Tarot reading has become increasingly popular lately. I’m actually quite amazed at how accessible it is now, compared to past years when the nearest tarot reading one could get would be in Quiapo, which unfortunately has a notorious reputation for being inauthentic.
But what makes a tarot reading “inauthentic?” We asked Chinggay Labrador of Practical Magic, an online tarot reading service, on what we should consider when getting a reading or giving a reading, and “it’s really not that deep.”
“Anyone can be a tarot reader,” says Labrador who has been reading since the ’90s. She says that the ability to play with cards actually isn’t a gift since it relies more on a person’s intentions.
In fact, the 41-year-old tarot reader even offers her reading services in accessible ways, as she mostly does them online via email. According to Labrador, some people may doubt the remote reading, but to her, everything really just goes back to intent.
“The 78 cards of tarot is designed to encompass the full human experience—any card you pick at any moment will spark something you can identify with. So it doesn’t really matter who’s choosing the card. Any card that comes up will mean something. I believe people can connect energetically. It’s like you, thinking of a person, and then them sending you a text right that second, ” says Labrador.
Some use tarot cards to predict the future, while some use it for witchcraft. As for Labrador, she sticks with her name “Practical Magic,” meaning she draws insights from universal life experiences. When asked how “tarot magic” manifests, she says it’s not because the deck has actual powers, but it enables a person to delve deeper into themselves and make better and informed decisions.
For aspiring tarot readers, one may get overwhelmed with the variety of decks to choose from. Labrador says that it really just boils down to personality, but points out the difference between a tarot deck and an oracle deck. She says that tarot decks “are based on a really specific structure that involves suits, elements, and courts that resemble a regular deck of playing cards. It also has an extra section called the Major Arcana that represents major milestones in life.”
Oracle decks on the other hand is a “general term and refers to any cards used to divine answers to a question.” Oracles in mythology can tell the future, that’s why “any card used to tell you something—regardless of system—is an oracle card,” says Labrador. Based on observation, she has noticed that people who like to structure ideas and use logic are inclined to use tarot cards, while she advises people who need immediate answers to use oracle cards. Labrador believes that aspiring tarot readers can actually make their own deck as long as they already have an understanding of tarot. In fact, she made her own that celebrates ’70s Pinoy celebs. “It’s just a matter of studying the cards,” she adds.
For those also interested in astrology, she advises them to be careful in mixing them up as both are different fields. “Astrology talks about stars, planets, and celestial activity while tarot is based on a deck of cards.” As per Labrador, both crafts don’t necessarily work together, but personally, she uses it to look into archetypes, the same way tarot cards are designed.
If one is interested to book a reading, she recommends finding a tarot reader they resonate with first. She advises them to ask questions if one wants the reader to be “fortune teller-y” or more inward looking. Particularly for her, it’s best to set expectations first and communicate with the reader before booking. Some may want it to be done face-to-face or physically, but Labrador says that the advantage of having online email readings is that you could always go back to your reading at any point of your life and reflect about the time you had that reading.
Labrador says that tarot cannot promise anything and people should not take it too seriously, but it is a helpful tool in introspecting and working on themselves, “What they get out of a tarot reading is what they put into it themselves,” the tarot reader says.