Choose a deck to learn tarot

This gives some great tips as to what to consider as you seek out a tarot deck to learn the meanings of the cards with.

Oracle V. Tarot Decks

A short explanation of the difference between Oracle and Tarot Decks.

Gary Talks Tarot: Juxtapose

Gary the Unigoat is a Tarot Card Reader EXTRAORDINAIRE! He shares how he interprets cards next to each other.

Hermit card in-depth

Learn about the benefits of listening the Hermit Card. At 17 minutes, Joe Bazeghi shares about the history and philosophy.

Empath Support

Take care of your energetic field by using this tool to ground, clear and replenish yourself.
Please Subscribe to get more tips for readers and empaths.

A Calling in The Cards

I sit in silence across from a stranger. My eyes float across the symbols on the cards between us. The King of Pentacles Reversed. The Ace of Cups Reversed. Five of Pentacles. She is clearly having a rough moment in life. A flush of emotion washes over me, not quite mine. The sensation swells and warm tears pool at the edges of my eyes—just enough to release the feeling, but not so much that they spill out. 

“Have you been through a break up or a divorce recently?”

Her eyes widen, and she inhales deeply. Her chin locks under tightened lips. She nods quietly.  
“It looks like this might have come with some monetary setbacks and health challenges.”

The tears are hers now. She shares the details that align. I commiserate with sincerity. 

The cards continue to turn, offering compassionate guidance toward how she can love herself through this challenge. The messages reflect back to her the very thoughts she has already been mulling over in the past week, and builds up her trust to take the bold steps forward that she is ready for now. Hopefully, she can better attune herself to the part of her higher self that has been speaking to her all along.

It was not my plan to become a professional tarot reader. “Fortune teller” is not a title that leads to accolades of respect from the community. Yet, when I am reading, society’s judgments slip aside as I center myself in the magic of this strange art form. There is no doubt in me when someone sees their life’s path and their thoughts are spoken back to them from someone who had no way of knowing what they needed to hear. It enlivens me every time. I am humbled and grateful to have been placed in such a strange role. 

Kismet brought me here. After getting my first reading in New Orleans at 14 years old from a quirky character named Jerrick, I began learning the cards and dabbled through my 20’s. One summer, I stayed with a friend I met while teaching English in Taiwan. Her readings displayed a deeper understanding of how to interrelate all the parts of a spread and channel new meanings. I asked her to teach me in an exchange of knowledge. Our intentional connection created an electric resonance, and all my previous years of befuddlement with the cards dissolved away. I began to feel a sense of magical purpose in this practice.

Soon after, I set off on a road trip across the U.S. My then-boyfriend shared his intuitive prediction that I would read cards in New Orleans. The idea was intimidating. Then the first woman I had a conversation with in the Big Easy showered me with all the information I could possibly need to know about how to set up a table on the square without stepping on the toes of the locals or the legals. The eerie sense of a calling magnified. After hustling around only to find my usual doors to income shut, I decide to take the hints from the universe and head out to Jackson Square.

Setting out my table for the first time terrified me. I aim for Saturday, but chicken out. On Sunday evening, I knocked back a glass of wine, put on a silky top, and lugged my chairs and table to a vacant spot within the legal parameters. 

I set up my table and am immediately approached by a short, stark woman with thickly glittered, dark brown skin, wearing a bundle of bright clothes and decadently topped off by a shimmering golden headwrap. She talks and talks at a mile a minute, and then plops a few dollars on my table. I don’t know what for. Seeing my confusion at the payment, she replies, “Oh you know, that’s for listening—you know, for the time.” And continues her verbal marathon. 

I listen and nod. She finishes in a flourish, “Oh, you’ll do just fine here, girl. You’re pretty and nice. I like you. You’ll do just fine.” 

I offer her a reading, and she nervously pulled back, “Oooeee, I don’t know. Do I have to touch the cards?” 

Told she doesn’t have to touch them, she apprehensively agreed. “How about if you shuffle, and I go over there and come back. And then you tell me what’s what?” She circled a nearby column as I laid out the spread, and I gave my first reading for a few dollars more. 

After she left, I sat in a state of happy bewilderment. Soon after, a girl on a bicycle with a hot pink bobbed wig stopped in front of me.

“Hello. You’re new here.” I confirm with a guarded nod. “You’re in Jerrick’s spot.”

“What? Oh, sorry. I thought it was on a first-come basis”.

“No, no; he’s off on Sundays. This is just where he normally sits.”

“Wait, did you say Jerrick? Has he been here a long time?” 

“Oh yeah, he’s the oldest reader on the square. Been here like 35 years.” 

“And this is where he sits?” 


I leaned back, bewildered by the coincidence of choosing the exact same spot as the reader who gave me my first reading.

That’s when I let go.

Tarot has taught me to allow myself to be pulled along by a force beyond my own will whenever coincidences flow.  This has enhanced the sense of magic and wonder in my daily life. As I get older, I deeply appreciate how reading tarot still zings with youthful delight for the mystery of it all. 

Through sharing a laugh and a cry over life’s mysteries with others, tarot regularly overturns my presumptions about humans. It is truly an honor to share in their stories, and listen closer to the quiet voice that wishes us all the best possible future.

This was originally published on HerStory, a site that celebrates women’s personal stories.

To get occasional updates with unique offers and tarot reading insights, please sign up to my email list below!

Success! You’re on the list.

Metaphor as a Guide

Imagine chickens under a dove wing’s shadow and then a hawk wing’s shadow. How is their response different? How do humans respond similarly to symbols and how do they play on our instincts?

Through years of reading tarot, I have learned that stories and archetypes give us the objectivity to hear our own story with less anxiety and assumption. We can take a parable or a symbol on the chin easier than a direct communication. The art of adapting yourself into new patterns is easier to do through metaphor, since our subconscious reads beneath the obvious messages, to absorb and reflect on the subtle nudges that lead to true inner evolution.

The subconscious is where our actions derive from, and it is not a verbal communicator. If we want to stop eating the cupcakes, we must first dissolve the impulse to eat it. Telling yourself to stop has proven unhelpful to many. This urge sources from deep within our psyches, where language there is more mythic than logical. It seems that our subconscious shifts most easily via storytelling of dreams and visions.

Any essential life story can be told purely visually, as silent films and shadow plays and dance performances and animation show us. Story and symbols and parable and metaphor all relate to a pre-verbal place. While we use words for telling stories and explaining symbols, imaginative comprehension works on a non-verbal level.

By describing how a snake sheds it’s skin, we access self-growth and rejuvenation. This is far more powerful than discussing the abstract concept of growth, because there is a parallel that we automatically understand on a subconscious level. Our animal relates to an animal experience, and we can move forward with that totem in our periphery. It also allows for the divine to speak to the person after the cards are closed. When a snake crosses your path on a hike two weeks after your reading on shedding your skin, you might immediately reflect on how you are coming along in your own personal growth. You can access the sign as a message to go deeper into your current release.

Tarot cards offer the myriad of life experiences and possibilities in potential stories. The original 78 relate to keystones that we all can relate to, and the combinations of two or more cards formulate infinite more circumstances. As a reader, it is important to tap into the metaphors that are visually emerging from the cards. You find the overlap of symbols in the images, and the contrary meanings that spark friction of story dynamics. This alights in your own subconscious the magnet to pull in more irrational images, and these are the intuitive substance that will most likely surprise your querent with details that you could not know without channeling through this field.

Ethics of Reading Tarot

For both students of tarot and those who want to receive readings from me, I want to share a bit about the tenements I hold dear. I believe that any quality colleagues would as well.

Confidentiality – Anyone you read for should be allowed the automatic assumption that it is a private reading, and you will not share their life’s information with anyone once the cards are closed. I have the benefit of not remembering readings very well until I open the cards again for that person. I presume this is because I am using a different part of my brain while in these liminal spaces. Nonetheless, I do not share the details of what I learned in a reading with anyone afterward. If I have a mutual friend who shares something in relation to information I have learned, I make sure that I am extra cautious to respect their privacy.

Permission to Pull Cards – It is best to ask someone for an agreement to pull cards for them. I might pull cards to know how I can interrelate or help someone without asking first, but that is still a reading for myself. I feel that it is inappropriate to find out what is happening for someone without their request or knowledge. This is especially true if someone is afraid of the cards, has a religious rule about them, or have asked you not to.

Future prophecies – Be considerate that you state things in an open fashion that let’s the person feel in control of their life, and their response to their life circumstances. The movies do a terrible job of this, please don’t mimic the scary doomsayer style in most performances.

You do not have to say everything you see. I had a friend getting married who was going through hard times with her partner right before. I saw that it was not going to get better for a while, and was going to get worse before the wedding. I felt it was not helpful information to share, so I kept it to myself. Instead, I gave her advice as to how to work with him, as I saw this in the cards as well. She’s been happily married over ten years now. A few years I told her what I had not shared, and she was grateful that I didn’t tell her, since it might have made her give up on the struggle pre-nuptials.

Ego – It can be a lot when people approach you after a reading and share what it did for them. They say, “YOU were right when YOU gave me that incredible reading.” You can let it feel good, and be grateful, but remember that you were in service with the gift to support.You were a channel for messages to come through. They made their own best choices and heard the reading to their best outcomes. You did a good job being open to hearing and speaking messages that aligned with the great mystery. Fine work.

Remember that this is a humbling art form that you are honored to be graced with the experience of sharing. That is the best place to come from, in my righteous, yet reverential, opinion.


“My first Tarot reading with Jenna was exactly what I was looking for. She was on point with her sensitive intuition to guide me on the journey with the cards, which gave me a lot of insight to the questions I had. Jenna is…

Rebecca Nova Ballard

“Jenna’s reading was insightful and helped me lead to some conclusions I have been looking for. She was able to help me piece my plans together and put my mind at ease.”

Christopher Bonnichsen

Jenna has a way with the cards.  She has read my cards multiple times.  In those readings she has foreseen incoming relationships and the purpose they hold in my life, seen and directed things I needed to do to nurture current family and friend…

Talor Lee-Stiles

Sitting with Jenna for a Tarot reading was like meeting an old friend that knows me better than I know myself. She is a truly magical being with incredible intuitive powers. I left the reading with a lightness I hadn’t felt in so long and empowered…

Genevieve Mauro