Are tarot readings accurate? What you need to know first

You might be interested in Tarot or Oracle Cards but find yourself being a little skeptical about the accuracy of a reading. There can be uncertainty and apprehension when using cards to help discover the best path forward. 

In this article, I will be sharing wisdom around tarot readings — how to gauge their accuracy and essential factors to consider. 

Are tarot readings accurate?

Thousands of people over the decades have gained personal insight through the Tarot. Research at the University of London has found that over 55% of people found Tarot to accurately depict their life circumstances. So in that sense, the Tarot is accurate.

But the question might be more about if it can predict future events. 

Do Tarot Cards Tell the Future?

When getting a tarot reading, it’s important to consider the how and why.

Most Tarot readers I know (and I know a lot) would not say they use Tarot to predict the future. I polled hundreds of tarot readers on my HeroRise Instagram page and got some exciting results.

The key takeaway from me was that a majority of Tarot readers use the cards as a tool of inquiry, self-reflection, and guidance. 

Most do not use it to ask Yes or No questions about the future. 

I love this quote by Claire Burgess, a teacher at Portland Community College.

When we pull Tarot cards and read them, what we’re doing, on some level, is reflecting on our lives and how they match up with our desires. In doing so, we incorporate our personal mythologies, our stories of self, and all the data from our pasts to help us understand the present. From this vantage point, we can see our likely trajectory based on our habits and patterns, our strengths and weaknesses, our action and inaction, our decisions. The Tarot helps us access these insights to decide to change, grow, accelerate, pause—whatever it takes to shift our paths for our betterment.

Claire Burgess

This quote points out how Tarot is more about an inward reflection than telling the future. 

So in this way, accuracy is more of a question of how useful the Tarot is for our own self-discovery.

Belief in Tarot and Accuracy

One of the most significant factors in how valuable a tarot reading will be for you is how much you believe that Tarot is useful. 

It’s a funny thing.

If you believe Tarot is helpful, then you will find it more helpful.

In a study by Itai Ivtzan & Christopher C. French at the University of London, they found a strong correlation between the belief in Tarot and the perceived usefulness. 

They tested a large group of people by asking them about their belief in Tarot and breaking people into groups. Those that were non-believers, and those that believed. The believers had a much higher rating for the reading than the non-believers. 

But how does this play into accuracy?

It all comes down to if someone finds it useful. If someone gains something from the experience, isn’t it useful? Can’t it be seen as an accurate way to explore someone’s life and identity?

I have talked with hundreds of tarot readers and clients. There are so many stories of people that felt stuck and needed a new perspective. They found that when they turned to the Tarot, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for them. 

Based on that, I would say it’s worthwhile. 

Are online tarot readings accurate?

A big question I get from people is if there is a difference between online readings and in-person, especially when it comes to accuracy. 

If we use Tarot as a mirror to understand ourselves and a situation, I see no difference in doing it in person or online. 

You can still gain a lot by talking through a reading with someone, no matter where they are. 

That being said… there is something about being in the same room. 

Online streaming has the slightest lag. It can also be hard to read someone’s body language, and there is always a slight disconnect. 

If I were given a choice, I would always do a reading in person. But at the same time, if it was someone I wanted to work with, I could still gain a lot by doing an online call. 

Getting An Accurate Tarot Reading:

There are a few things you can do to help make your reading more accurate and useful. There are four tips I would suggest when doing a reading, or to keep in mind when getting a reading by someone else. 

1. The More Cards, the Better

If you only have one card, you only have one axis or frame of reference to work with. It can be hard to get a clear map of what is going on. 

By adding more cards into your spread, you get more points of reference. 

You can definitely overdo this, though. 

I have found the most helpful readings to be between 5-10 cards. This gives me a significant number of possibilities to explore without overwhelming me. (Check out this article to read more about the number of cards).

It also comes down to time. The more cards you add, the longer reading will take. Striking a balance between the time you have and the depth of reading is something you will learn over time. 

Learn More: Check out this article on Clarifying Cards as a great technique to add to your toolbox.

2. Better Questions = Better Answers

When doing a reading, the question is the key to a good reading. If it’s vague or too open-ended, it will be hard to know where to go with it. 

On the other side, if it’s way too specific, then there isn’t enough room for interpretation, and it gets closer to fortune-telling than most tarot readers suggest. 

Try to think of a deep and introspective question when doing a reading. It takes practice asking the right one, but you will get better at it over time. 

3. Make Sure You’re in the Right Frame of Mind

If you have been frantically running around all day, it is probably not a good time to jump into reading. 

To get something out of a reading, you want to have the right amount of emotional bandwidth, time, and attention. If you feel ungrounded, perhaps you would be better off going for a walk or taking that time to relax.

Many people use rituals to get into the right frame of mind, like lighting a candle or meditating. It can help ground you out and prepare you mentally. 

4. Readings are possibilities, not facts

When you are doing a tarot reading, it is important to keep in mind that the cards are not predicting your future. Instead, they are pointing you to possibilities and new ways of understanding the situation.

If you practice these four things, your reading will have more potency.

I know for myself I have tried to do a reading when I wasn’t grounded, had a vague question, or didn’t have enough time. At the end of the reading, I am generally more confused than ever. 

That is why it is vital to make the right time and space for you to get deep with the process. 

In Conclusion:

Asking why you use Tarot cards will help you understand their accuracy and usefulness. 

If you are expecting to use the cards to predict the lottery, you will probably be disappointed. 

Instead, you will probably get more use out of your time if you approach the cards with an open mind and inquisitive nature. 

I have gained so much insight into my psyche through reading Tarot and Oracle cards. They have given me new concepts and insights that I would never have gotten to without them. 

There is something dreamlike and emergent when reading the cards. It is like it gives my subconscious space to bubble up. 

If you are considering getting a reading or your first deck, I highly suggest it. 

It’s an amazing journey!

If you haven’t already, check out my Masculine Archetype Deck. I created it as a tool to help people connect to their masculine aspects. It is an excellent deck for exploring identity and how masculinity shows up in your life. 

Isaac Cotec
Isaac Cotec
Creator of HeroRise, Isaac Cotec has dedicated his life to empowering others through art and creativity. He is a scholar of the subconscious and has studied the power of symbolism to help create enduring change.