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Online Tarot Readings: Is an Automated Reading Best?

Updated on July 30, 2014
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How do Automated Online Tarot Readings Work?

The Internet makes it really easy to get in touch with a tarot reader or psychic from any part of the world, but there is a big difference between an online reading with a real reader where the reading is done either via email, instant messaging, or phone, and an automated reading. An automated tarot reading uses special software that enables a website to offer instant tarot readings at the click of a button.

The software usually asks you for your question, but this usually has no influence on the interpretation of the cards or the actual 'reading', because your spread (and the card meanings) will be exactly the same regardless of the question.

Next, you may also be asked to choose between a variety of spreads for the reading. You'll also be asked to click the deck to 'shuffle' the cards and to then click on however many cards will be used for the spread. This is when the software randomly 'decides' which cards to show you.

The spread comes up next with all the cards in their various positions (according to the reading type you chose initially) The meanings for each card is written next to it, and it's then up to you to interpret the spread and its' meanings.


These online readings are entirely automated and the only input the querent has into his or her reading is really the 'choosing' of the cards by clicking on the deck. There is not a real reader behind the screen laying out the cards or interpreting them.

The Benefits of Automated Tarot Readings

Free Readings

These readings are usually available free of charge and in those situations where someone really can't afford to have a real tarot reading done, it can offer some insight into their question or situation.

The fact that these readings are freely available makes them very popular, and it's a great way for any esoteric, tarot, or psychic website, to draw traffic to it's services and listings.

24/7 Availability

The software is available and running 24/7 and this means that it's always available, even at those really awkward times like 2am in the morning. The readings can also be repeated continually, and most sites will allow you to do as many different spreads or readings as you like.

Free Card Meanings

Automated readings also include free general meanings for each card, so you don't have to know how to read tarot to understand roughly what each card means in its' most basic sense. The meanings are generally typed out right next to each card so you're able to view the card image and the description together, which may also help with the interpretation.

Great Resource for Learners

If you're learning Tarot, these automated spreads are great tools to learn the basics of the trade. You won't have to purchase a deck and booklet to learn from, and can instead shuffle the cards numerous time and do 'test' or 'play' readings while using the generic meanings of the cards to get a basic understanding of the deck and what each card symbolizes.

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The Downfalls of Automated Tarot Readings

Generic Interpretations

Automated online tarot readings come with very standard and generic interpretations. To best explain this I have to go into the Tarot deck and it's suits: Pentacles, Swords, Wands, and Cups. Traditionally speaking each of the Tarot's suits deals with particular areas of life or issues. The pentacles suit, for example, traditionally deals with money or material matters, whereas the Cups suit deals with emotions and our relationships to others.

Tarot software doesn't divide the deck into the suits best suited to the question, as the client's question is never taken into account when doing the spread. It will give out a random selection made from the entire deck (as it should be) but this also makes it hard if not impossible for someone who does not understand Tarot and its' more subtle meanings to interpret the cards according to his or her situation.

Here's a brief example: Let's say someone asks the online Tarot this question "Is my boyfriend cheating on me?". And she gets given the 2 of swords, 3 of pentacles, and World cards as her reading. The generic meanings of those cards do not relate to love, and with the 3 of pentacles in particular her card description may include things like 'financial success or financial rewards' when this is not at all what she asked about.

Reading Overload

In the benefits section of this Hub I mentioned how these readings area available 24/7, and for some of us this may be a very handy thing, but there are situations when being able to get a fresh 'reading' at the click of a button causes more harm than good.

Imagine having been awake all night because you're worried about the fidelity of your partner, for example, and you go online to find a tarot reader. You come across the automated readings page and clicks the button for your first reading, eagerly anticipating a clear answer, but what you get instead is a long list of generic card meanings (some of which are not even in the slightest related to your concern), so you click the button again. Surely the second time must be the charm, right? Wrong.

Repeating the spreads and reading the meanings will only lead to reading overload, which in turn leads to confusion. In a situation like this, the client is more likely to leave the computer even more stressed and confused because he or she couldn't get a direct or clear answer to the question.

Client Confusion

The confusion these readings can cause is immense and it's a fact that most sites who use this technique to lure potential clients in count on the fact that the automated readings will leave them even more confused and in need of assistance.

At the end of these automated tarot readings, there is most often a link at the bottom saying something along the lines of "Need more insight? Click here to speak to one of our expert readers NOW!".

Client confusion and desperation means they're now more likely to get a click on their paid readings section and that they'll be making money from that particular web site visitor.

What are Your Thoughts?

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When to Speak to a Real Tarot Reader

While automated online tarot readings can be great fun and also a helpful learning tool, they are of very little use to someone who has little to no understanding of the Tarot and its' meanings. In situations where you're pressed for time, and need a direct answer to your questions, it's best to speak to a real tarot reader.

The benefits of doing so are that you'll receive interpretations of your spread based on the question you asked and you'll have the benefit of the reader's experience with the cards. Every reader is unique and you'll find that over time each reader begins to associate different things with each card, so there's a unique intuitive aspect that tarot software cannot replicate.

A professional online tarot reader will never leave you confused or stressed, and as long as you're dealing with an ethical professional, you should leave with the answers you asked for, if not a little more. You'll also receive advice on how to deal with your outcome or potentially change it, so you'll have the benefit of both a tarot reading and spiritual advice or guidance.

Using a reputable psychic directory can also be helpful, because the best directories often screen applicants prior to approval and this gives clients access to the highest quality of spiritual advisors. Using a psychic directory may seem like overkill but it isn't really because many psychics read tarot and many Tarot readers have psychic abilities in addition to their tarot reading skills.

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