Intuition is a key word in understanding the validity of a Tarot reading. If the cards were simply looked up in a table and read off, the subject of the reading would be entirely on their own to make out what the symbols meant to them. It wouldn't make sense in many instances.
Each of the cards has a number of related meanings worked into an artistic reference point. They are to be read by someone who recognizes this symbolism, and interprets the group of cards as a whole using intuition. The symbols and their positions in the spread give a frame word of an explanation for the subject.
Is there a pre-ordained order or arrangement for the cards? Does it matter if the subject shuffles them first? Is there a special way to cut the cards that makes a difference? Should you wrap the cards in silk and sleep with them under the pillow at night? Maybe, but all those ideas sound superstitious. I wouldn't put much stock in them.
The best reason for reading the cards is philosophical rather than superstitious. Chance plays an important part in our lives, from the friends we meet, to the job we land. In fact, who we are as people, since conception, has been molded by a certain random element. Intuition is the faculty we use in dealing with the unexpected.
As children grow, and learn about how to survive in 'civilized' culture, many lose or sublimate intuition, and rely exclusively on analysis, and generalizations of memories--as models of what they are experiencing during their lives. This works well when dealing with science or business, but it is incomplete when dealing with people, all of whom, whether they consider it or not, are strongly influenced by chance, unique situations.
The layout of the cards is chance, and intuition is necessary for interpretation. The cards represent a window, into a person's search for meaning from a random vantage point, an artistic rather than scientific model. Intuition is needed for appreciation of subtle relationships and perceptions. Intuition is a doorway to the dimension, where human creativity reaches into the unknown. The tarot, is an instrument of intuition, but like magic wands, enchanted crystals, or musical instruments, the results depend on the user.
by Lady Mystara
used with permission