Tarot and Psychic FAQ

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Questions concerning specific cards, readings, styles – common questions about Tarot Readings in general. A resource to help you understand readings and Calgary readers.strength

A Tarot card reading is a personal experience. Your level of knowledge may vary from ‘informed and interested participant’, to ‘first time querant’. At Calgary Tarot, Erin has read tarot for all levels of experience. If you’re new to tarot card readings, or if you’d like to discover Erin’s style, please browse the FAQ – this will give you a taste of the gentle, intuitive, concerned reading style you can expect from Erin, If you are or know someone who has had a bad experience in the past, please read or recommend this resource. It’s Erin’s wish that Tarot be used to help, and inspire. There is no reason to feel intimidated.



1. What is the Tarot?
The Tarot is a collection of 78 pictures, stories and archetypes that provide insight into the human psyche, and depict the story of our human and spiritual evolution. As adeptly described by Kathleen Meadows of Toronto in her various articles and studies on the history of tarot and the divine feminine, ‘The Tarot is a set of seventy-eight images, which taken together, depict all the forces that affect human life, along with all the characters, events, emotions, and ideas that provide the material of which human life is composed. (Tarot card readings) provide an interface between the realm of imagination, and the material level of existence.’ (www.tarotbykathleen.com)

The Tarot is divided into Major Arcana or trump cards, which depict the bigger influences at work in our lives, and the Minor Arcana or ‘pip’ cards which fill in the detail or specifics of situations or circumstances. The tarot cards and corresponding images tell are placed and then interpreted via the intuition or ‘third eye’ of the tarot reader in order to answer questions , understand influences, or foresee potentials for the querant (person whose cards are being read).

2. How Does the Tarot Work?
Generally, an implicit sacred agreement is entered into between tarot reader and client that the tarot reading or information gathering be guided by the higher selves of the parties involved, and then told in part through the images and stories of the cards, and in part by the visual, audio and empathic images, feelings and understandings given to the reader. When the client (querant) shuffles the tarot cards his/her intuition guides the shuffling, deck cutting or other methods by which cards are selected from the deck. The client does not have to be aware that his/her intuition is at work, it is enough that she has agreed to the reading.

When the reader shuffles for the client, either because it is his/her preference or in the case of a phone reading or online tarot reading, the tarot reader’s intuition serves as a medium of the client’s intuition, and similarly guides the selection of the cards, creating the same effect. No method of shuffling or determining which tarot cards to lay out is better than another. Tapping into the intuition is like drawing information directly from the highest source and is not limited by the method of tapping in, i.e. whose hands pick up the cards, whether there is distance involved, or how the shuffling and choosing is accomplished.

Many clients report to me that when asked to choose a card, or a specific pile during a tarot reading they feel heat, or sense a vibration coming from the card. Some will say the card feels heavier or lighter, darker or brighter. The way the intuition speaks is different for each individual. For many clients the process of choosing feels random. As long as the messages received and guidance given feel very connected and insightful, it is not important whether a client experiences any physical or energetic sensation coming from the actual tarot cards.

3. Why should I trust a tarot reading or a tarot reader?
When we trust a tarot reading we are trusting our higher or divine self to give us guidance, we are trusting that guidance to come through the medium of the tarot archetypes and images, and we are trusting the tarot reader to effectively interpret or guide this communication. In my view, if we are going to trust enough to make the appointment, be present, and contribute money energy, this signifies that we already trust on a deeper level and there is little point in sabotaging that inner knowing with mental thoughts that limit or deplete us.

For myself as a reader, trusting the cards is truly trusting the Universe, or Spirit to guide me. The cards form a part of the language through which I communicate with the Universe/Spirit. I make an agreement to ask for and receive guidance this way. I enter the agreement with love and trust, in the spirit of the greater good. Therefore when a message is clear, even if I wouldn’t have chosen it or if it challenges me to accept it as truth, I trust it. If a message is unclear at first, then I may ask for further clarification, until I am satisfied with my answer.

A caveat and measure of truth in a tarot reading is this: the tarot should never advise you to go against your personally defined morality or your inner guidance.

4. What if the Death card (or another 'scary card') comes up?
Many people are excited for the connection to the intuition and the divine that the Tarot can bring but are inhibited by their fear of certain cards; of shocking, negative or dark messages they expect these cards to bring. The Death card is one I am often asked about. Before they go ahead, people want to reassurance that their reading is not going to deliver the news of a big loss, a death ; their own or a loved ones.

In actuality, the Death card seldom talks about literal, physical death. Rather it brings the message of deep personal transformation and personal change. When we encounter the Death card in readings we are being counseled that transformation is underlying or governing our circumstances. Often it is futile or counterproductive to resist the transformation or change, because it is an inevitable part of our evolutionary process or growth, and always for the better. We are counseled to allow or align with the changes that are in progress.

There are cards that can come up to talk about physical death/loss. Most often, in my experience and the mentoring I received in the study of Tarot, we do not want to know when we are going to “cross over”. If it is not going to help us, it won’t come up in our readings, assuming the agreement we make with the cards and our reader is that our reading is to express the guidance of our higher self.

Very infrequently, a reading will reveal a potential loss of a loved one. Again, this is only where it will help the querant or client to know ahead of time. Because the Tarot speaks in potentials, and because we (as well as our loved ones) are creating and recreating our realities continually, I tend to speak in potentials. You won’t hear in a reading with me, that a loved one will certainly pass. I would be more likely to speak of a potential loss, and then to give you the advice or guidance that accompanies this awareness. Is the loss avoidable? Do you need to give love or support to a grieving loved one? Is there karma to be resolved before someone passes?

For example, I once gave a reading to a young man whose cards revealed a potential loss around father, but more importantly, were guiding him to let go of old emotional hurt around his father or an important father figure. He heeded this advice, and when his father passed away a few weeks following, he had made peace with their relationship and history. In his case the information was very helpful, guiding him toward important healing and forgiveness.

The Swords: Often the sword cards have daunting pictures, but when we understand them, the messages are not scary or negative. Swords (the more frightening looking of the suit) typically depict situations in which we defeat ourselves with limiting thoughts or attitudes. These situations or patterns are easy to correct once identified.

The Devil: Naturally, for many of us, the Devil card conjures images of the Christian Devil and notions of evil or darkness. In Tarot the Devil is actually representative of a pre-Christian archetype, more closely associated with Pan the Trickster than a source of evil. The trickster can lure us in a direction that is healthy or desirable for us, perhaps out of inhibitions or self imposed limitations. Sometimes the trickster comes up to help us see that we are not being treated with integrity by a person around us.

This card also represents guilt, jealousy, “selling out” or compromising our integrity. A job may hold great money, but compromise our family time, or other factors that are important to us. When we see the Devil we are being counseled to be aware of guilt or jealousy so we can let it go, or to make choices fully aware of their implications.

5. What if the reading comes true by “the power of suggestion”?
Yes – we can focus ideas into being. Does this mean that a reader will create an outcome for us by planting a seed in our minds, speaking a potential out loud, or foretelling an outcome? To begin with, a mere suggestion by another is not the level of focus that is required to actually create.

Secondly, intention is paramount. If we hold the intention to create an outcome we will. If we are shown a potential by a reader that we do not wish to create we can simply hold the intention that we will not create it, and take steps to change any unhealthy patterns that may be creating for us.

Yes there are readers out there who will give a lot of attention to negative outcomes. Perhaps this is due to an ego imbalance. Perhaps s/he feels speaking to negative potentials gives more authenticity to the reading. It is my belief that , just as it doesn’t serve us in life to focus on negative potentials or fear, it doesn’t serve to do so in a tarot reading. Simply put, tarot as a tool of predicting may be very accurate and thereby pleasing to the part of us that is titillated by the “supernatural”, but tarot as a tool of strategy is healing and empowering. And while a certain “salt and peppering” of a reading with colourful details of a potential romance is desirable and fun, at the end of the day, I find that most of us receive a greater thrill from life changing transformations or affirmations than from a simpler glimpse of where we are heading now, all things being equal.

The power of suggestion can be a wonderful tool in some cases. While it will seldom to never be in a reader’s integrity to suggest an outcome out of thin air simply in hopes that the client will believe it into being, bringing a client’s attention to a potential that is already “in the cards” but needs a little nurturing and attention to be actualized is a healthy use of the power of suggestion for the client’s benefit.

As a side note here, it is also important, I believe, to present the outcomes of readings as potentials, keeping the creating power in the hands of the client, suggesting steps to accelerate the positive, desirable outcomes, and suggesting steps to redirect undesirable potentials.

My personal style is to use the “power of suggestion”, seed planting, or creating potential of a reading to accentuate the positive potentials in a reading, and then guide the client to change patterns, ways of thinking, or resolve emotional challenges that are not creating their desired potentials. Thus, all that is “suggested” or revealed to the client is that which will empower them. Nothing is delivered in a fear-based manner, or in a way that would tempt the client to walk away focusing on fear or negativity.

And to their credit many Calgary psychics and tarot readers are skilled at offering perspectives and insights with the intention of doing this very thing.

6. How long should I wait between readings?
This is a decision that is best left to intuition. There is no hard and fast rule as to how often one should go for a reading. I have clients that come once a year and some that at times will come twice a week.

During challenging times, back when a tarot reading was my only relief from very corporate, traditional perspectives on life, I went weekly. Often I was just “checking in” or getting what I called a “tune up”. I needed to ask if I was on the right track, if there was something else to be done in the situation, if I just needed to trust. I needed to hear the calm, wise voice of my reader, keeping me on track.

Other times I have felt just the opposite, that I need a few months of really looking inward and not receiving outside counsel.

A reader can help you with this as well. I have had clients occasionally who needed to give time for a potential to manifest, and to put their focus elsewhere. If you are over-focusing on a certain question or issue, your reader will (most likely) tell you this. One client I read for kept insisting that she was “doing something wrong” because her romantic partner wasn’t showing up. I suggested that she come back in 6-8 months if there was still no sign of the partner. Needless to say, that wasn’t necessary. In her case it was just a matter of trusting and waiting, and focusing on something else in the interim.

In summary, if you feel you need to “connect”, tune in, stay grounded, hear a positive perspective, be heard, etc. then a reading is a good idea and will enhance your well-being. Readings can offer a lot more than just a glimpse into future. If you sense that you are over focusing or fixating on a single question, or your reader advises you as much, then you may be better to give some time to your situation before checking in again.

7. Can I/should I bring someone with me for my reading?
Whether to bring someone with you is a very personal decision, and your decision to make. I welcome a partner or friend in a tarot reading, as long as the client understands that there is a good chance that very personal information can and will come up. If you bring your husband and don’t want your tarot reader to discuss the concerns of your relationship in his presence, it is a good idea to bring that up with your tarot reader privately, in advance of the session.

Often it can be nice to have moral support in a tarot card reading; someone to take notes, a good friend who understands you and may offer an objective opinion on a message that is delivered by the tarot cards. In some of my more challenging readings I have found the presence of a client’s partner or friend to be an enlightening experience, the partner piping in during my explanation to clarity a situation ‘I know exacty what she is talking about’ or of course that happened, don’t you remember when? Having a friend present in your tarot reading may also help you after the fact, to interpret or apply what was said.

While I believe that most tarot readers in Calgary share a similar policy with respect to additional guests, it is always a good idea to check with your tarot reader, as to his/her exact policies and preferences.

8. What kind of questions can I ask?
One of the marvelous and unique attributes of the tarot is its versatility as a divining tool. We can ask anything in a tarot reading, truly, and receive an answer. If we are uncertain as to what is going on in an area of our lives, and so have difficulty framing a specific question, we can simply ask What is going on around me romantically right now? Or we can look much more specifically at a question such as Is the person who asked me out a good match for me? Or What is this person’s intentions toward me? We can look over a short or longer period of time, such as how romance or career evolves in the next month, or the next year.

I have been asked very broad questions with longer time frames involved such as the life path of an unborn child, a past life experience, or the departure of a loved one, and such short term and pointed specific questions as why is my date 45 minutes late, or where is the necklace I can’t find?

If you are uncertain about framing a question, how or whether you can ask a certain question or expect a certain answer, please just ask. Those of us who read tarot cards professionally are accustomed to framing questions in a useful and helpful way, so as to elicit the clarity you desire.

Speaking for myself and several other Calgary tarot readers I know, finding new and inspiring ways to get to the bottom of a tricky or unusual question is a joy and a challenge, and one of the perks of this ‘mystical’ profession.

9. If I give the reader information or background will it 'ruin' the reading?
The straight answer to this question is NO. The value of a tarot reading does not derive from the ability of the tarot reader to tell you what you already know, but rather to connect you with your higher wisdom, your intuition, a Universal perspective, and to guide you beyond the limitations of your mind or intellectual understanding of a situation, and through emotional challenges or blockages. And while it may instill confidence in the disbeliever to hear the reader pick up that she works in communications, or what I call the ‘Hollywood’ psychic moment (you have a brother named Bob and a dog named Hobo), psychic tools and gifts are diverse and manifest differently in each psychic or reader, and don’t often work the Hollywood way. Your particular psychic or tarot reader may sense your feeling or your energy. S/he may see or feel your emotional blocks. S/he may see flashes or visions of what is coming up for you, or what has challenged you in the past. S/he may be able to provide intricate details of a person coming into your life, but that does not mean she will necessarily know you have a son named Joe or that you work at a radio station. S/he could probably get to the bottom of what it is you do for a living, but it will take some of the time that could be devoted to what you will really benefit from learning in your reading.

Giving your tarot reader the background on your question or situation will simply simplify the process of having your question answered. S/he will need to spend less time interpreting the message she is receiving. For example, if you tell me you are embroiled in a tricky situation at work with a difficult co-worker, it may save my asking you about this pushy or aggressive man I see around you, differentiating whether I am seeing a romantic potential or a co-worker or relative.

This doesn’t mean it is always best to tell the whole story up front. As a professional reader I will often go to a tarot reader for a second opinion or fresh psychic perspective. I don’t always want to give all the information up front, because it generally involves the reading I have given myself on the matter. I may let the reader or psychic know that I am in need of clarity, and feel I just want to hear what they get on the subject without divulging too many details. The important point to remember if this is your strategy, is that the tarot may not want to ‘talk about’ what you think is so very important in your situation. So, if after a few minutes of this strategy your reading is not touching on what you desire to know, then I suggest you go ahead and spill the beans, giving your reader the go ahead to get the heart of your question. At times a tarot reader or psychic will tell you s/he does not want to know about your situation. For me, this can work up to a point, but if I’m not understanding how the tarot reader’s information applies to my situation, or if the information brings some clarity but also raises questions, I need to be able to offer that information, and to receive clarification from her/him. That is an important part of what I like in a reading.

There is also a healthy and unhealthy way to approach ‘filtering’ information. Once I was told by a psychic/tarot reader (she was not a Calgary tarot reader) that I should not give her any information on my query as she was prone to ‘people pleasing’, and if she had the background she would be more likely to fall into simply ‘telling me what I want to hear’. I left the reading frustrated, and feeling I wanted to help this woman heal her emotional difficulties around her gift. I had no doubt that she had a psychic gift, but it would have been much more helpful to me as client had she been open, and trusting of her ability to offer this gift in a meaningful way.

This type of experience does not happen often. When it does I try to turn my focus to why I was guided there in the first place. Perhaps, though it wasn’t my favourite reading experience of all time, there was a nugget of insight that I needed to pay attention to. Or perhaps I was there to help her in some way. Probably both!

10. Do I need to test the reader or be on guard during my reading?
Most reputable Calgary tarot readers and Calgary psychics create a clientele based on word of mouth referrals. They therefore have an established reputation of high quality, helpful readings with insightful accurate results. If you are seeing a reader based on a trusted referral, or your own informed intuitive guidance, then it should truly be unnecessary to ‘test’ your reader. Testing, in the best case scenario, really only measures random psychic knowledge. Many of us assume that because we are interacting with someone who has developed psychic tools that they should know intimate details of our histories and will not need to ask us anything. In my experience this simply isn’t true. Even those practitioners who rely mostly on clairvoyant images or visions won’t necessarily download a full log of your background, family, work or relationships. The temptation to test the tarot reader is very common, as for many clients the tarot reading is their only connection to spirit or the divine. They may feel a sense of trepidation over trusting the unknown. Furthermore, many of us have been inundated with Hollywood psychic moments in which the reader breaks out with an intimate secret that no one but our deceased loved one could have known. While these moments do happen, they are not the norm for a tarot or psychic reading. Fortunately, most tarot readers and psychics know when they are being ‘tested’ and most have a sense of humour about it (at least speaking for Calgary psychics and tarot readers I know).

A good tarot reader or psychic will ‘see’ what you need to know about now in your life in order to accelerate your path, or create well-being. This may not be what you were expecting that s/he should see or ‘pick up’. If there is something specific you desire to know about in a tarot reading or psychic reading it is helpful to ask your psychic or your reader. They can then direct their perceptions to your query.

While there are times when juicy details of someone’s past or future are abundant, and this can be fun for the client, the true measure of a good tarot reader or psychic, in the understanding I have gained from my clients and in my personal experience as a tarot reading client, lies in the ability of the tarot reader to tap into the emotional truth of a situation, to understand the client on a deep emotional/spiritual level, and to give guidance that is helpful and empowering. Many of the kudos I receive for readings come months after, when events have transpired as I have described them , and when a break through has been accomplished, or a course of events altered for the better.

It is important to remember that sometimes the information downloaded in a reading will not make sense to the querant/client until much after the reading, as it simply hasn’t materialized yet. If you don’t trust your reader at the outset, however, then better to find someone you do trust, as no amount of ‘testing’ will resolve a basic lack of trust.
Sometimes as clients we go into a tarot reading with very set expectations, which are not always met. But if we are in good hands we should come away feeling a sense of connection, of being heard, and of inner ‘resonance’ with our tarot reading.

11. What about the phony psychics out there?
I once read an article in some fashion magazine warning readers about tricks that phony psychics use. I felt that the article would have been better entitled ‘Tricks that phony magazine article writers use’. The article was a cursory treatment of the subject at best. It suggested that only a few psychics and tarot readers were ‘the real thing’, and that all should be on the lookout for cunning tricks, such as the psychic looking for your wedding ring (don’t wear one it suggested), asking questions that the psychic or tarot reader could then refer back to in delivering your information, and saying general things that apply to everyone, such as ‘There is change coming around money’.

I can’t imagine, personally, how much effort it would take to work as a phony tarot reader. It sounds exhausting. Most of my clients are word of mouth, and I believe this is the case for most Calgary tarot readers and Calgary psychics. How would one create a successful business of faking it? Certainly it would be easier and less effort to study and learn the art of tarot reading.

Perhaps the author of the above mentioned article had simply seen one too many reruns of Ghost, wherein Whoopi bamboozles poor innocents out of their hard earned money with lamely staged theatrical effects. The fact is, we may not all be tarot readers, but most of us have some connection to our intuition, and certainly enough connection to our intellect, to not find ourselves in the tarot chairs of the very rare animal called a fake reader.

The fact is that questions are an important means of interpreting information, that a tarot reader may foresee the exact details of your next relationship but not know what kind of car you drive, and that there is much, much more to tarot reading than isolating personal details. And lastly, what is important in a tarot reading, is not whether your tarot reading may apply to another person, but whether it resonates with you. If it feels right, if you feel a tarot reader has seen into your psyche, you will not be looking for evidence of their integrity or value.

This is not to say that there can’t be the odd Whoopi out there. But are we all that way, save for a few shining exceptions? Well, I invite the above author to show me her research. I invite her to take a tarot class, or pursue some psychic development. Or even (gasp) talk to a tarot reader or two before making such vast generalizations about a profession, which I know to be filled with honest and talented practitioners.

If there is something or someone in the realm of tarot readings to be on the lookout for, it is more likely the reader who is quick to judge, quick to project his/her own circumstances into your situation, or is not on the path of self-evolution. If a reader exudes an aura of power or arrogance, that is a red flag. And, while different readers and psychics have different tools and methods, I was taught that a professional tarot reader should have a solid knowledge of their tarot cards, regardless of how much they do or don’t rely on them in a tarot reading.

Even a very new tarot reader or psychic can offer wonderful insights and resolutions. I experienced this earlier this year. I was in a tarot reading with a woman who had been reading tarot for only a couple of months. She only knew one layout, and I was almost disheartened, but decided that since I had come so far as to be sitting at her table there must be a reason for it. Indeed, with a little patience on my part I received a very helpful and insightful reading. I knew that she was tapping into my issue, and I felt reassured by her guidance.