If you've ever google'd “Tarot reading,” you'll know that there are hundreds of websites offering free automated Tarot readings.
But are these computer-generated Tarot readings the real deal? Do they really give us the insight we need?
Well, that's what I cover in this Biddy Tarot podcast.
- Where to find the best free automated Tarot readings
- When Tarot apps can actually help you… and when they can't
- How to make the most of a computer-generated Tarot reading, especially if you're learning to read Tarot
- My personal experience using a free online Tarot reading tool
Let's get into it…[Tweet “A computer or algorithm will never replace a real-life Tarot reader! #Tarot @Biddytarot”]
- Leave a review on iTunes
- Free online Tarot readings: Lotus Tarot, Facade
- Tarot apps: Fool's Dog, Galaxy Tarot
- Online training program: Read Tarot with Confidence
Brigit: You’re listening to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, and this is Episode 17: Are Automated Readings the Real Deal?
Welcome to the Biddy Tarot podcast, where you will learn how to connect more deeply with your intuition and live an empowered and enlightened life with the Tarot cards as your guide.
Listen as Brigit and her guests share their very best tips and strategies to help you read Tarot with confidence.
And now, here is your host Brigit Esselmont.
Brigit: Hello and welcome!
If you've ever Google'd ‘Tarot reading’, you'll know that there are hundreds of websites offering free automated Tarot readings.
But are these computer-generated Tarot readings the real deal? Do they really give us the insight that we need when we consult with the Tarot cards?
Well, that's what I'm going to cover today in our podcast.
Before we get into it, I want to say again, a huge thank-you to everybody who is sending in their reviews and sharing their feedback and comments. We are into well over 30,000 downloads of the podcast and it just amazing. I am truly, truly grateful for all of your support and involvement in this podcast.
I wanted to share just a couple of great pieces of feedback that have been left for the podcast in iTunes.
The first one is from BL6350 from the US. That’s all very mysterious, isn’t it? This person says:
Brigit is an excellent Tarot teacher and now she has added an excellent podcast to her repertoire. No fluff, all substance, she gets right to the point of the podcast subject and wastes no time with silliness. This is rich information and support and a recent interview of Mary Greer was the best I have ever heard. Brigit’s quality podcast respects our intelligence, feeds our desire for knowledge and will become a must-listen for aspiring and veteran Tarot readers alike. HIGHLY recommended!
That is super feedback. Thank you so much! I’m just totally honored to receive that kind of feedback.
The other piece I want to share with you is from DivineYoganista from Canada. She writes:
If you're going to learn Tarot, might as well learn from a Master, right? And what if that Master (or Mistress?) 😉 was smart, kind, loving, super intuitive and allowed you to break the rules so that you can access your own intuition in an even more organic and simple way? That’s what I get from Brigit’s teachings: trust your OWN intuition. This podcast is packed with valuable AND actionable advice. Major bonus: Brigit has a beautiful soothing voice, you can “hear” her heart <3
Oh, that’s so nice!
Thank you so much for both of those, also, for all of the wonderful feedback that is coming through. I really didn’t expect it to have such a big impact, but I am just glowing knowing that this is reaching so many people and also inspiring so many people to engage with the Tarot and to bring Tarot into their everyday lives.
With that said, let’s get into today's topic.
Automated Tarot readings, they are EVERYWHERE! But are they the real deal? Well, that’s what we're going to find out.
What Are They?
What do I mean when I say an automated Tarot reading? There are kind of two main sources for automated Tarot readings. One is through websites. There are a bunch of different websites that offer free online Tarot readings, so Lotus Tarot, Façade, Salem Tarot, Astrology.com. Goodness me, there are so many of them. They all offer free Tarot readings.
You can also download apps for your phone. Some examples are: Fool's Dog, Galaxy Tarot and deck-specific apps like the Wild Unknown* app as well. That way you’ve got them on your phone and you can have them when you’re out of the house and exploring the world.
Basically how they work is that you choose a spread and sometimes you can choose the deck. You click on the image of the deck and it may shuffle the cards. Then you can select your cards. Once all of those cards are selected, you view the card by card meanings.
Let’s say you’ve done a Celtic Cross, it will show you each of the cards that you’ve chosen and what those cards mean.
What Are They Used For?
These automated Tarot readings are used for doing a Tarot reading from start to finish. Basically, they replace needing to go and see a Tarot reader, or even needing to have your own Tarot deck, or even needing to know how to read the Tarot.
You can also use these automated Tarot readings for selecting the cards for your own interpretation. Whilst most of them do offer the standard interpretations, you could always just use it so that you get your own reading and then you can apply your own knowledge to that reading.
Some even have some journaling features where you could take notes about your reading or you could record your reading. Some also have lessons which I think is a really good way of making the most out of these automated Tarot readings.
But I guess the real question here is, while we know that automated Tarot readings have got lots of functionality and so on, but is it the right thing? Is it what we really need when we’re consulting the Tarot cards?
To help us get to the bottom of this I want to explore some pros and some of the cons with having an automated Tarot reading.
Let’s look at the plus side for now.
Obviously, an automated Tarot reading is quick, it’s easy to access and best of all, it’s free.
I think they give the general public a really good way of accessing the Tarot without having to invest either in learning a deck, buying the deck, buying all the books, all that kind of stuff or without having to invest in a Tarot reader. Of course, that makes me a little bit sad as a Tarot reader, but there’s an alternative to having a reading with a real person.
It’s one way that people can start to get a bit of a taster around the Tarot. So I respect it for that.
It’s also a way that you can start to try out different decks. Maybe you were considering getting the Wild Unknown Tarot and you use their app just to get a feel for the deck first before getting your own deck. You might be interested in exploring lots of other different decks, so an automated reading can help you do that.
They’re also really helpful for learning to read Tarot because you get an idea of different spreads and also different card meanings. We’ll talk a little bit more about the card readings and some of the limitations around those, but for now focusing on the positive. It does help you sort of jog your memory about what does each card mean for more of that traditional meaning place.
It’s also really helpful because particularly if you’ve got a Tarot app on your phone and you’re out meeting a friend at a café. You’re having a conversation, maybe about her love life. You’re like, “Oh, I wish I had my Tarot cards.” Well, luckily you’ve got your Tarot app. You could actually use your Tarot app to do some Tarot readings on the go.
Likewise, if you’re in a café, maybe you’re in Middle America where it’s not quite the done thing to have Tarot out and about. You might be in a small town that is quite religious. Then having an app on your phone can actually give you a little bit more privacy so you don’t have to pull out all your Tarot decks and cards and so on. You can just pull out your phone and nobody needs to know that you’re actually reading the Tarot.
Now, of course, I would love it if we could all feel awesomely confident about pulling out the Tarot cards wherever and whenever we want, but I know that sometimes that’s not the case. It does help having the Tarot app to do that.
So yes, there are quite a few pros and a few positive things about automated Tarot readings, but what about some of the downsides? Let’s see.
The downsides of the Tarot apps and automated Tarot readings are the interpretations that are often used are very generic. They’re generic in a number of ways.
One, typically, most of them will only be a few sentences long. Sure, there are some sites where there’s a more robust interpretation of the cards and sometimes they’ll link to other websites such as BiddyTarot, which I’m very grateful for. But often you’ll find that they are quite sort of short and succinct.
You’ll also find that these interpretations are not aligned to your original question. You’ve usually got a blank textbox, ‘Enter Question Here’. Maybe it’s should I move to Australia or should I move to America. The cards drawn will not be referring back to your question, obviously. They’ll be more sort of general in nature. You’ll need to associate it back into what you’re specific question was.
They’re also not aligned to the position in the reading, typically. I don’t think I’ve seen any automated readings where they’ve taken the interpretations of each card and then aligned them to the position.
For example, I just jumped online and did an automated Tarot reading for myself. The position was what represents your negative feelings. The card drawn was Two of Cups. We typically know Two of Cups is a very positive card, so the interpretation was you can expect joy in the form of a gift or celebration. Yet, this was meant to represent my negative feelings.
There’s often quite a mismatch between the generic interpretation and both the position of the spread and also the questions that you asked in the first place.
For me, that is quite a big deal breaker. If someone was coming to me and saying, “Should I just go and get a free automated Tarot reading or should I have a reading with a real Tarot reader?” Then I would say definitely with a Tarot reader for the reason that the Tarot reader is going to be able to take those cards and move them so far beyond just what a typical interpretation is.
They’re going to start matching it back into your question. They’re going to start matching it back into the spread. They’re also going to be looking for the connections between the cards and creating the overall story in the cards. There’s no way that you can get that with an automated Tarot reading if you’re simply relying on the interpretations that are provided.
For me, I think that’s one of the biggest downsides of getting an automated reading. If you have a really big and important question that you want to ask the cards, then I just don’t think that an automated reading is going to give you the answers that you want.
If it’s kind of like something that you’re interested in, sort of a bit more of a light-hearted question you just want to see what comes up, then sure. Go on and have some fun with it. But for me I think you’ll get so much more out of a reading with a professional reader.
Let’s see, some other cons. For me there’s no soul in the reading. There’s not that special magic that you get when you do have a reading with a real person.
If you’re more of a tactile person, you like to handle the cards, then an automated Tarot reading just might not be the best fit as well.
I’m really on the fence, actually I’m probably more on one side, about the idea of clicking a button and watching the cards like a GIF animated image on my computer screen shuffling the cards versus me holding a deck of cards and shuffling and transferring my energy into that deck. My preference is the more physical holding the deck rather than seeing it on a computer screen.
That said, there are a lot of people that computers and everything is just part and parcel of the lifestyle, so it may not be such a problem for you.
Pros and cons. There are definitely some pros and there are definitely some cons.
Let’s have a think about what automated tarot readings are good for.
I think they’re great for people who are just curios in Tarot and just want to get a bit of a taster, like what is this thing Tarot, what does it feel like to get a reading and so on. Again, it’s great if you are not really invested in the outcome. You just want to have a go, just want to see what comes up for you.
Automated Tarot readings are also great for people who do on-the-go Tarot readings or even if you’re travelling. Maybe you’ve got so many gorgeous, sunny dresses that it’s too much to put in your deck of Tarot cards, so instead you take your Tarot app with you on your holiday. I can totally understand that. Absolutely.
I think it’s also great for people who are really comfortable with technology and it’s just part of their everyday. Of course you’d have a Tarot deck on your phone.
It’s not so great for people who are more tactile and who like to feel the cards.
I think also it’s not so great if you want to get a more enriching experience from you Tarot reading.
Get the Most Out of It
That said, there are still ways that you could get a lot out of these Tarot apps and automated Tarot readings.
I think when it comes to getting a standalone reading from an automated Tarot reading or a computer generated reading, then I feel like it’s generally best to go with a professional reader. But if you already have a bit of knowledge about the Tarot, then I think that you can use these Tarot apps to your advantage.
For example, instead of relying on the interpretations that are provided with your reading, why not look at the cards and come up with your own interpretation. Use it more for the convenience of having that deck of Tarot cards and being able to shuffle them without having to carry your own deck. But then apply what you know from the Tarot cards to create your own very special reading.
If you’re in a bit more of the learning phase, perhaps you’re quite new to Tarot, then you can also compare some of the standard meanings that are provided in the automatic reading and compare those back to your own interpretations. That’s if you need that little bit of extra guidance. But really try and connect in with your own intuition first, and then if you feel like there’s still a gap and you’re not sure, then go and check to see those standard interpretations.
The Ultimate Test
Okay, I wanted to just do a test run and see what I could get out of one of these automated Tarot readings.
I asked about my business. I did a Celtic Cross. I pressed the image on the computer screen and chose out my ten cards. Then it laid them all out for me and it showed a short, succinct interpretation for each.
Now, I think in terms of the cards that were selected, for the most part they made sense. There were a few that didn’t quite make sense. That left me feeling that even though it is convenient to do the shuffling online, maybe there’s still not quite the connection that I really want with the cards. I’d probably be more inclined to want to carry around my own Tarot deck.
I was also a little bit let down, I suppose, by the interpretations.
For example, one was the obstacles position of the Celtic Cross and the Page of Wands was drawn. The message was, ‘Expect a message to bring you joy.’ That just doesn’t quite fit as an obstacle. Yet, if I was to apply my Tarot reader knowledge, then I could say, “Ah, Page of Wands is an obstacle. Maybe I’ve got too many different ideas of what I want to pursue. Maybe I need a bit more of a container around that.”
I think it would have been more valuable for me to read it as a Tarot reader rather than to rely on their interpretations.
Yes, the other example I had, which I shared with you already, is around the querent. Interestingly, when I do a Celtic Cross and I’ve got that querent position it’s usually just an indication of where that person is at overall. But this particular site said the querent position represents the card that reveals your negative feelings, which felt a little bit inconsistent for me. But anyway, I’m willing to give it a go.
This was when that Two of Cups came up. It said, ‘You can expect joy in the form of a gift or celebration,’ so that didn’t really fit at all.
I didn’t really get a lot of value from using their interpretations, but it was interesting to see what cards came up and then to apply my own knowledge as well. That said, I still wasn’t feeling great about the cards that were selected. Not because I didn’t like their message, but I just felt like it wasn’t quite in alignment with my own energy. I probably would have got a better result with some Tarot cards.
What’s the verdict? Are automated readings the real deal?
Well, look, as a professional Tarot reader, I don't think anything will replace either reading the cards for yourself or having your cards read by an experienced practitioner. That is such a magical and special experience that can really never be automated into an online Tarot reading. But as a learning tool or as kind of a taster or an intro to Tarot, I think that, perhaps, automated Tarot card readings may be a good idea.
If you’re keen to give them a try, it’s very easy. All you need to do if go onto Google and search ‘Tarot readings’ and select any one of the hundreds of thousands of websites that come up and give it a go for yourself.
I’d love for you to share your comments and feedback over on BiddyTarot.com/17, so the number 17. Share your experience in the comments. Tell me what was it like when you had an automated Tarot reading. Did it gel with you or did it just feel really off. Maybe you’re a lover of Tarot apps. I would love to hear what are some of your favourite Tarot apps and why you’re in love with them so much.
All right, fabulous. I hope that has been helpful.
Look, if you want to learn how to read your own Tarot cards with confidence, then I invite you to join me in my program, Read Tarot with Confidence.
This 7-module course is specifically designed for purpose-driven people who want to create an empowered and enlightened life with Tarot as their guide.
Using simple yet powerful techniques, I’ll show you exactly how to read Tarot in a way that creates change and transformation in your life and others.
I’ll guide you as you set your intention for what type of Tarot reader you really want to become – and I’ll be right by your side as you turn your intention into reality.
I’ll walk you through, step-by-step, how to do a Tarot reading, including asking the right questions, choosing the perfect spread, weaving the story into the cards and connecting deeply with your clients (or yourself) through Tarot.
I’ll teach you how you can not only read Tarot for yourself with clarity, but how you can read for others in a way that has a lasting impact and inspires deep transformation.
And, of course, I’ll also let you in on a few of my ‘insider secrets’ from my almost 20 years of experience as a professional Tarot reader.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in, head on over to biddytarot.com/tf2.
All right, thank you so much for listening today. I can’t wait to share even more Tarot goodness with you in the future, but for now be well and we’ll connect soon. Bye.
*Editor's Note: The Wild Unknown Tarot App is unfortunately no longer available by the time this podcast was published