Do a Google search on the words ‘psychic + tarot’ and you’ll come up with 370,000 entries, the majority of which are professional readers advertising their skills. One person offers an “intuitive, psychic tarot reading.” Others list themselves as an “empathic, intuitive, psychic tarot reader,” a “gifted psychic reader,” and a “psychic medium who uses the tarot”. The claims are sometimes outrageous—“99% accurate psychic predictions,” “only the truth,” “world renown,” “specializing in reuniting loved ones,” and “love and money spells” to remove curses—all indicators that you should beware of what you’re getting into. One characteristic of a psychic tarot reading, it seems, is that you won’t find interpretations that come out of a book; instead these are “cosmic insights,” “channeled wisdom,” or clairvoyance. (I bought this statue when Tarot for Your Self first came out—to celebrate the day.)
Search on ‘intuition or intuitive + tarot’ and there are 385,000 entries. There are an additional 216,000 listings for ‘Tarot Reader’ that do not use the terms psychic, intuitive or intuition. And, 225,000 listings for either a ‘tarot consultant or counselor’ with all previous words eliminated. By contrast, a search on Tarot alone results in thirty-two and a half million entries.
Intuitive tarot, when the word ‘psychic’ has been eliminated, emphasizes listings for decks, books, articles and courses, but there are still plenty of ads for readings. These readers are somewhat more likely to advertise themselves as spiritual counselors or consultants (who might also practice Reiki or coaching or “down-to-earth guidance”). But descriptions still feature an aversion to interpretations found in books: “An intuitive approach to tarot reading places the power within,” while a book meaning “denies the power within.” Intuitive tarot involves “that gut feeling or first instinct that comes to you when you look at a card. . . . It is a gut reading more so than regurgitation of memorized definitions.”
Self-styled ‘tarot counselors’ (when eliminating the intuitive and psychic words) seem to have an altogether different vibe. They use tarot “as a therapeutic method and means for self-realization,” “for drawing out information lying deep inside,” and “for helping someone to clearly see a particular present situation.” Sessions are “designed to bring personal fulfillment . . . to assist and guide, to empower and uplift.” Book meanings are sometimes acknowledged as helpful for their depth, wisdom and guidance.
‘Therapeutic tarot’ or ‘tarot therapy’ seems to focus on healing modalities including massage and Reiki in addition to such counseling skills as “assisting you in reaching your goals [and to] gain clarity.” The querent’s projections (ascribing one’s own feelings, thoughts, attitudes or situation to another person or thing) are often described as a major method for determining the significance of the cards.
A search on ‘tarot + projection’ turned up an interesting report from Quirk’s Marketing Research Review called “Heart Maps and Tarot Cards” by Steven Richardson. It describes how tarot cards have been used to help medical doctors talk about the influence of marketing in their disease treatment decision-making processes:
“Tarot cards serve as unique picture-sort stimuli for images and archetypes (but are not used as actual tarot cards for readings, just for the symbolism). In this technique, ask physicians to thumb through the cards quickly and come up with ones that describe or dramatize how they personally feel about being a doctor in the practice of medicine as it relates to a particular disease state. . . . In another study conducted by [Myra] Summers, the tarot card technique was helpful in understanding doctors’ attitudes towards treating terminally ill patients (though Summers also does not use the cards as they are used in tarot readings). The technique revealed meaningful insight into the emotional distress a number of oncologists experience every day.”*
Notice how quick the author is to disassociate this use of cards from tarot readings. Yet, how many tarot readers would claim that such insights are precisely what they turn to the cards for?
I plan on writing much more on this topic, but will leave it for now. I encourage you to write in comments on your own thoughts on this subject.