Faced with an uncertain economic future and the stresses of lockdown, it’s no wonder that many of us are looking for answers in ancient practices, finding both of a form of therapy and a source of practical advice in holistic wisdom.

Fiongal Greenlaw is a tarot master, psychic and spiritual advisor who has read for hundreds of clients as well as running spiritual events for the likes of Harvey Nichols, through his company The Wellness Foundry.

He says tarot came into his life at a point of burnout. “Previously, I worked as a fashion designer for over eight years, heading up design houses in London and overseas. My health, both mental and physical, hit crisis point because of the pressure I was putting on myself.”

This stress reached its lowest ebb when Greenlaw was hospitalised for ?ve days. “My symptoms couldn’t be diagnosed by doctors, nor treated by conventional medicine.”

Desperate to get better, the spiritual guru says he began an alternative journey. Starting with acupuncture, then discovering Reiki and yoga, this led him to further spiritual exploration, landing finally on tarot.

“The relief I felt from these practices was so great, and the transformation was so complete for me, I was driven to share these modalities with others,” he says.

Emily Thornton (@solarsistertarot) is another spiritualist and tarot reader, based in Manchester, who says the majority of her clients are young women in their 20s and 30s. Having lost her mother at the tender age of 26, she experienced a spiritual awakening and was called to help others through the medium of tarot.

“I’m drawn to the practice because I find it incredibly calming, especially when I need to get a little bit more perspective on my situation,” she says.

So what exactly is tarot and what does a reading involve? At its essence, the practice involves using illustrated cards to gain insight into the past, present or future by formulating a question, then drawing and interpreting cards.

“Tarot differs from other forms of decks as it has 78 cards, divided into the Major and Minor Arcana – ‘Arcana’ meaning secrets,” he explains.

“Each card depicts a different archetype or aspect of life and the soul’s journey. The reader will use the cards as a prompt or reference point to intuit information about the sitter.”

A reading usually takes around 45 minutes with 10 to 15 minutes at the end for any questions or feedback.

“The ?rst half is more of a ‘stream of conscious’ from the reader, giving you interpretations, guidance and messages around different areas of your life, be it work, ?nance, love, health,” says Greenlaw.

“There’s nothing for the sitter to do, expect cultivate a sense of calm and receptivity. A reading is an energy exchange, just like a conversation, so if you’re resistant or closed-minded, the reading will not be as effective.”

“As the future is never ?xed, tarot is not a predictive tool. Although we do look at likely outcomes, this is based on unfolding events and choices available to you.

He continues: “The tarot cannot also undermine your free-will. Therefore, it will not tell you what you should do. Instead, it will offer suggestions that empower you to make positive changes in your life.”

Even if you’re a total sceptic about spirituality, Greenlaw reckons trying a reading can bring benefits for everyone.

“A tarot reading can give you a greater clarity in life, helping you make better decisions and reaching your goals quicker,” he says. “You can often recognise overlooked opportunities, or even just get insights into your unhealthy patterns of behaviour.”