My mom was 24 years old when she decided to see a psychic who specialized in feet reading, a practice founded in the belief that the feet act as a mirror for any issues with your body.
She had found an ad in the newspaper offering the spiritual services, and her curiosity took hold. Then, during the session, the psychic read in my mother’s feet signs of her past life. “She told me she heard keys jangling around my waist and an empty corridor.” My mother took this to mean she’d been a jailor in a former life — an image which she hadn’t liked.
“I never forgot. The words will stick with you whether you like it or not.”
She told me the story one day about 10 years ago, after I’d casually mentioned that some friends of mine were seeing a psychic. She’d intended the words as a warning, that my friends were messing with powers whose release they would inevitably regret.
In those days, I didn’t necessarily share my friends’ curiosity. I’d been intrigued by astrology since I was young, yet when it came to tarot readings and psychic mediums, I had fearfully avoided them. As a young believer of fate, true love, and soul mates, I felt that I was destined to end up where I was meant to be — and that learning my fate in advance would, inevitably, throw my intended trajectory off track.
A decade later, I now believe that fate is what you work towards and not a pre-ordained path. I no longer believe that diving into the mystical world has the ability to influence my life. In fact, my curiosity has steadily grown over the years. I felt I could finally see a psychic or have my tarot cards read and that what I heard wouldn’t hang over me as it had for my mom.
Tarot readings seemed like an easy dive into the spiritual world, so I began my research online with a few Google-friendly questions.
When did people first start turning to Tarot? Why do people turn to Tarot? Should we be turning to Tarot? Did anyone have a Tarot 101 guide for beginners?
Tarot is believed to have originated in Italy circa the 1430s. A deck of tarot cards began with an existing four-suited pack of cards. The fool was turned into a wild card and a fifth suit was added, along with illustrated cards called trionfi (triumphs) with assigned divine meanings. Thus, a regular deck was transformed into a deck of tarot cards.
Tarot began as entertainment and later became more widely used for divination. Jean-Baptiste Alliette is credited with bringing tarot readings into vogue in Paris in the 1780s.
Often, it’s times of big change and uncertainty that have people turning to the tarot card or tea leaves. A New York Times article from May noted there was a reported increase in online astrology in the first half of 2020, according to data provided by cultural analyst Lucie Green.
In a time that has been as uncertain as those we’re living in, tarot readings can tap into your inner voice and guide you to a place of greater understanding and peace. Which, hey — isn’t that what we’re all searching for?
Internet tips on how to receive a fully customized report were rife. I wasn’t aware you asked questions of tarot until I opened my tabs. Almost any question goes — that is, if you ask it the right way. I found that specific questions are best — questions that are direct, and not multilayered. A good example was: What’s my current career energy?
So, I sat thinking. What question is more important: love or career, wealth or where I live? Is my soul in alignment or am I on the right path to meeting higher work achievements?
Turns out, I didn’t need so many questions. Professional tarot reader Anna Joy helped me to understand Tarot with a reading and an introduction to the basics.
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I found Anna Joy via Instagram. Anna Joy is a professional tarot reader, Reiki Master-Teacher and spiritual coach, and host of the Queer Witch Podcast.
For my reading, we communicated via Zoom. Anna Joy, who is based in the US, was facing the prospect of a winter snow storm. Meanwhile, I sat in the Australian summer heat, surrounded by the sounds of the morning birds chirping.
We began with a guide to protect our energies. It reminded me of a personal guardian angel prayer I sometimes say in my mind at night for protection for me and my child.
Anna Joy advised we would do a straightforward reading with no questions. They would draw cards and talk to me about each one. Without much ado, we began by Anna Joy drawing the first card.
“The Ace of Swords,” said Anna Joy looking up from her laptop screen to mine. Even to my uneducated ears, the card sounded like a good one.
The Ace of Swords, Anna Joy explained, speaks to communication, ideas, beliefs and new projects. They suggested the drawing of the card related to my career; considering we were talking about my professional life, this made sense.
Each suit represents a different aspect of life. The major cards, called Arcana, represent karma and spiritual aspects while the minor Arcana cards represent the trials of daily life.
The second card was drawn for clarification: the Four of Wands. “A beautiful card,” according to Anna Joy; from the name alone, I had to agree.
Astrology is intertwined into the tarot suits — e.g. the wands are associated with fire signs. Another match for this Sagi!
The cards were speaking to my career aspirations, Anna Joy suggested. I agreed. The Four of Wands represents a sense of internal alignment, which I hopefully am harnessing in my career.
Next, Anna Joy drew for advice: the Nine of Pentacles. As my reader, Anna Joy said the card can be interpreted as working hard or hustling to financial independence.
As the reading continued, I felt the keen sense that the cards were simply reaffirming my intuition that for my career — and for my writing. I was happy and on the right path for me. This felt reassuring.
Then, they drew a Four of Rods, which I was advised is a joyful card that represents inner harmony.
I was left feeling content but also energized — and with a dollop of eagerness to get even more aligned and knuckle down on my writing plans. Anyone got a hookup at “Sesame Street” for me?! (My dream job.)
Before chatting to Anna Joy, I had been a little fearful of Tarot. I imagined the reading would be more intense, and that I would be left questioning what I heard. Instead, I left our virtual chat feeling tranquil; it had been a peaceful experience.
What Anna Joy and I experienced was an outright reading where the cards are drawn and interpreted. The other option is a customized reading where you ask open-ended questions to seek guidance.
As a queer person, Anna Joy spoke of the importance of Tarot and queer identity. “First, and foremost, what drew me to Tarot is that it resonated with me as a queer person,” they told GO. “Queerness, as well as witchcraft, was considered weird and taboo and not acceptable. [They’re] things that people thought were impossible, and when you’re raised in a queerphobic society, you think you’re impossible.”
If original tarot decks don’t feel inclusive for you with the male and female based archetypes such as The High Priestess or The Empress, look to companies such as The Fifth Spirit who offer “queer and inclusive [tarot] deck for a world beyond binaries.”
Through my conversation with Anna Joy, and my reading, a strong theme and reference to intuition emerged. It’s easy to feel out of touch with your intuition. Maybe it was hijacked by a busy schedule, angry boss or lost love. For me, my intuition felt lost in a busy world where I put myself last. What I didn’t expect was how easy it was to feel back in touch with my intuition. Tarot can be a way to touch on this intuition and guidance.
There’s no right way to have your Tarot read, but before you jump to Tarot looking for answers, there are some things that you shouldn’t ask.
Just like Genie says in the ‘90s Disney film, “Aladdin,” love is off limits — or, at least, it should be. Tarot shouldn’t be used to try and figure out if someone loves you or if they’re cheating.
As Anna Joy says: “Tarot is really about yourself. It’s your healing journey.”