What to Expect When You Get a Tarot Reading

When I went to get my first tarot reading I had major expectations. Just like many of us, I only knew what I had seen in the movies. As I parked my car and walked into the little metaphysical store in my hometown, I was nervous. What was she going to tell me? Did she hold the keys to my future? I wanted to know about my new business. I wanted to know about my love life. I wanted to know everything. As I walked inside, I pictured their little back room, dimly lit and filled with smoky incense, with a mysterious looking woman sitting at a table with a crystal ball and her tarot cards. I thought it would be just like in the movies and I would walk away knowing the secrets of my future.

The reality was much different. I was led to a somewhat open room filled with sunlight, where a woman with long, dark grey hair sat. She didn’t have a crystal ball (although their were a few small crystals on the table), and the air was stale but not smoky. I sat down across from my tarot reader, still unsure of what to say or do. When she asked if I had any questions, my inner cynic kicked in. Why would she need to know my questions? I thought she’d just ‘know’ the secrets of my life and that once I sat down all would be clear to her and she’d tell me the things I needed to know.

Unfortunately, this expectation led me to be completely closed off and judgmental during my reading. I listened, but barely engaged with what she was saying to me. I looked for any reason to discredit her impressions, and didn’t ask any clarification questions or even try to look at the cards for any personal connections. I left feeling underwhelmed and annoyed at the money I’d spent, and completely let down from my earlier expectations.

So here’s the thing. It wasn’t this tarot reader’s fault. I think she did her job well, but there was one thing she could have done differently that might have changed the reading from what I assume was an uncomfortable experience for her and disappointing one for me, to a more uplifting and beneficial reading for both of us.

That is what my goal is with the rest of this post. I’m going to tell you a few things I wish someone would have told me before my first reading. If you’ve never had one, then this article is a must for you, but even if you’ve gotten several readings you may find this post helpful in assessing whether you’ve gotten all you can out of your readings. Perhaps if she’d asked if I’d ever had a reading before and talked to me about what I could expect, I wouldn’t have been so wrapped up in my ideas and been able to listen and work with the messages she communicated.

So without further ado, here are 5 things to expect when you get a tarot reading:

  1. Expect possibilities rather than prophecies: This is a big one. As I said, many of us expect the tarot reader (or the cards) to tell us what IS GOING TO HAPPEN. I’m sure I’ll go more in-depth on this one in another post, but here I’ll just say that you shouldn’t go into a reading expecting this. First of all, all tarot readers aren’t psychics. Most tarot readers only make generalized statements about the way current dynamics in your life are being portrayed in the cards. They can show you possible outcomes, not absolutes. They can help you explore options, but they won’t (and shouldn’t) tell you something about your future is set in stone. The future is malleable and can easily shift from one outcome to another based on many factors. Therefore, try not to go in expecting to KNOW your future, but maybe to explore paths your future might take.
  2. Expect to interact with the reader: Right, so if you’re like me, you might go in expecting the reader to “see” everything in the cards. I think this is a mistake and a hindrance to a fulfilling reading. Everyone has a different reading style, but if your tarot reader asks if you resonate with a certain word, symbol, phrase, or message, try to be open in your answer. Readings are all about connection and the more open your energy and willingness to connect with both the cards and the reader, the more you’ll get out of it. Of course a tarot reader isn’t your therapist, nor are they your “friend”, so feel out how much to share and discuss, but some openness and interaction is helpful.
  3. Expect to do some reflection on your reading: During a reading, your tarot reader is deciphering messages they see in the cards. Some of these messages are going to sound confusing or you may have trouble relating to them, others will feel important, but you may still be unable to connect them to your specific question or situation. It’s okay to ask for clarification or context from the reader. It is also ok to sit with these messages during and after the reading to flesh them out and make them make sense. Again, readings aren’t absolute, nor to they tell the future, so many times it takes reflection on the images or messages for them to hit the spot. This can be fairly soon after, or sometimes even months when something will hit you.
  4. Expect different set-ups/reading styles: There are tarot readers who love all of the bells and whistles associated with tarot. There are readers who prefer to read in a very ‘professional’ or business-like environment. There are readers who want a lot of context for your question, and those who don’t even want you to ask a question. Some readers only do in-person readings, others prefer videos online, while others only work by digital/email means. Every reader is different. Try not to have expectations on this front. Tarot readers all look different, read different, prepare differently, cut their decks differently, etc. You may have to try a few before you find one you really resonate with. Just don’t discount anyone based on your preconceived notions of what a tarot reader and their set-up should look like.
  5. Expect the unexpected: Tarot readings are full of surprises. You can ask about career and get several messages about love. You can be in a troubled relationship and get a reading that says everything will work out, while you could also be starting a new hopeful relationship and get a reading which says run for the hills. The beauty of tarot is that with these unexpected twists of energies and messages, we become aware of parts of our lives, patterns, and behaviors that we may be ignoring or focusing on too much. On another note, if you go into a tarot reading expecting a specific outcome or message, you run the risk of being hurt or disappointed if the cards say something different. Try to go into the reading with no expectations about what the cards will say, and be open minded about the messages you receive.

I hope this post helped you in having realistic expectations for the tarot readings you receive. I think when you remove previous and potentially biased ideas and expectations, your reading will be much more fruitful and worthwhile. You’ll get more out of them and be able to interact with the reading in a more helpful way.

I plan on writing a follow-up to this post about what NOT to expect during a tarot reading, so come back to check it out!

If you’d like to check out my reading style visit my YouTube channel:

If you’d like a personal reading: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LavenderMoonTeaTarot

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