Before They Were Divination Tools, Tarot Cards Were Playing Cards

Two hand-painted Mamluk playing cards and two Venetian playing cards.

In the English-speaking world, the word ‘tarot’ is most commonly associated with the occult and divination. It is one of the oldest forms of fortune telling, although its origins are somewhat obscure. Now, tarot reader is making a comeback as millennials are increasingly turning to tarot in a bid to help them navigate through the pressures of social media and technology.

The Origins of Tarot

Tarot is known by various other similar names, including Tarock, Tarokk, Taroky, Taroc, Tarok, Tarocchi. The origins of this word are unknown, though one speculation is that it derives from the Arabic word taraha, which means “he rejected, put aside”.

This Arabic connection is seen in the opinion that tarot cards were used originally as playing cards by the Mamluks (who are most notable as a dynasty of Muslim rulers in Egypt during the Middle Ages), which then spread to Western Europe. Some have even claimed that the tarot was invented even further afield, that is to say, in China, and that the Mamluks adopted these cards from them.

A Chinese printed playing card dated c. 1400 AD, Ming Dynasty, found near Turpan, measuring 9.5 by 3.5 cm. (Public Domain)

Discover What The New Year Holds With Help From Tarot Cards : NPR


It’s the beginning of a new year. And for many people, that means it’s time to set their intentions. So we have Jessica Dore, a psychotherapist and a tarot card reader, here to help us with that. She joins us via Skype.

Thanks for talking with us.

JESSICA DORE: Thank you so much for having me.

FADEL: So Jessica, tell us about what you do exactly.

DORE: I’m a psychotherapist. And my interest has been using tarot cards in more of a therapeutic way as opposed to for divination or fortunetelling, which is kind of more traditionally how they’ve been used.

FADEL: So why tarot cards?

DORE: Well, metaphor is something that is used a lot in psychotherapy. And tarot cards are kind of rich with symbolism and, you know, lots of metaphors that can, I think, help people understand the relationship between thoughts and feelings and behavior, which is, really, what we’re trying to do in therapy as well – helping people make those connections.

FADEL: So you chose a card that you felt would be the best to describe 2019. And I have that card in front of me, too. Can you tell us what we’re looking at?

DORE: So I chose the six of swords, which is – in the image of the card, you see a person in a boat. And they’re moving across a body of water.

FADEL: Right.

DORE: And in the boat, they have six swords that are sort of surrounding them. And in tarot, the swords represent kind of psychological life – so mental events, so, like, thoughts and feelings.


DORE: And so those swords are sort of representing, you know, some of those more challenging mental events, like anxiety and fear and guilt.

FADEL: Right.

DORE: And this person is moving across this body of water. They’re moving toward change, moving toward a new life in a way. And they’re bringing those feelings of fear, anxiety or guilt or grief along with them. And so it’s this idea that in order to have change, we have to be willing to feel some things that we might not rather – we might rather not feel.

FADEL: You know, there’s been a lot of uncertainty and fear and anxiety in the year that we just came out of. And we’re starting 2019, at least as a nation, with a lot of uncertainty as well if you look in D.C. And I’m sure that’s happening also on the individual level. What do you tell people when they’re looking at this sort of sea of uncertainty ahead?

DORE: Yeah. Well, I mean, definitely starting with clarifying values is a huge one. I think a lot of times, people are not super clear on what’s important to them. And they don’t take the time to sit down and clarify those things, and then it does become more challenging. I also think that social support is super important. And I mean, on one hand, we have a sense of being connected constantly through social media. And that can sometimes be sort of illusory. But on the other hand, social media allows us to connect with people who are going through similar things as we are.

So for instance, you know, if you are having to have difficult conversations with family members or something like that, like there’s, surely, a community online, some other social media forum that can kind of help you and give you some tips for that. I think social support is incredibly important. And knowing that there are other people sharing the experience that you’re sharing and offering tips for kind of how to get through it and sharing ideas, I think that’s – could be very helpful.

FADEL: Jessica Dore is a psychotherapist and tarot card reader. Thanks for speaking with us.

DORE: Thank you so much for having me.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

So, Philly Is Kind of Obsessed with Tarot Cards and Astrology Right Now


So, Philly Is Kind of Obsessed with Tarot Cards and Astrology Right Now

This is how “Hey, what’s your sign?” went from creepy to cool in Philly.

Get a compelling long read and must-have lifestyle tips in your inbox every Sunday morning — great with coffee!

astrology trend phialdelphia tarot cards

Illustration by James Boyle

For journalists, it’s always a little startling when an interviewee asks the interviewer a personal question. When this happened to me a few months ago, it was doubly strange, because the restaurant owner I was interviewing asked me — of all questions — my sign. She then went on to explain why hers (she’s an empathetic Pisces) made her especially suited for the hospitality industry. A month later, another interviewee brought up her sign, unprompted. Both mentions were dropped as matter-of-factly as if the speakers had told me they had two brothers or grew up in South Carolina.

It started happening with friends, too. At happy hour, over coffee, after a workout — everyone was talking about horoscopes and tarot decks. As the season changed, acquaintances on Instagram started using #VirgoSeason instead of #fall. After I had a tiff on the phone with my passionate, temperamental sister — an Aries, obviously — she said, “Sorry I overreacted. I’m a fire sign.” A pal in Delco disclosed that she recently started pulling daily tarot cards for stress relief.

There’s evidence of Philly’s over-the-moon obsession for all things astrological everywhere. Chic boutiques like Moon + Arrow and Ritual Ritual are carrying zodiac jewelry, smudge sticks, and energy crystals. Popular yoga studios Palo Santo in East Passyunk and Studio 34 in West Philly now host regular tarot circles — meetups where attendees collaboratively hash out the personal meaning of pulled cards. Local lifestyle influencer — and GOOD Festival co-founder — Kate Van Horn, a self-described “yoga teacher, blogger, and multi-passionate entrepreneur,” recently posted her well-manicured hands gripping a flower-strewn smudge stick.

So when did hardscrabble Philly get so far out, man? While we’re no L.A., as I look back, I can see how millennials’ newfound “spirituality” slowly rolled down I-76: Between an unceasing obsession with yoga, an increasing number of wholesome eateries, and all those newly popular meditation studios and sensory deprivation tanks, we’re a bunch that’s obviously in search of something.

Mystical celeb — yes, that’s a thing — Jessica Dore, a Philly-based behavioral scientist and tarot-card reader with a serious internet following, explains that “magic” aside, practices like these often function as therapeutic tools for reflection, not unlike taking a turn on a shrink’s couch — without having to go through insurance. But the supernatural intrigue doesn’t hurt, either. “We have an enduring need to connect with the unknown — something larger than us,” Dore says.

I can see that. But the desire might be even more obvious. Mama’s Wellness Joint in Midtown Village hosts a monthly tarot reading described as “a psycho-spiritual tool that’s used to heal, reveal, guide, and clarify,” with the promise that you’ll “gain insight into a situation or concern that’s causing you confusion.” Maybe it shouldn’t be so shocking that we’re looking for answers in increasingly unconventional places during these unprecedented times.

But mostly, mysticism is just plain fun — and something to talk about that doesn’t ignite political and cultural arguments. As an intense Scorpio, that’s exactly what I need these days.

An Alternative Way to Reading Reversed Tarot Cards | BiddyTarot Blog

Reversed Tarot cards.

You either love them or hate them.

Me – I love them.

Why? Because I’ve discovered a number of different ways to read reversed Tarot cards without getting stuck in the ‘doom and gloom’ that is so often associated with reversals.

But there’s one technique for reading reversals that I love the most. It’s soulful, healing and deeply insightful. Yet many Tarot readers aren’t even aware that this technique exists!

In this post, I’ll show you this alternative way of reading reversed Tarot cards that will add true depth and meaning to your Tarot readings – without the doom and gloom!

Tarot Cards As Energy

Before we get into the technique, let’s get back to basics …

At the core of it, Tarot cards are energy.

That is, each card is an expression of energy in its many different formats.

For example, the Four of Swords is an expression of peace, rest and contemplation. When we encounter the Four of Swords in our everyday lives, we experience it as energy that manifests in different ways – taking a break from work, spending some time thinking about a situation before acting or getting more sleep.

Or take the Knight of Pentacles. He is an expression of following a routine, being consistent and sticking at it. Again, this energy can appear in our lives, either as a part of ourselves that is being expressed, or a part of someone else. It may manifest as the daily grind of 9-to-5 work, commitment to an exercise plan, or setting budgets.

So the Tarot cards represent pure energy and our interpretation of the card is how that energy will manifest in our lives. Got it?

Upright Tarot Cards Are ‘Externally Expressed Energy’

When I look at an upright Tarot card, I see it as ‘externally expressed energy’. That is, the energy of that Tarot card is expressed outwardly into the world.

So, for the Four of Swords, you are letting others know you’re taking a break (you don’t just disappear into your own head).

Or with the Knight of Pentacles, you are creating household budgets or you are turning up to work every day.

Upright Tarot cards represent energy that is experienced in your external environment and in your relationships with people and situations.

Reversed Tarot Cards Are ‘Internally Expressed Energy’

If upright cards represent externally expressed energy, then reversed Tarot cards are internally expressed energy. That is, energy that is held within ourselves or that is more private or even secretive.

The Four of Swords is no longer about taking a break from work, but finding peace within and calming your inner thought process. Or, there may be a period of retreat, away from others and in private.

And the Knight of Pentacles reversed is no longer about showing up every day at work and following the routine, but creating personal routines and applying self-discipline to stay committed to those routines.

To make things really simple, take the upright meaning of the Tarot card, and then add “self” or “private” to the interpretation.

For example, the Empress is about nurturing and therefore the reversed Empress is about self-nurturing.

Or the Eight of Cups is about escape and therefore the reversed Eight of Cups is about a private escape (one that no-one knows about).

See – it can be quite simple indeed!

What I love most about this technique is that there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ message here (unlike the traditional reversed card meanings which focus on the opposite of the upright card meaning). It’s simply where the energy is being felt.

This technique can also show where changes need to be made or where action needs to be taken. If your Tarot reading is mostly upright cards, then you know you’re dealing with external situations and your relationships with others. If your Tarot reading is mostly reversed cards, then you know you’re dealing with yourself and any required actions or changes need to happen within you first.

Over to You

It’s time to give this technique a go! Grab your Tarot cards and split the deck into three piles. Turn one pile 180 degrees, so you’re turning some of your upright cards into reversed cards. Then shuffle the deck again.

Now, do a simple 3-card Tarot reading and hopefully you’ll get at least one reversed Tarot card in there. Take note of how the upright and reversed Tarot cards interact with each other and look for where the energy is either externalised or internalised. Think about where you can best focus your energy, based on these cards.

Two Sixteenth Century Essays on the Meaning of Tarot Cards | Tarot Heritage

Around the year 1565, two men on opposite sides of northern Italy wrote down their thoughts about the moral lessons in the tarocchi deck. In the 1980s, both essays were discovered by playing card researcher Franco Pratesi, and were recently published in Italian and English as Con gli occhi et con l’intelletto: Explaining the Tarot in Sixteenth Century Italy. Generous footnotes and introductory material by Ross Sinclair Caldwell, Thierry Depaulis and Marco Ponzi put the essays in their historical context. This extremely important book shows us how a typical, well-educated Christian of the time would have seen the cards, without the distractions of occultism and Egyptomania that came a few centuries later.

Let’s look at each essay separately.

Francesco Piscina wrote Discorso in his early twenties while a law student in Piedmont. The material was presented as a public recitation then published by a local press. Only two copies exist, in a library in Piedmont and in a private collection. Piscina tells us his ideas came to him suddenly while watching a lady play the game of tarot — much like De Gebelin two hundred years later saying he was suddenly struck with the idea that the tarot trumps are Egyptian hieroglyphics while watching ladies play the game in a Parisian drawing room.

Piscina wanted to discover the moral lessons conveyed by the inventor of the game of tarocchi. To know this, the proper order of the cards is paramount, because the story in the trump sequence depends on knowing which cards are trumped by other cards. Piscina uses the trump order that was common in Lombardy and Piedmont and evolved into the Tarot de Marseille, with several exceptions that show the deck was still in flux in the sixteenth century.

World and Bagatto cards from soprafino deckWhile discussing the World card, he mentions the symbols of the four Evangelists in the corners as proof that the trumps are teaching us to be good, conventional Catholics. But we don’t know of any World cards from that time that contained the four Evangelists. They don’t appear until the Tarot de Marseille pattern emerged one hundred years later. Did he know of a TdM-like deck that’s lost to us? He discusses the Bagatto is an innkeeper, not a juggler or craftsman. I wonder if this is an old, possibly local, tradition that’s lost to us but emerged into the light of day with the soprafino Bagatto raising his wine glass. (Or is he just a cobbler who drinks on the job?)

[Note: Better historians than I have just informed me that there were cards with the four evangelists in the 16th century – see the comment below. Now I’m more curious than ever to know what decks these two essayists had in front of them.]

Piscina admits the essay was written on a whim, and it reads as if he were speaking off the cuff, giving us a range of interpretations along with his own. This is a bonanza for historians, as we can get a sense of how the cards were interpreted by others, rather than being stuck with just one person’s idiosyncratic ideas.

Piscina devotes only two long paragraphs to the suit cards. He divides the suits into two categories, a common practice that survives in our red and black suits. He interprets the suits as two types of war and two advantages of peace.

At the end of his essay he does some wordplay on Taroccho, showing us the word means a fool or an idiot. It makes sense that the game may have been named after the most powerful and active card in the game.

The second essay is called the Anonymous Discorso. Presumably, it was never published, but five handwritten manuscripts are distributed among various libraries. From textual analysis, it seems the author was from central Italy and he used the Ferrarese card order, with a few variations.

The author’s aim was to fill a gap in the literature of moral interpretation of games by giving cards their due. Nearly half the essay is devoted to the suit cards, where the anonymous author follows a long tradition of finding moral allegories in the four suits.

He starts by telling us that games were originally idle pleasures, but they evolved into vices that fuel our greed when we play for material gain. The designer of the game wanted to teach us that all is vanity; that worldly possessions and pleasures evaporate, and we would be better off contemplating God.

The four suits depict lust for money, glory and gluttonous pleasures, with greed for riches underlying it all. He divides the trump suit into two sections with the Devil as the pivot. Trumps below the Devil show the usual human situation, inflamed with passions and heading for hell. Cards higher than the Devil show us the way out of entanglement in worldly vanity by contemplating God and rising to heaven.

These two essays are unfiltered voices from tarot’s distant past. They bring to light what certain thoughtful people of the sixteenth century read into the cards. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Franco Pratesi for discovering these rare manuscripts, and to Ross Sinclair Caldwell, Thierry Depaulis and Marco Ponzi for their dedication to tarot history, making it possible for all of us to read these essays.

I strongly recommend reading the review of an earlier edition of this book by the late Michael J. Hurst. He puts these essays in their context of the long history of finding allegory in the four playing card suits, as well as in dice, chess and other games. He also provides a translation of the first discourse we know of, from 1377, on the moral meaning of playing cards.

Il Bagattello and Il Mondo cards from Tarocco Soprafino di F. Gumppenberg, Milano 1835. Il Meneghello, Milano, 1992.

The best questions to ask tarot cards about your ex

One of the most common questions a tarot reader will hear is “will s/he come back?” It seems that there is never a shortage of folks who are looking to reconnect with their ex.

While it’s natural to seek guidance after a heartbreak, obsessing over the return of an ex is neither empowering nor healing. Here’s why: you’re putting your future on hold waiting around for the imminent (and oftentimes unlikely) return of another person, something you have no control over. Instead of looking at what you can do to heal or move on, the “will s/he come back” question puts you in the position of waiting for your future (or in this case, your past) to “happen to you.”

This leads to a whole lot of waiting around, hoping for the outcome you want, especially if the cards show a favorable future.

But it can also lead to frustration when the cards don’t tell you what you want to hear. For the record, the. most abusive clients I have ever worked with are the ones that get told that the ex will not return. I cannot count how many times seekers have gotten angry and sent nasty emails or posted poor reviews….even when I was right. When you prick the illusion, they will go from reader to reader to reader to get the answer they want, another unhealthy behavior.

Other questions that generally don’t lead to productive, helpful answers:

  • Does s/he love me?
  • How does s/he feel about me?
  • Are they having sex with someone else?
  • Will they leave x for me?
  • Did they cheat on me?
  • Is my ex in a relationship?

Some of these questions are prying into things that are not your concern (who s/he is having sex with is inone of your business). And, once again, it assumes that your future is going to “happen to you” once that ex comes to their senses. There’s a better way to ask questions about a former relationship.

Better questions:

Instead of asking will s/he come back, these thoughtful questions gets the focus on you and puts the power back in your hands.

  • What can I do to heal from this breakup?
  • What can I do to move on?
  • What can I learn from this relationship?
  • What were my blind spots in this relationship?
  • What issues do I need to focus on in order to prepare myself for a healthy relationship in the future?
  • What role did my own issues create in this relationship?
  • What do I need to know about finding a healthy relationship?
  • In what way might I make better relationship decisions in the future?

Remember: put the focus on you, not on them. Because your future includes you and may not include them.

A Tarot Spread for Moving on from an Ex

If you’re having trouble moving on, this tarot spread which is featured in Tarot For Troubled Times, might help you reflect on what you’re holding on to – and what your next steps might be to let go.

Shuffle the deck thoroughly. Once you feel that you’ve shuffled enough, place the deck on the table, face down. Cut the deck into three piles and then put the piles back into one. Fan the deck out and choose one card for each question:

  • Card one:  Why am I missing this relationship?
  • Card two: Why am I holding onto this relatiosnhii?
  • Card three: What do I need to see that I’m not at this time?
  • Card four: What is my next step to let go and move on?

Look at the images. What are they saying to you? What does your intuition tell you? Let’s use a sample reading.

Charlie’s partner left him three years ago. Although the divorce is long behind him, he’s still hung up on his ex. Here are the cards he chose:

  • Card one: Page of Cups
  • Card two: Nine of Wands
  • Card three: The Emperor reversed
  • Card four: Four of Cups

Here are possible interpretations:

  • Card one:  Why am I missing this relationship? Page of Cups – The Page of Cups symbolizes love, romance, infatuation. Charlie misses the romantic element of the relationship. They fell in love when they were young, and had a whirlwind courtship. He likes the way his partner made him feel: loved, joyful, and young.
  • Card two: Why am I holding onto this relationship? Nine of Wands – The Nine of Wands is the wound. Charlie is deeply wounded by this sitation. When his partner moved on, it seemed to come out of the blue, which left him feeling unsafe, insecure, and afraid that he might get hurt if he opened himself up again like he did with the ex.
  • Card three: What do I need to see that I’m not at this time? The Emperor reversed – There was a lack of maturity either in the partner or the relationship. The Page of Cups, while delightful, lives in the realm of fantasy while the Emperor is mature. Reversed, it shows the relationshiop never matured past that romantic stage. When it came time to do the actual work of living together and taking care of responsibilities, the partner got bored and took off. Although there was love, it most likely was more of an infatuation and the bubble of that got burst when real life set in.
  • Card four: What is my next step to let go and move on? Four of Cups – It begins by accepting that this situation, although not what he wants, is probably not going to change. Accepting this also means not sitting around, hoping for a differnet outcome. Sitting around waiting for the ex makes it unlikely that Charlie is able to see the many gifts being offered to him. The figure in this card has the arms crossed over the chest, a sign that Charlie is protecting his heart and closing off new possibilities. If he’s too fixated on the past, he is not allowing the present – or the future – to give him what he wants. Time spent with a therapist could help him “uncross” his heart and open up again to something new. That could take time but even a small effort could open him up to new possibilities and the magic that is right there, underneath his nose. Learning to believe in love and be vulnerable is a process that won’t happen overnight but a change in how he’s dealing with things at this time will restore his faith – and open him up to a new, mature relationship that will give him the commitment he desires.

While there is no one way to let go, the one thing I like to remind people is that no one gets spiritual by holding on. Waiting around for an ex sends a message that “there isn’t enough love out there.” It’s scarcity mentality and keeps you locked in romantic limbo. You must trust that the Universe is benevolent and abundant. When you begin to believe that and live that, you create space for the right one to emerge.



Other posts to check out:

© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2019

image from stock photography and personal collection

Sign up for my newsletter and get free bi-monthly content on tarot, astrology, and more.

I respect your email privacy

The post The best questions to ask tarot cards about your ex appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

Life Changing Secrets of Tarot Cards + [FREE] Tarot Spreads Guidebook

Tarot cards changed my life.

I was standing on a Colorado mountain faced with my first life or death situation and all I could hear was my inner voice YELLING to “GET OFF THE DAMN MOUNTAIN!”

It was in that moment, I could finally HEAR the inner voice that was guiding me step-by-step so clearly. I mean, I’ve always beat to my own drum, but this was the first time I was actually aware of that inner voice that was guiding me from a place of trust + knowing and not from a place of fear.

I couldn’t shake that feeling of “hearing” some other inner voice (that wasn’t my crazy inner mean girl). It was so loud and clear for the first time and struck a curious chord in me to keep digging.

I kept repeating aloud “There must be a lesson to be learned here.” It was that relentless curiosity that led me to find the book Trust your Vibes by Sonia Choquette which taught me to LISTEN + TRUST those intuitive vibes and then later led me to meet my first psychic. During my visit with the psychic, she mentions that I had “the gift” and I needed to grab myself a set of tarot cards and begin learning.

I honestly had no fucking clue what she was talking about, but somewhere deep within me – I knew.

I had always listened to my “gut feelings” and would “know” what someone was about to tell me even before they opened their mouth, but I didn’t quite understand it.

It took a few months before I had the courage to bust out the tarot deck I picked up for myself. Especially after the psychic mentioned, “Don’t sleep with the Tower and the Devil together under your pillow at the same time.”

Totally freaked me out.

Psychics. Tarot. Crystals. Intuition. Spirit Guides. It was allllll new to me, but my curiosity kept pulling me in the woo-woo direction.

Fast forward 6 years later, I haven’t skipped a personal daily tarot reading yet and now I’m communicating with past loved ones (including my biological father). We can dive into that another time.

Because tarot is such a taboo topic, I thought diving deep into the questions I get asked ALLLL the time would help to debunk some of the funk we hold around the tool of tarot.

I always like to point out tarot is just another tool of divination helping us connect to the unseen world of energy and vibration. The cards reflect back to us the matching vibration of what we’re feeling so we can see more objectively and clearly into our inner world.

The cards help us to look deeper within and uncover our Truth.

No matter what religious background you come from, this tool will help you to make that deeper, Divine connection you crave with yourself.

Let’s dive into the most frequent questions I get asked about the tool of tarot…

Where do I start?

You can buy your deck at a local crystal shop, bookstore, or even order on Amazon. When you receive your deck, unwrap the deck and light some dried sage or incense to clear away the energy. This helps you to claim the deck as your own. After cleansing the deck, you can begin to sleep with one card a night under your pillow to begin creating a connection with your intuition.

What tarot deck do you recommend for beginners?

I get asked this almost every day. I recommend something you will USE! Find a deck that makes your heart flutter. Let your soul/intuition guide you to the deck that suits your spirit. Anything from Doreen Virtue is highly recommended. Her decks are filled with positive and uplifting messages and she has something for everyone.

What is your favorite deck?

My current favorite decks are the Archangel Power Tarot from Doreen Virtue and my original Morgan-Greer tarot deck.

How do I shuffle?

Some cards are much larger than other decks, so you can shuffle in whatever way feels right for you. You can slice the deck, spread the cards faced down across the floor and choose, or the traditional Vegas-style shuffle. Any will work. Just mix ‘em up!

Where did tarot originate from?

Sometime around the 14th century, the tarot likely originated with Mamluk game cards brought to Western Europe from Turkey. By the 1500s, the Italian aristocracy was enjoying a game known as “tarocchi appropriati,” in which players were dealt random cards and used thematic associations with these cards to write poetic verses about one another—somewhat like the popular childhood game “MASH.”

Even the earliest known tarot decks weren’t designed with mysticism in mind; they were actually meant for playing a game similar to modern-day bridge. Wealthy families in Italy commissioned expensive, artist-made decks known as “carte da trionfi” or “cards of triumph.” These cards were marked with suits of cups, swords, coins, and polo sticks (eventually changed to staves or wands), and courts consisting of a king and two male underlings.

Tarot cards later incorporated queens, trumps (the wild cards unique to tarot), and the Fool to this system, for a complete deck that usually totaled 78 cards. Today, the suit cards are commonly called the Minor Arcana, while trump cards are known as the Major Arcana.

How can a person be objective to the reading if they are not “trained” to be objective?

Just like learning any skill, you must practice. Sleeping with the cards under your pillow to receive intuitive guidance will help you to receive clear messages from the cards. This allows your subconscious to show you symbols that represent the energy behind each card. Journaling the meanings of each card and sticking to the traditional meaning will also help you to stay objective until you build confidence on trusting your intuition of what each card represents for you.

How do you learn to interpret the cards besides the booklet that it comes with?

I always get cracked up when I say “Sleep with your cards” because it sounds like you’re in an intimate relationship, but it’s SOO true! Sleep with one card under your pillow each night to allow your subconscious mind to create symbols and meanings for the cards. Your tarot cards are like personal love notes from your soul and will help to guide you along your spiritual path of awakening. You MUST begin to trust your soul’s intuitive guidance that comes through when reading the card. Let’s say you pulled the Magician card – instead of reaching for the booklet to find the answers, look over the card. Visualize it in your imagination. Allow the words, feelings, and visions you have about this card to arise from within. Trust your first feeling. Over time you will develop confidence in being able to trust your inner knowing.

When doing a tarot reading – do you do it alone or with someone?

You can read for yourself or another person. You can also read for an entire group of people. The most important thing when reading is to set the intention of who is receiving the message before beginning.

How do you do a reading for yourself?

When doing a reading for yourself, you want to make sure you’re in a safe, sacred place where you feel comfortable opening up your heart space to receive guidance. There are MANY different spreads you can choose from depending on what guidance you’re seeking. My favorite personal reading is simply pulling one card while asking your guides/Higher Self “What is my Divine daily message today?”

How do you do a reading for someone else?

When doing a reading for someone else, you want to make sure you two are both in agreement on what question is being asked from the readee. The reader will then set an intention to receive guidance through the cards and their own intuition to be delivered on behalf of the readee.

Is there evidence to support the spiritual practice?

After spending time with your cards, your analytical brain won’t need PROOF that these cards can be used in your spiritual practice because you will intuitively KNOW the messages coming through are always aligned with your best in mind. The cards are traced by some occult writers to ancient Egypt or the Kabbalah but there is no documented evidence of such origins or of the usage of tarot for divination before the 18th century.

What is the main purpose/intention of using tarot?

Tarot acts as a tool that helps reflect your current energy and provides intuitive guidance for the clarity you’re seeking. You can use the tool to connect to your Higher Self/spirit guides.

Does negative energy affect your reading? 

I wouldn’t recommend a reading when your emotions are running wild. You want to come from a place of peacefulness when conducting your reading. Wait until the initial emotional surge passes before doing a reading on that particular subject.

When is the best time to do a personal reading?

The best time to do a personal reading is when you’re feeling like you need a hug from the Universe or if you’re confused about what steps to take. The best time to conduct your reading is when you’re feeling calm. I’ve drawn one daily card for myself each morning for over 4 years and have written down EVERY single card and meaning along the way. It’s always fun to look back at the last 6 months to see how aligned your readings are with what is happening in your life.

The best time to do a personal reading is when you’re feeling like you need a hug from the Universe or if you’re confused about what steps to take.

How do you care for your decks?

Just like crystals, you want to cleanse and protect their energy. Sageing the cards as soon as you receive them is important to clear away any other energy that has been left with the cards. Occasional sageing is good if you feel like your connection to the cards is weak. I also recommend NOT letting others touch your cards as they will leave their energy behind.

How do you keep positive energy around your cards?

Do not let others handle your tarot/oracle cards because they can leave traces of their energy on the cards. Try burning dried sage and letting the smoke clear away the energy of the cards if you feel they’ve picked up some funk.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 3 Simple Tarot Card Spreads

Do you start by asking your guides to show you the cards?

I always say a little prayer before I begin asking my Higher Self to come forward to share the divine guidance I most need in that moment.

What happens if I draw the same card multiple times in a row?

Pay attention! The Universe is sending a CLEAR message by showing you again.

Should you use the reverse meanings of cards?

If you’re feeling completely blocked and the card comes out upside down, my advice is to trust your gut if you feel the reverse meaning has a message for you. Sometimes I pull a card that’s upside down and the reverse meaning doesn’t apply, then I just go with the actual meaning of the card.

I’m not a big fan of looking up the reverse meanings and I always have my cards oriented in the upright position so I typically don’t draw cards that are reversed. If they do come out reversed, I tune into the opposite energy of the card to see if there is anything out of balance on that issue.

I honestly don’t believe there are any “bad” cards in tarot.

What to do if you get a scary or “bad” reading for yourself or someone else?

Accept it. The cards are reflecting your energy so if something “bad” comes up – see how it applies to your life. Don’t hide from the truth and don’t over analyze the card. I find that sometimes we project our own illusions and fears on to the meaning of the cards which can create confusion when reading for yourself or someone else. I honestly don’t believe there are any “bad” cards in tarot. The “death” card gets such a bad wrap, but the meanings aren’t always literal. It could represent a metaphorical death such as the end of a cycle, job, relationship, or chapter in your life’s story, but not an actual death.

Let’s go a little deeper…

I hope by uncovering some of the untold truths about tarot that you’re able to let go of any hangups you have and make a deep and lasting connection with your spirit and guides. If you have any specific questions you’d like me to demystify, be sure to leave them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to tackle them for ya.

I’m sharing ALL my tarot secrets!

If you’d like to learn all my Tarot secrets, I invite you to join my Tarot 101 training where you’ll learn how to get started intuitively reading tarot for yourself and others.


And if that’s not your cup of tea, try a private 1:1 tarot reading with me. ?


“From spiritual goose bumps to a much-needed release through tears, I had multiple ah-ha moments on our 1:1 call. Brittney has an incredible way of communicating the message from spirit andtapping into exactly what needs to be said in the moment to create momentum. Momentum in both my personal life, my career and my future casting. Her high-vibe tips are brilliant (no more cell phone next to the bed!) and I would highly recommend anyone and everyone investing in themselves for a breakthrough call with Brittney! You’ll leave with a new sense of clarity and mega confidence!” Love & Light, Seana | The Bohemian Blonde

The post Life Changing Secrets of Tarot Cards + [FREE] Tarot Spreads Guidebook appeared first on Brittney Carmichael.

How to Interpret Reversed Tarot Cards Without the Doom and Gloom | Biddy Tarot

A few years ago, I was sitting at a table with some of the best Tarot readers in Australia. We were chatting casually about the Tarot and how we love to connect with the cards.

But then the topic of reversed Tarot cards came up and the mood changed completely.

“What? You read with reversals?! Why on earth would you want to do that?”

“Ugh, I never read with reversals. They’re so negative.”

“Reversals – no thanks. I don’t need all that depressing energy in my Tarot readings.”

The whole table of Tarot readers were dead set against using reversed Tarot cards in their readings.

Except me.

You see, I LOVE reversed Tarot cards. They bring an extra layer of depth and insight to my Tarot readings that I can’t get from upright cards.

But, I also understand why these Tarot readers were avoiding reversals like the plague.

Look up a reversed Tarot card meaning in a Tarot book and you’ll often find words like “betrayal”, “deception”, “treachery”, and “manipulation”. Not exactly the kind of vibe you want to give your Tarot readings, right?

So why do I LOVE reversed Tarot cards when many Tarot readers do not?

Because the way I read with reversals is very different to how many other Tarot readers read reversals.

In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to interpret reversed Tarot cards, without the doom and gloom.

If you’ve avoided reversed Tarot cards in the past, today’s the day to breathe new life into reversals and use them in positive and empowering ways in your Tarot readings.

Why Read With Reversed Tarot Cards?

If you’re a Tarot beginner, you might be wondering why on earth you would want to read with reversed Tarot cards and double the amount of information you need to learn to become a good Tarot reader.

I get it – I totally do.

But here’s the thing. You don’t have to learn another 78 Tarot card meanings to master reversed Tarot cards.

You only need to learn the methods that will help you take the upright energy of the card and apply it to the reversed energy of the card. Simple as that. (And I’ll show you how in this post.)

And once you master those few methods for interpreting reversed Tarot cards, here’s what’s possible for you…

You can double your insight and expand your understanding of what the Tarot cards mean for you in a reading.

You can see the light and shade of a situation and identify where to release any blocks.

You can delve into what’s happening within you versus what’s happening around you – perfect for knowing where to make the most impactful changes.

And you can even get a simple Yes or No in your Tarot readings.

Do you have to read with reversed to be a good Tarot reader?


However, reading with reversed Tarot cards opens up a whole new layer to your Tarot readings and provides the opportunity to go even deeper with your intuitive insights.

Let me show you how.

4 of My Favourite Ways to Interpret Reversed Tarot Cards

Here are 4 of my all-time favourite methods for interpreting reversed Tarot cards.

how to interpret reversed tarot card meaningsI’ve chosen these methods because…

These are the exact same methods I use in my personal and professional Tarot readings, and that I teach to my students in my Tarot training courses.

Method #1: Internalised Energy

At the heart of it, Tarot cards are energy.

Each and every card is an expression of energy in its many different formats.

The EmpressFor example, the Empress is an expression of abundance, fertility and the mother energy. When we encounter the Empress in our everyday lives, we might experience her energy as nurturing and taking care of others or successfully bringing a new project to life.

An upright Tarot card represents ‘externally expressed energy’. That is, the energy of that Tarot card is expressed outwardly into the world and is experienced in your external environment and in your relationships with people and situations.

On the other hand, reversed Tarot cards are internally expressed energy. That is, energy that is held within ourselves or that is more private or even secretive.

For example, the upright Empress may represent taking care of others, whereas the reversed Empress may represent taking care of yourself.

To simplify the method, take the upright meaning of the Tarot card, and then add “self” or “private” to the interpretation.

What I love most about this technique is that there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ message here (unlike the traditional reversed card meanings which focus on the opposite of the upright card meaning). It’s simply where the energy is being felt.

This technique can also show where changes need to be made or where action needs to be taken. If your Tarot reading is mostly upright cards, then you know you’re dealing with external situations and your relationships with others. If your Tarot reading is mostly reversed cards, then you know you’re dealing with yourself and any required actions or changes need to happen within you first.



Method #2: Too Much or Too Little Energy

Reversed Tarot cards can often point to an imbalance in energy. That is, there is too much or too little of the energy.

Learn the Tarot card meanings with Biddy Tarot | Strength Card | Everyday TarotTake the Queen of Wands, for example. Upright, she represents a confident person who enjoys social situations. However, what does this look like when there is too much or too little of this energy?

Perhaps she is over-confident and domineering, especially in social settings (too much of the Queen of Wands energy). Or perhaps she is a wall-flower or a ‘shrinking violet’ when in a room with others (too little of the Queen of Wands energy).

When I’m reading the cards in this way for a client, I’ll often pose it as a question. For example, “What role does confidence in social settings play for you? Do you feel over-confident, or are you lacking confidence?”

And, I’ll often add, “How can you make confidence in social settings work for you?” That is, how can you bring this energy back into balance and alignment? (Super empowering, right?!)

Method #3: Blocked Energy

This method is similar to the ‘too much or too little’ energy, with a slight difference.

Energy can often appear in our lives, but it gets blocked or isn’t being expressed in the most constructive way possible.

For example, the reversed Temperance card may indicate that you are seeking out moderation and harmony in your life but right now, there’s a blockage to fully experiencing that energy in a positive way.

Ask, “What’s getting in the way of you achieving moderation and harmony?” That is, identify what is blocking the energy.

Then, ask, “How can you release any blockages associated with moderation and harmony?” Perhaps you need to reconnect with the mantra, “Everything in moderation”. Perhaps you need to pick your battles to create more harmony. Perhaps you need to let go of the expectation that there will always be perfect harmony in all things.

To find the answers to these questions, you may simply have an open dialogue, or you may pose these questions to the Tarot to see what comes up.

Method #4: Upside-Down Imagery

I love working with the pictures in the Tarot cards, especially when I want to connect more intuitively with the situation.

If a Tarot card appears in the reversed position, look at the imagery of that upside-down card and see what comes to you intuitively.

For example, in the Ten of Swords reversed, it appears as if the swords are falling out of the man’s back. Perhaps the pain that has been inflicted in the past is now finally being released and the client can move forward into a new cycle (especially since this is a Ten – the end of a cycle).

Or in the reversed Page of Pentacles, the coin looks as if it might slip out of the man’s hands. His grip is not very tight and he doesn’t seem to be concentrating. Perhaps it is a sign that without the necessary discipline and focus, money is just slipping out of your hands.

This is a particularly powerful technique for interpreting reversed Tarot cards, especially if you’re a visual person. The images often create an instant link between your conscious and unconscious mind, helping you to connect with your intuition.

So there you have it – 4 of my favourite methods for interpreting reversed Tarot cards.

If you want to truly master the reversed Tarot cards and learn not just 4, but all 8 methods, then you’ll love my online Tarot training program, Master the Tarot Card Meanings.

In my signature program, I’ll show you how to interpret upright and reversed Tarot cards from the heart, not just the book. And I’ll teach you the ‘must know’ systems that sit behind the Tarot cards that make learning Tarot super easy. By the end of the program, you’ll have what it takes to become a confident and intuitive Tarot reader who everyone raves about!

How Do You Know Which Method to Use?

Now, with so many different ways to interpret a reversed Tarot card, you’re probably scratching your head and wondering, “How on earth am I going to know which method to use and when?!”

Well, that’s why it takes years and years of practice to become a good Tarot reader! Nonetheless, here are a few tips to help you know which method to use:

Mentally agree to use one method only

Tell the Universe prior to a reading how you are choosing to read reversals. For example, “I am going to interpret all reversals in this reading as blockages.”

This way, the Universe will present your message to you through the most relevant cards, given that you are interpreting them in a certain way.

Go with your gut instinct

Sometimes you just ‘know’ what the card refers to. Your intuition may be guiding you towards a specific interpretation, or you may be drawn to a combination of interpretations as listed above.

Look at the other cards in the reading

Look for themes across the different cards in the spread you are using. For example, the Four of Cups reversed combined with the Hermit may suggest that your client is spending too much time alone and shut off from the world around them. On the other hand, the Four of Cups reversed combined with the Nine of Cups reversed may indicate that your client has lost their connection with their inner selves and exterior opportunities are also unfulfilling.

Draw on Your Personal Experience

Sometimes, it really does just come down to experience. For example, I know now that whenever I see the Three of Cups reversed in a relationship reading, nine times out of ten it indicates that there is a third person involved and it is usually the client who is that third person.

To help you build your own experience, seek feedback from your clients to understand how the cards are playing out in their lives. Do this not only during or directly after the reading, but also a few weeks or months later. Find out how a particular card came to life for you or your client and understand what it looked and felt like.

How to Start Reading with Reversed Tarot Cards

Now that you have 4 simple yet powerful methods for interpreting reversed Tarot cards, let’s get you reading with reversals straight away!

First, you need to decide if you are laying out the Tarot cards to face you or your client.

There’s no ‘right’ answer – simply choose what feels right for you. But, make sure you decide before you start to lay out those cards so you know what’s upright and what’s reversed.

My preference? I like to read the cards facing me and then I’ll show the client the cards as I talk about them.

Next, you need to get some reversed cards into your Tarot deck.

My favourite method is to cut the deck into three piles. Turn one pile from top to toe, 180 degrees, so that those upright cards will become reversed cards, and vice versa. Then put all the piles back together and shuffle. Then do the reading.

Or you might prefer to do a ‘messy pile’ shuffle by spreading the cards out on a table haphazardly and moving them all around before picking them back up into a neat pile.

Or something else! Again, there is no ‘right’ way of shuffling. Choose what feels best to you.

Now you’re ready to rock ‘n roll with reversed cards in your reading.

And if you want to take your Tarot readings to a deeper, more profound level, check out my online Tarot training program, Master the Tarot Card Meanings.

W.B. Yeats Loved Tarot Cards

Widely considered to be one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, William Butler Yeats, born on June 13th, 1865, was the winner of the 1923 Nobel Prize in Literature and a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival. But in the 1880s, he was a young aspiring writer living ascetically in London, and, as poet and scholar Kathleen Raine notes, one of his few possessions was “a Tarot Pack.”

Tarot, a card deck used for divination and as a tool for self-reflection, is back in a big way. The New York Times reported last year that Tarot was trending, and interviewed a Tarot reader who said “that she has seen more customers of late seeking help connecting to their life purpose, rather than answers about their fate.” Tarot has also long informed poets, providing as it does “a symbolic and interpretable language for the elusive shape of our lives.” The still widely-used Rider-Waite Tarot deck designed by A.E. Waite and Pamela Colman-Smith grew out of their involvement with the Hermetic Society of the Golden Dawn—an Order to which Yeats also belonged.

Want more stories like this one?

The Hermetic Society of the Golden Dawn began as an occult organization dedicated to the study of metaphysics and magic, founded by three Freemasons who claimed to have been inspired by a mysterious manuscript in cipher found at a British bookstall in 1884. The manuscript, once decoded, offered a coherent system for the secret organization to follow. By the mid-1890s, the Golden Dawn had attracted many celebrity members, including Maud Gonne, Aleister Crowley, Bram Stoker, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and its concepts of ritual and magic (and Tarot) have had a lasting influence on Western occultism.

As Raine notes, at this point in his career Yeats had already begun to investigate the idea that “images well up before the mind’s eye from a deeper source than conscious or subconscious memory.” The Golden Dawn, its esoteric symbolism, and its promise of spiritual knowledge fed Yeats’s work. Raine points to the supernatural rituals evoked in his poem “All Souls’ Night” as being derived from the mysterious studies of the Golden Dawn. In the choruses of The Resurrection, Yeats writes of “that fierce virgin and her Star;” according to Raine, “The symbolic tradition to which the star belongs is that of the Tarot.” Raine dives deep into Yeats’s work to pinpoint other symbols he uses that derive from the Tarot—the Tree of Life, the Wheel of Fortune, the Tower, and the wandering fool.

Eventually, disputes led to Yeats resigning from the Order. In his later years, he became more interested in Irish nationalism and in the power of theater. But the occult influence remained in his work, in which one can detect hints of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Chaldean Oracles, and Blake’s Prophetic Books. According to Raine, who was writing in 1969, Yeats had foreseen people rebelling against the intellectual, and trying to tap into a more spiritual, vital, and groovier (hey, it was the Sixties) level of consciousness:

Even since Yeats pursued truths in his time and in our own so unfashionable, that revolt of the soul against intellect which he himself predicted has manifested itself in many ways, and the time of writing wears the aspect, even, of revolution among the younger generation, prepared to take the archetypal world by storm. Truths so vital, so intrinsic to our very nature, cannot with impunity be denied.

Throughout his career, Yeats showed a fascination with the contrasts between people’s internal and external selves, and a changing sense of his life’s purpose. It’s no wonder that he, like today’s Tarot enthusiasts, looked to the divination deck for answers.


JSTOR is a digital library for scholars, researchers, and students. JSTOR Daily readers can access the original research behind our articles for free on JSTOR.

Top 10 Love Tarot Cards | Biddy Tarot Blog

Which Tarot cards might you expect to see in a Tarot reading when love is just around the corner?  Whether it’s with your life partner, husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, new love interest, or simply a friend, let’s face it – we can’t get enough of love! Not surprisingly, questions about love are some of the most common in any Tarot reading.  

In this post, I’ll break down the top 10 Tarot cards for love, romance and relationships. 

And if you want to discover the top 10 Tarot cards for all kinds of Tarot readings (love, finance, success, travel and more), then click here for my free eBook – Top 10 Tarot Cards. Learn the Tarot card meanings and read Tarot with more accuracy and confidence! 

the lovers

The Lovers! Need I say more? The Lovers is the ultimate Tarot card for love and represents a unique bond and deep connection between two people. Its presence in a reading reflects a very authentic relationship that is built on mutual trust and respect.

two of cups

The Two of Cups indicates a strong bond between two people and often reflects the commitment made to one another within a monogamous relationship.

ten of cups

The Ten of Cups is typical of a happy family within a warm and loving home. It reflects the presence of deep family values and a feeling of completion, having found the perfect partner and having raised the perfect children.

four of wands

The Four of Wands is a card of celebration and a safe and secure home environment. It often reflects a wedding, engagement or other event whereby a relationship is becoming more serious.



The Ten of Pentacles reflects a well-established relationship (typically a marriage or defacto relationship) and a solid family life. .

ace of cups

The Ace of Cups heralds a new relationship filled with excitement, joy and happiness. This is the type of bliss you once experienced as a teenager in love, with butterflies in your stomach and a desire to spend every waking minute with your new love.

knight of cups

The Knight of Cups is your ‘knight in shining armour’ and appears in a reading when you are being courted or romanced by someone special. He /she is attractive, creative and in touch with his/her feelings – very much the SNAG (sensitive new-age guy) type.

the empress

The Empress is a beautiful, abundant, fertile and expressive woman. She represents sensuality within a relationship and is indicative of a deeply fulfilling connection between you and your partner.

the emperor

The Emperor reflects a very sturdy male figure and may suggest the presence of a long-term partner.

the hierophant

The Hierophant represents tradition, structure and religion. This card can therefore indicate a long-term, committed relationship or marriage that is very traditional.

Discover exactly what Tarot cards to look for in your readings when you seek to find fulfilling relationships, life purpose, positive change and more.