BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
Editor's Note: This was originally published at The Berry.
When some people think about the Tarot, they often think about fortune telling or what’s going to happen to them in the future. And some people think it’s hocus-pocus horse-shit. But really, that’s not what the Tarot is all about — and it’s not. The Tarot is a tool that helps you evaluate and confront your current position, how happy you are, and how you can become more fulfilled in your daily life. If anything, it’s a tool for you to read into your present emotions, while using your past to help you break bad habits and patterns.
This is primarily why I read Tarot—to help me when I’m my lowest and my most confused. Basically, when I need guidance of some sort.
Here are ways to use the Tarot to become a happier version of you:
1. To get clarity and guidance for a romantic relationship.
This is one of the most common reasons why people seek Tarot readings in the first place, because they often don’t know what to do and are stuck. There are so many good spreads for romantic issues, which you can check out here.
2. Because you aren’t sure what to do with your career. Should you stick your current job out or start looking for a new one?
Like with romantic issues, your career is often nuanced and complicated, and because of that, often requires you t be honest with yourself. Sometimes, it’s difficult actually being honest, and not just telling yourself to stick with the easy solution. The cards will make this easier to deal with the fact that you can’t run away from the facts forever. This Horseshoe spread is great for career-related questions.
3. You feel unsatisfied or discontent, but don’t actually know why.
This is actually fairly common, and sometimes the hardest reason why! It’s disconcerting when you feel down, but can’t attribute it to a job or relationship. Perhaps this means you aren’t intellectually and creatively stimulated enough, or there’s a toxic habit or family relationship you have, but you’re unaware of it. The Tree of Life spread is useful for this.
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4. When you feel lost and directionless.
The Tarot can be extremely useful at suggesting what needs to be changed and revamped. Maybe you’re working on a novel that just isn’t progressing. A reading can help you figure this out, and figure out how to make it better. It could also suggest that you have unfinished business that may be holding you back, like miscommunication with a friend, ex, or parent. The Diamond spread may be for you in this case.
5. When starting a new phase in your life — like a new job, relationship, or move.
Sometimes a life change, even if positive, can make you feel uncomfortable and stressed. The Tarot may be able to suggest what changes are coming if they haven’t yet, how the themes will affect you, and how to proceed in a healthy way (like meditating or starting a new work out routine). Check out the Attainment reading for this.
6. When you’re struggling with a major decision (like whether or not to break up or get a new job).
Having a Tarot reading can be very effective at suggesting what new factors need to be considered, what resources are available to you, what you may have overlooked, and what opportunities you may not have considered–like getting funding or going on a retreat or residency. The Decision spread is clearly your best bet here.
Joanna C. Valente is a ghost who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (The Operating System, 2017), Xenos (Agape Editions, 2016), and Sexting Ghosts (Unknown Press, 2018). They are the editor of A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017), and received a MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, a managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and CCM, as well as an instructor at Brooklyn Poets. Some of their writing has appeared in Brooklyn Magazine, BUST, Them, Prelude, Apogee, Spork, The Feminist Wire, and elsewhere.