It started innocently, as these things always do. I was sitting on my good friend’s couch in her apartment. We’d just had a heap of dumplings and were several glasses into some rum and coke. My friend flicked on the TV and we saw some tarot readings on YouTube. Who are you going to fall in love with? Who is your future husband? Your future wife? Another four glasses down, I had three potential husbands and two wives, and all of them my soul mates. Now I can’t leave the house without wondering at people walking past. He has black hair! Oh, what about her? The reader said my soul mate was studying to be a doctor.
The tarot reading trend is bigger than I realised at the beginning of my wade into its mystic waters. There are numerous channels dedicated to it, mostly all women and mostly all about what does he/she really think about me? Oddly, I like those videos the best. If only because I have no he/she in mind when watching it, and I have to wonder at who it’s talking about. My neighbour is mad at me, perhaps? My tutor has loved me this whole time? Scandalous.
This sort of witchy mysticism has been rising in popularity over the last few years. Almost every day there is a new upload from several channels for tarot readings, with over 50,000 views on some of the smallest ones, and millions on the larger channels. The videos seem to have some of the cleanest YouTube comment sections, too. People share their readings, what’s been going on in their lives, and what they hope is to come. Rarely do you see a negative comment.
I’ve never been into horoscopes or seeking out my future. I was raised with a healthy amount of scepticism. Not enough to laugh in someone’s face should they like that sort of thing. Just enough to know not to base all my expectations on it. So my enjoyment of YouTube tarot readings came as a surprise. There’s always that sort of initial push back, where your intellectual brain goes, “oh, but that’s woo-woo nonsense”. Then, the next moment you’re trying to choose between the red crystal on the right, and the glass-white one on the left. “Which better represents my current mood?” I’m asking myself, as though that’s a totally normal internal conversation to be having.
Tarot readings on YouTube go far beyond just love life speculation – though that is the most popular form it takes. The trend seems to be a “pick your life game” of sorts. What will you be like in five years? What does October have in store for you? What I started watching out of fascination – always ready to see what the card could possibly reveal about me next – turned into intellectual interest. What was so alluring and calming about the videos?
The life simulation of “what’s to come next for me” became a stress relief. The best part of it was always that it is hard to remember what the readings say in terms of “what’s next”. There’s no disappointment when these things aren’t realised. There’s only the one blessed moment where you think to yourself, “oh, good, I’m going to make it through that and that”. Then poof! The words and the video itself no longer matter.
Horoscopes and tarot readings are almost like a cheap therapy. If you read something generic about fixing up your life (you need a new job, to travel and leave a relationship) it acts as an impetus for change. It becomes a kind of introspection. The vaguer the reading, the more you’re forced to think about how it applies to you. Since several of my friends began their routine horoscope readings, they’ve switched up a lot of their poor routines. I think regardless of the realness of the readings, the outcome holds the true magic about them.
With the ease of the internet and its accessibility, and the new videos popping up teaching people to read tarot cards, I have no doubt that the trend will grow. More and more people are becoming amateur tarot readers. With the new generation separating from religion, and either not knowing or caring that tarot reading was considered the devil’s work, the trend will likely only grow larger and more popular. Though I have no interest in learning myself, let’s not say getting a real reading isn’t on the cards for me. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to expand my list of possible husbands and wives. Also I’ll become increasingly suspicious of acquaintances harbouring hidden anger or love for me. Thanks, YouTube.