So what does one do when their hobby is their job? They find another hobby, duh!
For me, I like to relax by doing things that exercise my mind but are also a little mindless. In other words, I like challenging myself to learn new things (like knitting, needlepoint, quilting) in addition to things I’ve always liked to do (like reading, listening to podcasts, watching The Office, snuggling with my dogs…).
Over the past year, one particularly abstract (and maybe controversial?) practice has captivated my attention and free time:
Reading Tarot cards.
OK, I know. Many of you are rolling your eyes. Or, maybe you think this is cool. Maybe you think it’s weird. A few might think I’m practicing witchcraft and worshipping Satan.
I can assure you, Tarot is definitely cooler than you think, weird for SURE, and far from Satan worship. At least, for me it is.
It’s honestly taken me a while to be brave enough to share this publicly through my business pages in fear that I might get judgement or lose clients over this. But in the spirit of the Halloween season, I wanted to share a little about this hobby and what I’ve learned by reading tarot for myself and friends.
A short history of Tarot:
The tarot deck is similar to a regular deck of cards: it has 4 suits that each go from Ace to King (which is called the “minor Arcana”). In addition to these 52 cards, a traditional 78 card tarot deck also has a “major Arcana” of people/scenes (these are the most famous and easily recognizable tarot cards, like The Devil, Death, and The Empress). Tarot cards started out in the 14th century as normal playing cards in Europe, then later started becoming used in divination and prophecy in the 18th century France. These cards are still used throughout Europe as normal playing cards.
Tarot ≠ witchcraft
I promise I’m not casting spells or stabbing needles into voodoo dolls. I’m literally shuffling a deck of cards and seeing what randomly comes up. It’s no different than playing solitaire with a normal deck of cards: endless possibilities, and sometimes you get a good hand and sometimes you get a really shitty one.
Tarot cards are not magic
This is a common misconception, and one that is perpetuated by tarot readers. Sure, there might be a “magical” aspect to them, but at the core of it let’s be honest: the tarot deck are pieces of paper printed in a factory and mass produced and sold. The aren’t farted out by a unicorn or woven by an elf in a castle (although, if anyone finds a deck like that let me know).
No, I don’t see dead people
I’m not a medium nor a necromancer, and I will never claim to be one. Seriously, the woo woo notion that tarot cards converse with spirits is maybe a belief for some people, but for me, the cards are merely a metaphor for what’s going on in your life, right now. I personally don’t believe that any divine spirits are speaking through me when I do readings. And honestly, most of the time I’m just trying to learn what the cards say and how to interpret them for the person I’m reading for. Ghosts are too into themselves, anyway.
No, I’m not practicing demonic worship
This is a very common misconception about tarot cards, especially if your only experience with tarot is from pop culture, or you are religious. I don’t use Ouija boards, I haven’t sold my soul to the devil, I’m not conjuring demons, and I definitely am not worshipping Satan. After you get a reading and I start to talk through what the cards say, you’d be surprised that they really aren’t in any way related to the occult aside from being systematically associated with it from movies and television.
There is no right or wrong way to read Tarot cards
This is probably the one thing that’s kept me so intrigued by this hobby. It’s a challenge. Everyone interprets the meaning of the cards differently. Even the actual guide books that come with decks and are sold in bookstores vary in interpretation. There are so many different decks, numerous ways to interpret the cards and infinite ways to read them. There really is no right or wrong way to read tarot, as much as you learn the symbolism contained in each card. It really depends on who is reading the cards and who is asking the questions. I tend to always try and see the positive outcomes or the best advice for what is placed in front of me.
Tarot cards won’t predict death
This might be the biggest misconception and fear most people have about getting a tarot reading (I know it was mine before I learned more!). A lot of people are afraid to get their tarot read because they think it will predict a slow and painful death. In fact, the actual Death card doesn’t predict death at all. None of the cards do. Tarot is way more metaphorical than set in stone predictions. For example, if the Death card is drawn, it means that there needs to be an ending of some sort so something new can be reborn. It might mean that a relationship needs to end, a project needs to be finished, or a contract needs to be closed in order for your life to progress to the next stage. And most of the time, the cards are mere suggestions. You still have free will and can change whatever the cards “predict” for you. From what I’ve learned so far, tarot cards are simply little makeshift psychologists, revealing situations you’re currently going through and giving you suggestions for how to handle it.
Reading tarot is a way I relax
There is something both exciting and comforting to me about shuffling a deck and interpreting a tarot spread. I’m always a little nervous before I flip the cards over. I always want it to reveal some sort of good news or solution to a problem. No matter what, my readings never disappoint and they are always eerily accurate. And it gives me a chance to zone out for 20-30 minutes and not worry about answering e-mails or pleasing anyone but myself. And, I find it a fun thing to do at parties and get togethers.
And isn’t that what hobbies are for anyway?
If you’re interested in learning to read tarot, I highly suggest getting the Rider Waite deck which is considered the “beginner” deck (and is pretty straightforward with the illustrations). The deck also comes with it’s own mini booklet for readings. But if you really want to delve into it and get a better understanding of spreads and reading the cards, this book is my go-to for readings. It gives cohesive breakdowns of different spreads in addition to a thorough description, interpretation, and symbolism behind each card.
There are so many more decks to explore as well, and I also own these beautiful tarot decks (I’ve become a collector— I can’t help myself!):
I also have started learning these alternative decks:
Thanks for reading, and even if you still think I’m weird, it’s ok because I embrace weirdness. Weirdness makes the world go ‘round.
Happy Halloween, everyone!