A question I get asked a lot by people that are not in the witchy or spiritual community, is how does tarot actually work? It’s a tricky question to answer because there are multiple different ways tarot can work.

No tarot reader has the exact same experience when reading tarot and that’s hard to explain to those that believe that tarot is just about predicting the future.

Everything is energy

You may have seen a hashtag floating around talking about how energy is everything, but what does that actually mean in the real world? Well, everything in this world is created using energy and emits energy back out into the world.

Areas within quantum physics have looked at the universes varying sources of energy and Einstein was one of the scientists that realised that energy never disappears, it just gets recycled. Your energy, the energy that created you and the energy that you emit, is what we can use to read tarot.

Plus, with the theory of everything emitting energy, it makes sense that objects also emit energy, meaning that the cards themselves carry specific types of energy. We can use that energy output, to decide what the meaning of a spread is, but it’s not just the cards that tell us what’s happening, we have to give our input as well.

Learning a new language

When you decide to learn tarot card reading, you commit to learning a brand new language. I liken it to learning how to read Egyptian hieroglyphs. You are effectively learning how to read and interpret imagery and energy.

Each of the 78 cards has its own meanings and sometimes these cross over due to their similarities. For example, The Empress and the Queen of Pentacles have a lot of corresponding properties. Another pair that cross over are Judgement and the Eight of Cups, with their idea of letting go of what is holding you back.

When we start to learn to read tarot, each of these cards represents a type of energy and a tiny section of a bigger story, which is why the more cards a spread holds, the more detailed the reading will be. We can get a lot from just one card, but we have to be the one that fills in the blanks. It’s up to us to use our role as interpreter and energy reader, to create a narrative from that card. We have to feel out the story it tells by using tools such as empathy, compassion and creativity.

Becoming an interpreter

If you’re reading tarot for other people, you need to be able to get a reading of their energy. Because I do all my readings online, the way I do this is by trying to get a read on the energy behind the question or enquiry. Nobody wakes up one morning when everything is going swimmingly and says ‘I feel like I should get a reading’ there is always a subconscious driver behind the need for a tarot reading, we just have to try and figure out what it is.

I always ask my clients for context around their question, I try and get a feeling of the emotional state they’re in and how they’re reacting to the situation. This is all energy reading. You are using the energy behind their words or if you’re on a video call, by their facial expressions or the inflexions when they talk.

Once you’ve got a grasp of the type of energy your client is emitting, then you move onto the cards. You can then put the meanings of the cards up against the question and compare the meanings to the energy the client is giving off.

I then ask myself some key questions:

  • Is the energy from this card complimenting the energy I’m getting from the client?

  • Is the energy from this card conflicting with the energy I’m getting from the client?

Complimentary energy means that there is clarity to the reading, the answers the cards are presenting are probably things the client already sort of knew or was expecting. If the energy is in conflict with the energy of the client, then it may be that there is some inner work that needs to be done to bring these things to light, or there are things that the client is avoiding or reluctant to admit to themselves.

What if you read the energy wrong?

When you first start tarot reading, I highly recommend asking your clients as many questions as possible, especially throughout the reading. This will help you pick up on any energy shifts and help you read the person a little better.

Of course, we are all only human and we may be off the mark a little sometimes, but if you can open a strong line of communication with your client, then it gives you more room to move things around and really figure things out together.

If the person you’re reading for tells you that you’re completely wrong and gets angry with you (I’ve NEVER had this just FYI) then it could be that the fault lies on their end. They may be really reluctant to accept the truth of their situation, or the cards may have called them out on their own bullshit. Remember, you’re reading their energy, so if that’s the energy they’re giving off, there must be something deeper going on. I find this happens most often in love readings, which is why I’m very careful when agreeing to any tarot reading around love.

Want an easy way to learn tarot reading that allows you to go at your own pace? Check out my online Tarot For Beginners Course!