written by Kooch and Victor Daniels
When the everyday world seems to lack answers, the Tarot can offer an alternative “reality”—especially for teens. More and more teens are using the Tarot to create a magical reality like Harry Potter’s world, or another that fits their own interests and explores questions that daily school life doesn’t seem to answer or even address. Sometimes their excitement for Tarot can inspire soul wonder. But if they draw dark cards, they can leave a reader’s table with distrust or anxiety that lasts for a long time.
In a world of perfect readers, there would be no need to address the importance of using tarot cards with impressionable teens in a psychologically sound manner. But not all readers realize how heavily their words and interpretations can affect vulnerable young people who are newly searching for their paths. When you meet a teen who has been told by a reader that “he will never find love”, or that “the cards indicate that she isn’t capable of reaching a goal,” knowing how to reframe such messages as a way to realize one’s potential becomes urgent.
In some ways many teens are well along to becoming adults, while in other ways they’re still kids whose judgment is not yet well developed. Pressure to know the advantages verses disadvantages in making important choices and to find answers to perplexing questions can be hidden under a teen’s shyness, their distraction by cell phones, or their unwillingness to openly discuss feelings.
But never underestimate a young person’s natural intuition and wisdom, or what he or she might make of your comments. For example, instead of agreeing with your interpretation that the major arcana card “Justice” represents fairly weighing pros and cons, in a teen’s perception it can represent his right to photo bomb a classmate’s selfie. To make sure you’re both communicating on the same track, be willing to ask relevant questions. Some young people will view you as a knowing authority and will accept your interpretations as a source of deciding truth. Others will view your comments primarily as a source of entertainment, or some as a combination of both.
Although there are innumerable situations, and countless ways to discuss the cards, there are some beneficial methods for working that can inspire positive directions and self-discovery. When possible, encourage a back-and-forth dialogue to gain clues and insight into a teen’s inner world. This may include what has actually gone on in the past, what is felt in the present, and concerns about the future that are triggered by the turned up cards. This exploration opens up an opportunity to let out feelings that may be tightly kept inside.
You can let teens talk about what they see in the images and speak in relation to whatever is most critical to them now. You can let them have a turn at guiding the discussion to get a good sense of how they want to run with or from the messages they and you find in the card symbols. Keep in mind that many teens feel overwhelmed by the complex questions and dilemmas they face. What internal demons or emotional pressures may they be facing? A golden nugget might be uncovered when you open up a chance to make decisions that can lead in a helpful direction.
Whatever process you use during your reading session, don’t forget the magic and mystery that the cards can inspire. Without fail, it bodes well if your cards leave your client believing he or she can reach for the stars and find their way out of any mineshaft of confusion or fear.