Are Tarot Cards Magic?

Are tarot cards magic?

Some people wonder if Tarot cards are some sort of mystical tool that allows communication to the spirit world or help you read someone else’s innermost thoughts and/or feelings.

This may appear true on the surface and you might be thinking how is that even possible? Are tarot cards magic?

No, tarot cards themselves are not magic. They aren’t some magical portal to the other side. While they do contain imagery that could be used in magic (such as wands, swords, cups, and coins), what they do have in common with magic is that tarot cards can open your mind to reveal the illusions before you.

Tarot card readings help the reader to discover their deepest thoughts within. Advanced tarot card readers can use their decks as a tool that opens their intuition so strongly that it does appear as if they are a magician themselves.

In this article, I’m going to help you learn how to dispel the magic and become a-tune to your own deck so that you can see how easy it can be.

After a little bit of practice, you’ll start to believe the cards really are magical.

Before I get into more detail, I want to point you to the end of this article. I’ve collected a number of articles that you will also find interesting under the Related Articles section. Don’t leave before you check them out.

Table of Contents

Why would people think Tarot cards are magic?

Tarot cards have been in use since the 15th Century. Originally they were used by the nobles to play a bridge like game called trionfi and later tarocchi or tarock.

In the 18th Century the occult started to become popular and a man named Antoine Court de Gebelin wrote a book that suggested the tarot cards held a repository of timeless esoteric wisdom of a god called Thoth.

At around the same time, Jean-Baptiste Alliette (known under the pseudonym “Etteilla”) popularized the idea of tarot as a divination tool.

From this point in history, the tarot cards and tarot decks began to have an allure of magic. The tarot deck was cosidered an ancient Egyptian book of arcane wisdom.

There was also connections with tarot and the Hebrew alphabet and the kabbalah. The Tarot of the Bohemians suggested that tarot originate with the Gypsies and ancient Egyptian knowledge.

Fortune tellers began to utilize the symbolism of the tarot deck to connect with their intuition and divine answers for querents (people looking for answers from tarot practitioners).

Over the ages, mystical groups and occult followers have perpetuated the lore of the tarot. And, I believe, that because the tarot cards can be used to help readers connect with their intuition, many querents receive readings that are very accurate.

I feel that the world of the mind is a very magical thing. If you have had a reading with a talented tarot practitioner, then you will have first hand experience that the information provided is surprisingly accurate.

So, how can you connect with the tarot “magic” for yourself?

Connecting with the Magic of Tarot

Tarot can help you to connect with your intuition. The best way to open your mind using tarot cards is to find a deck that is easy to read the symbolism of.

A good “magician” is only as good as the tools before them. Most early readers start with a variation of the Rider-Waite Tarot (purchase your own deck through Amazon).

This deck is filled with symbols and easy to tell from the pictures what is happening. You don’t want to have to reach for a guidebook every time you pull a card. You want your thoughts to go with the flow at first before diving into more difficult to read decks.

I’m not saying to throw caution to the wind and the guidebook with it.  The book will help greatly, but for developing a magical relationship with your cards, you want to be able to just take in the cards themselves for now.

You want to be able to focus on what your mind is telling you about the images and allow yourself to interpret whatever comes your way. Think of it as when you first started to read, picture books were the best starting point.

You’ll be surprised how easy it is and how quickly you’ll be able to match the book’s wording to your intuition if the deck is easily readable.

Use your book, but do not rely on it as a crutch. Here’s an article that talks about “How to do a tarot reading on yourself“.

Another, goes into even more detail: “How do I read tarot cards, a complete guide

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Setting the Stage for a Tarot Reading

You need to have a place that is free from distractions. You’ll need to be able to concentrate on what you are doing and the thoughts that come to you.

Here are a couple of ways that you could put your senses into the background so that they aren’t overwhelming your ability to hone in on your sixth sense.

At the very least, these few things will help you to focus on a meditative atmosphere so that you can listen in on your thoughts better than normal. This process can also train your body and mind to get used to letting go in future readings.

Quiet the Noise

Quiet! You want to be able to rid as much noise as possible. You could play some background sounds, such as binaural beats, white noise, or nature sounds.  This will allow your mind to zone out every day distractions.

You shouldn’t play music with lyrics or too much drum and bass until you can focus on your inner thoughts without it throwing your game off.


Light a candle, incense, or oil warmer with a scent that brings you into a calming atmosphere. Make it a sweet underlying smell that doesn’t overpower your senses.

I like to use lavender in my oil warmer when I’m trying to focus intently. There is a essential oil diffuser on Amazon that is really nice. Lagunamoon has a 6 oil gift set that includes lavender at a very good price.


You want to have a bright enough area to read the cards without hurting your eyes or causing a headache. You also don’t want the light in your room to be overpowering.

Some people use candles. I like to use a desk lamp so that I don’t need to worry about the flame as I’m reading.


Make sure you have a comfortable seat or area to relax in. You want to feel as if you are about to meditate (spoiler alert: you are!) and not as if you are taking a test!

Grab some pillows and throw them on the floor if that works for you or sit at a clean desk or table free of junk.

This all boils down to personal preference. The only goal here is to calm your space and yourself.

By allowing your area to be a calming environment, you are allowing yourself to remain free of distractions and really get to know your cards and your inner thoughts.

A Beginner’s Exercise To Inspire the Magic of Tarot

One of my favorite ways to inspire the magic of a new tarot deck is to sit back and look at each card. Some people like to do a daily draw of one card, some people will concentrate on just one suit at a time.

A quicker way to learn the deck’s symbols is to make seven piles. For one week, pick a pile each day and concentrate on that pile only.

Gather the cards you want to explore for this exercise. Start shuffling your pile and lay them out as you see fit. One at a time is fine, or even attempt a smaller three-card reading.

The goal is to put the pictures into words and if having more cards will help you to come up with a story, then do so.

Look at each card individually. Pick it up, get a feel for it in your hand and really look at the picture in the card.

  • How does it make you feel?
  • Is there a person on the card?
  • What are their emotions in the picture?
  • Are they happy? In pain?
  • What are some of the items around them?
  • Is it a Cup card? Sword?
  • And so forth.

Use a journal to write down your guesses before reading the guidebook for confirmation. There are no right or wrong answers. You only want to get to know your deck at this point.

A Few Helpful Tips to Consider

  • Cups represent water = emotions and feelings.
  • Wands represent fire = creativity and energy.
  • Swords represent air = thoughts and communication.
  • Pentacles represent earth = material and physical items.

The symbolism and magic of a tarot card and your intuition

Lana Zellner, Eight Coins Tattoo Tarot Deck, Four of Swords
Four of Swords, Lana Zellner’s Eight Coins Tattoo Tarot Deck

As an example, I’m going to focus on the Four of Swords from the Eight Coins Tattoo Tarot by Lana Zellner (imaged above). When I look at this card, I see what looks like a tired acrobat.

He’s burnt out from focusing on work too often in the city behind him. He’s now focusing on the thoughts before him.

He wants to find a way to get back to his own sense of calm before he completely shuts down.

The included guidebook describes this card describes the meaning… “it’s not easy to resist the distractions of our waking life, but personal growth and rejuvenation only come when we force ourselves into a more quiet position.”  

That’s pretty spot on with what the picture is showing and my personal analysis.

Your cards may be different. Just pick out an item or two and think of what they could be saying about the picture as a whole. Just as the card from my example, you can learn so much by merely concentrating on what’s in front of you.

The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings true when it comes to focusing on tarot cards. As you look at the cards, you will see symbols and images on the cards that spark your intuition for answers to the question.

Eventually, you’ll be able to add in more items and get a broader scope of the card without any hesitation.

The more time spent trying to meditate on the cards, the more second nature reading them and telling the story in front of you will become.


Hopefully, by reading this short article, you’ll start to see that although tarot cards themselves are not magic, the human mind most certainly can be!

The longer and stronger we grow our intuition and ability to really tune in to the cards, the more they do start to feel as if they are truly magic. Reading tarot can become a natural talent with practice and determination that can open up a world of new possibilities.

It’s easy to see why some people truly do believe the cards themselves hold a certain magic in them, but the truth is, YOU are the amazing spiritual being that brings the magic to life!

Now, get out there and pick a card… any card!

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I also love having my White Sound Machine and my Asakuki Diffuser running in my living room. Sometimes I will choose the sound of rain or the ocean or even thunder. It depends on my mood.

I’ll fill the diffuser with lavender or peppermint. With the thunder in the background and the smell of peppermint, it’s like being whisked away to a far away place!

I really love the Himalayan salt Lamp and my Crystal Tree of Life. I have them in my office and they create a “zen” feel for me while I’m working.




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