Tarot for Beginners Part 6

Tarot for Beginners Part 6 – Busting Tarot Misconceptions and Absolute Bullshit

Hi Tarot Tribe, it’s Ethony and today I am here with the final installment of my Tarot for Beginners series – Busting 15 Tarot Misconceptions and Absolute Bullshit. Things are about to get a whole lotta juicy up in here.

I am going to try and limit my cursing in the video but I can’t promise it, these things get me pretty really to slap someone verbally like only a Queen of Swords can.

In case you missed the first five parts of the series:

Before I begin, as with everything I share, take what resonates with you and simply leave the rest.

Let’s face it, there is a lot of information out there in the wonderful intertubes and everyone and their pet goldfish named Jaws has an opinion. These are just some of the misconceptions that are (still) making the rounds out there about the Tarot and the art of reading the cards that I call BS on.

I would like to thank the amazing community members on our Tarot Readers Academy Facebook Group for their input in collating this list of 15 Tarot Misconceptions (and B.S)

Misconception #1 – You have to be from an unbroken line of Witches to be a Tarot Reader

It may seem like a very specific thing, but I have seen this in groups and when I meet other readers and with my students. There is almost so much wrong with that opinion I don’t know where to begin. What constitutes a real Witch? (because that is another fiery can of worms to open) How are you expected to validate an unbroken lineage?

I call B.S. on this one. You don’t need to be able to trace your lineage back to a historically famous mystical person or a high priestess of Avalon in your past life.

Misconception #2 – If you are a Tarot Reader you are a Witch

This piggybacks on the first one. You do not need to be a Witch to read the Tarot. Yes, there are plenty of Witches that do read cards but they are not mutually exclusive. There are also atheist Tarot readers, Christian Tarot readers, agnostic Tarot readers, and everything in between.

Labels are just that: labels. What you choose to identify with (or not) is nobody’s business.

Misconception #3 – You have to be Psychic to be a Tarot Reader

I certainly can see where this stereotype comes from and why the two have been paired together. Hotline psychics and readers, Hollywood portrayal, and Halloween stereotypes have all helped this misconception stick around.

You certainly don’t need to be psychic to read the cards and there are plenty of amazing professionals out there who confess to not having any interest in working with the tarot in a psychic way.

There are many different types of readers. You can do my Tarot Personality Quiz to find out what kind of reader you may be.

Misconception #4 – You shouldn’t buy decks

Some people believe that decks only have power if they are received as gifts, or stolen.

I would love to know where the sh*t the stolen thing comes from. Many stores keep their Tarot cards are under lock and key because they are stolen so often. Personally, apart from the moral implications of stealing, I wouldn’t work with a tool that I started a relationship within a negative way.

Many deck creators invest a great amount of time, energy, and money into making a deck. What gives someone the right to that deck without paying for it? Ridiculous.

You also don’t need to have a deck given to you as a gift for it to work. I buy most of the decks that I work with. While I am happy to share my wishlist at Yule with my family, I am more than happy to purchase my own cards and they have never let me down.

If you are unsure of how to go about buying your first Tarot deck. I have a blog post and video about this you can check out.

Misconception #5 – No one but the Tarot reader can touch the Tarot cards

This is what I would call a personal and professional preference and not a rule.

People can touch your cards and the reading can be great.

People don’t have to touch your cards and the reading can be great.

It is more about the skill of the Tarot reader than whether or not the cards have been personally handled.

For face to face readings, I have my clients shuffle the deck for a variety of reasons. It helps them focus, it gives them apart in the reading ritual, and their energy has gone into the cards.

As I do most of my readings online, most of my Clients don’t even get a chance to touch the cards. So I have found in my practice, either way, can and does work.

Misconception #6 – Tarot is just fortune telling

There are some readers predictive Tarot readers who use fortune telling (like I do) but there are plenty of readers who don’t.

Fortune telling can get a bad rap because there are misunderstandings about how it works. There is also a lot of urban legends around fortune telling that has created a lot of baggage.

The individual Tarot reader will be the one who dictates how the Tarot is used. Which is why I advocate that readers are open to how they read the cards, and what they believe the scope and limitations of a reading are.

Misconception #7 – The Tarot is Evil

While some people believe that the Tarot is a doorway for demons, evil spirits etc, no object itself is evil.

Where does this come from?

Well, the bible isn’t a fan of fortune tellers, sorcerers, mediums, and divination. Verses referencing them lumps them into the same category as murders and calling them abominations.

And then there’s The Devil card. People don’t understand what it means and think it’s evil.

Or maybe it was in some D grade horror movie.

Beliefs die hard.

I own an impressive mountain of Tarot cards and have read the cards daily for years and I can confirm that no portals to hell have opened in my home. Tarot has only ever enriched my life and has never bought anything ‘negative or bad’ to me at all.

Misconception #8 – Tarot Cards need to be stored in wood and silk etc…

Store your decks however the heck you like. The Wood and Silk idea has come about because those things are said to protect the cards from negative energies.

You can remove negative energies with a nice tumbled black tourmaline or by cleansing it in sage smoke.  Or choose another ritual or way to store your cards that resonate with you personally.

Misconception #9 – The Death Card means someone is about to die

If you mean deliver a sickening death drop, then maybe but the Death card in the Major Arcana rarely means physical death at all.

Has it come up in a reading for me where the card has represented actual death?

Yes, but it is rare and those situations are always handled extremely carefully. I would NEVER say to anyone “you are about to die”. Or tell a client that someone they love is going to.

I am not a God or a Dr so I have no right to say that to someone, especially to someone who is in need of guidance. In the rare cases where the card has represented physical death the Client has offered over information where the conversation could take place. For example a Client came to me and her husband had a terminal illness and she offered that information to me when the card came up so it was something we could talk about.

Tarot readers can have a lot of power so that is why I teach people, preach, blog, record videos, and generally try to raise the bar for our profession.

Misconception #10 – You can’t effectively read the Tarot for yourself

Most Tarot Readers read for themselves. In fact, I share a lot of spreads for self-reflection and they are extremely popular.

Do I feel it is always wise to read your own cards?


It depends on the situation you are reading about. We are invested in our own lives and can’t always be objective – sometimes you need an outside perspective. But, there is nothing stopping anyone from reading for themselves.

Misconception #11 – You can’t work with a second hand or used deck

I call bullshit.

Swapping and getting second-hand decks is awesome. It also reduces waste.

I have worked with many second and used decks. One of my favourite decks, my Morgan Greer Tarot, was a second-hand deck. I have used that deck to read for hundreds of Clients.

I always cleanse and welcome in a new deck to my house before using it.

Misconception #12 – Some cards in the deck are just plain BAD

I see the Tarot as a pictorial representation of the Book of Life. Life is not always easy or positive but that doesn’t make the cards, or what they represent, ‘bad’ or ‘good’.

Are some cards a little more unwelcoming than others? Yep.

Would you rather avoid some of the situations they are showing? For sure.

That’s life.

The Tarot would not be the balanced system it is if it shied away from the realities of the human experience, as wonderful and woeful as they are.

I have a post about the so-called ‘negative or bad’ cards in the deck if you want to explore that more.

Misconception #13 – There is only one right way to read Tarot

I am sick of anyone saying that there is only one right way to do anything spiritual or to work with a Tool like the Tarot. These statements are used to alienate people and leave people out of being included in our community.

The Tarot is a tool and you can use it any way you want.

There IS a system, magic, deep meanings, and a reason we learn Tarot cards but not everyone wants to learn or read that way. How you read is based on how you personally believe the Tarot works and your style of reading.

So someone doesn’t read the cards the way you do? That’s cool, it means we are and the Tarot itself is evolving. Live and let live.

Misconception #14 – The Tarot can foretell a fixed future

Depends on how you view things like destiny, fate, free will, and all that philosophical jazz.

I don’t personally believe the Tarot can foretell a fixed future. It can, based on a snapshot of the current situation, give someone options for moving forward and the most likely unfolding of events based on their decisions. I don’t believe they foretell anything carved in stone.

I have a full video and blog post on the role of fate and destiny in a Tarot reading if you want to check that out.

Misconception #15 – The Tarot can control people

You mean all this time I could have been using the Tarot to get my rent dropped or my apartment for free? Drat.

While a Tarot reader can try to control and manipulate you, you are the one that decides to give over that power. The Cards themselves can’t control shit. They are cards, as in pieces of paper.

Anyone sprouting this fear-based nonsense is likely scamming you and I have a lot to say about that behaviour in my post about Tarot Scammers.

Whatever you believe, keep it respectful

In the end Tarot enthusiasts, readers, students, creators, and lovers of the Tarot come from all over the world, with different backgrounds and experiences. This plays a part in the way we come to believe and think about the Tarot.

Even if you don’t believe the same as someone else there is more value in being open to respectful conversation.

You may disagree with my opinions. That is your right. I have given you some food for thought that may help you let go of something that has held you back from working with a tool that you are drawn to.

Thank you so much for joining me on my Tarot for Beginners Series. I hope you got a lot out of it. As always I am open to requests for videos and blog posts so please let me know if you have a suggestion for a Tarot or Tarot Biz topic.

  • Fiona Jane Timmins
    Posted at 10:43h, 28 March Reply

    Thanks Ethony I enjoyed reading your post!

  • Michele Todd
    Posted at 20:13h, 28 March Reply

    Excellent commentary Ethony, I agree with what you say and it does clear up many misconceptions.. thank you – Michele

  • Ana
    Posted at 21:14h, 23 April Reply

    Love this post! Haha, I actually don’t want to keep my decks in wooden boxes – they all look like mini coffins! So ominous and spooky, lol. I found the PERFECT plastic containers at The Container Store that holds standard sized decks perfectly.

  • Brian Flores
    Posted at 15:26h, 07 June Reply

    Thank you Ethony for educating us. This article is loaded with information dealing with objections about Tarot which is very helpful to beginners and professionals as well. Very enlightening.

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