly).
Phew! So, that was a lot to write, and that’s just skimming the surface! Why are you laughing? Oh, go on then, how much of it is wrong? The bones are there though, right?!
Anyway, here’s the goss’… you should probably sit down for this… In 1971, 20-years after your death, Stuart R Kaplan brought those forgotten Tarot Cards back to life! He copyrighted them to US Games Systems Inc. and re-named them ‘Rider Tarot’, thus birthing the iconic ‘Rider-Waite’ version used the world over today. Okay, don’t panic – although the official title is named after William Rider, the deck’s first publisher, and its brainchild, your friend Arthur Edward Waite, who commissioned you to draw the deck’s 78 illustrations all those years ago, most – and many new offshoot decks – call it ‘Rider-Waite-Smith’ (RWS) anyway. Trust me, Pixie, your contribution is beyond recognised and validated now, more than what your wildest dreams could ever imagine (WOW, it felt good to tell you that!). There is some discussion speculating that you were left out of the original accolade simply because you were female, and trust me, that hasn’t gone down well in this day and age, you’ll be pleased to hear!
Oh Pixie, you’d love it here now! You’d be so energised by the freedom we have to do all the things you did, without it going against expected social norms: without the adversity. You are indeed ‘the Original Bohemian’; you are a source of fascination and inspiration to many and your art, spirit and strength live on. You are not only my heroine, but the heroine of many. Thank you for being you, and for all you did… and continue to do.
A loyal fan,
PS: Sorry if you think me displaying photos of you in my wallet and in my garden room is a little up there on the fanboi scale… it’s just, whenever I look at them, they give me strength to just be me, because if you could do it in the Victorian and Edwardian years, then I sure as heck can do it now.
Rebecca is a Court Member of ’The Tarot Server’ on Discord, under the handle @CraggyIslandTea. ‘Our server is a friendly, active and knowledgeable safe space to enjoy Tarot discussion, games, raffles, reading swaps and much more. A warm welcome awaits you!’