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Tarot Cards and How They Work

Tarot cards tell us so much. They can tell us who we were in a past life, what some one thinks of us, what our future looks like, but do you know how they came to be?

Let us travel back. It's the year 1451, we are in Renaissance Italy. In a home, late at night are people, gathered around a table. They are playing a card game called "Tarocchi". The deck they used was called "Viscanti-Sforza" and it contained 5 suits. The major arcana contained classic archetypes, while the Minor arcana contained more typical suits akin to card games at the time. Each deck contained 78 cards, which adds up to 3,651,648 possible outcomes in any given 3 card reading!

Fast forward to the year 1773, Antoine Court de Gebelin makes a chapter about tarot as an esoteric wisdom teaching from the Egyptians. So now, its more than just a simple fortune telling game.

Enter 1909 and academic/mystic Arthur Edward Waite with his partner, artist Pamela Colman Smith. Under direction of Waite, Smith Illustrated the Rider-Waite Tarot deck that we know and love today.

Moving right along. There are actually 3 styles of tarot cards. The aforementioned Rider Waite, the Thoth, which was created by Occultist Aleister Crowley and the Marseilles. Each one of these styles gave us the thousands of derivatives that we have today.

I know what you must be thinking, "Dani, just get on with it"

Now then, history lesson over, real talk begin.

Everyone wants to know what the future will bring. Is it love? Is it money? Is it a new job? Before you get too far into the details of your future, you need to understand one thing...Your life changes. Constantly. Each day, each hour, minute, second, you make choices and take steps that can change the course you are on. So when you get a reading or do one yourself, Know this, that reading is only specific to the path you are currently on. You could get a reading for the same question about your future tomorrow that you asked today, and you could have a completely different outcome.

Things in the past however, those are set in stone. you can't undo the past. but you can change your future.

If you are stuck in your current life, in that, you dont know which way to go, one of the best things you can do is quite simple. Grab your tarot deck and find the Death card. The card behind it is going to tell you what you need to leave behind and the card in front of it is what you need to focus on.

Something else I would like to place emphasis on is that your own tarot cards could very likely give you misinformation. I'm not sure of the exact reason (if you are, send me an email!) but often times, at least in my experience, when doing a reading on myself like "does my crush like me back?" i get a reading that is completely irrelevant.

I often blame misinformed readings on one or both of the following reasons: one is that i haven't used my cards in a long time. Because of this, the cards don't know what is happening and just throw out whatever they want. the other is because of something much more complex, yet simple. Our subconscious self and mindful self are in conflict.

Allow me to explain. I feel that we already have the answers. We subconsciously already know the answers to our questions. However, we also want certain answers. If I've learned one thing in life, it is that if you want something bad enough, and if you put enough energy into something, you can have what you want, or make something happen that you want to happen.

So, How do tarot cards work? scientifically, I'm not sure. In some ways, I suppose you could say its much like a Rorsach test, where the users interpret symbols in a way that only they can see and that makes sense to them. Spiritually speaking, the differentiated nature of the archetypal ideas can mingle with the ordinary constituents of the flow of the unconscious, making for an intuitive method that has the purpose of understanding the flow of life.

Cleansing Your Tarot Cards

You just got your first deck of tarot cards, what's next? Well, making them yours. Most decks come equipped with a little booklet which explains the meaning of each card. Often, the little booklet explains how to open them up to you. Tarot cards, as you may know or may come to find out, seem to have a personality. Some days, they are open to giving you the answers you need, other days, not so much. so how do you fix it when they dont want to give you relevant answers? Theres many, many ways to cleanse your cards. Below are 4 ways that I have found to be quite effective.

Sleep on it- this is my favorite method. only because I'm lazy at times. All you do is simply place them under your pillow for a week. that is it.

Moon Charge- On the first night of a full moon, place the deck where the light of the moon can touch them. Outside is preferred, but it its not ideal, place them in a window sill or next to a window on a table, where the moon light can touch them. Leave your cards in the moonlight for 3 nights.

Sorting-This method is a good go to for cards you have had for a while. Sort the deck into the separate suits. from ace to king for the minor arcana, each suit in their own separate stacks, and from zero (the fool) to 21 (the world). Leave your cards in their separate stacks for as long as you feel they need to be.

Baby- Infants up to about age 3 are so very innocent. When my children were babies, id hand them a card from my deck, one at a time and let them observe the card for a second or two, then offer another. I don't remember where I learned about this method or who might have told me, but I found that it is very effective.

There's a sort of unspoken rule about tarot cards that says no one can touch them but you. Some believe this to be true, some believe this to be false. Use your gut in this case. I personally have noticed a different vibe from my cards when others touch them. I absolutely do a cleansing process after someone else has touched them.

Tarot Card Spreads

There are thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of different tarot spreads. I personally go for the 9 or 12 card spreads for general readings.

The way I go about getting any reading is to shuffle my cards while asking the question repeatedly, either out loud or to myself. I know the cards are ready to give me the answers when they fall out on their own. however they land, if it is upside down, I turn it right side up by rotating it to the left or right. Each card has a meaning and a reverse meaning. by rotating the card so it is facing up by turning it left or right, that allows for a more accurate reading.

A lot of folks have yes/no questions. There are no specific "yes" and "no" cards. However, I have found a method that works quite well.

For yes/no questions, do the following

  1. Shuffle your cards while asking your question. do this until you feel the answer is ready.

  2. start a stack of cards. just take one card from the top of the deck, place it right side up and do this until one of 2 things reach 13 cards in the stack, or you get an ace of one of the minor arcanas.

  3. Repeat step 2 for 2 more stacks, a total of 3 stacks.

  4. Interpret the results.

    1. no ace cards- "no"-The top cards of each stack will give you the reason why the answer is "no".

    2. 1 ace card- "maybe, likely no"- The answer is likely no. and the reason is the two cards which are not the ace card.

    3. 2 ace cards-"maybe, likely yes"- The answer is likely yes. and the reason is the one card which is not the ace cards.

    4. 3 ace cards- "yes"- This is a hard yes. simply. If you want to know why, you may ask why and either shuffle until a card (or cards) fall out, or until you feel the answer is ready to be reveled, then take the top card and interpret it.


Keep an eye out for the tarot cheat sheet.

If you'd like to add to this article with any tips or tricks, send me an email at I love to include my customers and readers in all I do.

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