Black and white tarot card depicting the hanged man.

Tarot cards – not what you might expect…

I’ve been doing tarot readings since I was 17, and maybe I’ve come to rely on my personal tarot deck more than I probably should.

Tarot reading isn’t what most people think, it’s not fortune telling or predicting the future, it’s a guide to help me make my own decisions.

I have found that my practising of tarot gets even more frequent while I’m at university. This is not only because I’m faced with lots of decisions, but also because if you briefly mention you have a tarot deck everyone you know will ask you to predict their future (no matter how many times you insist that’s not actually how it works).

The point of a tarot card reading is to help with decision making. There are loads of different variations and ways of organising and drawing the cards. However, quite simply, when a person wants a reading they will draw a number of cards; the meaning of these cards work together to tell a story. In turn, this story aims to answer the questions that person had and aid a decision.

Selection of tarot cards on a purple backdrop saying "light", "universe" and "new beginnings".


The symbols used in the card’s illustrations are designed to work with the subconscious mind and highlight thoughts and feelings towards the question being asked. These symbols are read in combination with the numbers on the cards and, most importantly, the readers response to the cards you’ve drawn. All of these come together to offer a point of focus and allow the question to be viewed in a new light.

Although, this new perspective or point of focus sometimes tells me what I need and not just what I want, sometimes I don’t like my tarot card readings. It’s always difficult to face something you’ve been avoiding or having to admit that you’re wrong – especially when those realisations are coming from a deck of cards!

It’s normal, for me at least, but I don’t think I’m the only one who is guilty of avoiding issues, focusing on the little things because the big things seem scary. But in the end, this will get you nowhere, ignoring the problem just to look busy while I’m doing it. So, this is why I don’t mind getting a ‘bad’ tarot reading. If I immediately take a disliking to it or get that ‘this is too real for me right now’ panicky flutter, that usually means that the cards are drawing attention to a concern that I’m somewhat aware of, but don’t want to admit.

Having an understanding of this and being open to the advice offered, no matter how uncomfortable the truth might be, will usually allow me to be more open to helping myself.

This understanding usually reaches out from the tarot deck to the other voices you’ll hear in life, like a concerned friend who’s noticed you seem to be running on empty despite your insistence that you’re fine, or your significant other who’s been feeling a strange distance from you lately.

Yours may be a close friend of family member you use as a sounding board, but tarot readings are my way of finding out what’s really going on with me, and gives a fresh perspective on big decisions.

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