Tarot reading has several interesting characteristics from a semiotic point of view: a) it is a narrative text; b) the relationship that is built between fortune teller and consultant is a process of mediation signified by the cards; c) tarot cards work both as an instance of mediation (between cartomancer and consultant) as well as objects with their own meanings that are articulated and organized within the session; d) the elements that concur to construct the meaning and meaning of a consultation belong to different practices of enunciation (rituals, discourses, gestures, etc.).
Consultation is needed:
In every consultation the first aspect on which the tarot reader focuses is the construction of the identity of the consultant that is perfected throughout the session with the help of the cards. Around this new identity of the subject, as we shall see, develops a story full of details that gradually becomes the reality of the consultant through different methods of referencing. From the first moment the situational identity and the basic identity of the consultant are implicitly distinguished : the first is temporary, circumstantiated by the reading of the tarot and the present; the second is the biographical history of the consultant referred to throughout the session, consisting of past, present and future and in many cases is associated with the zodiacal sign. In fact, some cartomancers use the zodiacal sign and the ascendant to construct a representation of the consultant and to verify, disambiguate or better articulate the situation that is drawn in the cards. In addition to tarot cards and zodiacal signs, most of the fortune tellers use at the same time different tools such as I-Ching and numerology.
The fortune-tellers whom we have seen at work consider tarot only as a means of transferring their divinatory power. The cards have the function of an operator of transformation, shift the sensitive and sensitive knowledge of the fortune-teller and allow the clarification of the narrative: the cartomante knows and the cards put his knowledge in question. On the contrary, the television wizards claim to “feel” the future through the voice, being – of course – phone calls live.
The cards are always given great importance. Each fortune teller has his own tarots received as gifts or purchased in symbolic and very significant situations, he does not use others and, as far as we can see, he almost always puts them in the same place (case, handkerchief, etc.): they are treated with a certain respect from the fortune teller and consequently also from the consultant, are taken, handled and stored with care. From a certain point onwards they are at the center of attention and the whole conversation takes place around the represented figures that articulate the narration.
Tarot cards have a well-coded interpretation system, and those who do not have a family tradition like many fortune tellers can learn to read cards from the many manuals available on the market. Starting from the manuals, we can see how these figures have a tradition linked to different iconographies that refer to a cultural syncretism of the esoteric tradition between East and West. Psychic readings can also be considered as a part of tarot reading.