The divination practice of tarot reading originated in Europe as a process of garnering supernatural guidance or knowledge from a deck of cards. However, it has now changed to a Tiktok extravaganza, guaranteed to attract millions of viewers who are desperate and seeking divine inspiration. Tiktok tarot readers are famous for their attention-grabbing opening lines: “This is meant for you”, “They want to contact you”, and most famously, “Your ex is coming back”. While these titles may be just what you want to hear, they are a product of the Tiktok algorithm and seldomly accurate. These tarot readings are usually done by amateur readers preying on vulnerable people, and all they do is entertain false hope that hinders you from moving on. 

The hashtags #witchtok, #tarottiktok and #tarotreading have a combined view count of 70 billion. Tarot readers on Tiktok exploit their viewers using the Tiktok algorithm via such hashtags and keywords. When viewers see these Tiktoks and like video after video, this manipulates the algorithm to show similar or identical clips on the For You page. Tarot readers also rope viewers into live readings where they are charged extreme rates to ask questions in real time. According to Ruchira Sharma in an Input article, many of these online readers are either inexperienced or deliberately exploiting viewers. Users of social media who find these kinds of videos are faced with the problem of tarot readers who are uncertified, and the consequences of trusting this type of content.

The practice of tarot started in the 14th century with the invention of tarot cards for the purpose of card games in medieval Italian cities like Venice and Milan. Its association with fortune-telling only started in the late 18th century. Since then, tarot has grown more popular and is not reserved for European patrons. Though many people associate tarot reading with the occult, tarot card reader and reiki healer Rachel Howe encourages people to think of it as an in-depth conversation that is merely facilitated by the cards and their implied meanings. It is up to each person to decide how to use the information that they have gleaned from the cards.

While tarot reading has no process of certification, Tiktok readers are especially inexperienced and are available to younger audiences who are more likely to take their claims at face value. These viewers are more inclined to believe the assertions that their exes will come back at the end of the week or that they will come into a huge sum of money by the end of the month.

Sharma also writes that one viewer “was addicted to Tiktok tarot and relied on it for every problem” and that she would spend hours watching these videos and feeding into the misconception that her ex would return to her in six months. The viewer said that if she had simply asked him how he felt, it would have saved her time and allowed her to heal faster.

Online Tiktok tarot readings are rarely accurate and are detrimental to the viewer’s mental health. Be that as it may, these readers have helped many people discover and learn more about the practice of tarot. According to a Daily Titan article by Stepheny Gehrig and Vanessa Siguenza, a better way to feed your curiosity is to either find an experienced local tarot reader or learn about tarot yourself. There are books on the topic available in bookstores, and many tarot decks contain instructions and detailed meanings of each card. 

Ayesha Osman
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