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Tarot Reflections

November 15, 2004

Down the Tarot Rabbit Hole
Tracy Hite, ATA Treasurer, Networks Manager

Tracy began her own Tarot journey while recovering from her first son's birth on New Year's Eve, 1996. She tried to study on her own for nearly a year, picking up what she could from books and websites, but she had a lot of trouble piecing everything together. Through membership in  the American Tarot Association, she met the contacts and gained the expertise needed to gain her certification as a Certified Tarot Master.

Tracy is honored to serve as Manager for both the Free Reading Network and the Free Tarot Network. She also volunteers as Treasurer of the ATA and webmaster of the Comparative Tarot site.


Are you “curiouser and curiouser” about tarot? Then follow me down the Tarot rabbit hole each month in my new series. Whether you’re a long-time reader or you’ve never even seen a deck, I’m happy to share my tarot knowledge with you. I may not always be able to answer your questions, and ask you not to substitute my opinions for your own, but I’ll do my best to help. Let’s explore together, shall we?

“What about reading for kids, like grade school age? I'm ok with teenagers, but younger kids I just can't seem to get a good reading on, and I was thinking about just not reading for them any more.” -- Lisa

I had to think about this one quite a while, since I haven't really run into it myself. I don't do any readings in person, just over the Networks, and they require clients to be at least 18 for legal reasons. (They could be lying, of course, but I always assume they're not unless proven otherwise.)

The only "reading" I've done for kids is more storytelling, with my older sons (ages seven and four). Sometimes when I'm shuffling they catch me with a deck and want to play with it, so I let them draw a card and ask what they think the person's doing. I guess I'm really just helping them do their own one-card readings, rather than reading for them.

If I were to try reading for a child, I'd make sure I had the parent's permission, and then ask them to listen/watch while it was done. Smaller children can't really tell fantasy from reality, and they believe just about everything, so I would let them do the talking and definitely try to avoid making any kind of future predictions for them.

“My question as I was shuffling was, ‘How does R. feel and think about me?’ How do I know that we are really seeing him and not my interpretation of how he feels? Is it possible to read a person that is not there?” -- Barbara

This is what I call a third-party reading, when the client asks a question about another person’s motives, actions, etc. Personally, I agree with you, and avoid reading for a third party that's not present. It’s similar to eavesdropping or spying on that other person without their permission. If you are my client, then my reading would focus on your thoughts and feelings, not someone else's.

This is one of the ethical issues each reader needs to decide for herself sooner or later. Some readers are comfortable doing third-party readings, but I'm not.

“I have a book that shows over a 100 lays but really, does it matter how the cards are laid out? Or does it just impress the tourists?” -- Barbara

Spreads actually do have a purpose, mostly breaking the main question down into sub-questions, smaller bits that go together to make a more well-rounded answer.

For example, thinking about your previous relationship question, you might use a Past - Present - Future three-card spread. The first card would address your past together, the second is the relationship as it stands now, and the third would be where it's heading if current trends continue.

And if you can't find a spread that fits for a particular reading, feel free to make one up on the spot.

Please send your questions to for consideration for future articles. Unless you prefer to remain anonymous, please include your first name and last initial, along with your location (state or country).


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