A look into the future: tarot card reading 101

We all have that one friend who tags us when Astro Poets tweets a new mini horoscope. When we’re at a crossroads, it feels good to have hint of what’s to come. Once in awhile, it’s nice to not be held accountable for some events in our lives and let the stars or tarot cards guide us along the way.

To take our fate-reading game up a notch, we tapped Jade Tamboon of Tarot Monkey to teach us the basics of tarot card reading. A self-taught tarot card reader, Jade used to do it full-time. Now, he does one-on-one sessions on the side.

While more people are picking up this interest, the origins of Tarot actually go way back to Italy in 1440. Originally, they were used as playing cards and it was not until the1540s that tarot cards were used for divination.

Before you reach Jade’s OG level, you would have to do multiple readings with multiple people. As with anything, tarot card reading also takes practice and then some. You’d have to be in touch with your inner Tita Susan Miller to embody the spirit of foreseeing the future, at least the hazy version of it. A word of caution though; these things shouldn’t be taken literally. While hearing about a future love or a sudden success in career is appealing, it’s still up to us to make them happen.

YOU WILL NEED

A tarot deck
Your life questions
Scented candles in case you’re feeling a bit ~extra~

Before we begin, let’s get into the basics of the cards. The weight of the cards correspond to the names given to the categories: Major Arcana  and Minor Arcana.

MAJOR ARCANA (22 CARDS)

These cards covers big themes we encounter in life.

This includes cards with characters like the magician, high priestess and hangman or bigger concepts like justice, strength, transition or completion.

MINOR ARCANA (56 CARDS)

These cards cover events, people and issues that we encounter in our lives.

These are divided into four suits like poker cards: the wands, cups, swords and the pentacles. Each minor arcana comes with numbered cards (Ace until ten) and four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen and King)

All of these cards have their own meaning. To read them, you can refer to the illustration on the card or the meanings provided in books or online references (like this and this). Usually, there’s a tiny white booklet where you can find all of those with no fuss. Better brush up on that before getting started.

STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR TAROT DECK

Jade recommends the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck for beginners. The illustrations tend to change slightly depending on the theme of the deck. There are a lot of references for this particular deck to guide your interpretations too.

Once you have your own set of tarot cards, get to know them like you would a friend. Think of all the ideas you can derive from the cards. As you can already imagine, things can get confusing if you just dive into it. Give yourself time to get a feel of things.

STEP 2: SHUFFLE YOUR CARDS AND PREPARE YOUR QUESTIONS

You can either do a question reading (have a specific question in mind) or an open reading (addressing general ideas you want to cover), so prepare your questions or ideas before beginning. Rituals like this are important to get you in the mood and start off the whole session, so light that candle if you’re feelin’ it. Jade also suggests lighting an incense and dimming the lights to make the ambiance more relaxed.

Step 3: LAY THEM DOWN AND START PICKING YOUR CARDS (A.K.A. THE MOST EXCITING PART)

There is an array of spreads to choose from, depending on your preference. You can go as low as one and as many as 12. If you want a more in-depth reading, select more cards. But for starters, do the basic 3-card spread.

STEP 4: INTERPRET THE CARDS

Jade advises to make stories and interpretations depending on the outlook of the chosen cards. We can read it from outside going in, from left to right, or right to left. The meanings of the card drawn also change if they are drawn upside down. You can always refer to the booklet included in your deck as a guide.

There’s never really a wrong interpretation, as no interpretation is ever factually correct — just make sure it isn’t too far off from the actual meanings of the cards. In the end, it all depends on your interpretation and your relationship with your cards.

Again we suggest to not go overboard. Practice with a friend, and always remember that your fate is still in your hands, not on whatever the cards tell you.

To give a better example, we tried a real life situation using one of our friends present during the meetup. Let’s call her Paige. She asked Jade to give a tarot reading on her relationship. No context in particular, Paige only mentioned how long she’s been with her boyfriend.

Given the cards draw, this is what Jade found:

Page of Swords – This card represents conflict. This signifies the possibility that Paige and her boyfriend are currently — or just recently got out of — a sticky situation.

Strength –  This card represents being guarded. Due to the sticky situation they may be experiencing or just recently got out of, Paige and her boyfriend have come to the decision not to trigger each other because they are aware that this can cause friction in their relationship.

Five of Rods – There is an uneasiness. Paige and her boyfriend are always bracing themselves for the next potential conflict.

Let’s just say, Jade was on point.

If you’re interested in one-on-one readings on career, relationship, finances, travel, health and life choices; contact Jade Tamboon (Tarot Monkey) through Facebook or Twitter.

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