A deck of tarot cards is perhaps one of the most recognizable divination tools there is, being used to represent magic, witchcraft, psychic ability, and a foreboding sense of evil in tons of films, books, and other media. If you were to ask the average passerby if tarot cards required the reader to have psychic ability to be properly understood, they’d likely tell you yes. But the truth is, there are two ways to answer that question.
Answer #1: No.
Tarot cards actually used to be game cards, developed first in Turkey and later adapted by the Italians. These cards were used to play a variety of games, but the important part is the images on each card. The symbols depicted on the cards aren’t necessarily related to anything psychic or magical; rather, these are psychological archetypes recognizable based on science.
Psychology, Archetypes, and the Tarot
Carl Jung is the famous analytical psychiatrist who had a deep interest in archetypes. He referred to the part of the human psyche that can instantly recognize the meanings hidden behind certain symbols as the “collective unconscious”. At a basic level, it means that we as a species share certain understandings. This can be seen in the language of facial expressions. In nearly every culture in the world, a smile is understood as the sign of happiness, contentment, or friendliness.
In the tarot, classic archetypes are used to indicate specific meaning for each of the cards. For example, most decks show The Empress card as a pregnant woman, seated on a throne or in another position of power. She is often surrounded by nature elements, and her face is typically serene or pleasing. She represents the Mother archetype; the nurturing, loving, life-giving woman that all humans can instantly recognize (even those who haven’t experienced love at the hands of a mother can recognize this symbol).
So Why Doesn’t Tarot Require Psychic Ability?
Simply put, the fact that tarot relies totally on archetypes that anyone could understand with a little bit of study means that there is no special psychic ability required to read them. Anyone who would like to have their mind opened to possible solutions that they didn’t think of could perform a reading for themselves. After a drawing a card, they could simply study the symbols represented there and draw conclusions based on the attributes typically given to that archetype.
Answer #2: Sort of.
Now, the second answer to the question, “Do you have to be psychic to read tarot cards?” is, well, sort of. That is to say, the guidance offered by tarot cards can reach an entirely new level when combined with psychic ability.
Often when a psychic is learning to understand their own ability, they’ll use tarot cards or another similar tool to help them focus. Tarot cards can even be used to improve upon psychic ability, helping a young psychic develop their abilities even more. In many cases, tarot is used by psychics as a way to organize or structure information, more than for divination purposes. By using the cards to tell a story, one that the person requesting the reading can add to, the psychic is able to gather more in-depth information about the true heart of their question, and thus offer better, more specific guidance.
Using Tarot with Psychic Abilities
If you are a psychic and you’re just starting out with tarot, the best thing to do is to get rid of the guidebook that came with the cards. Rather than focusing on the “meaning” of each card as defined by the guidebook, think instead about the feeling that you are getting from each card. The symbols on the card are there to offer a psychological meaning, yes, but you may also consider the colors, placement, or general emotion that you perceive from a card.
You may also choose to use tarot cards at the end of a psychic reading, rather than during the reading. This can offer added clarification or new ideas to the reading, but it can also give a much needed affirmation to what you’ve already discovered during the reading. This can help young psychics gain confidence in their abilities.
To Sum Up
Overall, the answer is that tarot cards could be read by anyone who understands the basic archetypes represented in the symbols on the cards. However, using tarot alongside other psychic gifts can make the reading far more intuitive, and can also allow a psychic to develop their abilities further.