SU students take on new hobby: tarot readings

SU students take on new hobby: tarot readings

Many students are learning how to read tarot cards to help guide themselves and their friends, through the uncertainty that life has brought in abundance over the past year.
Published: April 16, 2021
Tarot cards
SU students Lauren Spiezia, Arleigh Perkins and Ava Brenneman conduct tarot card readings on campus for themselves and their friends.

If you are seeking clarity and direction in this wild world, you might consider a tarot card reading. But instead of dragging yourself to an off-campus tarot reader to help you along your way, all you have to do is look around the campus community.

Across social media, many young creators are posting videos of themselves conducting and explaining their tarot card readings, which has influenced others – even Syracuse University students – to take up learning how to read tarot cards. 

Lauren Spiezia

“I think that seeing more people on social media especially doing readings, talking about how to do them, and the benefits of it have also normalized it in some ways. Like, instead of picturing someone that reads tarot cards only as a psychic practicing in candlelight in a dark, creepy room, I think that more people have recognized how accessible it really is, no matter who you are,” said Lauren Spiezia, a newspaper and online journalism and political science junior at SU. 

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Spiezia also reads tarot cards to help herself make decisions and often gives her friends readings to do the same. She took up the hobby during quarantine because she saw people reading tarot cards on social media sites like Tik Tok.

“I had been really into astrology for a few years before that, and there are some intersections seen between astrology and tarot cards, so I really wanted to learn more about it,” she said.

There are many different reasons as to why people pursue tarot reading as a skill. 

To Spiezia, it’s an opportunity to give those she does readings for some outside perspective that apply to the issues they may be dealing with in their lives, which can be really encouraging and helpful. 

“What I really love about readings is that they help people. I’ve seen so many benefits for myself, and I’m happy that I’m able to extend that to others,” Spiezia said. “I may not have as much experience doing readings as other people because I’ve only been doing them for less than a year, but it makes me so happy when a reading really resonates with the other person.”

While Spiezia uses tarot cards to help guide others through life, she also looks inward with readings she does for herself. Tarot cards can be used as a solo exercise to channel intuition and practice the development of sticking to gut instincts. 

“I usually do a three-card spread reading for myself every couple of weeks or so or if I’m in a difficult situation. I’m naturally a really anxious and indecisive person, so self tarot readings help me gain clarity about decisions and things I’m dealing with personally,” Spiezia said.

Spieziea also explained that when she needs to confront a difficult issue, the cards often give her a push to improve in the areas she’s struggling with, and motivate her to grow. Spending time learning the different meanings of the cards and tuning into her intuition has given Spiezia newfound respect for trusting her gut feelings, while also balancing what’s beyond her realm of control. 

SU psychology sophomore Arleigh Perkins learned how to read tarot cards and conduct readings for others throughout quarantine.

Arleigh Perkins

Arleigh Perkins, a psychology sophomore at SU, also became interested in learning how to read tarot cards and conduct readings for others throughout quarantine. After given her first deck as a gift along with a guidebook to readings, she fell in love with understanding all the minute details of the readings. 

“The learning process for tarot is particularly interesting because it requires a mixture of intuition and memorizing the basic textbook meaning of specific cards,” Perkins said. “Once you get the major Archana and the implications of each suit, you can use the illustrations on the cards to help you interpret the meaning of the card in the case of specific readings.”

Once she felt comfortable with the meanings of the cards and could provide her own interpretations through personal intuition, Perkins moved on from her own personal exploration of the skill to give readings to other people in her life. 

“I love helping individuals make sense of their reality through tarot. Working with an individual to interpret the meaning of the cards that pop out in a given reading can be a helpful tool in working through whatever happens to be at the forefront of their mind,” she said. “In this way, tarot invites participants to engage in a unique kind of critical thinking that can reveal what is on someone’s mind and ways to work through life’s obstacles.”

When Perkins came back to campus for the semester, she brought her tarot cards with her and did readings for some of her friends in her dorm. 

Caroline Ditzler, an architecture sophomore in Perkins’ dorm, explained that Perkins’ “tarot reading was very personal and thorough. Her responses were sincere and she really followed what the spirit/fate wanted. She was able to match each card meaning to our personal situations.”

Ava Brenneman

Ava Brenneman is a public relations freshman at SU. In middle school, she became interested in astrology, searching through various resources such as Reddit and Tumblr to delve into the different facets of the subject. As astrology and tarot appeal to a similar audience, Brenneman’s interest eventually took to tarot. 

At age 16, Brenneman’s best friend gave her a deck. She felt confused by the many cards that need deciphering and tried to digest the abundance of information required to master the cards. 

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“I tried to learn by pulling cards and googling their meanings, and I just didn’t get it, and I gave up for nine months,” Brenneman said.

Taking some space from her frustration with the tarot, Brenneman took another stab at connecting with the cards after spending time with a friend’s mother who professionally reads tarot cards. She said she worked to remove herself from fixating on the technicalities and focused more on her natural intuition, finally feeling comfortable enough to do readings for friends and family members.

“The more I practiced, the more I understood it and got into it,” she said.

Brenneman feels that reading tarot is something that has to be worked at to master and figure out how to translate your instincts into readings for others. After the long process of learning and developing her love for tarot, she feels rewarded by what she can provide for others through readings.

Brenneman enjoys giving an outside perspective to people going through hard times in order to help them “accept things from the universe.”

While Brenneman mainly does readings for others, the experience of working with tarot cards is something that provides a sense of purpose and offers a bridge to the other parts of herself.

“It’s very meditative for me,” Brenneman said. “It’s very helpful to connect me to my spiritual side and things that are bigger than myself. I think it’s really easy when you’re a teenager to get bogged down in very mundane things, and when I’m reading tarot, I just feel very connected to my higher self, which is a big trope in the spiritual community.”

Tarot cards can be therapeutic, clarifying, and fun for those who participate in giving and receiving readings. A reading from a fellow classmate may be exactly what you need for pre-finals guidance and clarity. 

Avatar for Sarah Dolgin

is a newspaper and online journalism and information management and technology sophomore and contributor for The NewsHouse.