Lesson 1

Welcome to The Class

Tarot Cards

So you wish to learn to read the Tarot Cards? For what reason I ask? Is it to impress your friends at parties? Is it to seek some inside information about your love life? Maybe it’s a passing interest after watching a movie or programme where the Tarot played a thrilling spooky role? Perhaps you wish to use it is as a self-counselling or guidance tool? Could it be that you believe it will make you feel powerful and special or is it something more than all the above, something that you can’t quite understand, a need, a desire, an interest that has persisted for years? Maybe your mother, grandmother or aunt read or reads the Tarot?

One thing is for certain, for whichever reason you have arrived at your decision to study the Tarot, you will get much more than you bargained for as the cards slowly but surely reveal their mysteries to you. Doors to deeper understanding of yourself and those around you will open taking you on individual journeys. You will watch, as if almost outside yourself, the ebb and flow of the river of life form patterns, both negative and positive, which we all at times succumb to, either to our benefit or to our detriment. Once you enter this river, life as you know it, and perceive it, will never be quite the same again. You must ask yourself if you are prepared for that.

Where Did the Tarot Cards come from?

No one is quite sure when and where the Tarot Cards originated but it is safe to say that they have been around for centuries. The Chinese were using a form of Oracle Card for a long time before Tarot was ever heard of. The actual Tarot as we know it today dates back to fourteenth-century Italy.  A wealthy aristocrat commissioned a hand painted deck as a present for his daughter on the occasion of her marriage. Little did he know what he had started. Yet, even though this man was responsible for launching the form of Tarot we are now familiar with, the story begins many thousands of years beforehand. Long before reading the cards became trendy, symbols for divination have been used for thousands of years. The alphabet originated from these symbols and each had a particular meaning. The Rune Stones for example date back much further than the Tarot.

From the beginning of time, man has always sought a way to foretell the future. Divination was a valuable tool used for very different reasons than it is used for today. Back in the days when humans lived by the cycles of nature, survival from year to year was a constant source of concern and foremost in the minds of all. Would the coming winter be hard? Would there be enough fodder to feed their livestock if conditions deteriorated? Would there be enough supplies to sustain the tribe? Would the land yield well? Would the rains come in time?

These early forms of early divination consisted of carved out symbols, shapes and lines on sticks or stones. These lines or symbols related to the basic needs of the people, such as weather, harvest, war, protection, fertility etc. During the long cold days of winter much time was spent throwing stones or sticks on the ground to see how the year ahead would augur. Sticks or stones with letters or symbols engraved on them would be cast on the ground and various meanings were attached to the order they fell in, the area where they landed and the distance apart from each other. The local wise woman/man would be able to interpret the symbols and spread to decipher their meanings. It was a widely held belief that such messages came from the Gods and any information received was taken very seriously. There are many specialised books and excellent websites which document the history of the Tarot and Divination. Students who wish to learn more are advised to do extra reading in this subject.

The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

Pamela Coleman Smith Arthur Edward Waite

Up until the publication of the Rider-Waite-Smith Deck in  1909  most Tarot cards were quite simplistic in design.  The Major Arcana got the most attention and were considered to be vastly more important than the Minor Arcana.  As a result, the imagery on the Minor Arcana was sadly neglected.  Traditionally the Minor Arcana imagery consisted of repetitive emblems of their Suit e.g.  3 Cups for the Three of Cups or 5 Swords to represent the Five of Swords.  The emblems were usually drawn on a blank background and the reader would have nothing to go on except their knowledge of the associated card meaning.  The Minor Arcana were similar in appearance to an ordinary deck of playing cards.

Arthur Edward Waite, born in 1857 was a mystic and occultist who was extensively involved in the study of all esoteric matter.  Waite joined the order of the Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn and became a Freemason  in 1891.  Waite was a respected author and wrote several books and texts on esoteric and metaphysical studies.  He was greatly interested in The Kabbalah, alchemy and Ceremonial Magick.

In 1901, William Butler Yeats, the writer,  introduced a young woman by the name of Pamela Colman-Smith (Pixie to her friends) to the Order of The Golden Dawn where she was introduced to Arthur Waite.  Pamela was an artist, illustrator and writer.  She also had considerable experience of theatre costume and set design. She had got to know Yeats after doing illustration work for him and his brother Jack Yeats.

Personality conflicts created rifts within the Order and as a result Waite left the Order and set up The Holy Order of The Golden DawnSmith joined him and in 1909 he commissioned her to draw the imagery for a deck of Tarot that would be very different from previous decks.

Armed with his in-depth knowledge of the occult, kabbalah and esoteric symbolism, Waite instructed Smith on his exact requirements for each card.  It is believed that Waite provided Smith with detailed design themes for the Major Arcana as they were his main concern.  For the Minor Arcana she received a list of simple meanings from which she was to intuitively design the imagery herself.  Smith drew on her own imagination and background experience in theatre to create the wonderfully detailed and descriptive images of The Four Suits that we know so well today.

The Tarot Deck has 78 cards but Smith claimed to have produced 80. However, Waite had commissioned the deck so possibly discarded a couple in his final selection.  It took Smith 6 months to complete the project which were probably drawn in ink and then coloured in later.  The original drawings are lost so unless they turn up at some time in the future we shall never know how they originally looked.  Pamela was paid very little for her services.

The finished deck was published by the Rider Company in December 1909 and were simply called Tarot Cards.  The cards were accompanied by a guide written by Waite called ‘The Key to The Tarot’.  The following year he added simple black and white drawings of Smith’s illustrations and renamed the guide ‘Pictorial Key to The Tarot’.

When the US Games Company bought the rights to publish the deck in 1971 they called it The Rider Tarot Deck and then changed it to Rider Waite Tarot.  Although Waite had commissioned the cards and had instructed Smith on their design, it was Smith who did all the artwork and most certainly deserves credit for her incredible work and contribution to the continued popularity of the Tarot.  In recent years, Smith has been included and is recognised as being a very important and essential part of the design team of this famous Tarot Deck.  Today we refer to this deck as the Rider-Waite-Smith or simply the RWS.

Printing techniques at the time of publishing were still very crude and the original version of the decks were quite harsh.  Since then they have been re-coloured to make them brighter and clearer.  Slight changes have been introduced here and there but in general they have stayed true to Smith’s original creations.

Many decks have been influenced by the RWS and when you come across a deck that is referred to as following the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition then the imagery of the cards will be instantly recognisable to you.  Once you understand the RWS, you can easily pick up any of these other decks and read with confidence.  Most certainly, the designer will have introduced their own slant on the imagery interpretation making them more relevant to the world we live in today.  As a result, there is a RWS style deck to suit all.

When you first start to learn the Tarot and simply do not know where to start with all the Tarot Decks, you will find on enquiring that it is best to start with The Rider-Waite-Smith deck and take it from there.  As a result you will find that the majority of classes or courses teaching Tarot Reading will require you to purchase a deck of these cards.

It is sad to think that Pamela never found much commercial success except for a brief period in New York between 1907 and 1909 where her work was exhibited. She was incredibly talented and today her work is highly treasured and much sought after by collectors.  In 1911 she converted to Catholicism. After inheriting a sum of money from an uncle, enough to buy a house, she moved to Cornwall where she ran a vacation home for priests.  She died penniless and single in 1951 aged 73 years.  All her artwork and paintings were sold at auction to pay her debts.

Arthur Edward Waite  continued to write successfully and a number of his publications remain in print today.  He married twice and had one child, a girl named Sybil.  He died in 1942 in London aged 84 years of age.

Pamela Colman-Smith was a very interesting and colourful character.  Her life is well worth exploring.  Check out these links for more reading




What about those Myths and Fears?

Two of the most frequently asked questions from people enquiring about the Tarot course are “but don’t you have to be given a deck of cards by someone and not just buy them yourself?” also “surely it is necessary to be psychic or gifted to read the cards?” In answer to the first question there wouldn’t be as many card readers as there are today if we all had to sit around waiting for someone to give us a deck of Tarot. Some Tarot readers have many decks of cards and are constantly adding to them. Going purely on the basis of the above,  they would not be able to use these numerous extra decks because they had bought them and were not given them by another.

The idea that one had to be handed down a deck of Tarot is based on out-dated superstitions, old myths, beliefs, fears and also from the lack of readily available cards that were in circulation at the time.  Early printing techniques were not only rough and crude but also very  expensive.  This made a deck of cards costly to produce.  It is therefore quite understandable that they were not freely available at the time.  There was also the common held belief that one had to be ‘Special’ in order to read the cards. The need to be psychic or gifted to read the cards is again nonsensical as we are all psychic and gifted. Each and every one of us is born with some form of psychic ability such as clairvoyance, clairsentience, clairaudience or claircognizance. In general we come into this earth with one of the above four being dominant.

Psychics aim to develop as many as these natural gifts as they can but will have one in particular which is more pronounced than the rest. Some people are from birth aware of their gift and let it develop as they grow. Others are vaguely aware of something but dismiss it as being all in their mind due to external conditioning as they grow up. Other’s gifts lie dormant and like an underused muscle, needs flexing in order for it to function so that they can become aware of its presence.

Throughout the Course one of our aims will be to work on developing our intuition by flexing that invisible muscle. The more we try to use it, the more it will kick in. The word psychic can be disturbing to some people but what we are really talking about here is developing our intuition. Developing our intuition will take us past just purely learning the meaning of the cards and into the realm of deep inner understanding and awareness. The cards then speak to you in a language that is personally unique and special. That is when a good reader becomes a great reader. This is something that is possible for all.

Fear of The Tarot – The Death Card

Death Upright

And to, The Death Card.  Before we go any further with our study of the Tarot, I think it is best to deal with the mythology and stigma attached to The Death Card in The Major ArcanaThe Death Card is the most dreaded and feared card in the Tarot Deck! Sorry, but let me clarify what I have just said.  The Death Card is usually feared by the Querant, that is the person having the reading done but not feared by the Reader.  No one likes to see the word death or a picture of a skeleton or bodies scattered across the ground.  We get all these in The Death Card and more.  If we look closer we can see crosses in the ground marking previous burial sites suggesting that Death has surely been on a rampage of some sort.

So why does the Reader not fear The Death Card?  It is because The Death Card on its own does not signify a physical death unless it is a death that has already occurred.  To represent physical death, The Death Card does not even need to be present, yet it helps if it is.  Physical death in the Tarot is represented or suggested by the presence of a combination of several cards and not just one isolated card.  I am not going to go into detail about these combination of cards just yet as this is a course and all things in good time.

To interpret The Death Card it is necessary to understand the nature of interpreting all Tarot Cards and that is that we do not need to take them literally.  Usually there is a lot of reading between the lines and identifying symbols, archetypes and metaphors where applicable.

The Death Card is a metaphor for all death and not just a physical one.  In preparation for our own physical death later in life we encounter several mini-deaths throughout our life to get us used to the idea of letting go and impermanence (nothing lasts for ever).  When we study The Death Card in Part III of this Course we shall explore these mini-deaths in greater detail but briefly, to get us over the worry about The Death Card, we shall take a quick look.

We have all experienced death in one shape or form in our lives even though we may never have physically lost anyone.  These are mini-deaths and are losses or significant changes and transformations we go through as we mature from baby to child, to teenager, to adult, to elderly.  Change is good for us and we usually welcome change in our life if we perceive it to be positive and have personally sought it.  However, change happens whether we want it or not and it is usually these types of changes that we find hardest to cope with.

As a baby is weaned from the breast or bottle and onto solids, transformation occurs and with it comes a mini-death.  When the child goes to school and has to leave the mother, another mini-death occurs.  When the teenager leaves home to go to college we encounter another death. Following on from  that we have career after college, relationships, marriage, pregnancies…… and the list goes on.  If we look at these in another light they are beginnings.  The baby becomes more independent, the child begins education, the teenager learns to be mature and cope without family, the young adult begins their exciting career, the first relationship, the start of married life, bringing new life into the world.  Yes, these are all beginnings but for anything to begin, a death must precede it.  A young couple get married = the beginning of a new life as husband and wife but the death of their old single life.

As mentioned earlier, we move through most of these mini-deaths without really being aware that they are happening.  We trundle through life but then one day are thrown a curve ball.  For example, the partner you thought you loved so much announces that they are leaving you.  In shock and terribly upset, you believe your world has ended.  You will never recover from this disaster.  You have given the last 15 years of your life to your partner and you thought you were happy. A massive death has occurred.

However, as the microscope bears down on the relationship, it slowly becomes obvious that things hadn’t been right for a long time between you yet you just kept your head down and went about your business.  Your sex life was non-existent and you rarely spoke at meal times.  You both spent more time away on holidays with friends than you did with each other.  You don’t even like each other’s friends.   You can’t remember the last time you dressed up and went out together? You have nothing in common except the two children you have raised.  You look nothing like the person you were when you first met for you have let yourself go.  When you think about it, you can’t exactly say you were happy but you thought that all marriages were the same.  There was nothing holding the marriage together except habit.  Death had been riding into town for a long time but you hadn’t noticed.  You just thought that things would always stay the way they were but the Universe generally does not allow for such passivity and stasis.  If you do not make the necessary changes in your life, then it sends in Death and does it for you. Death does not arrive unless it has been called for.

The Death Card usually announces that change is coming.  The change that Death brings is transformative.  We may fear the change that Death brings but usually it is in our own interest and on a subconscious level has been called for.  When Death first strikes we may feel it like a physical death for its blow can send us reeling but behind the grim facade of the skeleton lies a pure intention.  Death asks you not to fear him for in bringing you death, he is also gifts you new life.  It may take you some time to understand and appreciate this new life but it is for certain that if you allow Death to take from you that which it wants and not fight it, then the transformation will be astounding and more than you had ever thought possible.  What Death wants to take from you is only that which is not worthy of you yet you struggle to hold on and at times  to your own detriment.

The Scythe Death carries will cleanly sever any dead-w0od in your life and clear a path through all the weeds and undergrowth.  If you can make friends with Death and not fear him then you can start your life over with a clean sheet and write your own script.  You will look back one day and thank him for seeking you out.

So Death is not such a macabre and gruesome guy.  He is just there to liberate you from a restricting or oppressive situation that is not healthy for you even though you may not agree with him in the beginning.  We can all get stuck in ruts and live boring lives bound by habit, routine and duty so think of Death more so as your Knight in Shining Armour coming to save you not from the evil King but from yourself.

The Tower Upright

The Tower, another feared card in The Major Arcana carries a similar meaning except it tends to be more forceful. In effect it is more worrying than the Death Card yet is not as scary to the querant.  The Tower takes matters a bit further than Death.  It is like Death has a heart and does listen to your pleas but The Tower is cold and detached.  It cannot be emotionally swayed at all.  If you think you have outsmarted Death through ducking and diving and living under the radar you won’t be so clever with The Tower for it can see and expose everything that is not as it should be.  The Tower then takes whatever steps necessary and I mean whatever steps necessary to effect change. It moves at lightening speed and with incredible force.

Divination v. Fortune-telling

The term Divination for all forms of Oracle Reading has largely taken over from the old-fashioned term of Fortune-telling. The archetypal image of the traditional Fortune Teller had her (usually a woman) of gypsy background. Her long hair would be raven black partly covered by a colourful headscarf. A long gypsy-style skirt, shawl, loopy earrings and long nails completed the picture. She was usually to be found sitting in a caravan or behind a curtain at a Fair. She would look deep into your eyes and even into your soul where she could see all your past, present and future which of course she would only reveal to you once you crossed her palm with silver. Sometimes one didn’t have to actually go in search of her at all for she had a habit of appearing out of nowhere (probably while you were walking through a market or fair) and approach you with a grim warning. This dire omen or portent was typically delivered in some form of riddle such as “beware the eye of the dark one when the Hare moon reveals the white stone of the old oak” . She would then dramatically back away from you with fear in her eyes as if she had just been given a glimpse of some terrible horror that was to befall you.

We were all taken in by the drama, magic and mystery associated with this archetypal image and certainly the movie industry did its best to perpetuate it. Thankfully as Tarot Readers, Psychics, Mediums and Healers, we are beginning to shed these out-dated presumptions.. We are beginning to be acknowledged and respected for the genuine good work we do and also for all the effort we put in whilst learning or studying our art. Divination is no longer looked upon as an amusing, silly parlour game. Thanks to the amount of information available online and in bookstores, the informed public now have some sort of idea how the Tarot works, what Spiritual Healing is, where their Chakras are and the benefits of Meditation. Yes, you will still find your Fortune Teller sitting at funfairs and stalls promising all kinds of revelations for a certain sum of money but these days you are probably more likely to find a Tarot Reader operating from an Holistic Centre, Metaphysical Store or even their own Establishment. Many have their own Websites, and will issue Business Cards, Brochures and even Receipts to their clients.

Tarot reading has moved out of the dark ages and become a recognised and extremely useful form of guidance, self-development and counselling. However, all said and done there are still some people out there who carry the Fortune-Telling idea or notion with them when they book a reading. When you sit down to do a reading for someone who deliberately takes their engagement or wedding ring off before entering, sits tight-lipped with arms fold across their chest or who point-blank refuse to confirm or deny anything you reveal in the reading, then there is a good chance you have unfortunately taken a booking from someone who wanted a Fortune Teller and not a Tarot Reader. These people want you to tell them everything and will expect you to know their middle name, their children’s name and whether they were going to be five minutes late for their reading etc. They often refuse or are reluctant to ask a particular question as they expect the cards and especially the reader to know everything that there is to know about them and their life. These people are partly disillusioned when their reading provides little or no information and partly delighted with exposing an obvious charlatan. It is virtually impossible to read for such people as they shut down, prohibiting the two-way flow of energy and communication which is necessary to conduct an in-depth reading. It is after such readings that you will most likely throw your cards aside in the certainty that you are a hopeless and useless Tarot Reader. It has happened to us all at one time or another I am afraid. That is why it is important that you understand the process of the cards and can explain to the querant what to expect in a reading. Hopefully it will whittle out and discourage those who have come to have their fortune told!!

Before anyone starts shouting, there will always be exceptions when it comes to the above. Psychics who read the Tarot Cards often use the cards as a trigger for doing psychic readings and will be able to bring forth information for the querant just from tuning into their energy field. You will find as you progress in your readings that there will be times when certain information will just pop into your head from apparently nowhere. This information may be extremely accurate for the querant. You will be puzzled yet thrilled when it occurs but don’t expect it to happen all the time. I believe that the occurrence of it has something to do with the combination of energy fields of both the querant and the reader. There is a natural compatibility which promotes such phenomena. It is at these times that you come face to face with your intuition. The Tarot cannot predict the future, know your name, tell you what you had to eat yesterday or tell you who you are going to marry. Fortune Telling might claim to do so but not the Tarot. The future is not set in stone.

Predicting the future is indeed very complex and unless you are someone who has a reputation for extremely accurate premonitions or predictions it is advisable not to claim to do so. You will only set yourself up for trouble. Telling someone what is going to happen to them in twelve months’ time is gambling a lot. To do this you would have to have a guarantee from all involved, not just the querant, that they continue on a certain course of action, attitude and behaviour for that allotted time without wavering once. This is unlikely to happen.

People are human and have such a thing as free will. People are predictable most of the time, but at times of stress, financial ruin, euphoria or when in love are prone to doing some mighty unpredictable things, and if not them, then it may be someone associated with them but impacts upon their life regardless. It is almost impossible to make allowances for all these variables in order to predict the future of someone’s life. As a Student of the Tarot this may come as a relief to you because you thought you had to give absolute predictions of the future to whoever you read for.  That would be expecting a lot from anyone.

Let me tell you the way it works so that when you are pressurised by a querant to tell them what is going to happen to them six months down the road you have some form of explanation that will be acceptable to all. You may now be thinking “well what is the Tarot supposed to do then?”.  Ok, well yes, we are still predicting the Future when we do a reading for someone but the difference is that we are predicting the Probable Future or the Probable Outcome of events around the issue or question of the querant at the time of the reading.

It is based on what will Probably Happen if everyone involved continues to behave in the same manner. It will highlight who is involved in the situation for good or bad and how attitudes, ideas and emotions are impacting the situation. It will expose blocks to advancement; what is holding you back, who is holding you back and whether you are aware of it or not. It will tell you what elements are at play and how they affect each other. It will provide encouragement and bring to the surface inner strengths and abilities that will help you through difficult times when life seems to be out of your control. It will run to ground and root out your deepest fears, hidden fantasies and even your shadow side. It will turn a spiritual mirror on you so that you may see yourself as others see you. It may expose lifestyles and behaviour modes that are detrimental to your health.

The Tarot teaches the humbling lesson of accepting responsibility for where you are in life instead of blaming everyone else around you. The Tarot becomes a gateway for the Subconscious to the Conscious filtering through important information from the inner-self. The Tarot is very spiritual in nature and messages from our higher-self can find expression and guide us on our personal journey through life. Through a Tarot Reading much of the above information can be accessed. This informs and empowers the querant to make any necessary changes, cut lose any dead wood, tie up loose ends, make amends for past mistakes, forgive others and if necessary forgive themself in order to strive for the Best Possible Outcome For All.

In a nutshell if the Probable Outcome in a reading is undesirable, the querant should have enough information and guidance to set about changing the outcome to their benefit. The querant then has power and control over their own future. Some of you might say that an undesirable outcome cannot always be changed regardless of how determined the querant is and this is correct. Take for instance a querant who comes for a reading to ask about their elderly mother or father who has terminal cancer. Of course in most cases it will not be necessary to look at the cards to predict the outcome or to give the querant options to change the outcome. In such cases the future is more than likely ‘set in stone’ and there is no getting out of it. However, the reading will provide guidance and support for the querant during this difficult time. It may expose a sibling or spouse of the terminally ill parent who on the outside appears to be coping but deep down is suffering terribly. It may reveal hidden strengths and abilities of the querant that will be much called upon in the coming future. The querant may be happy and relieved to know that even though they cannot help the dying parent they can be a support to those around them. The reading should always provide something of constructive and positive use for the querant even if the coming future appears to be unhappy.

Tarot Reading V Tarot Consultancy

Not all Tarot Readers are Tarot Consultants and not all Tarot Consultants are Tarot Readers.  In general, most can do both but there are those who only do one or the other.  So what am I talking about?  The difference between traditional Tarot Readers and Tarot Consultants is generally the nature or style of the Reading and its duration.

Tarot Readers typically do a 20/30 minute reading where they read the cards in front of them giving a running commentary on what the cards imply.  The Querant usually sits, listens and nods while the Reader goes quite quickly through the Reading.  Some time may be alloted for discussion of certain issues or questions but in general the Reader will tell it as they see it on the basis of These are Your Cards and This is What they Are SayingTarot Readers are not to be confused with Fortune Tellers as there is a vast difference between the quality of their Readings.

Tarot Readers can turn over several readings in a day and are very efficient at condensing the information coming from the cards into a certain period of time.  The Querant does not expect to sit down and have a heart to heart with the Tarot Reader.  They also expect to be in and out quite quickly.  Their Readings, although brief, are concise and to the point.  They remain very much in control of the Reading and are not deterred by the Querant ‘s inability to accept the information given.  These Tarot Readers often have a long waiting list. They have great stamina and are very versatile.  They are equally at home at a Holistic Fair giving Readings in a noisy crowded hall as they are doing Readings in their candle-lit private room at home.  A good Tarot Reader can make a lot of money.

Tarot Consultants on the otherhand operate on a Tarot Reading/Counselling/Heart-to-Heart basis.  Their Readings are generally no shorter than an hour with many taking up to 2 hours.  The Tarot Consultant expects to sit and talk with the Querant for a period of time before the Reading begins.  The Querant who comes to a Tarot Consultant expects this too.  They have not come for a ‘Cold Reading’. The expectations on both sides will have been discussed at the time of booking the appointment.  A Tarot Consultant should always ask the enquiring Querant as to what type of Tarot Reading they are looking for.  The Tarot Consultant should explain the difference between Tarot Reading and Tarot Consultancy in advance of the Querant appearing on the doorstep.

The Tarot Consultant is there to listen to a brief outline or the bare bones of the Querant’s issues before concentrating his or her focus of attention on these areas when Reading the Cards in a spread.  The Querant has come for a Reading with very definite areas to be addressed.  This is generally not a casual Reading.  Do not for one moment be under the impression that the Reader has duped the Querant into giving them information that they are then going to drip feed back to them as this is not the way Tarot Consultancy works. I often have to halt the flow of information from a Querant who is overly eager to explain their situation.  I explain to them that I only need a certain amount and if I know too much it will be hard for me to remain objective in the situation.  There is a risk of unconsciously becoming emotionally involved and desiring a certain outcome.  This could result in me again, unconsciously manipulating the meanings in favour of what the Querant wants rather than what is in the Querant’s highest interest.  All Readers come up against this challenging area when doing their own Readings.  Regardless of how detached we may think we are, we still harbour certain expectations of our individual situations. I have myself on many occasions, re-shuffled my cards and drawn again on the basis that I was not happy with what came out on the first draw.

To get the most out of a Tarot Consultation it is necessary to get an idea of the key areas involved in the issues to be addressed.  This information is then used as the basis or background for the Reading.  The Cards can reveal so much more in this scenario then when the Querant sits like a statue without opening their mouth.  The Reading will be a lot more accurate and relevant.  The aim of a Tarot Consultation is to zoom in on certain areas of the Querant’s life, certain issues and certain people to determine what is going on, what is driving the situation, who is involved (openly or in the background), areas that the Querant is consciously aware of along with areas that are hidden to them or locked within.  This precise and focussed Reading should also expose blocks to progress that are either external or internal.  Areas that the Querant may think are unrelated or insignificant may show up as indirectly influencing or effecting the situation.  Very rarely will you get such detailed information from a traditional Tarot ReadingTarot Readings are more general in terms of the information they reveal.  However, because we as humans are never just doing or being in one situation in life at the one time, other areas of the Querant’s life may come to the surface during a targeted Tarot Consultation that have no bearing whatsoever on the Querant’s issue.  They may come to have an in-depth Reading about their career or relationship but somewhere in the cards, a worry over a sick parent or legalities surrounding the family home may pop out to say “hey, we are going on too at the moment”.   Sometimes, these little intrusions can form the basis for a further Reading as subconsciously they are making some kind of a statement that should not be ignored.

During this in-depth Analyitcal Reading there will be much discussion and a two-way flow of communication.  It may even get challenging at times if the Querant is not open to hearing the truth regardless of them coming to you for that purpose.  Some people have a very fixed attitude to their situation and will fire back at you readily with excuses and reasons as to why the cards cannot be so.  In general though, Querants who come for a Tarot Consultation have reached a certain stage in their crisis or dilema. They honestly and genuinely want help to move on and away from their problems.  They may not like what they hear or see in the imagery of the cards but are at least open to accepting the possiblity of it being applicable.  The aim is to extract the truth of the situation, the responsibility on all sides and a constructive way forward.  The Querant usually leaves feeling focussed, determined and cleansed.  A Follow-up or Maintenance Reading is often arranged to determine or chart the progress of the Querant with their issue after a certain period of time.

Due to the intensity of the nature of a Tarot Consultation and the time involved, a Tarot Consultant will generally only take a few Readings a day as they can be quite draining.  The cost of a Tarot Consultation may not be much more than a Tarot Reading even though so much goes into it.

The decision to be either a Tarot Reader or Tarot Consultant comes down to personal choice and is not always based on monetary gain.  Some Tarot Consultants prefer the rapport and connection that builds during a 2 hour reading, content in the knowledge that they are genuinely helping someone to heal their life as opposed to the more impersonal brief Tarot Readings.

I myself am a Tarot Consultant, who at times do Readings that last up to 3 hours.  I also do some Holistic Fairs and certain House Parties.  However, I often feel stressed and under pressure with quick turnaround readings.  This is because it is not my style.  I prefer Readings to build and release their information without someone keeping a timewatch on me.  I am in awe of Readers who can keep up with that pace.  Then again, there are Readers I know who go pale in the face at the thought of doing a Reading for someone that would take a hour or even longer so it all depends on the individual.  Perhaps, because I teach and write about The Tarot, my Readings often turn into a mini workshop or class as I involve the Querant by explaining the numerological, astrological and symbolic aspects of the Cards as I go through the Reading.

When you start out on your journey reading the Tarot Cards for others you will all begin as Tarot Readers. As apprentice Readers you will find long Readings hard to cope with as it will take you some time to absorb the meanings of 78 cards both upright and reversed. Until you master the art of storytelling and linking cards you will begin to waffle and stumble if you attempt anything other than short Readings. Until you build up some experience and confidence you will be surprised at how long even 10 minutes can seem when you have someone the other side of the table watching and waiting for every word you say.  Once you have mastered this stage of the learning process you will naturally develop as either a Tarot Reader or Tarot Consultant. If you are versatile enough you will manage both which will lead to greater Reading opportunities.  Neither one is better than the other as they are just different approaches to doing the same thing, which is, interpreting the Tarot Cards for another. The choice is yours.


Next Lesson – Lesson 2:

Lesson 1   Lesson 2   Lesson 3   Lesson 4  Lesson 5   Lesson 6    Lesson 7    Lesson 8   Lesson 9 Lesson 10

Aces Intro    Twos Intro   Threes Intro   Fours Intro  Fives Intro  Sixes Intro  Sevens Intro  Eights Intro  Nines Intro  Tens Intro

The 78 Cards – Detailed Study Version (Card Description, Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)

The 78 Cards – Shortened Version (Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)

Part I   Part II  Part III


Copyright © 2006-2013 Vivien Ní Dhuinn


  2. I stumbled across your website and I think it is amazing, I came across tarot few months back, bought a tarot card and now following your website. Thank you for creating this website!


    • Hi Reis,

      Thank you for your lovely comments. I am at present changing from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. I am experiencing problems with the new site and it will take time for the full changeover to be complete. Until then, please use this site teachmetarot.wordpress.com to navigate my site. I will post when all is ready to go on the other side.




  3. Wow! An excellent and interesting ground. I followed the paths through the pages and, well, 5 hours on the first part of the first lesson…. This is GREAT! I was thinking of looking up more about Waite but then I looked at the clock…



    • Hi Sleepy Head,

      No more sitting up half the night reading my course!!!!! Only joking. I am thrilled you got so engrossed in it and look forward to hearing from you again in the future. There is lots more to come so you will have to pace yourself.




  4. Hello,
    I had a thirty minutes tarot reading with a 20 year experience tarot reader whose introduce me to this website which I find very interesting as it has been always my dream to learn how to read tarot in a deep way.
    As introductory lesson was very nice and detailed.



  5. Extremely useful, well written guide with simple vocabulary so that people like me can understand! I’m flattered! Greetings from Bulgaria!


    • Hello Bulgaria,

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment and I am delighted you are finding the site and content helpful.




      • Hi

        I was wondering wether you do distance readings as well?



      • I will be in the near future but send me your details; what you want insight on and some background information. I cannot guarantee you will get an immediate response as I am busy trying to get my new site up and running while writing for this one but when I find some spare time I will have a look at your cards for you.




  6. Hi Viven My name is 11/03/1978 and I would like to know about if I found love in the near future and I would like to know about work. I am from Italy and I moved to London and I actually don’t know if I will stay here in the UK…
    Thank you Very much.
    Really? a new website? which will take over this one? nice to know!


  7. Thank you for sharing all your fabulous knowledge, i wish i found you 2 years ago. I like the way you explain the cards in detail and you don’t bang on about it being “easy” thank you Vivien x


    • Thanks Sue. Yes, I think when it comes to Tarot, and if you really want to learn it, you must have access to as much in-depth analysis of each card so that you can arrive at your own conclusions. I try to bring The Tarot to life by adding some drama and interesting characters. People remember a story much sooner than they will remember a series or list of keywords and meanings. Thank you also for acknowledging that learning Tarot is not that easy and I believe it is unfair to offer courses that claim to be able to teach you tarot, I mean real tarot, in a week and sometimes less. The student becomes disillusioned and feels inadequate if they do not live up to that claim. There will always be people who want the ‘just add hot water and stir’ approach to learning tarot, but if you want to really grasp a deep understanding of it, and possibly become a professional reader, you will have to put in a lot more work than that. The strange thing is that when you embark on an apprenticeship of the tarot you initially feel that you will be old and grey before you get there. However, time flies and before you know it you will have been studying and working with the tarot for years, even though you think you have only just started.

      Best of Luck,



  8. Just started to learn to read the tarot, and up popped your website.
    Brilliant just savoring the first lesson.
    keep you posted on my progresd.
    Many thanks


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