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Tarot – Truly Magical or Not

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Anshu Bahanda: This is Anshu Bahanda on Wellness Curated. Thanks for joining me on this podcast. My mission is to empower you with health and wellness so that you can then go and empower others. Today we’re talking about an interesting topic, we’re talking about tarot cards. And is it truly magical or not? So, Tarot cards are something which there’s a lot of controversy about. I have with me here today, Natasha Keswani, who’s a Tarot life coach and counselor and energy healer. She’s been working with Tarot cards for about eight years now, and her work with clients as a Tarot life coach is to empower them and coach them by providing an enriching experience and helping them to bring in what they already know in their subconscious. She uses tarot as a guiding tool with a lot of other healing modalities as well. And this helps her with all kinds of other healing modalities. We got so much invaluable information today. Listen to this. Let’s begin with how Tarot works? 

NK: So, Tarot is basically a sort of divination tool. It’s a set of 78 cards which has all these images on them and they’re used in different kinds of ways. I will take you through everything, but it’s more about using your intuition to read these cards. 

(Song plays). Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you, where you going to? Do you know?

There’s this whole myth about, oh, it predicts the future. Yes, it does tell you about the future, but it also tells you about the past, the lessons learned and experienced, and it also tells you about your present-day and the energy surrounding you now to where it might take you in the future. So, Tarot doesn’t create your future. You create your future. But what Tarot does is it gives you choices. 

(Song continues). Do you get what you’re hoping for? When you look behind you, there’s no window. What are you hoping for? Do you know? 

It shows you ways that you can empower yourself, that’s what I do with my clients, where I stay away from telling them what will happen and what will not happen. And I do it in a more empowering way for them so that they take the responsibility to make the changes and the choices in their life. When I’m looking at the cards, I’m looking at it from a collective consciousness, but also from a unique intuitive perspective. So, when I’m working with the cards, I shuffle the cards, I connect with the energies of the client and through energy and synchronicity, I instill the energies into the cards and then I shuffle it, I lay them out. And then there are certain positions and combinations and spreads that we use to read the cards. This will give you a reflection of what’s happening in the present day and where you want to go. So, depending on the client’s questions, then we ask the Tarot very specifically what they would like to know. 

AB: Okay.

NK: There are 78 Tarot cards and they are broken up into a few categories. So we have the major Arcanas and we have the minor Arcanas. The major Arcanas are about archetypes: phases, teams, big life lessons, changes that would happen during a significant phase in their life or turning point in their life, karmic lessons and just universal energies in general. The minor Arcanas are mostly for temporary situations and day-to-day situations and they are broken up into four categories, which are the cups, which represent your emotions, your romance, your feelings and your creativity. Then we have the Pentacles, which is more about the materialistic side of things. So like work, finance, career, health, security. And then we have the Wands, which are more about energy and enthusiasm and what passion is going through the person or the inspiration, opinions, beliefs, those are all the wands. And then we have the swords, which is the air element. And that is more about your rational thinking, your intellect, your thoughts. So, that’s how the cards are separated. And then we have the four court cards which are more about personalities. They depict the energy and the personality of a person or the situation, or if there’s a stage or development in someone’s life, like the maturity levels, there’s the page, the knights, the queens, and the kings. So, it goes from like being a little bit immature to having maturity in something. Again, relating to the element that we’re dealing with. So, like maybe the King of Pentacles or the King of Cups, he’s more emotionally mature, because the emotions are the cups. There are other ways. When I read the cards, we look at the numerology, we look at the symbology, we look at the imagery in the cards and then we start to form the stories in the cards by looking at different things. So, depending on the client, when I connect with the client’s energy and I ask questions to the cards, there may be certain elements from the cards that are popping out for me. And then my intuition will guide me on what to say to the client. 

AB: Interesting. 

NK: The other thing is that what I do with my clients is I stay away from fate-based questions like “why is this happening to me? What can I do?” Not “what can I do”, more like “shall I do this, can I do this?” So, it’s moving away from fate-based questions into more choice-based questions. So,” what can I do to attract a life partner for myself? Or what will I experience when I take up this job?” so, it gives you an idea. Yes. You can ask,” should I take up the job? Will it be okay for me to take up the job?” and I have spreads for that. But if I want to get into more specifics and give the client more detail onto what the cards are saying, I will ask deeper questions, as we call it. So, like, “what might I experience? What can I do to attract?” So, I keep to the heart of the question, but I break it down into many questions, and I pull cards for that so that I can give maximum input or maximum information to the client. 

AB: Okay. 

NK: So ultimately, it’s still their decision at the end of the day to make that choice of whether they want to make that change in their life. So, you can’t call me three months late and say,” oh, but this didn’t come true, and that didn’t come true” It’s like, what steps did you take? And I sit with my client, and I coach them, and I counsel them to take that step for themselves, but it’s ultimately their choice. 

AB: Okay, and tell me something, Natasha. You talked about major Arcanas and minor Arcanas, so do you want to explain that and also explain to us, is tarot relevant just for short-term issues, like something that I’m expecting to happen in my near future, or for major life path guidelines? 

NK: I’ll first tell you what a major Arcana looks like or a minor Arcana looks like. Lovers card is basically about having choices in life. There’s a man and a woman in the card, and there’s an angel looking over them and there’s a sun in the background, and there’s a mountain as well. Typically, this card depicts choices, it depicts a new relationship, or if this comes up in a reading for someone where they’re asking me about their relationship and this comes as a relationship, I would say, it’s great, it’s fantastic. At the same time, I would see their energy in the relationship and the other person’s energy in the relationship. And in order for it to be fantastic, I will tell you this is the change you need to make here. This is the change you need to make here and that’s where this is leading to. So, it’s where you are in alignment with your choices. It’s in alignment with who you are. There’s an angel looking over you, so you are blessed in some way. At the same time, there are peaks, there’s a mountain peak over here. So, you can be going through some kind of obstacle, or there may be something where you all are not sure about each other.  But if you’ll work through it, then you all can come out of it. Every card has a light and a shade in the card. So, when I’m reading the personalities of the two individuals, and if I see there’s something going wrong over there, I will tell you that, you gotta to fix something here before you can have this kind of relationship. 

AB: Okay. 

NK: Even some of the so-called bad cards in the Tarot, like the death card. 

AB: So, let me describe it- there’s a horse with a skeleton sitting on it. Does it always look like this in the deck of Tarot? 

NK: Yes, always. And then you have these individuals that have fallen down. Now, when typically, a card like this comes up in a reading, someone might say, “oh, my God, is someone going to die?” No, the death card represents regeneration, transformation, changes, endings and new beginnings. It also will tell you maybe you need to let go of a situation, so that something better can emerge for you. So, that’s where it tells you you’ve got to pause and step back and see, what change do you need to make in your life. Do you need to kill your ego? Do you need to work on an aspect where something is not working out for you and it’s time to call it and move on and let it go? So, this is typically what the death card would represent. So, I don’t look at it as a bad card. I would look at it as, okay, what is the big change that is coming for me? Because it’s a major Arcana. So, what is the big change that is coming for me in my life? And that’s how I read the cards. And depending on, again, what catches my eye and the reading with the client, again, I will read on that. So, my intuition will speak at that time. In the minors, we have something like the Ace of Pentacles, which is the first card in the Pentacles element. And Pentacles is about work, finance, health and security and Ace would typically represent a new beginning. So, the aces represent new beginnings and new potential. So this could potentially mean, like, a new opportunity, new financial opportunity, new job opportunity. I would read this with a combination of other cards to give you more insight into what it is. But typically, if I’m just giving you the meaning of the card, this is what that card would mean.

AB: So typically, an Ace of Pentacles has one star. 

NK: Eight of Pentacles has eight stars. Now, if I read the eight, the eight in numerology is about mastery. It’s about action. So, it’s like this person is taking the action to work hard, because, again, eight with the Pentacles and the Pentacles is about working, it’s about hard work. So, this is like a card where you need to put in the hard work. Now, if I’m reading this card in a relationship, I would say, you would really have to work hard at your relationship. So, it’s like a work, finance, security card, Pentacles but it’s in a relationship position. So, it’s like maybe you need to work hard in your relationship. 

AB: You use it more for the short term, more for the long term, for both? 

NK: So, I like to read Tarot for up to nine to twelve months. This is because when I’m reading for a client, typically I’m working to empower them in a situation. I’m looking for them to make the changes in their life. So, if they’re not going to do the work, the result or the outcome is what the Tarot would then say. Because I always say Tarot is subject to change. Nothing is permanent in Tarot. But you’ve got to make a change. If you’re getting a warning, if you’re getting a sign, if you’re being told something where you can make the changes so that something improves for you, why not do it? So, if you come to me with a question now, I would say, please don’t come and ask me that question for at least three to six months because go and make the change. Go and let things shift for you. And it doesn’t necessarily you don’t have to do it by yourself. We can do it through healing techniques, we can do it through coaching techniques. I’m not abandoning you. We can talk through it. So, I prefer that the client takes that responsibility for themselves. They make that change in their life so that they don’t have an ultimate outcome, it can change for them. And that’s why I like to read for certain periods of time only. 

AB: And tell me, why do people typically come? What do they come seeking when they come to you, most people come to you and ask you to do a Tarot reading?

NK: So generally, it’s to make choices and decisions, and the Tarot, if they want to know something about themselves, so more like self-exploration, then, about practical questions about life. It can also be used for something like business planning. What are my lessons from the past month? What am I going to experience in the next month? It kind of gives you that idea of what’s coming or how I can make the most use of something within my business, if it’s going to work for me. It can also guide you in creative endeavors. Then, of course, you have people coming to ask about relationships. You have people coming to ask about family and business dynamics. You have people coming to ask about health, parenting, understanding different personalities that people interact with, and even deeper issues like fears or anxieties or something like self-worth or self-esteem. The Tarot gives information like that. 

AB: Natasha, tell me about some experience that you’ve had with Tarot which even blew you away or something concrete that would give people an idea that this is not just an airy-fairy fun thing for cards to play with. There’s much more to it. 

NK: I had a client about two weeks ago, and she had come to me in general to do a Tarot reading for herself, but one of her main concerns was her brother. And she said, he’s feeling very depressed, and I’m a bit worried about him. He’s going through a very bitter divorce, he’s got two small children, and I don’t know what to do about him. So, I said, all right, let’s have a look at what’s going on. And then I pulled up the personality of him, and I pulled up where he is in his life. And at that moment, I got a little bit worried. So, I found him to be suicidal. I found him to be depending on what the cards were telling me, I found him to be not wanting to live, wanting to hide under his blanket, pretty much one foot in the grave and one foot out. It was like that. And I had to be very gentle when I told my client that. But she understood because she was watching it all along. And she’s the older sister, he’s the younger brother, so she was very worried about him. Then I told her, let me see how you are interacting with him. So, I pulled her personality with respect to being the older sister and the way she interacts with him and I found her to be very harsh. So, I said, we have to change things around here if you want your brother to live. We’ve got to change a bit of the dynamic over here. Everybody needs to stop picking on him. Firstly, change the language patterns you are using with your brother. So, be a bit more loving. Don’t get irritated. Don’t get angry. 

AB: Okay.

NK: From the cards, I could see his brain power had completely shut down. He was not able to comprehend anything anyone was telling him, let alone his siblings or his family members or his children or his ex-wife, or even his lawyer. So, I said, you’ve got to change the entire way you are interacting with him. He’s feeling very unloved, he’s feeling very alone, and you need to just change that with him. So, she went away, and she picked up the phone and she called him. And the one thing she said to him was, you know what? I love you. And he broke down. This is a grown man who had heard his sister say this to him after I don’t know how many months or years and he just broke down. He calls up her daughter and says, I can’t believe she said this to me. And it’s just changed my whole outlook. I don’t feel alone anymore, and I feel a little bit supported. And the sister called me back, and she says, I don’t know what happened, but things are just starting to shift and change. 

AB: Wow. 

NK: I said, let’s start the healing process and tell him to call me and have a chat with me. She spoke to him. He was very skeptical, but he decided to call me and we didn’t do tarot. All I did was have a chat with him. And while I was talking to him, he was breaking down and I said, “don’t worry, we will work through this. We’ll work through it with healing. We will work through it with the family constellation. Whatever you’re going through, we will change it, and we will shift it together. But I need your cooperation, and I need you to be on board with it”. And he was like, “100%, let’s do it”. So, when I spoke to him, he was in a completely different frame of mind, and he confirmed to me that he would have probably killed himself if it wasn’t for his two kids. So, what I picked up in the cards and what he was telling me, they totally matched. Something like that kind of affirms me like, okay, I’m not making something up here, and I’m on the right path myself. I’m on the right track here. But it’s moments like this blow my mind away and the way we can help somebody, the way we can just do something small can just save someone’s life. 

AB: Fabulous. 

NK: I’ll give you my experiences as recent as last year. Actually, typically in the summer, everybody likes to go on holiday, so I, too, wanted to go on holiday, and I was trying to plan my trip all along, and I wanted to fly out in June. And I said, let’s decide. Let’s look at the cards. Let me see what I’m going to experience when I go on holiday. I was just trying to do a reading for myself. I was also talking to my healer in India, and I said, let’s do some cards together because I want some clarity of when I can travel and how I need to do it. And the cards just said, no. Not to travel. It kept saying, no, no. And I kept saying, why? Like July came, no. August came, no. September came, no. And I was like, I don’t understand. And you would sometimes just say, oh, forget it. Let’s just get on a plane and go. What does it matter? But I followed the guidance, okay? In July, I had a family emergency. Had I traveled and had my mum traveled, it would have been a little bit disastrous for us. So, that’s what I’m saying, from my experience and that was when I consulted the cards, and the cards had said, no, don’t go. I was, like, doing first week July, second week July, third week July. I was doing that, and it just kept coming no, no, no. And I will just say, thank God I didn’t go. 

AB: But it’s interesting what you’re saying, because you talked about free will earlier. Yes. And you talked about the fact that you don’t ask questions about fate. You ask more questions about guidance and what people can do. But at the same time, you’re also talking about letting the cards guide you and not doing something you planned. I’ve heard a lot of people object to things like that. But then here you’ve seen what happened. In hindsight, you’ve seen that by following the guidance, it helped you.

NK: 100%. 

AB: But Natasha, tell me about a situation where you’ve seen that the cards haven’t worked. 

NK: I avoid doing Tarot for myself when I’m emotional or my energies are low. So, it doesn’t typically work at that time because that’s the energy you’re putting in the cards. And if you’re sitting with low emotional energy, then what you are reading is basically it’s going to reaffirm your fears or it’s going to make you more anxious. I either get my mentor to read my cards for me, or I will read it when I’m feeling a little bit more composed with myself and I know I can make objective decisions and I’m not being cornered into something. The other thing with the Tarot is that you know how you just spoke about the free will choice? That is typically when Tarot doesn’t work. So for example, if I’m reading for a client who comes to me with a relationship issue, now I am reading her cards. I can tell her what to do. I can’t tell her what he should do, how he behaves, what changes he decides to make in his life. They are all dependent on him. If she can guide him to make those changes in a very loving and compassionate manner, great. But if I tell her, maybe you make the changes and maybe he can then change depending on that. Again, great, if that would help. But here, everybody’s free will choice is involved. 

AB: Okay. 

NK: Secondly, the other thing is something like a legal case. If I’m reading cards for you on a legal problem, I can just give you a general idea of what’s happening, what the other aspects are, like what’s going on with the case, the individuals, and the dynamics being played out. Over here, I can give you information on that. Can I win the case? I don’t know. Depends on the judge, depends on the other party, depends on all the other people, who to be careful of. If I’m just working with Tarot, I can’t give you this kind of information. Yes. If we go into other healing modalities, we can check out further how we can change the energy of the situation, which could give you a possible favorable outcome. Even then, that is not guaranteed at all. Even for something like health? Yes. I can give you a general idea of what’s happening with your health. I can maybe sense that you’re having a back issue, a liver issue, an organ issue, but please go to a doctor and get medical treatment. I am not a doctor over here. I can guide you that I am sensing something to do with your health. Again, we can use healing to work through that. But if I’m just doing a reading, please go to a medical doctor and seek guidance and help over there. And then lastly, you have to be very specific with the questions you ask in the Tarot. So, unclear questions will not give you the answers that you want. You have to have proper intention when you’re shuffling the cards. You have to be very clear and specific. And for every new question, shuffle the cards to change the energy. In this kind of situation, I would say Tarot doesn’t work at times, or it will only give you very limited information. 

AB: How would you advise people to start using Tarot as a tool? So, how would you suggest they start, the newcomers to this space? 

NK: There are just two ways, to be honest. Either you go see a Tarot reader, you go get guidance and help from a Tarot reader, like, hopefully, a reputed Tarot reader, so that you’re not taken for a ride. Secondly, if you’re interested, then buy yourself a deck of cards. If you’re interested in just reading Tarot for yourself, you just want to tap into your intuition and sharpen it. Pick up a deck of cards. You can go through the imagery, and then there are loads of courses online where people can typically learn the Tarot. Like, for example, my brother learned Tarot with me. We learned it together. And he knows what the cards mean, but he doesn’t read for people, he just reads for himself. So if I’m not available and he really needs an answer on something, he will pick up the cards. He will shuffle, and he will check. And then just to double-check, he’ll probably send me the picture of the spread and say, “okay, what are you getting from this? And what do you think of this?” The other thing you can do is when you pick up a tarot card, look at the imagery in the card. You can just delve into the card, like the major Arcanas. You can step into the card, like meditate with it. You will get an answer. For example, if I’m feeling very low on self-confidence or the inner strength that I need, I will typically pick up the strength card in the tarot deck. Yeah, there’s a lion, and there’s a lady.

AB: And a lady’s sort of angelic. 

NK: What you can do is you can step into the card. You can meditate with the card. You can see what that lady is saying to you. You can see what the lion is saying to you, and you will get your answers. Everybody has an intuition, every human being. You just have to learn how to tap into it. 

AB: Also, Natasha, from what my experience has been with you, and also from what you’ve told me, you use Tarot as a tool with other healing modalities. Can you talk a little bit about that? Tell us a little bit about that. 

NK: So, I use the Tarot typically with two other healing modalities. One is healing with the Akashic records. Now, the Akashic records is actually this treasury of knowledge of the human experience that is encoded and stored in this non-existent physical plane called the Akasha. I have learned a technique where I’ve learned how to access such information, where we can break through huge blocks that we’re struggling with in our lives, whether it’s financial, material, romantic or emotional. So, it typically helps with that, you can do a lot of clearing with that. And when I use the Tarot with the Akashic records, what I do is I first pull up a spread to see what guidance I get. So, it guides me and gives me insight and clarity on the issues or traumas I need to work with the client in the Akasha. So, if somebody comes with two issues, I will see what’s coming up as more prevalent and I will feel into the energy of the cards. Then I will ask the lords in the Akasha once I open up their records, then do the healing like that. So, that’s one way, and I think that’s the one we experienced together. The other way is through family constellations. Now, family constellations is a method that attempts to reveal basically unrecognized dynamics that span multiple generations in any given family and how some issues can be very detrimental or have some damaging effects to the dynamics in the family. So present-day problems and difficulties may be influenced by traumas that have been experienced in previous generations of the family. And the individual who’s asking for that healing is unaware of such traumas that have been passed on. And it could be anything that would range from like suicide to murder to the death of a parent, to abuse, to war to a natural disaster. It can go from any range and you will find issues coming from various family generations on any of these topics and you don’t realize how it’s actually affecting you in this lifetime because trauma gets passed down until it’s healed and broken. These two modalities are very deep healing techniques that we use when we want to heal with the client. They are separate healing modalities of their own. 

AB: So, Tarot is not actually a healing modality. That’s a very important point, it’s a guiding modality. 

NK: It’s a guiding modality. It’s also a healing modality, but not to the kind that something like a family constellation or working with the Akashic records would do. No, those are very, very deep healing techniques where we go very deep into various issues and traumas and generational traumas and past lives and all of that stuff. 

AB: But Natasha, there’s one more question that’s coming into my mind, and that is, you know how the Horoscopes talk about fate while here you’re saying we don’t go into fate, we talk about choice. How do the two work with each other? 

NK: A horoscope would typically tell you what would happen in a particular time period or in a particular situation that’s very long-term. What the Tarot does is say, you know, a bad period is coming up, for example. How to navigate through that bad period day-to-day or monthly moments in that period? The Tarot can guide you in that. So, if it tells you not to do something, to do something, the Tarot can guide you. Like, maybe you’re going to have a health issue between so and so month. You won’t typically then go out drinking and partying, especially when you know that you have got a delicate health period going on. And that’s maybe what astrology will tell you. What the Tarot will guide you to do is how to be in that time period, and how to go through the day-to-day situations where you can feel more at ease with yourself in that particular period. There are people who follow different remedies for pacifying their astrological charts and everything. I don’t get into all of that, but I just typically work with Tarot. 

AB: And also tell me about angel cards. So, there’s a lot of different forms of angel cards. There are all kinds of cards. So, how do those compare to Tarot cards? 

NK: So, angel cards are more like oracle cards. What happens with them is most angel card decks have very… not most of them, actually, all of them have very positive messages. So, they’re mostly about positive messages that a client wants to read at that moment just because they want to feel good about themselves. I love them, I’ll be very honest with you, but I don’t use them when I’m guiding someone or empowering someone, or coaching someone, because it doesn’t give me the reality of the situation. So, what typically I do is after I finish the Tarot reading with the client, I will then shuffle angel cards. What happens is the card that I pull for them, the angel card that I pull for them, typically encompasses the entire theme of that reading. It’s like an assurance that the angels are there for you and you’re not alone. What the angel cards do, it kind of reaffirms the messages for my client. It kind of gives them that last empowering feeling message at the end of the entire Tarot card reading. 

AB: Okay. 

NK: I have people who come to me and say, “we really like angel cards. Can I pick up a deck?” Of course, you’re free to pick up the decks. When you go to the stores, feel the cards in your hand. Feel the energy of the cards. See if you connect with it. Maybe you can go through Google and look at the imagery in the cards to see if you resonate with that imagery as well because that plays a lot of difference when you want to pick up angel cards or any oracle cards. So, by all means, anyone and everyone can do an angel card reading because the instructions in the manual are very simple and very straightforward. It’s just a few lines here and there. But a Tarot reading, yeah, you’ve got to literally learn a little bit about the Tarot before you want to do a full-fledged Tarot reading for someone. So, there’s a difference between the two. 

AB: But do you have any last bits of advice? 

NK: So I would just say that when you want to go for a Tarot reading, go with an open mind. I have a lot of people that come in just to test me or to see if I’m talking nonsense or if it’s just something fun that they want to do. No, I would say go in for a Tarot reading when you really want guidance on something, when you really want to know how to navigate some parts of your life or how to better it. And trust the process, trust the messages that are coming in the Tarot cards. And there’s a way to even build that trust with the client. I always read about present-day situations and that kind of blows their mind away because they’re like, I don’t ask for any information, so when I’m telling them what’s going on, they’re like, but how do you know? And I’m like, the cards are telling me. I don’t know, but the cards are telling me. So, then it makes it very easy for me to guide them going ahead. 

AB: Can we do tarot for our pets? 

NK: The Tarot works with any sentient being. You can even do it for a plant. 

AB: Wow! 

NK: You can even tarot for a plant. You can understand its energy. Everything is energy. Even an animal, even a pet, is energy. So, tapping into any energy is possible with the Tarot. So, any sentient being, even those who have passed, you can even check Tarot for that, to see if their energies are around. 

AB: There are a lot of Tarot card readers around. How do you know who to choose to go to? 

NK: Honestly, luck. It’s all about word of mouth as well. Typically, I have never advertised my work. Everybody that has come to me till today, touchwood, has been through word of mouth. It’s the way you are with your clients. It’s how compassionate you are with your clients. I think you can follow a few Instagram handles or Facebook handles to see, typically what Tarot card readers talk about on their web pages or on their pages, and then kind of feel into the energy of the reader before booking a session with them. 

AB: Thank you so much, Natasha. 

NK: Thank you for having me. 

AB: Thanks for joining us. Hope you enjoyed the Wellness Curated podcast. Please subscribe and tell your friends and family about it. And here’s to you, leading your best life.