DIY Tarot Reading: Pros & Cons of Using an App or Your Own Cards

Posted on August 21, 2018

If you’re new to tarot, you may be wondering, what is a tarot card reading? The definition of a tarot card reading varies based on the intention of the person offering the service and the person asking the question.

The tarot is designed to help us see our patterns, our internal selves, and gain insight into how we are either creating success or blocking it. Tarot allows the creative side of your brain to bypass the logic side so you can access your intuition for guidance on how to set yourself up for the best possible outcomes. It’s valuable when we use it as a tool to create a life aligned with the greater good and to connect to our spiritual truth as kind, loving beings trying to make the world a better place.

The bad wrap that tarot can get only comes from empty readings by people trying to manipulate others and from the unrealistic expectation of success without putting in the work on your own personal development. These are usually fear-based ways of approaching tarot which never make someone feel empowered. Tarot is a great way to heal and to ask questions about whether a perspective or situation is in alignment with your soul.

Tarot is a tool that taps into our intuition. Those of us who resist change will be wary of the apps that offer tarot card readings. On the other hand, those of us who are always looking for new sources of inspiration, this may be something you’re already excited to learn about. Whichever side of the tracks you find yourself leaning towards has less to do with the way you use tarot and more to do with whether you’re a natural optimist or skeptic.

This article is an unbiased look at both sides because we genuinely love tarot as a tool to help us get answers from our intuition. We want to see the good as well as the drawbacks of this development in the spiritual genre of products. When we stopped using musical instruments and started listening to recordings of them, I’m sure the same type of conversations were happening.

Technology is Changing the Way of A Lot Of Things

Sometimes we are glad to use apps to make our lives easier. For example, being able to deposit a check instead of driving to the bank saves quite a bit of time. The development of tarot apps can be viewed as a handy addition to our spiritual work and here’s why.

Tarot Reading is One of Them, But Is It Worth It? Let’s Check It Out

As someone who does tarot readings professionally, I admit I was skeptical of the apps at first. Then I looked into them in more detail and realized that I could love these apps just as much as my decks as long as I kept in mind that the apps were not necessarily replacing my decks. It’s like adding another tool to your box of magical items. Just as we all feel drawn to certain decks at certain times, there are apps we will resonate with and apps that just don’t do it for us.

Pros & Cons of Using an App for Tarot Reading

Before you throw the idea of these apps out the window (which I know a lot of you die-hard tarot lovers might be ready to do like I was!), let’s consider some of the pros and cons to give tarot apps a fair shot at actually being something you can add to your tarot arsenal instead of replacing your decks. You may find that you develop the same type of relationship with the app or just a uniquely different one. Perhaps you’ll only use your app only for certain things, like a one-card tarot reading or a yes or no reading and save the more in-depth readings for your physical deck.

Pros

If you’re using tarot for yourself or a friend wants some guidance, an app can be a very simple and inconspicuous way to use tarot as it is often regarded with fear or snobbery in our society. If others can’t see it, you keep your magic to yourself people they can point their judgement elsewhere. It’s true that maybe sitting and waiting for an interview might not be the best time to whip out a Celtic cross tarot reading, but you’d certainly be able to get a free Celtic cross reading on an app discretely to get personal guidance on the interview and if it’s in your best interest to even take the job. Many of the apps allow you to store the spreads and make notes about readings so you can look back and remember them as well.

  • Transporting a Lot of Decks Is Easy

It can be a literal pain in your neck to carry around your crystals and your favourite decks because your bag becomes a mobile library. You can have access to more in-depth decks to offer readings for people who are ready to take a deep dive and you can offer less serious readings with the playful designs of some other decks for people who are tarot curious. Imagine being able to be a magician at any moment for people and mould to their level of spiritual openness by having all these decks at your fingertips.

  • If You Forget Your Real Deck While You’re Out, You Have One In Your Phone

This is actually really handy for professional tarot readers who tend to be a bit spacey communicating with the spiritual world all the time. We may show up to work to offer readings and get into a panic because we left our deck on our altar. Well, chances are you have your phone, and these digital decks will save the day! If you’re travelling, you may find yourself wanting to connect to your intuition but didn’t think or want to pack your cards.

  • It’s Practical

Most of us do more than offer tarot readings even if we are full-time healers. When offering a reading, we may not go as deep if we haven’t reread the full spectrum of meaning in a while. You can pull up the cards’ meanings in an app instantly to allow your intuition even more openings to channel for your clients, friends, and yourself. It’s nice to have the descriptions of the cards available in the app without having to carry your book with you. Being able to see where the same cards are coming up in your stored readings can also help you see the patterns even easier.

Cons

You may already have a list of why you don’t like tarot apps, but don’t write off digital decks until you’ve tried a variety of them. You may find they can’t do everything your actual decks do for your readings, but you may find they do something you didn’t expect for your spiritual development as well. Let’s just look at what some of the drawbacks to tarot apps are so we can keep them in mind.

  • You Might Feel Less Connection to an App

The deep relationship we have with our physical tarot deck, the vibration we imbue into it, might be hard to establish energetically via the web. If you like reading books instead of ebooks, there might be resistance in you to trust or get comfortable with apps as a viable platform for spiritual connection. Yet, remember: these apps were made by people who love and want to share tarot, just like a website often gives us spiritual insights that are just as useful as books in print.

  • The Apps Can Crash

If you’re relying on a tarot app to offer readings, keep in mind it is on an electronic device and the device or app itself might experience glitches (especially during Mercury retrograde). If you’re doing a day of readings, you probably need to carry a deck with you just in case. Also, if your apps require an internet connection (and not all do), you may have to use your cellular data if there isn’t wifi available.

  • Your Phone Can Run Out of Battery

Imagine giving someone a reading and the phone dying right before you finish. The non-digital version would be ideal if you don’t have a power source to keep your phone charged. That’s definitely something to keep in mind.

Pros & Cons of Using a Real Deck For Tarot Reading

Maybe you haven’t thought of some of the practical drawbacks of a real deck of cards either. Let’s look at the good and bad here so we can truly ascertain if we want to dabble in the new technology of the tarot.

Most of you may still be leaning towards your first love of using real decks to offer tarot readings and we don’t blame you! They are amazing and created by very spiritually connected people. Most of us used cards before we became healers and they have helped us transform our lives and live our dreams. No wonder we have a sense of loyalty to them.

Pros

Of course, there are a ton of benefits of using a physical tarot deck. People are comfortable with cards in the spiritual community and not yet with apps, so perhaps you might think of a pro or a con that isn’t on this list. If you do, make sure to share it with us!

  • You Tend to Feel a Stronger Connection to Real Cards

You can’t deny that having cards you’ve been working with for a long time have a strong sense of familiarity for you. They speak to you as an individual and you get plenty of ideas when you lay one down. You keep your deck in a special place and the cards feel like an extension of your own spiritual connection. Maybe there really is no replacing this feeling, but you may not know until you start to play with the apps and see what relationships develop with an open mind.

  • Since You Are Not Limited By a Screen, You Can See Many Cards at Once

Not all apps allow you to see the full spread, which is one of the ways readers can see the theme in a Celtic cross reading come to life. It may be hard for you to stay focused or derive conclusions on spreads if you are switching from card to card on your screen.

  • You Don’t Need Batteries

You don’t need to plug in a deck of tarot cards to read them! It’s nice that your cards don’t need you to remember a username and password to use them. Deep spiritual revelations and even offering real guidance is one thing that has never needed the help of electronics. Truthfully, you don’t even need cards because your intuition is always there, ready for you to tap into.

  • They are Tangible

Sometimes having something physical in front of you can bring the spiritual world into your life more easily. Just as we love our crystals, cards help ground our spiritual energy into the real world. During a reading, you can hold a card and see that it’s a real thing, bridging the gap between you and your truth as a soul.

  • You Don’t Lose Them If Your Phone Breaks

You might have one single deck of cards for years and years and yet go through many phones because they are tied to our hips and easily break or get lost over the course of our lives. Having a phone is more costly than a deck of cards because you have to keep getting new phones to keep up with technology, you have to pay for phone contracts, and they are toast if they fall in the water or the screen cracks.

Cons

Alas, there are drawbacks to our old-school cards as well. Pulling them out in a restaurant may earn you some very curious stares from people, but looking at your phone is very socially acceptable. Let’s look at some reasons using a real deck of cards could hinder you.

  • You Can Lose the Cards

Once you purchase an app it’s stored forever in your purchases and you can always re-download it, but if you buy a deck of cards and lose even one of the cards, the deck is no longer usable. It’s very easy to misplace one of the 78 cards in a deck and then no longer be able to use it. Maybe it’s wise to have both options in this case, especially for those who do tarot for a living or have a daily habit of using them to tap into intuition and keep that connection strong.

  • They Can Get Damaged Easily

The other thing about cards is that the edges can bend or rip or they can tear after use. When one card is damaged, it messes with the shuffle and can mean you have to go get an entirely new deck. Sometimes our cards get mangled in our bags and we have to spend more money just to replace these soft pieces of paper that can seem a little archaic in the technological age.

Conclusion

Let’s face it, it’s fun to do tarot readings with a new deck. But, before you buy a new deck, try downloading a new app to get a fresh perspective without having to go pay for a full reading or brand new deck, which can often be costly.

When you want to keep your tarot hobby under the radar when you’re out in public, try downloading some apps you’re familiar with on your phone. If you’re wondering if those free tarot readings you find online are accurate, just experiment and learn how the cards speak to you instead of relying on someone else’s opinion to give you an answer. Tarot is deeply personal. With these apps, you can read and learn tarot anytime, while waiting in line, on a car ride, or during your lunch break.

No matter which way you decide is best for you, we have everything you need in order to understand your tarot reading.

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Shannon Yrizarry has taught metaphysical subjects since 2013 including the deeply esoteric lineage of kundalini yoga. She has worked as a healer, clairvoyant and card reader and be… Read More »

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