"How does Tarot work?"
A-ha... now there's a thorny question! The truest answer is that I don't know. However, over the years that I have been a professional Tarot reader, I have noticed certain things that might offer a clue.
Through our lives we make trends with the choices we make, the attitudes we hold, the beliefs we adhere to... and these things shape our future. Other people in our lives do the same thing... and sometimes their thoughts, beliefs and expectations also touch us. Then there are the broader influences to which we are all subject.... societal shifts, spiritual urges, astrological influences, the call of destiny.
If we see these trends as potentials in life - possible pathways we might choose, possible opportunities coming our way - then maybe we can get a better idea of how Tarot works.
I think that when we commit to a given set of cards - whether by shuffling, or by selecting a series - what we do is to make a kind of 'psychic photograph' of the trends which surround us at that moment. It's this photo which the cards reflect back at the reader.
If all trends remain unchanged, then events will unfold as detailed in the photo. If, however, we change direction (perhaps as a result of having a reading done) then we shift the trends. Often in a reading, there will be a pivotal point where, if the querent takes one course of action a particular set of circumstances will occur; if they take another, different course, then events will change accordingly.
For me, this is one of the most valid reasons for having a reading - to get an overview on the possibilities and probabilities in my life, and to select the appropriate course of action.
If this theory is right, then there's one very cheering thing that emerges... the future is not set in stone. We are not the victims of fate, but masters of our own future. We create tomorrow with every single breath we take!! I like that idea!