by Joan Karp
Q. Is this from the Devil?
A. I don’t know how many times I have been asked this question. My answer is NO!! I think the most important thing to remember about approaching anything in life is your intent behind your action. There is no doubt in my mind that there are people who live in dark light and read tarot cards, and in that case, I think that the information brought forth was not for the querent’s highest and best interest.
If your intention is honorable, and you only want true information for the person, then the reading should enhance the querent’s spiritual growth. The cards themselves are nothing but cardboard with a picture on them. They have no power of their own, they cannot “predict” the future. It is the interpretation of the reader that will bring forth the story the cards are showing.
Q. How do you do this?
A. I know every person can be taught to read tarot cards, but I know some are much better at it than others. Once you have been shown the basics of card reading, be it tarot, or playing cards, it is up to the reader to go beyond what they have been taught, to let the cards “talk” to them. It is important to feel the cards, and not get bogged down into thinking that each card has one or two meanings. That just isn’t so! You do need a foundation to build on though, so that is why a course or some intense study is so important. No matter how you begin your tarot journey, know that you are getting a foundation to build upon. Don’t ever take anyone’s word that they have the “right” answers to tarot reading. It is not an exact science, and it’s based on intuition.
Q. How do I pick a good reader?
A. That is a tough one. It is important to find someone you feel a connection with, and many times that connection is short-lived. It is always good to ask your friends if they have gone for readings. Know that just because they had a reading from someone, it doesn’t mean that you will have the same connection. Stay away from the TV and the psychic hotlines, the people who work on those for the most part are not well trained. There is a special deck of cards on the market that have meanings written on them. Many psychic networks buy these cards by the case and hand them out and tell you that you are now a reader. For the most part, they are only interested in your $3.95 per minute. If you can’t find someone by referral, try to find a metaphysical store and ask if they have anyone they can recommend. By all means, trust your feelings about your reading. If, at the end of it, you feel you’ve gotten nothing out of it, you can ask for your money back. You probably won’t get it, but at least you know never to go back to that person again. Trust your feelings!
Q. Why are there so many decks of cards available?
A. People feel the need to design a set of cards to express themselves, to show the world how they interpret the tarot. It is truly wonderful, as this is something that is “feeling” based, it is important to find a deck of cards for yourself that you feel a deep connection to. I have taught many students through the years, and have had a few come back to tell me that they didn’t really get “it” until they stumbled upon a certain deck, and then it all made sense to them. I prefer the Universal Rider-Waite deck. I love that deck – it is the only one I like to do readings from. Many of my friends like the Crowley deck. I look at that and see nothing. Your deck should feel very comfortable to you.
Q. Can I let other people handle my cards?
A. I don’t see any reason why not. I think it’s a good idea to let the person who is getting the reading shuffle the cards and put their energy into them. Some people don’t let others handle their decks, and will do all of the shuffling for the reading. It is up to you how you wish to handle your deck.
Q. My cards have quit giving me information. What should I do?
A. This happens infrequently, but it does happen. It can be time for you to choose another deck, or your cards may have picked up some negative energy from someone. If this happens, it is time to clean your cards. The best way I have found to do that is to get some incense, preferably sage, but any will work. After you have lit the incense, and have a nice stream of smoke, take each of your cards and run them through the stream of smoke, both sides. There is something very cleansing about smoke. This should be sufficient to clean any negative energy that may be clinging to your cards. If this doesn’t work, then it may be time to put that deck away for a while, and use another deck for readings. Sometimes, a few weeks of non-use will be all that is needed to clean all of the blockages off the cards.
Q. How do I store my cards?
A. It is best to keep your cards in some sort of natural material, such as silk or cotton. That is the best way to keep them, but there are realities! Sometimes you have to leave them in their original box, which is fine. I have been known to carry mine in a plastic bag and it hasn’t hurt them. Ideally though, keeping them in a natural material is best. I like to store mine in a wooden chest with a few crystals in the chest. I do believe the crystals give off energy to the cards.
Q. How Often Should I Get a Reading?
A. When do you know you need a reading? For some people, a reading every 5 years is sufficient, others want readings every week. I think the balance lies somewhere in the middle. I encourage my clients to have a reading at least every six months, but preferably when the seasons change. Just as the earth is moving into a new cycle, so are we. It is good to get an idea of what is ahead for us all. I also encourage my clients to call me when something or someone new enters their life. Does a promotion look like it will turn out as well as expected? Is this new person they met going to give them grief or happiness? I do not charge for these “quick looks”. Most reputable readers I know will not charge their clients for clarification. If there is a promotion, it should have shown up in the original reading, now that it is here, we can look a little more closely at it. The same thing with a person entering into our lives – let’s look a little closer at this individual.
Another time that is good to get a reading is if there has been an argument between people. Not only is it helpful to know how it will turn out, but a good reader can give you insight into why it happened in the first place. Was it a karmic issue? If not, what were the underlying reasons? This s is most common in a romantic relationship, but it is also effective in all relationships. What if your best friend did something completely out of character? What were the reasons? How is it going to turn out? All of these issues can be found out with a reading.
You do not need readings weekly or even daily. If someone suggests that you do this, run as fast as you can! They are not legitimate. They are out to take your money and that is it. Just as we need time to finish a task that we have started, so to does the Universal Force. Events must play out, and that takes time. It may not look like much has happened in a months time, but movement has occurred. It always does. There is a saying that “Time stands still for no one” – that is very true.
Ultimately, you will know when it is time for you to get a reading. It will just feel “right”. I encourage you to listen to yourself, and follow the impressions that you get. Don’t think that you need to have a reading just because Winter is almost upon us. Trust that you will know when it is the correct time.
Q. Should cards be read reversed?
A. This is a debate that has gone on for years and years and it seems as if everyone has an opinion. I believe that they should be read as they come out of the deck, and that includes reversed cards. The little pamphlets that come with new decks of tarot cards give reversed meanings that are usually complete opposite of the upright meanings. I don’t believe that a reversed card means disaster for the person. I look at reversed cards as a delay or a lessening of the upright meaning. If an upright card means that a person is going to go through a particularly emotional time, a reversed card to me means that either they have already gone through this time, and are now pulling out of it, or, that it isn’t as devastating as it could have been. If a card for a new job shows up reversed, I look at it as either a delay in the job starting, or that it is a false start. The new job won’t last, or the person will not like it as much as they thought they were going to.
This is a very simplistic answer, the surrounding cards would give more of an explanation as to what was really going on. I have not found suitable meanings for the same circumstances in reading all upright cards. I am not a believer in memorizing certain meanings for cards and that is how you read. I am more of a “let the card talk to me” type reader, and have not had the same messages from strictly upright cards.
Since reading is so very personal, it is up to you to make the choice how you wish to read your cards. If you reverse cards, please look at the colors at the top of the card more closely now, what is above the person now that was once under their feet? What emotions are now showing above the person? Is there now growth (green) where there was just emotion (blue)? Are there now swords falling away from a situation, rather than sticking a person and keeping them stuck? Are coins falling away from the person, rather than coming to them? All of this information is available in reversed cards.
Ultimately, the debate over whether or not to read reversed cards will go on and on and on. If you are using a deck that is less traditional, what does the author of the deck say? Look at the book or booklet that comes with the deck. Since these pictures are what the author and artist are trying to convey, they certainly know whether or not they intended for their cards to be read reversed.
The beauty of tarot is that it allows you to be yourself and read in the manner which is most comfortable to you. There are no rights or wrongs. Too bad the rest of the world isn’t like that!
Q. Where Does the Information Come From?
A. I also get asked often where the information comes from. Am I psychic? Am I an entertainer? Can anyone do this? I guess the answer to all of the above is yes. I do believe I am psychic. We all have some psychic ability, and a lot depends on how much effort you have gone to to develop ability. I have done a lot of reading, classes, and hands on experience to increase my abilities. I also try to live my life in a way that taps into a lot of energies that most people ignore. To some extent, I guess I am an entertainer. I have done a number of parties, and I know many people have gotten readings from me that were amused at best. I am not trying to convert anyone to my belief system, but I also don’t want my belief system to be ridiculed. When I do a reading for someone who I know is a total non believer, I do try to make it entertaining. I want it to be as enjoyable experience for them as possible. Hopefully, I will hit on enough relevant things to make them at least question their beliefs. But more than anything, I don’t want them to be put off by a boring, or negative reading.
Yes, anyone can learn to read cards, but that does not make them a good tarot reader. I “learned” algebra years ago, but I am NOT a mathematician. You want to have somebody read for you who is willing to listen to the voices within them, and not want to censor what comes. That is where my information comes from. I just know things. I can look at the same card for ten different people, and will get ten different interpretations. That is what makes a good card reader. You want someone who will be willing to put their ego aside and listen to a higher consciousness.
Q. Why Are There So Many Tarot Decks?
A. A very common question asked of readers is “Why are there so darn many decks of tarot cards out there?” Tarot decks are designed to appeal to a variety of people. Your tarot deck is a very personal choice, and it needs to talk directly to you. Since we are all different, and have different likes and dislikes, it is only natural that we would be drawn to different decks. Are all decks out there really tarot cards? No! There are many that are true decks, but there are also a number that are divination cards. You will see decks of Angelic cards, Destiny cards, Psi cards, and cards depicting different rocks and minerals. A meaning has been assigned to all of these cards, and can be used for divination, but they are not tarot cards. A true deck of tarot cards has a major and a minor arcana, 4 suits, pip cards, and court cards. The traditional tarot deck contains 78 cards, but there are newer decks out now that have more cards, a few decks even have a lesser number of cards.
Is one deck better than another? No, but, you do need to find the deck that “speaks” to you. It is not uncommon for a serious reader to have 20+ decks of cards, but they probably use only one or two to do most of their readings.
What should you look for when choosing a deck of cards? Handle as many as you can. You will find that some feel right and others do nothing for you. It is not uncommon for decks to repel you. Look closely at the pictures. Do they look right to you? Pay particular attention to the color of the cards. Colors mean a lot, and can definitely influence your perception of the cards. Some of the cards have pictures on them that are quite intense, sometimes even violent. Does that appeal to you? It does to a great number of people. If you are an intense person, you will not be happy with a deck of very gentle, muted colored cards. You will need a deck that is as vibrant as you are. Conversely, if you a more subdued person, you will not respond favorably to a deck that screams at you!
There are many decks that are faddish in nature, they reflect an aspect of our culture that is now popular. There are decks out now that have replaced the traditional suits with dragons. It is a very popular deck. There is also a deck that has pumpkins on it. It is very popular around Halloween. Are they wrong? Heavens no. They have an appeal to a segment of society that would not respond as well to a more conventional deck of tarot cards. Thank goodness they are there.
With over 300+ decks of tarot cards available to choose from, there is something for everyone who is interested. Bless the artists who conceive the ideas and keep our choices coming!