There are a lot of myths on Tarot out there that can be confusing and scary for someone who's new to it. While how much you believe in the myths is entirely up to you (who am I to dictate other people's belief system?), I would like to offer you my views on them, so you can see both sides and decide for yourself.
Disclaimer: This post and all my blog posts are merely my opinion. If it helps you, great. If you don't agree, no worries.
1. Cards like "Death", "Devil" and "Hanged Man" are BAD!
"Death", "Devil" and "Hanged Man" cards can sound and look scary (in traditional decks and many other decks), so I totally get why someone may not want to dabble in Tarot in case there's a chance they will draw those cards. I used to think that way... I was intrigued, but scared at the same time... that is until I understand the meanings of those cards.
"Death" card means ending, change, transformation, transition. It could refer to an end to a relationship, a change in job function, or even ending of a habit such as smoking. While "endings" seems to have a negative reputation, I encourage you to think about this: How many of you have been heart broken and cried over a relationship, only to not even think much of it anymore after finding a better partner? How about for those who were depressed about having being laid off, only to find that the next job pays better or is better suited? Sure, there are people who keeps going for the same type of people and wondering why they keep ending up in bad relationships or people who keep applying for a certain type of job just because that's what they did before even though they are never happy because the job doesn't suit them. "When are you going to learn?", one may say. That's actually the jackpot. Sometimes, the same things keep happening precisely because we have not learned the lesson. Endings are not bad in itself, if we learn the lessons. It makes way for new and better things. If nothing ever ends, we would never learn and grow. Everything happens for a reason, even if we cannot see it yet.
"Devil" card refers to shadow self, seduction by material world, addition, living in fear or under domination and having too much attachments. Drawing the card does not mean the devil will come into your life. It simply implies less positive traits of you (everyone has a shadow self, it's about understanding it, accepting it and working on it that matters. No one is perfect.) or energy of dark seduction such as alcoholism, or being materialistic. This card invites you to explore whether you being the best version of yourself, and whether you are being bounded by attachments that do not serve your highest good. This self-exploration can help you become more mindful and conscious about things that can have a negative impact in your life if overindulged.
"Hanged Man" card suggests pause, surrender, letting go, new perspectives. Sometimes, it is necessary to take a pause and let things go, in order to move forward. When you draw this, reflect on whether a situation is going against you or whether you are being impulsive. Would it make more sense to wait for a better time to take action? Do you need to let go of stubbornness and just let go? Again, this is not a scary card at all. Getting "bad cards" are sometimes necessary for self-reflection, so we can apply our free will to take action and change things around for the better.
2. You need psychic gifts to read Tarot
Psychic gifts such as clairvoyance are definitely helpful for reading Tarot, but it doesn't mean that you cannot use Tarot to gain insights if you haven't discovered your psychic gifts. There are 8 "clairs". You can refer to them here. I believe everyone has psychic gifts, it's a matter of whether you're tuned in or not. While a lot of us may not see flashes of future in our minds or hear messages from Spirit Guides, we do all possess some level of intuition. Haven't you ever had a hunch about something, and then it happens? How about times where you walk into the room and could feel whether the place is inviting or pick up the unspoken vibes of people around you? Of course you have... because we all have psychic abilities. It's just a matter of exercising and strengthening it, as well as trusting it.
Now back to the original topic... let's assume you are not very intuitive YET. Well, good news is that Tarot can help you practice! Ever heard of the expression "Is the glass half full or half empty?" A person who is feeling pessimistic at the time would likely think it looks empty, while someone who is happy would likely think it looks half full. The glass is a visual cue to bring our subconscious and emotions up front where we can examine it, and Tarot can do the same. While there are pre-determined meanings to each card, sometimes you may feel drawn to certain elements/details in the card, which are triggered by your subconscious. With practice, you will be able to link your observation of the cards to life situations and help you understand yourself better and see through situations better.
"How about reading for other people? My subconsciousness wouldn't know about someone else, no?", you may ask. Fair point. Which is why, I have always found it easier to read for myself than for others. I may just be a unique case though, because I keep hearing people say they find it easier to read for others. Perhaps I find it easier to read for myself because I am able to see both sides of situations and open to "criticism" by my Tarot cards? In any case, when reading for others, you still let your intuition guide you. You may subconsciously pick up vibes from the other person without realizing it. By asking probing questions based on the cards, you will be inviting your client to reflect, which is the point of a Tarot reading anyway. The more you practice, the better you are at using your intuition, and the more accurate your readings will be. We are all psychic to a certain extend, and Tarot can help us develop a stronger intuition.
3. Tarot invites evil spirits and is dangerous
Tarot cards are just paper. It in itself has no special powers. However, like everything in life, moderation is key. I believe everything has a light and shadow side, and too much of a good thing can become bad. Tarot is a wonderful and powerful tool to for self-exploration, but if one becomes overly reliant on it (e.g. cannot make any decision, big or small, without consulting your cards), then it could also do more harm than good. What kind of energy are you giving off when you use your Tarot? Are you using Tarot to empower yourself, or are you just giving up your power to the cards? To ensure your readings are accurate and that you're using it for your highest good, it is important to start with a calm and positive frame of mind. Don't read Tarot when you're not well physically or energetically. Find a ritual to set intention and prepare yourself for readings. Perhaps you would like to do a short meditation or breathing exercise to calm your mind and imagine white light surrounding yourself and your cards for energy protection? Some people may also find it helpful to vocalize their intention to have their Higher Self and/or Spirit Guides show them truthful readings for their highest good. There are many "rituals" out there, just do what feels right for you.
4. Your first tarot deck should be given to you, not purchased
To me, that's like saying seeing a black cat or opening umbrellas indoors bring bad luck. I'm sure some people believe in that, and maybe they have a reason for believing so... it's just not something I believe in, but you are welcomed to believe in whatever you want. I know a number of Tarot readers, and I would say most of them bought their first deck without problems. This is probably why I don't believe in it.
Slightly off topic, but while we talk about receiving decks, I also want to talk about 2nd hand decks. I feel this is probably an even more debated topic. So we all have our own energy, and when we work with a deck, we begin connecting with the deck and sharing our energy with it. If this concept is hard to grasp, think about how you connect with people. You do so by getting to know them and feeling good towards them. This connection is a feeling, it's not something very tangible, but you know it's there. It's the same with decks. You may feel more connection with one over another, and where there's connection, there's share of energy. About 2nd hand decks is that, in theory, it would carry the energy of the previous owner. Some readers are cool with it and swap decks, some only get 2nd hand decks from people they know and feel good about, and some readers insist on having only new decks. Most people I know who do get a 2nd hand deck would at least cleanse the energy prior to using it. There are many methods for cleansing, so at the end of the day, it's about what you're comfortable with. Similar theory applies to whether you let the other people touch your deck or not. It's all a matter of personal choice.
5. Tarot tells you about your future
Even though I believe that there are certain fate or factors we cannot control in our lives, I do believe that we have "free will" to change our destinies to some extent. For this reason, I believe that Tarot only shows you a likely near future, based on your current circumstance/energy if nothing changes (whether by you or someone else involved), instead of a fixed future. I like to think of fate like a destination or stop. Let's say... the mountain top. Now, maybe you would get there only after taking a bunch of detours, distracted by flowers and villages along the way.. or maybe you will find yourself lost from main road and only reach the destination beating through bushes and going through rough terrain. These are the parts where I believe "free will" comes in.