A common question, particularly around gift-giving seasons is, “How old should someone be before reading tarot cards?”. First, let me say, that the answer to this question is in all cases a personal one, and depends on the individual and on the specific tarot deck in question.
Can children understand tarot cards?
Traditional tarot card decks from more than a century ago contain varied and beautiful themes that reflect every facet of human existence: Life, death, love, suffering, fulfillment, ego, pain, motivation, spirituality, jealousy, salvation, ambition, success, marriage, family, children — it’s all there. Tarot is a gigantic odyssey through the story of life and spirit.
But are they children’s themes?
Some of them, yes. Certainly the ideas of family, ambition, trust and love are not just suitable for children, but important for children to learn. Can children understand every theme at work within the world of Tarot? Perhaps not all. Tarot is filled with grand, universal themes which most of us truly come to grips with in young adulthood — but may not fully understand until later in life.
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Is it okay for children to read tarot?
Many tarot readers will read with their children in supervised readings. In fact, this is an excellent way to teach tarot to kids. Whether or not it’s a good idea to allow children to do unsupervised tarot readings, is a personal decision for parents and depends on the child.
The decision also depends on the specific tarot deck and its specific artwork. Many modern tarot decks contain adult themes and illustrations, so it’s a good idea for parents to carefully examine the deck before making a judgement call.
So what’s the best age to start reading tarot cards?
For the most part, the themes at work in Tarot are no more “adult” than the themes present in most young-adult fiction. (Young adult fiction is typically categorized as the 12 to 18 year-old age bracket). Or put another way, there’s nothing in Tarot that’s expressly unsuitable for young adults. Nor is there anything that’s particularly racy, or morally questionable.
But again, I’m discussing traditional tarot cards like the classic Rider-Waite tarot deck and the Pamela Coleman-Smith artwork. There are certainly some modern tarot artists whose artwork might be unsuitable for twelve year-olds.
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