What to Expect from a Tarot Reading

Sometimes you just need advice from an unbiased source.  For some people that means turning to a tarot reading.


Tarot readings typically involve a private conversation between a reader and a client.  Usually the client picks the cards out of the deck, and the reader creates the spread and interprets the cards. Continue reading


Why I Charge

As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve begun charging for some of my services.  I have started at Etsy shop with the same name as this blog.  I am offering some readings as well as digital materials including my new ebook, Little Book of Herbs.  I know some people find this incredibly controversial, so I want to share my rationale with you, lovely readers.


I think there is a big differences between selling spiritual services and selling spiritual goods. Continue reading

Witch Tips: Tarot Spreads

The tarot is an art form that respects tradition yet constantly keeps evolving.  Tarot spreads can be beautiful, complex, simple, and honest all at the same time.  For the novice, learning how to spread and interpret the cards can be aided in their placement in a particular situation.  For intermediate, advanced, and professional readers, spreads can be opportunities to connect to the questioner and the divine in a unique way. Continue reading

Tarot Basics

The exact origin of the Tarot is unknown, but from my understanding they started as a set of playing cards in Italy in the 1400’s.  Some people say they come from ancient Egypt or India, but in my opinion the archetypes are too Eurocentric.  For example, the Devil is an evil, Christianized version of the Horned God, not coming from Egyptian pantheons but rather Northern European ones.  The first accounts of their use for divination came in the eighteenth century.  There have been many changes over the years, including the perception of the Minor Arcana, but the symbology has stayed largely the same.  For a brief history of origins of the tarot and certain popular decks, here is a good article to read.  In the twentieth century, their popularity has exploded in conjunction with the Neo-Pagan and New Age movements.  Also while many states had laws on the books well into the ’80s making tarot reading illegal, persons such as Z Budapest have gone to trial to change these old regulations.

The Tarot have 78 cards and is divided into two categories:

The Major Arcana

  • The Major arcana are archetypes regarding the path of life or a journey.  They are in a numbered order in correspondence with a natural progression. We start with the Fool and end with the World…or back to the Fool depending on how the deck is numbered.
  • When these cards show up in a spread, they generally indicate a major point in the question.  For example if doing a spread for someone on a business venture and the Magician makes itself known in the Present place in the spread, then that card represents the quitrent’s progression on that path at that moment.  When multiple Major Arcana show up, then the person tends to be in a transition.
  • These cards are the easiest to learn, but sometimes make the asker panic.  While the Tower and Death are ominous cards, they don’t actually mean a literal death and literal destruction.  The Major Arcana is full of metaphors.

The Minor Arcana

  • Similar to playing cards, the Minor Arcana come in four suits: wands, cups, swords, and pentacles.  Also, they are numbered from 1 to 10 with court cards.
  • Numbered cards represent an attribute, whereas court cards stand for a person.
  • Associated with the element fire, Wands are the mental card.  Its aspects include creativity, inspiration, ambition, goal-setting, and dreams.
  • Cups deal with relationships and emotions and relate to the element water.
  • Swords come from the element air.  Action, intellect, power, conflict, and change rule this suit.
  • Pentacles deal with the material world, career, possessions, and material comfort.  The element earth relates to these cards.

For specific card meanings, there are plenty of comprehensive books on the subject.  My favorite is Tarot Plain and Simple by Anthony Louis.  However, never discount instincts and personal interpretations of the cards.  These can be more valuable to the reader than memorization.

Reversed Cards: This is a debated topic among tarot readers.  Some believe that each card has two meetings depending on the position of the card (i.e. right-side up or upside down).  I disagree and say the tarot was designed in balance and therefore there is no need for reversed card meanings.

© Ariadne Woods

Not in the Cards

Monday night, I decided to do a tarot reading to look into my love life.  Not to find someone new or to get back with my ex or anything like that.  I just wanted a little clarity about the energies in that aspect of my life.

To give a little methodology, I decided to do a five-card spread (past, current situation, internal factors, external factors, possible near future) with a Waite deck.  I also designed a sixth and seventh card for exploring future partners, if I felt that would be necessary.  The first five were a good picture of my situation: Ten of Swords, Queen of Pentacles, Eight of Swords, Knight of Pentacles, and the Hanged-Man.  I have been recently betrayed and feel bound by it, so i have been looking inward to deal with myself and my pain to try and heal.  Alright, my thought-process about this part of my life is on the nose.  But it was that stupid Knight of Pentacles that had me thinking there may be more to this issue.  So I drew two clarity cards.

And then things got weird.  I got the Nine of Swords and the Five of Pentacles.  Not great cards to see as a recently dumped person looking into the future of my love life.

Bad readings happen.  Life is not always rainbows, so your runes and cards sometimes reflect that aspect.  This possibility should never turn away any aspiring readers or any patron.  It is the advice you need, so it is the advice you are going to get.  The best thing you can do is to acknowledge it, accept it, and apply the advice as you see fit.

© Ariadne Woods