How Do Tarot Readings Work?

A Beautiful Tool

For centuries people have been sitting down with a collection of images, numbers, symbols and signs called the Tarot. And for all those centuries, the Tarot has been delivering messages of clarity, support, empowerment, and vision to those who choose to trust its wisdom. Why do we trust the Tarot?  How does it do what it does? How does it seem to know us so well? What are these strange cards and why can we talk to them about our lives—and how do they talk back?
Every reader works with cards in their unique way, so I will share some of the ways the Tarot has taught me to use its language to help my clients. I’ve been reading Tarot for over 25 years and over that time I have studied it in only two books—The Tarot Handbook by Angeles Arrien is still my go-to (and I can’t remember the name of the other book, but it was really good and published in the glory days of the 90s). Most of my ability to read the cards has come directly from the cards themselves. They are a living, breathing, talking energy–and I’ve spent twenty-five years listening to what they have to say. 
Tarot Cards speak to us by tapping into archetypal images, mythology, folklore, and our own lived history. They show us things that spark ideas, memories, reminders of who we are and who we want to be. Each card is full of iconography that can be applied to your life. This gives each card a meaning in itself and in relation to the other cards around it in your reading. 
No one knows exactly where the Tarot came from. They are one of life’s true mysteries. 
The cards have many layers. Each card has a iconic message specific to its place in the 78-Tarot Card narrative. The Tarot is a journey and each card represents a step along that journey. In what we call the “Major Arcana” (the cards with names) “The Fool” card begins that journey, and along the way we have ups and downs represented by cards such as “Strength,” “The Tower,” “The Star” or “The Sun.” In the “Minor Arcana” we get to know the suits of the Tarot: Pentacles, Swords, Wands, and Cups. Each have their own dominion, an area of life that they speak directly to. Cups, which carry the element of water, for example, are frequently seen to represent emotions. Each number of the Minor Arcana (1-10) has a symbolic meaning as well. Aces for example, are often seen as beginnings (or culminations), fives as pivots, tens as abundance. All of this combines to give each card its distinct meaning. This is why we have professional readers—it’s a lot to remember and decipher!
Each card also speaks a unique real-time message directly to you with images, stories, and connections to the real events of your real life. The cards that need to speak to you are the cards you will see in your reading. The pictures, words, and stories that come through are specifically for you. The cards tell me things meant only for your ears.
I use the Tarot as a psychic window—a way to let your guides talk directly to you. So, for each person, a card has a unique meaning personal only to you. My job is to be the translator—telling you what I see and hear, and putting it in place within your own journey. Readings are a dialogue between you and the cards, with me as the mediator. That’s why when you come to see me I will ask you “What’s going on in your life and how can I help?” I want the information you receive to be direct and practical. Life is confusing enough. You’ve come to me to get some clarity, and I want to help you find it. 
I give a lot of psychic prescriptions in my readings—the cards are really good at telling you the kinds of things you can do to unblock stuck energy and create momentum in your favor. I want you to leave a reading with a few things you can do—concrete actions which can give you comfort, move things forward, shift energy, and of course give you self-care.  
One wise woman once referred to Tarot readings as “Therapy with Magic.” 
All of this is the language of psychic communication. 
And lastly, your reader and you should be a good match. We all communicate according to our personalities, and that’s part of the Tarot too. Each deck designed by a unique artist chosen by your unique reader, and you—where you are in your life at the moment of your reading, all combine to give you the experience that best supports you. 
The Tarot is an ancient tool. I am a modern reader—down to earth, honest, direct, and loving. I am a woman of color who has seen a lot in this lifetime, as a result, I believe that everything good is possible. We will laugh a lot during your readings. If you need to cry, we will cry. I accept you just as you are. I believe your vision for yourself is fully attainable. 
I look forward to reading for you. 
LC Collins