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6 Things To Expect When You Read Your Future With Tarot Cards

As a full-blown Pisces, I appreciate any life guidance that comes my way. I'm fairly indecisive, and waiting for things to happen drives me insane. That's why I tried to read my future with tarot cards in high school.

Even though I was in high school over a decade ago, I remember the experience as being strangely satisfying. I didn't get the answers that I wanted, but I felt better knowing that I had an answer. For those who were wondering, my tarot card reading successfully predicted exactly what was going to happen.

So when I recently suffered a full-blown professional life crisis and was desperately seeking answers, you bet I turned to tarot cards yet again. It's safe to say that I'm not the only semi-functioning adult who needs answers to her important questions.

Will I get promoted? Will I be lucky in love? Should I finish off that can of Pringles?

As the idea of doing another tarot card reading came to me, I was curious to find if my experience would be different now that I was an “adult.” I wasn't disappointed. Here are six things you need to know about doing your own tarot card reading:

1. It's easy (like, really easy).

All a tarot card reading takes is a deck and a tarot guide book, which usually is sold with a deck of tarot cards. To perform your reading, you need a quiet space where you have room to shuffle and spread out your cards. Reading the guidebook as you go (i.e. not memorizing different spreads and card meanings) is totally OK, as most books are geared toward beginners.

2. You'll never get an answer to a specific question.

Tarot cards — like horoscopes and other “fortune telling” mediums — are best and most accurate when your initial question is vague. In my case, my question was “Will I be happy at work?”

Even though the thing I really want to know is when I'll get promoted and if it will be to a position I desperately want, I kept my question vague to get the most interpretation out of my answer. Since I was doing a reading for myself, it was easy.

3. Minor arcana cards are just as important — if not more important — than major arcana cards.

Like playing with a standard deck of cards, you'll rarely ever get a hand of kings, queens and aces. That can be a good thing. Minor arcana cards have their own suits (Cups, Swords, Wands and Pentacles) with numbered and court cards. The dominant suit in your reading will tell you a lot about your personality and situation (for instance, Cups represent love and relationships), so pay enough attention to that.

My reading was dominated by Wands and Pentacles. Pentacles represent health and wealth, and Wands represent creativity and progress. If wealth, being creative and general progress is in my future, I can't complain.

4. You need to be willing to do a deep dive into your life.

If you're unable to analyze different aspects of your life, then you won't be able to get a successful reading. I used the basic horseshoe spread, consisting of seven cards that represent the basic past, present, potential futures and action steps. For my third card, I got Death.

Death is not a bad card by any means. Rather, it means that a part of your life (not your actual life) is nearing its end. So in order to truly understand what my reading meant, I needed to assess all parts of my life, especially those that involved work, and look at what could potentially be ending. Once I understood what that card meant, I was able to look at the next card.

5. You have to figure out your own answer.

Unfortunately, tarot cards are not specific, and they won't give you a direct answer. It takes a lot of self-reflection and analysis to figure out what the cards are trying to tell you. Once you figure that out, you need to figure out how it plays into your life.

My cards told me (through the Three of Wands) that I should threaten a partnership with an altercation.  I took that to mean a negotiation or a serious discussion about my professional future. It meant discussing leaving my position, which would annoy my boss. But through initiative of my own, that's what happened.

If you reread that a few times, there's clearly a lot of assumptions there. But, that's what tarot card readings are all about. If you don't take guesses, you won't be led to conclusions.

6. You'll get a (correct) answer.

Yes, really. Inspired by my reading (and also by my frustration for not doing more substantial work), I confronted my boss and explained I needed to be doing more in order to stay with the company.

It wasn't a fun conversation, and it got very testy at times. But ultimately, I got the result my tarot cards said I'd get, which was also what I wanted. (Kudos to the Four of Wands, which represents “hard work with good results.”)

Ultimately, performing your own tarot card reading is an excuse to practice mindfulness, meditation and self-reflection. The cards are just tools to examine your lifestyle, obstacles and goals. With this in mind, everyone should try reading his or her own tarot cards.

I'm not going to try to convince you that tarot card reading is a perfect science. It's not. You shouldn't go into a tarot card reading expecting to know exactly what life has in store for you, but readings can be reassuring. Don't take it too seriously, and you'll get more out of the experience than you anticipated.