Ever wanted to see the future? Keen on impressing your friends with your mastery of the occult sciences, but not so keen on studying volumes of ancient lore? Interested in an air of mystery around your aura without the hassle of wearing robes? Never fear, your answer is right here.

An ancient Italian card game turned into a form of divination, the tarot is evolving from occult esoterica to a popular form of self-exploration. Having made its way from shadowy, incense-filled lairs of gray-haired old ladies to the living rooms of your average tax-payers, it no longer carries the stigma of fraternising with the Devil. I realise this is a disappointment to some, keen on tapping the vein of centuries old esoteric secrets and conjuring up a couple of demons. After all, the tarot was deemed heretical by the medieval church. But these days the Devil wears Prada and even you can learn to read the tarot. It’s fast, easy and fun!


• An ancient card game originating in Italy in
the 15th century.
• It became associated with magic and mysticism
in the 19th century.
• Deck consists of 78 cards. There are four suits
of 14 cards each (the minor arcana),
and 22 symbolical picture-cards (the major arcana).
• There are hundreds of decks to choose from these days,
but the Rider-Waite deck is the most popular and
a classic. Or maybe you would like the Salvador Dali
Deck, Gothic Tarot of the Vampires or for heaven’s
sake, the Gummy Bear Tarot.
• Even Finnish multimedia artist Marita Liulia has made
her own deck.

The facts are easily explained. The tarot deck consists of 78 cards. There are four suits: Wands, Pentacles, Cups and Swords. The four suits consist of numbered cards from one to ten and the court cards called Page, Knight, Queen and King. In addition to the 56 cards of the minor arcana, there are 22 cards that form the major arcana. These “cards of the greater secrets” are symbolical picture cards with meaningful names, such as the Magician, the Hanged Man and Judgement.

Reading tarot cards does not require extrasensory perception or seeing the future. What a tarot reader needs most is intuition. If you lack that, imagination is your next best friend. Years of practice in tarot reading makes it easier to interpret what the cards are trying to tell, but the method is still the same for the beginner. The cards, with their impressive imagery and intimidating names, are only a medium for the subconscious to project its wisdom into consciousness. Laying the Devil on the table doesn’t mean you’ve finally managed to summon Satan, but rather represents the bestial desires you’re either suppressing or overindulging.

There is no right or wrong way of interpreting the cards and the same cards may read different thing to different people. The biggest problem a beginner faces is that the cards seem to read nothing at all, they make no sense whatsoever. This is when the imagination comes to the rescue. The clues and implications are in the cards, what you need to do is weave the threads between your life and the cards. It’s not as hard as it sounds, you just need to get started.

Niina Mero
Illustration Kristin Ay



The major arcana is a vast swamp of detailed information and easy to get lost in, but here are brief explanations for the most popular three cards:

The Lovers, Death, and the Fool.


The Lovers does not augur the arrival of theperfect husband or wife. Sorry. However, thecard has everything to do with love, and notjust the sexual,passionate variant but ratherthe “unity of souls”–kind. A strong connectionand bonding is depicted by this card, but it might be in the form of friendship as wellas a romantic relationship.

Death is everybody’s favourite. Slam it on thetable to get a sure-fire gasp of mortal fear.However, death does not usually signify physicaldeath. It can translate to death of a certain timein one’s life, leaving something irrevocably behindand moving on, the death of an idea or personal transformation. Like its physical equivalent, Deathsignifies a drastic change in the course of your life. The fool is the crazy homeless person of the tarot. He may smell funny and act weird, but he is utterly free. He is here to remind us of our childlike ability to see the world and take risks. Sometimes, the choice everyone thinks is insane brings us the most fortune. So go crazy! The Fool is telling us to be adventurous, carefree and go look at the view from the ledge even if you’re scared of heights.




An easy way to get started is to get familiar with the four suits of the tarot.

WANDS, sometimes called Staffs, Batons or Clubs, is the suit of fire. Wood gives fuel to fire, feeds it to burn brighter, and the Wand cards correspond to a fire inside. Passion and desire, dynamic force, ambitions, creativity, vitality and self-development are all in the cards. This is the suit of spirituality, motivation and inspiration.


CUPS, or Chalices or Goblets, are associated with water. The suit may remind us of the Holy Grail, or the Elixir of Life, a vessel containing the secrets of life and death. Cups represent emotions, psychic and intuitive arts, fantasy and illusion, fertility, emotions, dreams and serenity. A very emotional and feminine suit, the Cups overflow with empathy and even clairvoyance.
PENTACLES are an earthy force centred on material and physical things. Sometimes called the Coins, this suit represents our finances and possessions, accomplishments, business, trade, land, home, and also our bodies, level of vitality, connection to the Earth and Nature, and physical health and wellbeing. The name Pentacles brings to mind more earthy and natural connections, whereas the name Coins reminds us of the material side of the suit. SWORDS, also known as Daggers or Knives, is the suit of air and the intellectual and the rational mind. Some traditions augur violence, arguments and even death along the suit of Swords, but we are well past battling our differences with sharp objects. A more accurate image is the Sword of Truth, often double-edged and sharp. The suit points to our abilities to consider, to contrast and compare, to weigh the evidence and to make a decision. It is the suit of insight and awareness.

Lay three cards on the table face down. Think of a question you would like to have answered.
Then turn the cards over one at a time.

CARD 1. This card represents the past. The things that have brought you to this point. and the
influences that have passed are indicated by this card. It is time to reflect on the choices you’ve

CARD 2. This card represents the present. It may give you more insight as to what kind of situation
you are in, what you are currently feeling or what is happening right now in your life. This
may also give form to the question you had in your mind in the beginning.

CARD 3. This card represents the future: the influences or forces coming your way and the possibilities
that you should take into consideration. If it happens to be a “bad” card, do not despair.
This is not your destiny, maybe just a warning. Remember that fate is a fickle thing and destinies
change faster than the wind.