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6 Myths and Misconceptions about Tarot Readers

Updated on July 30, 2014

There are so many misconceptions floating around regarding spiritual phenomena, but Tarot reading is one of my passions so I’ll start there. Tarot readers have been portrayed through the ages as the old gypsy women in dark rooms, conveying messages of death and destruction, or foretelling the arrival of tall dark haired men, but there’s really much more to it. Read on to find out more about some of the most common myths regarding tarot readers and what you can expect from a tarot reading.


The Devil’s Picture Book

The Tarot deck itself is shrouded by mystery and it’s not surprising that there are as many myths about the cards itself as there are about Tarot readers. One enduring myth is that the Tarot is the Devil’s picture book and that by reading the Tarot, the reader communes with demons or other dark forces.

This really is nonsense, and even while the Tarot can be compared to a story book, because of its' visual imagery, it has no connections to a religion of any kind. The Tarot deck originally started as a game, much like the ordinary deck of cards people use today to play poker or bridge. It’s the imagery on the cards that led people to the idea that each card could symbolize an event in someone’s life and so the idea of divination using Tarot was born.


Tarot Readers Speak to the Dead

This is another popular misconception. To fully address it, we’d have to look at the difference between a psychic, a medium, and a Tarot reader. A Psychic is someone who has extra sensory abilities, in the form of Empathic abilities, Clairvoyance, Clairsentience, Claircognizance, Clairaugustance, or Clairaudience. These abilities allow a psychic to communicate in a way that goes beyond the normal senses.

Not all psychics are mediums, because mediumship is an ability that allows someone to communicate with a soul that has already departed. All mediums are psychic because they’re using an extra sensory ability to communicate with the souls of the deceased, but not all psychics have the gift of mediumship.

This brings us to Tarot readers; a tarot reader in its’ strictest definition is someone who reads Tarot cards or use the cards to divine a potential outcome. A Tarot reader does not need to have any psychic abilities or any extra sensory abilities whatsoever, which means that pretty much anyone with a good memory can learn to read the Tarot and give fairly accurate readings. It’s best to never assume that a Tarot reader is automatically a psychic or a medium, purely because he or she is in the spiritual industry and does readings.


Tarot Readers are all Fortunetellers

Tarot reading and fortunetelling seem to go together and are most often expected, but it’s not always the case that a tarot reader is comfortable taking the role of a fortune teller. Fortune telling can be compared to someone who learns to read the basic meanings of the cards and isn’t interested in their full meaning, the energies associated with each, or their more subtle associations, because fortunetelling does one very basic thing, to tell someone future or predict future events.

Any good tarot reader knows that the future is down to the client and that a choice or action on his or her behalf may change what happens ahead. This is why a lot of Tarot readers take offense to being called fortunetellers, because a fortuneteller predicts something and it’s set in stone. For example, “You will meet a dark haired man at a social gathering and he will be the one you marry before your 29th birthday.” Anyone could say that or make those claims, but a true Tarot reader, or someone who takes the Tarot and its’ guidance seriously will tell you that the future is fluid and that to a large extent you are in control.


Tarot Readings are for Predictions Only

This is a common misconception that applies to psychics as well, as many people out there believe that a Tarot reader must give you predictions or he/she is no good. The truth is that the Tarot is a tool like any other and it is meant to be used as a guide. It can show you where you’ve come from, where you’re currently at, which challenges you’re dealing with, and where things are likely to go if you stay on your current course.

Think about it this way: Would you rather sit in front of a reader and have him or her spew out numerous predictions (some of them potentially dire) and let you go with the assumption that your future is set in stone? Would you not rather speak to someone who explains to you where you’re at and the influences that are currently shaping your future? If a reader takes this approach, it means that he or she can then also guide the client towards a more benevolent or desirable outcome. It’s a wonderful way to give the client control back over their situation and to give them the tools or insight they need to get the outcomes they want for the future.


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Tarot Cards are Unlucky

There seems to be the belief that any divination system or tool brings bad luck to the user, but this stems from superstition and I believe this was said as a means to deter good religious people from trying their hand at divination. Tarot cards are just a tool, much like runes, or a pendulum even, and doesn’t bring good or bad luck. It can be compared to saying that a GPS brings you bad luck because it tells you where you’re headed. It’s helpful to know where you’re headed in life and what you can expect, so you’re not dabbling in the forbidden or tempting dark forces by using Tarot Cards.

Tarot Readers get their Information from Demons

This is also not true, because a Tarot reader, in the strictest sense of the word uses the definitions of the cards in the spread to communicate with you and to guide him or her as to what to tell you. Even if your reader has psychic abilities and is able to communicate using extra sensory perception, it doesn’t mean that he or she is automatically communicating with demons or getting information from dark sources. It is my belief that there is light and dark energies in this world, and someone will work with whatever they focus on. Those who focus on demons, dark energy, and negativity is the most likely to attract exactly that into their lives and to be influenced by that sort of vibration.

If you go into a Tarot reading with an open mind, you’ll receive the guidance the Universe meant for you to have. The mindset or state of vibration of your reader can have an effect on your reading though, so if you find that someone is overly negative and all doom and gloom, it may be best to opt for another reader, or someone who is more focused on offering you helpful insight and guidance.

Using the best psychic directory you can possibly find will also help you locate reputable, experienced, and professional readers. Dealing with true professionals who work within white light parameters will help clear up a lot of the myths and misconceptions regarding what Tarot readers do and how they work,. A professional reader educates his or her clients in order to help them have the best experience possible.

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    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 3 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for your comment Lionrhod, I agree with you as to the meanings of the cards. There can be literally hundreds of meanings to each card and it's the reader's intuitive ability to helps him or her sift through those to get to the root of the problem. For me, the Tarot is like the key that starts the psychic engine, it's that initial connection - and yes it works well to help with focus. It sounds as if your experience was more of a physical mediumship rather than mental mediumship - and I don't blame you for feeling uncomfortable - I would be too.

    • Lionrhod profile image

      Lionrhod 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Nicely done. A psychic newly transplanted from Squidoo (and I was new there too) I'm checking out the other psychic pages. Thus far, yours and one other have the most valuable information out of several I've found. I am a tarot reader, a psychic and a medium. I don't use the mediumship part in most occasions, unless the client specifically asks about a departed OR if the spirit is banging on the door to be heard. (Many years ago, the first time a spirit tried to use my body/voice to communicate, I found it highly uncomfortable and have shied from it since. In recent years I have learned to keep the spirits at distance, and thus am slightly more open to working with them.) One thing about the Tarot - every single card has multiple meanings. In fact each card has hundreds. AND the meaning of that card changes depending on the position (Is it the root of the problem? Is it the client's highest goal? Is it their fear? What they should NOT do? Etc. So I'd say that the "psychic" part of being a Tarot reader is being able to intuit which of the hundreds of meanings that any particular card might have is the one that fits the person in front of you. I mostly use the Tarot because it helps me focus on the particular client in front of me - I work in a boisterous and busy venue where I don't want to be reading the person 3 tables over, rather than my client.

    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 3 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you ES Rowland, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I'm in agreement with you, people tend to fear or ridicule what they don't understand, but that's where platforms such as these come in. I had the same problem for years, feeling frustrated with the limited knowledge or misconceptions people had when they came to me, but I've since taken a proactive approach to it and work on educating them as well. Tarot is very accurate, and that's usually a great starting point when having to explain the rest! :-)

    • ES Rowland profile image

      ES Rowland 3 years ago

      Hi emeraldgreen21, great article! I am sick of all the misconceptions surrounding tarot readers. Mainly it is because people are afraid of what they don't understand, but I find that those people are often really surprised at just how accurate the readings are! It is definitely a skill to hone, and dealing with people's misconceptions is all a part of it :)

    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 3 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for the comment Jean, and for sharing your thoughts. I completely agree with you. I find that for a lot of people out there it's impossible to distinguish between a Tarot reader, Psychic, or Medium, and even when they have some idea of what each is about they have very 'standard' expectations, such as the prediction thing. It takes time, but I work on educating those I read for and actively work with them to empower them, regardless of how dire or difficult a situation might be. The love or relationship focus will always be there, I expect, but it is by far the most asked-about topic! Lucky for some, we're able to deal with those topics just as easily as the others. ;-)

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks for an informative article. I notice reading the tarot seems to be compared to devil worship in the current conservative climate. Since I read tarot and began as an Astrologer, I have ranted on my blog and on here about what readings can and cannot do. I'm glad you mentioned Free Will. So many clients think I can just "tell their fortune" and that they have no responsibility for their poor decisions. or lack of life planning.

      Explaining what a real Astrology chart can tell you is like banging your head on a brick wall with some people too! My readings get into the psychological realm, since Astrology covers how you will feel and react in every area of life. I think the current sites are so "sexed up" that people only want to or expect to hear about love, when our lives are comprised of so much more! Best wishes.