I thought I would answer some podcast listener questions related to tarot that I have received over the past year as we celebrate the one-year anniversary of my podcast, Healing Thru Tarot. I usually answer these questions directly through email when they come in, but I thought it would be fun to share with you my answers to the most frequent tarot questions I’ve received. Let's start with a very common question I get.
How do I explain how I see the tarot?
The Rider Waite Smith Tarot
Everyone may have a different answer to this question, so this is my personal perspective. I see the tarot as a therapeutic tool to work with universal archetypes to unlock life lessons, sacred wisdom, and psychological insights that can help us with self-reflection, personal growth, self-development, and goal setting to improve our lives. Everyone sees the tarot through a different lens, and there are limitless applications for the tarot. So, it can be whatever you need it to be. It’s such a versatile tool that has so many uses beyond divining the future, even though I do use it for that purpose occasionally. I just tend to gravitate toward the healing aspects of this divinatory system.
I think people have underutilized tarot in the past. And my goal is to broaden its application. You can use tarot cards to check in on your current mental status, the growth you’ve made on your healing journey, identifying blind spots, deepening your shadow work, and you can tap into your subconscious mind to unlock insights into the inner work needed for psychological breakthroughs, which can help greatly accelerate psychological growth. So, that’s my take on the tarot system and why I am so fascinated with this tool and excited to share the many ways you can utilize it for your personal growth and development.
Do I read for myself, and do I get readings from other tarot readers?
I’m going to answer these similar questions together because the answer is yes to both. I read for myself daily to set goals, navigate astrological energies such as new moons, full moons, eclipses, planetary transits, and retrogrades, and the most common use is for my healing journey. Some readers say they can’t read for themselves because they can’t be objective, but I really encourage people to give it an honest try because there is so much healing that can be unlocked by pulling cards for yourself. Even if you just get in the routine of pulling one card a day to check-in, that can be very effective on your healing journey.
The Earthly Souls and Spirits Oracle and The Pythia Botanica Oracle
Take it from me I’ve been studying psychology for 25 years and no matter how hard I try I can’t heal another person. True healing happens within when an individual has those a-ha moments and learns from the insights that burst forth from the subconscious mind. They are the ones that can integrate all of the aspects required for healing to occur. No healer can achieve that. Reading for yourself can help these epiphanies occur faster. As a healer, I can only facilitate healing and teach you and guide you through the process, but I can’t do the actual inner work that is necessary for those healing breakthroughs. That’s why I promote learning how to work with the tarot therapeutically even if you struggle to learn the card meanings. You don’t have to read professionally or memorize all the meanings and card combinations to be able to find value in working with the tarot.
Every few months I will get a reading from other readers that I feel drawn to. I think getting readings from other readers helps to get a new perspective on a particular issue. Often, they pull some of the same stalker cards I do, but maybe they interpret them in a different way that can help me push through a block I was having. We can all hit roadblocks in our readings because we all see the cards in our own unique ways and reaching out to other readers can offer the fresh perspective we need when we feel stuck.
Also, readers have different tarot expertise, so some readers may focus on healing spreads as I do, others incorporate astrology and tarot for a forecast of the next year and what to focus on in that time period, and some readers specialize in relationships or career advice. Jumping around to different tarot approaches helps give you a broader knowledge of the lessons and events that are unfolding for you that you need to pay attention to. Thus, I think the best combination is to get in the habit of reading for yourself daily, if possible. If not, then weekly! And I highly recommend for everyone to get regular readings usually every 3-6 months from someone you trust to give you a fresh perspective.
Do I take breaks from tarot?
I do not take scheduled breaks from tarot, but it does happen naturally during some of my busiest months of the year or when I am very immersed in writing on my fictional divination book series. That happens just because I’m really stretched for time.
There have been times when I was particularly stressed and highly emotional where I felt it was best to leave the cards alone for a week or so, but I am always drawn back to them when things settle down. When I am feeling emotionally raw or vulnerable, there are moments when it feels uncomfortable to pull cards because I know I may not be in the right mindset to hear some of the tough advice that the cards give. What I recommend here is to take a break from the tarot and pull from affirmation decks or a gentle oracle deck then work your way back to the tarot when things settle down. Some subjects are just to raw at times! We’ve all been in that position.
I even bought a tarot deck for moments like these - the Monstarot (shown below)
It is a very gentle tarot deck that feels safe when in these tender moments, and I use this deck to ease myself back into the tarot when in these tough spots. This usually only happens once or twice a year, but I don’t push myself in those times. It is perfectly fine to take a break if that feels appropriate. And taking breaks can help you from getting into tarot ruts, slumps, or becoming bored with tarot. I am drawn to tarot because it is fun and healing. I love experimenting with it; so I never want it to feel mundane or stale. If these little breaks that naturally occur during the year help me appreciate it more when I come back to it, then I welcome it. Usually, these little breaks only last one or maybe two weeks. I can’t stay away from the cards for long.
How do you choose which decks to use for a reading?
I get this question quite a lot since many of us have a growing tarot and oracle collection. And there are a few variables involved in this process. For me, it is a mix between an intuitive pull to a particular deck and a choice between specialized decks for different types of answers and advice. When I decide which decks to purchase, I gravitate toward decks that give me a wide range of advice and perspectives. I do this so that my collection includes decks that will address all types of questions: what to let go, advice on life purposes, healing approaches and self-care techniques, chakra work, crystal energies, numerology, and astrological energy to consider.
Building a diverse deck collection is key in my opinion. Some of my decks are charged to work for a specific purpose. For example, my animal decks are mostly used to identify blocks and give advice on how to push through those blocks. I immediately know to pull one of my animal decks, if we will be addressing blocks in the spread. If I am reading for a lightworker who is struggling with their dark night of the soul and needs advice on their light work path, I am going to use my main lightworker decks: the Lightworker Oracle, Light Seers tarot, Work Your Light Oracle and the Starseed oracle. These 4 decks serve that particular lightwork purpose and read well on those topics. And I find that lightworkers resonate with the energy of those cards.
Also, I always say that the deck chooses the reading.
Channeling my inner Ollivander from Harry Potter here:
"The wand chooses the wizard, Harry."
If I am picking decks off my shelf and one calls out to me that I haven’t thought of, I know to just pull it because during the reading there will be a particular card that has the perfect message for that client. I usually save this as the closing message for the reading. It may be a deck I wouldn’t have consciously chosen based on the topic question, but my intuition knows why it's needed. And I always follow my gut!
You may find yourself drawn to certain decks for particular types of questions. Archetype decks are great to use in spreads for psychological work and healing. Affirmation decks are great to have on hand when there is a difficult topic you are reading on, and you feel the client needs an uplifting message at the end of the reading.
For male clients or those with heavy yang energy, I gravitate toward decks like the Wild Unknown, the Game of Thrones Tarot, and the few black and white decks that I have. So, you can use your client’s energy to base your selection on. For artists, I usually use the Light Seers Tarot with the Sacred Creators Oracle based on the bright colors in the deck. That’s a visually appealing combination. As I said, there are so many variables to consider. Just experiment and see what works for you. I’ve settled into the routine of a mixture of intuition, energy matching decks to client energy, and pulling specific decks for a targeted type of advice. It works well for me!
How do I organize my decks?
Early on I got advice from a seasoned tarot collector to use the cataloging app called LIBIB. It is a free website and app which allows you to set up libraries where you can catalog and keep track of all your decks and books, and the great part about this is that you can keep those lists separate. I have a tarot library, an oracle library, and a Lenormand library. I also have a library collection dedicated to my tarot resource books. And you can switch very easily between your library collections to manage them all. I manually add new decks and books into their specific library as soon as I receive those in the mail, and this allows me to log in and see how many decks I have and to track when I purchased each deck.
For those that have hundreds of decks, this is super helpful because they know exactly what they have on hand, and it helps from purchasing duplicates in case you already bought a deck or book and forgot. I love it because I can easily pull it up to see how many tarot decks or oracle decks I have at the moment.
And I can answer that question here because I just quickly checked my libib account. I have 53 oracle decks and 18 tarot decks. I have 2 copies of the Light Seers Tarot. It is the only deck I have both the mass media and indie version of. Just go to libib.com to sign up for a free account and start cataloging your decks today. It’s so easy to manage. This keeps you from forgetting which decks you have and helps you identify which decks you need to spend more time with because I don’t know about you, but it is hard for me to lay eyes on all my decks since they are housed in drawers, closets, and bookshelves all over the house.
What advice would I give to those just starting to experiment with divination?
My advice is to purchase a tarot deck and a few oracle decks that resonate with you visually, energetically, and emotionally. I find it’s easier to bond with decks when you resonate deeply with the artwork and energy of the images. It makes it easier to learn the card meanings as well at least for me. After purchasing the right decks for you, I’d say to get in the habit of starting to pull at least 1 card daily and read the description of that tarot or oracle card and sit with it, study the images, and journal about the themes for that card. You learn the meanings as you pull cards and relate them to personal experiences in your life.
3 Card Spread with The Dark Mansion Tarot
You can work up to short spreads like these simple 3 card spreads.
These are simple but impactful and are great to help you get started.
Then I suggest starting to work with the tarot on personal growth. And the best way to do this is to calculate your life path number and tarot birth card as well as your teacher card. These cards are very significant for you since they signify themes you will encounter on your life path and life lessons that you will learn along the way. I covered this topic in Ep. 20 of Healing Thru Tarot. If you need a refresher on this topic listen to that episode. I recommend getting Mary K Greer’s Tarot for Yourself Workbook to help you learn how to work with these cards for your personal growth and development.
Then I would say practice, practice, practice. Read for yourself daily and start to pull cards for friends and family, if they are willing. The more you use the cards, the more you will start to internalize the meanings of the cards. I suggest attaching your own meanings to the cards and associating personal life experiences with each card and journaling about that association to help you solidify those meanings. It is easier to work with the tarot when you have a personal connection with the cards compared to just trying to memorize meanings for the 78 cards.
If you need help learning the meanings as you read, Aquarius Wellbeing on Etsy sells tarot cards with keywords on the front of the card for both upright and reversed positions. That’s a good way to start until you internalize the meanings. The tarot is a beautiful, valuable tool. It deserves time and attention. I respect it greatly and continue to learn from this system the more I work with it and explore its depth. Keep working at it, and maybe you will fall in love with it just like I did!
If I could change one tarot card in the deck which card would it be?
This is easy. I would change Judgment to Awakening. I’ve always read the Judgment card as a wake-up call, an awakening, ascension, or alignment to a higher path. And recently I bought the Tarot of the Abyss by Ana Tourian, and she has done this! She titled the Judgment card as Awakening and changed the image to depict an almost angelic form arising out of their former self and ascending to a higher calling.
Awakening from The Tarot of the Abyss
Judgment from The Light Seers Tarot
The Light Seers Tarot (shown above) also depicts this card as a spirit or soul arising out of a woman surrendering herself to her higher calling. I prefer this to the traditional Rider Waite Smith Tarot (RWS) version depicting something akin to the Rapture or Judgment Day. I view judgment as a beautiful concept of evolving into a greater form of yourself and aligning to the path you were meant to follow as you arranged in your soul contract or life purpose. I pulled this card many times during the first year and a half of my awakening, and I always found it comforting to know that I was finally aligning with my true calling.
What is the difference between tarot and oracle?
Tarot is a 78-card system that is defined and has a clear structure of 22 major arcana cards representing major life events, lessons, and archetypes that are universal across culture and time. The minor arcana consists of 56 cards that represent everyday life and mundane tasks. Each card has a specific meaning in tarot. But as you can see from this assortment of Fool cards in the photo above, each deck can evoke different meanings, emotions, and messages based on their artistic expression. This is why you see many readers with a diverse collection. These Fool cards come from The Way Home Tarot, The Light Seers, and The Everyday Witch Tarot.
Magick and Mediums Oracle
Oracle is an undefined system because each oracle deck can have any number of cards. You could have 40 to 100 cards in a deck, and they can be related to a particular theme like relationships, career advice, life purpose, lightworkers, healing, and even the elements. Really it can cover any genre or topic. Oracle decks usually come with a guidebook with a message that can range from a sentence or two to several pages. The two systems are very different, but I think they work well together when layering readings. Oracles can help with clarifying a message or offering an opening or closing message to set the tone of the reading or summarize the overall message from the spread. Oracle cards are also great to pull a daily message from when you need advice, comfort, and direction.
What oracle deck would I recommend for beginners?
I recommend the first oracle deck I received. My husband brought home the Wisdom of the Oracle deck (shown below) by Collette Baron Reid from Switzerland on one of his work trips. And I have found over time that this is such an accurate deck. I love the versatility of this deck. It offers a general oracle message, a relationship message if your question was on love or friendship/family issues, a prosperity message for work and career, and a protection message if the card comes up reversed.
The images of this deck are gorgeous, and it is a great all-rounder deck for all kinds of questions. It is very user-friendly and accessible, making it perfect for beginners. You really can’t go wrong with this oracle. I’ve recommended this deck the most for beginners and gotten a lot of feedback that it was a good choice. When in doubt, I always pull this deck out for clients too because I know it will give me a spot-on reading. Other great beginner oracle decks would be The Goddess Guidance Oracle cards, Earth Magic Oracle, and the Work Your Light and Starseed oracles by Rebecca Campbell if you are a lightworker or Starseed.
Tarot or Oracle?
This is my least favorite question. I would never want to have to choose because I love both so much and because oracle decks add so much diversity since each deck can be tailored to a particular theme and the messages are so comforting when you need them.
If I was forced to choose between tarot and oracle and could only use one system for the rest of my life, it would have to be the TAROT.
Photos from The Everyday Witch Tarot (above)
The tarot is its own language and is a perfect system for healing and inner work. It’s the language I prefer now for teaching and healing. And once you connect with the tarot and know how to read it, you can pick up the cards and tap in and find your answer without any books or extra steps. It’s hard for me to describe to people how beautiful and transformational the tarot is if they haven’t experienced it for themselves. It’s life-changing, and I can’t imagine giving this tool up EVER. Luckily, I don’t have to choose, and I can layer my readings with many different divinatory systems as I feel called, which makes me happy.
What is the best place to find spreads?
I always suggest Instagram and Pinterest for finding spreads. My favorite instagram spread accounts are owlandbonestarot, ethony dawn, biddytarot and the tarotspreadlayout account.
Also, follow #tarotchallenge on Instagram because there are great monthly challenges where you have a tarot prompt daily for an entire month.
On Pinterest, you can just search for whatever topic you are looking for and you will find spreads related to that topic or similar topics. I haven’t always found deep spreads out there, so I mostly create my own custom spreads to dive deep into an area. I also often create custom spreads that go along with certain topics I’ve covered on my Healing Thru Tarot podcast. Over the past year on the podcast, I have covered a large range of topics, and there are 15 custom tarot spreads so far that you can throw if you have missed any. You can find all of those spreads on my Healing Thru Tarot Pinterest account. They are all posted under my board titled Healing Thru Tarot Custom Tarot Spreads. I post all my spreads on my Healing Thru Tarot Instagram account as well with each podcast episode so follow me on Instagram to see those.
The most common question about spreads that I have gotten is what spreads I use for week ahead spreads and monthly spreads. I used to pull a Celtic cross for the month ahead, but I got this question so frequently that I created my own custom week ahead and monthly spreads and added them to my spread eBook called A Spread for All Seasons (shown below)
I wanted to create a spread book that covered all the seasons and yearly events that you might want more guidance on. I launched this spread eBook in late April 2021, and it contains 15 custom tarot/oracle spreads designed to guide you through the seasons of any year. It covers holidays, full and new moons, mercury retrogrades, seasonal spreads, year end and year ahead spreads, and eclipses with weekly and monthly spreads that you can reuse again and again year after year. You can find this spread book on my website healingthrutarot.com for $10 or click here to purchase
NEW SPREAD EBOOK ANNOUNCEMENT
I’m also excited to share my brand new spread eBook, Healing Thru Tarot's Healing and Mental Health Spreads Vol. 1. It contains 15 custom spreads centered around healing and mental health issues. And I’m already working on Vol. 2 of even more healing spreads.
Vol. 1 contains a spread for family healing, wound healing, as well as spreads for self-care, blind spots, empowerment, how to step into your full potential, a way back to self-spread, and much more. I’m really proud of this eBook, and I’ve worked months on this to create spreads to guide you through the healing work needed to heal old wounds and step into brand new energy of empowerment. You can find this eBook on my website healingthrutarot.com for $13, and here is a list of all 15 spreads so you can see what you are getting with this spread eBook. Click here to order
Books and Decks shown in this blog or recommended are below: click on title to go to the product. Some of these are amazon affiliate links and it helps me out if you use these links. Thanks for your support.
The Light Seers Tarot, Sacred Creators Oracle, Wisdom of the Oracle, Lightworkers Oracle, Work Your Light Oracle, Starseed Oracle, Tarot of the Abyss, Earth Magic Oracle, Goddess Guidance Oracle, Monstarot, Wild Unknown Tarot, Game of Thrones Tarot, Pythia Botanica Oracle, Earthly Souls and Spirits Oracle, The Dark Mansion Tarot, Rider Waite Smith Tarot, Everyday Witch Tarot, Magick and Mediums Oracle, Mary K Greers Tarot For Yourself Workbook
Link to Podcast Episode 25 on Anchor click here
Other relevant Podcast Episodes - Ep 20: Calculating and Working with Tarot Birth Cards and Life Path Numbers
*If you would like to support this podcast monthly, please consider signing up for a small pledge to help me be able to continue to produce these quality episodes every two weeks. Use the link below to sign up to support through anchor.
Are you enjoying the Healing Thru Tarot podcast and companion blog? If so, now you can gift me a coffee or two to kept me fueled as I pull all-nighters writing the scripts and recording all the episodes. Help me keep this content flowing by sparking my inspiration! Just click here to gift me a caffeine fix.