Tarot: Why It Works… And Why Sometimes It Doesn’t

By Beatriz: For many years, tarot has been a tool used by psychics, divinators, and witches, as a highly effective tool for fortune telling and for uncovering the truth; but these cards were not always used for this purpose. Originally, Tarot was created as a storytelling tool, a story we now often refer to as: The Fool’s Journey.

Why Tarot Works: As Above, So Below
Tarot works because it is a mirror of reality. Different events, all past, present, and future, hold a level of energy which gets stronger the closer it is to the present: think of it as we understand time and life: when things are happening, we’re fully aware at the moment of everything we perceive; recent past is also very clear, and future plans, for tomorrow, next week, maybe next month, are also pretty clear in our minds. Nevertheless, when things are further into the past, things get blurry, memories are altered by our minds and the energy of its existence slowly decreases. As for the future, it becomes more uncertain: we must remember we have free will, and so does everyone around us. As such, all different possibilities and paths to follow have a specific probability that is constantly fluctuating, but the most likely outcomes are the easiest to tap into.


This way, tarot will always show us back what is happening, happened, and is most likely to happen at the time of asking. It will show us not only what we know, but different perspectives, revealing hidden messages, insight and lessons that are hidden in our situation. It can also show people’s intentions, as well as goals and potential.

How Tarot Speaks To The Reader
Consisting of 78 cards (22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana), the deck is highly cyclic and symbolic. It relies on symbolism via illustrations, elements (earth, wind, fire and water: pentacles, swords, wands and cups, respectively), key names (for the major arcanas, where most of the cards are deeply meaningful and also really self explanatory), and numerology.
The cards will refer to growth, collaboration and plans (number 3), completion (number 10), initiation and manifestation (number 1), change (number 7), hardship and challenges (number 5) and so on and so forth. The cards, having these types of connotations, related to lessons, journeys and paths to be walked on, can easily speak of where people are at right then. It’s also important for the interpretation, other than the cards themselves with their textbook description, to use intuition and the context provided by the inquirer.

Why Tarot Can Fail
There are many reasons why tarot readings could be wrong or not resonate. Here’s a list to go through:

Free will: taking a different path, yourself or other people involved (primarily or secondarily), can alter the outcome. There are very few readings that can be 100% guaranteed to happen, specially those that are set very forward into the future. This is no one’s fault, as circumstances change constantly.
Possible fix: the best way you can go about it, is to ask multiple times, at different moments. You can also ask how plausible things are to happen, ask for alternative outcomes, ask what it is you must do to let this happen (or, if you don’t want it to happen, what you can do to avoid it).

Lack of context: considering tarot cards express certain patterns, sometimes the same energy can apply to different contexts (for example: a querent’s love interest is sad: it can be after heartache for breaking up with the querent, it can be because they were hurt by someone else, it can be because of constant fallouts). Readings might not resonate because the reader is tuning into it completely blind.

Possible fix: give the reader further context. It’ll allow for more detail to be revealed, and more specific messages. Another alternative, if you don’t want to give your reader everything, is that you, yourself, extrapole the information that the reader describes to your situation (following the same example, if the reader expresses your love interest is hurt because of heartache, and you know you recently broke up, then you know it’s because of that).

Wards: sometimes, people are not open to having their business snooped at, especially private people; so readings are difficult to pick up on them. I speak from personal experience, because I have a ward spell set up so no one can do divination on me accurately without my consent. Similar things may happen when people have strong energy and do not want certain things to be known.

Possible fix: use critical thinking and try to direct the questions towards yourself and your situation, rather than other people.

Lack of knowledge: sometimes, there’s just not enough knowledge regarding what cards mean, so the message comes out wrong.

Possible fix: it’s mainly on the reader, to get studying and get the concepts right. If they have memory issues, a cheat sheet with keywords is useful enough.

Not using intuition while reading: reading only from book definitions of the cards could result in highly generic messages that could be ambiguous and not resonate. This is a common mistake for people with very little experience on tarot.

Possible fix: practice, practice, practice.

Getting the wrong conclusions: sometimes, because of lack of grounding and rushing out an answer, the cards are looked at too fast and there’s not a moment to tap into it properly to gaze at the energy with intuition, resulting in a mediocre reading.

Possible fix: for readers, it’s important to do grounding and be relaxed during the reading. As for clients/querents, it’s also important for them to be calm during the reading, letting the reader do their craft properly, and reminding them they can take a little extra time to get it right. It’s also advised to ask readers kindly to further elaborate or try again, in case a reading does not resonate right off the bat.

Summary: Communication and Amiability is Key
Bottom line is, there are too many reasons that could make a reading go wrong, but the best way to shift that, is to communicate with your reader and keep a nice, calm and friendly environment during the session, so energy flows freely and the readers can do what they do best at their maximum capacities.


Love and Light,


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A straightforward psychic intuitive witch with over 7 years of experience in divination, ranging from cartomancy, scrying, pendulum, and use of clairs (claircognizance, clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience).

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