A Tarot Card Comeback

Blair Chernow

I am not a witch, a fortune teller, or a psychic. But I am a Tarot card reader. When I tell people I'm a reader, here is what they imagine: a shiny crystal ball on the table, a Patchouli incense-filled room, and someone telling them they will be rich, famous and that they will also find true love.

But that's not how I operate.

Tarot cards don't predict the future, but reading them might help you figure yours out. Tarot tells us stories about our lives and ways we could live them better.

My journey to the cards began in the spring of 2020. Like many high-schoolers these days, to put it very lightly, I am a hot mess. I continuously struggle with controlling my emotions as well as my impulsivity. Even something small can send me into a downward spiral. These emotions became even tougher to deal with during the national lockdown and global pandemic, and I found myself searching for guidance and purpose.

My mom is a pragmatic and down-to-earth kind of person. My dad, however, is more of a head-in-the-clouds kind of guy. He’s open to anything. He is spiritual and truly one-of-a-kind, and he has been studying Tarot since before I was born. My childhood was filled with meditation pyramids in my backyard, colorful rocks with different meanings, and existential Buddhist books in the bathroom for some light reading. All my life, I tried to hide this from my friends. I mean, there isn’t exactly an easy way to explain why my dad was sitting under a massive wooden pyramid in the backyard or on his closet floor wearing headphones, listening to frequencies to synchronize his brain and reach focus levels where he could have an out of body experience.

As I grew older, however, I began to appreciate my dad’s view on life, and just how much like him I truly was. Recently, when I needed some guidance, I was so lucky to find my very own medium living under the same roof. The first tarot reading I received was from my dad. As soon as he saw my interest in tarot, he took me to The Mayflower Book Store to purchase a tarot deck of my own. As I searched through different crystal bracelets and old books, I came across the Rider Waite tarot deck. This deck is one that many beginners learn from, which is exactly how my journey began. My cards went everywhere with me; as I shuffled, read, and learned more about them, I started to feel more connected to them, which is the first step in relaying the messages from a higher power to other people and myself. At its most basic level, Tarot tells a story about the cycles of our lives. Each card pulled is packed with information. My favorite is the Rider-Waite deck because the colorful and clear images are filled with symbols to indicate what the card itself means.

Asking the universe questions and hoping it responds is precisely the craft, and the answers craved are revealed with each card pulled. While I don’t predict the future, with the help of the cards, I can offer insight into some of the things a person may encounter and help navigate those events or emotions. My most favorite spread is the Celtic Cross. The Celtic Cross is a ten-card spread, each card representing a different question to be answered and a deeper exploration of the typical interpretations of the cards. To help you understand, one could ask about relocation, sprouting relationships, whether or not to beware of a new friend, or even if they should begin thinking about welcoming a baby or pet into their family.

First, I begin by asking myself or the readee what questions need answering. The inquiries can range from a possible new love interest to a death of an opportunity or a loved one. I am not Gd, and I don’t decide nor see who lives and who dies. I only read and interpret what is in front of me, displayed on the chosen card. Next, I begin to draw cards. As I shuffle through the deck, I pay special attention to cards that jump out at me or to the ones that might fall out as I’m shuffling. The message on those cards needs to be heard immediately.

The first card I draw answers where one may be at that moment, the present situation, or the center of the problem. This could be something the readee already knows about themselves or their life-- at this point, we are just warming up. The second card I pull focuses on the immediate challenge or problem the readee is facing. If I can give insight on how to resolve this problem, my mission would be most likely complete, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The third card is the most fun for me because this is where I really shock my audience; This card explains an underlying or subconscious challenge the querent may not be aware of and how their thoughts and feelings may influence their present situation. This card is especially fun if the querent isn’t intuitive or doesn’t believe in spiritual tarot readings. For example, my brother was shocked when I was able to tell him something truly personal about his life. The fourth card covers the past and how some of these events influence the present or current situation. The fifth card focuses on goals and aspirations, another fun one because I get to tell people the possibilities for their objectives and interpret if what they are working toward is worth it. Maybe whether or not you should begin a new relationship or start a new project. For instance, my best friend needed help with deciding whether or not she needed to end a relationship with a boy who was sweet but inattentive. I pulled the Tower card which is an “ending card,” without a doubt. It very often announces a break-up or a major disagreement. The rest of the spread added further information regarding the crises. Is it over for good? Will there be a second chance? Is it for the better? This warning helped her prevented shock and alloweded her to prepare for changes ahead. This card will helped guide her in the right direction. Card six is for the future; this is strictly for the near future, weeks or months. Again, I am not a psychic, and I can’t see years into the future, but I can give some guidance on upcoming events, for example, a new job offer or a possible pregnancy. This card is by no means a final outcome, but rather a step in a direction on one’s journey. The seventh card is how one may approach or see themselves in a current situation. The eighth card is for external influences, someone or something that may impact future dealings. The ninth card is the scariest, seeing as it focuses on watching out for or a warning for the querent. It can also be interpreted as something that may need special attention, so it isn’t always grim. For example, I have predicted relationships ending and friendships falling apart. The tenth and final card is for a projected outcome; this is where the situation is headed and how the readee should continue on their course of action. If one pulls an undesirable card, it may signify that they have to change their lives.

The ten-card Celtic Cross is the spread I have used for many of my readings, and I find most are successful (so far). This spread also takes a great deal of time and energy to complete, so often, when I can't devote myself to a full reading, I pull three cards. For little daily needs, I turn to a simple spread. Enter the three-card Tarot spread. We all know that the cards won’t reveal lottery numbers or predict actual events, but they can guide us.

Now let's have a little fun. Join me for a personal Three-Card Spread for the future. Free of charge of course.

Today's three-card future querent is a typical Groves High School student, who has spent months dealing with the horrors of a global pandemic. Choices about returning to school face to face or remaining virtual loom. Losing touch with friends when unable to attend a weekend party is stressful. Questions about when sports and activities will resume fill their mind. Of course, after months of college applications and essays, those college decisions are making their way to the portals, and words like “deferred”, “denied”, or “postponed” seem more likely than the words “accepted”, and “congratulations” for which every student longs. Everything is up in the air, unprecedented and uncertain for this individual. If someone can benefit from a tarot reading, it’s the Groves High School Student. Let’s do this.

The questions are straightforward. I’m shuffling the deck like a Vegas Cardshark. I am now cutting and spreading the cards before me to choose without knowing what is on them beforehand. I continue by selecting three cards and laying those cards out in front of me. I will ask the first card I choose to help answer where you stand now, what you aspire to and how you can get there. The second will tell us what’s standing in your way, and how to overcome it. The third and last card will reveal what will help you, hinder you, and tell us your unrealized potential.

The first card I pulled is the Ten of Pentacles. The Ten of Pentacles in Tarot represents an investment in the things that really last; when it appears, it asks you if you are working toward leaving the world a better place than when you found it. The card tells us that today, you must make memories with your family. It is essential to work hard and plan for the future, but right now, you need to stop, reach out, and connect with your loved ones. Don’t sweat the small stuff and forgive past mistakes. What you are investing your energy in now will have positive results well into the future. There is no need to fear the future; your life is becoming more secure, be patient.

The second card chosen is the Hanged Man. Don’t panic! Despite its rather eerie name, the Hanged Man is often a good sign. He represents looking at your life through the lens of extraordinary wisdom. Viewing your experience from a different point of view will lead to breakthroughs. You can achieve your goal, but you need to be brave and make sacrifices. This might mean studying instead of partying or cutting calories to achieve weight loss. To free yourself from dissatisfaction, you may have to sacrifice your routines, habits, and the status quo, just like the wise hanged man.

The third and final card is the Sun (YAY!). The sun is always the best card in the deck: signifying success, optimism, and everything working out as it should and falling into place. The sun arrives to tell you to lighten up, stop being so negative about life. It may get dark periodically, but it won’t stay that way for long. Turn your face toward the warm light; everything is working out the way it should.

Groves high school Student, fear not. It appears that things are looking up for you. (I’m not sure that things could get any worse than they were in 2020, but I don't want to jinx anything)

Although it might seem that I am a master reader; in reality, I am just a beginner, and to become a true tarot card reader takes many years of insight and practice. Many newbies look to more practiced readers as mentors. Having your own readings by others also helps. I was fortunate enough to receive a reading from tarot professional Nikita Stojanowski, who has been reading since 2005. Not only did she give me an insightful, accurate, and detailed tarot card reading (which I will only reveal portions of because you don’t need to know all my dirty secrets and after all, a reading is very private), but she also gave me tips and advice.

One of the many cards Nikki pulled for me was for hope and healing. This card stuck with me precisely because I need a whole lot of both in my life. I have had my share of traumatic experiences, and hearing that I may be able to begin to heal from even one of them was like a 50-pound weight lifted off of my shoulders.

“This card is hope and healing, so whatever is going on in your life right now, there will be hope, and if you’ve gone through something a little bit traumatic, there will be healing. You are on a good path,” Stojanowski said.

That was the best news I had heard in months, and I found myself channeling that “it’s all going to be ok” mantra every day since the reading. The next card I pulled focused more on wealth and abundance, and I swear it’s like she saw the dollar signs in my eyes when she pulled that card.

“So, I see a four of pentacles. You are very money-focused like I said, but at the same time, you want to do extremely well in life and you want to save. I don’t know if you’re a big spender,” Stojanowski said.

Before you all think I’m some money-obsessed person, Stojanowski also said I, “wanted to use this wealth to benefit others”, which has been my mission since day one.

“You want to own but not only for yourself but to help the world,” Stojanowski said.

Ever since I was old enough to have thoughts and opinions, I have used my voice to help in any way I could. When I am older, I plan on becoming a lawyer to defend people who can’t defend themselves. My determination to become successful and aid those in need projected onto my cards. These takeaways from my reading have continued to become apparent as the days go on, and I have taken her guidance and used it to calm my anxiety about what my near future holds.

Tarot has helped me discover more about myself, my friends, and my family. It is also a wonderful career, and, If college doesn’t work out for me, I am happy to have something to fall back on (although my mom would probably have a heart attack if I told her that). Like life, every deck has its nuances, and every reader has their interpretations. I’m still not entirely sure about the vast world of tarot and what it all means, but I’m positive if I ever figure it out, my journey will become clearer. I won’t necessarily become lucky in love or rich and powerful, but maybe when I get it just right, I will be able to lead myself and others down a path of growth and serenity.

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