Is this for real?

Yes! This is totally a thing. Tarot has a fascinating history as a card game, a divination tool, and a spiritual device. How it gets used depends on who’s doing the using. Tarot appeals to all kinds of people because, as a divination tool, it works. It’s also fascinating, beautiful, and fun.

How does tarot work?

That really depends on who you ask. Personally, I think there’s a combination of things going on here.

For many readers, the tarot represents a series of images that speak to something primal in our psyches. We relate to the cards because—no matter who we are—they incorporate themes that are universally present in human life. That’s a little too Eurocentric for me, given that many of the archetypes present in the tarot are very strongly rooted in particular European frameworks (and within particular timeframes). They’re still useful, but I think the language of universalism surrounding tarot risks shortsightedness. This is where alternative decks with particularly provocative artwork, different card names, inclusive language might be especially beneficial, in contrast to more traditional models.

For others, tarot is a tool that enables communication with gods, guides, or other spirits that can then impart messages to us. As a witch, I’ve had this kind of experience, and I think that for the religious person there is a lot of merit here.

I also have a tendency to turn to the history of the cards themselves. You’ll hear me start sentences with, “Historically, this card has meant…” and then relate it to the matter at hand. I realize that it sounds a little dry, but actually there’s a lot to get into here. The Death card, for example, might evoke conversation about our cultural preoccupation with death , how we’ve dealt with it collectively in the past, how that relates to the fear of mortality and change, and then its subsequent association with transformation. All of this can trigger a unique emotional response in the querent, making the card immediately relevant to her individual experience.

I also think that tarot is sometimes simply an opportunity to speak freely in a judgment-free space. I don’t think it always matters which cards come up—the response will be the same because the question exists independently of the cards. If it’s on your mind, it’ll come out regardless of which cards you pull.

Why would someone get a reading?

People get readings to gain additional insight into particular situations, to answer specific questions, or (often) for confirmation of decisions that have already been made. I like to think of a tarot reading as an opportunity to bounce ideas and get advice from as many as 78 different (and actually thoughtful) friends. Oftentimes, a tarot reading brings up emotional stuff that’s weighing on the querent, whether that’s directly part of their question or not. A tarot reading may just be a way to discuss personal issues in a confidential, neutral, safe space and receive useful input.

But aside from all that, readings are fun! It can be entertaining to see what comes up and what kinds of insights are generated. Under the right circumstances, it can even be a little spooky, which by itself is a draw for some people. And even for readers for whom tarot is a very serious spiritual practice, tarot still brings a lot of joy. Fun is a perfectly acceptable reason to do or receive a reading.

What kind of person gets tarot readings?

All kinds. It’s really hard to stereotype the sort of person who gets (or gives) tarot readings. Personally, I’ve read for both men and women, young and old, and myriad religious backgrounds. For some people, it’s a spiritual exercise, and for others it’s purely practical. And for still more, it’s just fun! I find that a lot of my clients are readers themselves, looking for additional insight or technique ideas.

Are e-mail readings as good as in-person readings?

There are perks to both styles of reading. A lot of people worry that e-mail readings won’t be in-depth or personal because of distance, but I’ve found that this isn’t the case at all! In fact, one of the great things about e-mail readings is that you get, essentially, a permanent transcript of your reading. You can refer back to your reading and our e-mail conversation months afterwards and find additional insight. If you get multiple readings over a period of time, you can begin to discern patterns that might escape you otherwise. E-mail readings, I’ve found, often take quite a bit more time to perform than comparably priced in-person readings, largely because they can include so much information about each individual card, alongside of the overall interpretation of the spread.   Looked at from this angle, e-mail readings are a bargain!

When you buy an e-mail reading from me, you get an attractive, detailed PDF document, including images of your reading. You also have the opportunity to ask follow-up questions.