Tarot card readings on TikTok and Tumblr reinvent the art form

“If you see this, then this is for you” is a typical legend on TarotTok, a corner of the Internet that has manifested itself over 14.7 billion views on the app.

Many videos found on this side of TikTok emphasize the idea that this content – usually a read – is meant to find you, eschewing the algorithmic design of fate. It’s on your For your page, after all. The creative formula is quite simple: A tarologist presents a storyline, like turmoil in a romantic relationship, and offers advice through fortune telling. Stop sabotaging yourself, they might say. Learn to practice self-control.

Everyone wants to hear good things happen, and these videos can provide a feeling of comfort, direction, and validation to those who seek it. Wouldn’t it be nice to make all of your problems go away with a deck of 78 cards and a flick of the wrist? It is an attractive proposition, which also arouses a lot of skepticism.

But even opponents on social media can be drawn into the orbit of tarot. For example, @lakaiaj tweeted “I try to skip tarot readings on tiktok but then I’m like ‘wait, that might be frl.’” And they’re not the only ones feeling that way.

It has a lot to do with the fact that there is a fundamental misconception about tarot online. Tarot is a form of fortune telling, but cards don’t predict your future; they offer tips to help you get there. More than anything, tarot is a catalyst for self-reflection and mental clarity. Theresa Reed, alias The tarot lady, a tarot professional with over 30 years of experience, calls her “a creative prompt for personal development”.

“It’s something to reflect on, guide you and make more sense of,” she tells Mashable. “Whatever card is, there is a lesson – there is something to think about, and there are a myriad of ways it can be applied, whether it’s something small or big.”

She describes a typical read on her website as a way to “explore the pros and cons of the different choices you could make – creating the best possible plan for the future you want.”

It’s something to reflect on and guide you and make more sense of.

On TikTok, these readings, although brief and perfectly bite-sized for social consumption, are always reassuring and never pass judgment. They most likely tap into a universal feeling or struggle, which is why it is not uncommon to see dozens of comments like “I claim this with positive energy” and “I claim with good luck and happiness” under n any video on TarotTok.

Take a video posted by @queenbarbieznoire, a tarot card reader with over 74,000 subscribers on TikTok, for example. It gives the viewer a reading of 11/11, which tells you what the spiritually significant day of November 11 will bring you. It begins with “if you see this before 11/11 this reading is for you”. Then, she reads for various astrological and elemental signs. “Fixed signs, so Taurus, Scorpio, Leo and Aquarius, you have completed a cycle in which you are about to be very happy. You have healed,” she said. The video has over 10,000 likes.

An example of the type of tarot readings found on TikTok.
Credit: TikTok / queenbarbieznoire

It’s a weird phenomenon because no matter how the creators try to turn it into fate, it’s the TikTok algorithm that knows what you need to hear – and ultimately, what you want to consume. Tarot readings on the app are popular because they use the app’s most influential indicator of interest – viewing time.

So, is tarot practice an art form or a clever way to build clientele? Reed finds the tarot to TikTok migration both interesting and necessary, but cautions users against reading too much. “If you’re looking for an introduction to tarot or something with a hip flair, you’re going to find it on TikTok, but you also see a lot of people who haven’t worked with tarot for long and don’t really know what they’re doing. “Reed told Mashable.

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“What people need to understand is that tarot is an art form and a craft,” she adds. “When you devote your whole life to it, you take it very seriously. Then there are people who go into it and get excited and want to make their hobby a career before they are ready, which can put you and people interested in your job in trouble. ”

Despite the obvious tensions between age-old practice and app, many TikTok users choose to believe the reads – just look at the number of likes and positive comments on these videos. By following the instructions of a tarot card reader to interact with their content, users choose to claim what the cards say as divine intervention.

What people need to understand is that tarot is an art form and a craft.

Over the past year, tarot has exploded on TikTok and Tumblr, platforms that attract niche communities of young, highly engaged users.

According to Cates Holderness, Tumblr Trend Expert, there were roughly 1 million engagements with the Tag “tarot” on Tumblr since April, including 200,000 in the past six weeks.

“Like many communities found on Tumblr, the content related to the ‘tarot’ tag is extremely varied,” Holderness told Mashable. From fan art and original tarot card designs, to articles on astrology and explanations of what certain cards mean when drawn, the community uses the creative canvas on Tumblr to truly express their passion for this practice.”

The Tarot Tuesday logo on Tumblr.

In October, Tumblr launched Tarot Tuesday.
Credit: Tumblr / happytuesday

Tarot content became so popular on Tumblr that the platform was launched Tarot Tuesday, an event where a group of seasoned tarot readers, including @readingsbylily, provided users with personalized readings.

“We wanted Tarot Tuesday to be an event for the Tumblr community, by the Tumblr community,” Holderness explained. “So we made sure to work with tarot readers who were active on our platform and who had a long-standing and trusted experience with the readings. And then we wanted to facilitate community participation by sharing their initials, their sun sign and pronouns – and any burning questions they had for the universe. ”

Saj Allen, a 21-year-old spiritual practitioner on TikTok, is happy that tarot has found its way onto the internet. “There has always been a stigma around spiritual practitioners, but on TikTok it’s more welcome. Now that people are actually listening, they’re like, ‘I’m okay with that, I feel like this is for me, “” Allen told Mashable.

Allen thinks people are more accepting of tarot online because of all the time we spent sitting with ourselves during the pandemic. “There have been a lot of self-discoveries during the pandemic. We are discovering that we are more alike than we thought,” they explained.

Meanwhile, Reed sees social media tarot as an opportunity for this art form to “fit into the modern age” and educate curious minds “about the beauty behind it – the art, the profession “. She said, “It’s a way to get people interested in tarot and make tarot more accessible.”

Reed, who bought his first game at age 15, hopes that thanks to the TikToks and Tumblr posts, more young people will learn about tarot and start practicing it on their own.

“We really want to urge young readers to take the plunge because we have to pass the ace of the wand to someone,” she said. “But please make sure you treat it like a profession. We want to make sure the craft continues and is respected.”

And if she has one piece of advice for users who see tarot content on their FYPs, it’s “don’t believe everything you hear on Tik Tok”.

In a time when everything is so uncertain, it is no surprise that tarot has become so popular. People of all ages are looking for answers. So go ahead and comment “I claim with positive energy” with caution.