Do I have to believe in spirits to have a tarot reading?

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When you think of Tarot, do you think about psychic powers, ghosts, or contacting spirits?

The first time I ever received a Tarot reading was a few years ago, from my sister in law, who is a gifted medium. I’d always suffered anxiety, depression, and panic attacks for as long as I can remember, and to top it all off, I’d recently lost my Mum which had kind of brought the pot to the boil.

Sorry to start off so dismal, but like so many people who confide in a reader, I’d got to the point where I didn’t know how to move forward. I knew something had to change.

In times of despair, I truly think that’s when a lot of us turn to alternative means of finding answers. Ways we’d never considered before. Because being stuck where you are without a way to move forward feels pretty scary, especially when what you’re going through is so uncomfortable and painful.

She came to my house, armed with her Tarot deck. I’d made a nice little cosy area with the dining table pulled out, incense on, and candles burning. Back then, although I’d dabbled in witchcraft, I’d never actually used Tarot or even confided in anyone, metaphysical or otherwise, about my problems (well, maybe except for my husband).

But like I said, as so many people feel after bad news or experiences, I was desperate for some answers, and I thought Tarot could somehow help me. Back then, I truly thought Tarot was a tool that mediums used to contact spirits, or something otherworldly-ness, to pluck answers from somewhere in the future. 

On top of that, I was a firm skeptic, not just about ghosts, spirits, contacting the dead, all that ‘spooky’ stuff – but also anything related to it. 

Including Tarot. Because I assumed they were one and the same.

But I figured, therapy wasn’t an option for me at that point, I hated being on tablets to help me feel better, and I was so confused about how to get to a point where I felt comfortable. So it was time to try something new.

I remember as she shuffled the cards and arranged them into the spread that I now know as the Celtic Cross, she unfocused her eyes and began to explain what the pentacles, wands, swords meant as if she were fluent in a second language. Then the messages came thick and fast about feelings and situations I was struggling with, dates I should keep a close eye on, and other details that I felt she couldn’t possibly know as I’d never told anyone. She was speaking as if she wasn’t thinking consciously about the words coming out, but like she was a vessel for this information she was relaying to me.

I was absolutely enthralled by it all. It was my first Tarot reading and one of my most powerful to date.

I account her incredible skills as to why I began reading for myself and eventually others. But there’s one big difference between her readings and mine.

She channels messages as a medium and they come through in card readings.

And I don’t.

Mine are based on intuition – I don’t work with spirits at all, but symbolism, clear questions, and storytelling.

So how can both kinds of readers be accurate?

How can Tarot readers be so vastly different in their methods, but still deliver answers that help the person asking the questions?

I think there’s quite a simple answer to this.

Do I have to believe in spirits to have a Tarot reading?

The answer here is no, you don’t. 

You don’t have to believe in spirits or contacting passed relatives or angels or spirit guides or any of that stuff for a Tarot reading to work for you.


Because Tarot is simply the tool. All a deck of tarot cards contains is pretty pictures on pieces of cardstock, nothing more.

It’s how you use it that makes it so powerful.

And every reader will have a unique way of using this tool to deliver their messages. 

I will say that my sister-in-law who offered my first reading did open my mind up to the possibility that there’s more out there than we’re able to explain through conventional means.

But she also showed me something so valuable, and that’s Tarot itself. She introduced me to the concept that you can read messages in conceptual images and use them to help people through their problems.

As an intuitive reader, Tarot is one of the tools I use to help grasp your situation – what you’re struggling with right now and the outcome you want. I don’t personally get messages from any astral source – but from my knowledge of what the cards intuitively mean in that particular spread, for that question you’re dying to find an answer to.

When I read Tarot, oracle, and runes, we’re talking about how your present actions are affecting how you feel about your past, and how they’re shaping your future. They don’t really tell you anything you don’t already know (sometimes deep, deep down, but it’s there).

What kind of Tarot reader should I work with?

Now that it’s (hopefully) clear that you don’t have to accept the existence of ghosts and spirit guides to benefit from a Tarot reading, what kind of reader should you work with?

Well, I guess that depends on your beliefs and your end goals.

As Tarot can be used in so many different ways, it’s going to be highly dependent on what you want from a reading.

If you’re after messages from your spirit guides or from the angels, it’s best to work with a reader that incorporates mediumship into their readings.

If you want to understand more about your birth chart and how astrology plays a part in your life’s path, work with an astrologer who uses Tarot as their tool.

And if you need practical, low-woo guidance to your questions based on intuition and storytelling, work with an intuitive reader like yours truly.

What was your first experience with Tarot, and what do you like to achieve from your readings?

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