The tarot is the embodiment of life. Each of it’s cards represents people, places, and situations that one might encounter, carefully represented so that each one fits together like the threads in a tapestry. It’s a living and breathing place, full of stories and characters each with their own history and personality.
Like a fairy tale village each of the places in the town contains different possibilities, situations and characters which have their own dreams and ambitions. If I’m seeking leadership and wisdom I might travel to the town square and seek out the Emperor, who could tell me a great deal about the history of the village and it’s people. But if I’m looking for arcane knowledge I might slip away from the town into the hills and seek out the Magus at his Tower (which might be ruined as it’s depicted in the tower card if one of his many experiments has gone awry). Or I might wander into the woods in search of the hanged man if I was looking for secrets and understanding.
A reading is the attempt to navigate the story of the person who I’m divining for. Their life story is reflected in the deck; the places they have been, situations they’ve encountered, and characters that they’ve spoken to. Many of the characters and situations in the tarot deck have shaped the path they’re walking on and helped (or hindered) them in making decisions and finding their way.
My goal is to learn where they are and where they are traveling to, and drawing the cards and asking the deck the right questions gives me insight. I must learn from the other characters in the tarot, examine the places and the situations that present themselves in the cards and they use that information to help guide the person I’m reading for. To understand how to direct them and help guide them, by examining the characters and the situations which the tarot deck presents to me as important to the life story of the person I’m reading for, I can help them understand where they are headed and the options laid out before them, steering them away from pitfalls and giving them appropriate directions to help find their way.
When selecting a tarot deck I look for cards which feel familiar. If I’m going to give someone directions I need to know the landscape, the characters, and the signs so that I can explain to the person I’m reading for what to look for and what situations and characters they will encounter in the near future so that they arrive at their destination.