Here are quick reviews of a handful of free divination apps available on the iPad. This isn’t all the apps available, but it is most of the free ones related to runes and Tarot, my preferred divination methods. Sadly, only one or two of them were worth hanging onto.

Ask the Runes – This app has very poorly written English, and the graphics aren’t very good; they look glaringly computer-created rather than realistic. Don’t bother to download it.

Rune Draw – Similar to the above, but this one might be good for humor value, if only because some of the “interpretations” of the runes sound like badly-translated fortune cookies. The app lets you choose whether you want an interpretation related to “Self,” “Money,” “Love,” or “Work,” and the meanings given do vary, but they’re often vague to the point of uselessness, as in: “There will be a breakthrough within one year.”

Rune Magic Lite – This one I would consider using for the feature that lets you scroll through runes and interpretations to study them, but you have to pay for each and every reading you get by buying a set of ten readings for a dollar. No, it’s not that expensive, but it’s much more sneaky than charging a flat rate for an infinitely reuseable app. Most of the interpretations are pretty good and comparable to what you’d get in most books, but the one for Uruz (“abyss”?) is totally off-the-wall to me. Finally, the single-rune cast works okay, but part of the app’s frame cuts off the bottom of the interpretations in the three-rune cast, which makes it much less useful.

Tarot Lite – There are two versions of this app available for download separately. Both use the Major Arcana only and do a “Classic French” five-card spread; one of them uses the standard RWS images and the other uses a redrawn version of the Tarot of Marseilles, which has a red-and-blue theme and slightly abstract appearance. Interpretations are okay but not great.

Tarot Free – I don’t recognize the version of the Major Arcana used in this app, but it looks a bit like the Tarot of Marseilles; I may be totally off base, though. Unfortunately, the images for Justice and Strength are attached to the wrong interpretations, and the Moon and Sun images are swapped as well. It does try to specialize the card readings to each of the five positions – Surprises, Blinkers, People, Gifts, and Guidance – but the mistakes in the deck make me think this wasn’t put together with a lot of care and concern. An in-app purchase allows users to upgrade and get readings from the full deck, using either RWS or the current deck. I don’t think it’s worth it to pay money to find out if the upgrade corrects the errors I noticed.

TarotPad Free – This has a strange layout that only appears in landscape format – it just ignores you if you rotate the iPad to the portrait orientation. It uses the RWS deck and an interesting seven-card layout: Past, Present, and Future, Influences, Hopes and Fears, and Outcome, plus What To Do. It incorporates reversed cards and has well-written interpretations; I’ll be playing with this one a little more to see if I continue to like it.

Goddess Tarot – I am thrilled with this app’s ability to explore the full deck of the Goddess Tarot. I’ll be spending some time with it and may consider getting the deck as a result; I wouldn’t have been willing to pay for it without seeing this kind of detail. The free version lets you do a one-card draw, and the paid version gives multiple-card readings in a variety of layouts and lets you do journaling along with saved readings. The art is beautiful, as well, and if you have any interest in exploring goddesses, Tarot, or the intersection of the two, this is a fun place to start.

PS – Many thanks to Hecate for suggesting the Goddess Tarot app to me!

6 thoughts on “Divination apps on iPad

  1. It may be worth noting that there isn’t a single Tarot of Marseilles deck. The name may refer to any of several wood cut decks that were printed in Marseille over the course of a few centuries, so it becomes necessary to identify the deck by its date or the name of its creator as well as the. name Marseille.

    I think I have some unopened copies of the Goddess Tarot if you decide to buy one, and would be willing to sell it to you at wholesale (40% off retail). I also have a bunch of Tarot books available including the one that was used in my store’s beginning Tarot classes (taught by Diane Wilkes if the name means anything to you).

    I should get that list of Wiccan references that I have to you in a couple of days. If I don’t, please poke me at my Yahoo address. I should have gotten it to you over a month ago, but somehow I kept putting it off.

    1. Interesting! I’m in the process of expanding my Tarot collection right now and have, unknowingly, found that more of the decks that I’m interested in come from Lo Scarabeo than US Games. Do you find that the two publishers have distinct styles or audiences in mind?

      1. Bearing in mind that the most recent catalog that I’ve seen for either US Games or Llewellyn was from 2007 or 2008, I’d say yes. Lo Scarabeo has some decks that I’d call “darker and edgier,” e.g. the Gothic Tarot of Vampires, and a few that are rated for “mature” users (i.e. explicit sexual content, the Gay Tarot comes to mind.) Lo Scarabeo also seems to have a couple of house artists (or at least they did when I had the store). U.S. Games in many cases seems to be lighter and fluffier. The Whimsical Tarot, for example, is based on nursery rhymes and fairy tales and seems to go out of its way to avoid the nastier interpretations The Old Woman in the Shoe is the Empress which fits the female fertility symbolism, but it somehow manages to skip her not having enough food for all the kids or her penchant for corporal punishment. . I do like the use of Sleeping Beauty for Death, though. It helps to clarify the
        the rebirth/renewal aspect of the card. US Games also has a Gummy Bear deck. Man, I’d hoped that thing was out of print when I searched for it. At any rate, I cannot imagine Lo Scarabeo publishing a deck even remotely like that.

        I thought about doing a comparison between Art Nouveau decks, but apparently the US Games deck was so forgettable that it’s no longer in print. Well, I did think it was an uninspired deck to begin with.Lo Scarabeo’s deck, OTOH, has artwork reminiscent of Alfonso Mucha and some images that I that I frankly found, well, squicky. The Lovers, for example, features a couple embracing,but it doesn’t look exactly consensual to my eye. although that seems to be a YMMV thing. There is nothing consensual about the King of Swords. Every king in the Tarot Art Nouveau deck features the king and a woman who appears not to be the queen. King of Swords has his arm around the woman’s waist and is dragging her towards him under protest. I note that the Little White Book that comes with the deck describes the card as representing arrogance, an interpretation that fits the image, but not one I usually associate with that card.

      2. Okay, I hope my last post isn’t showing up because it’s being held for moderation (tons of links), and didn’t vanish into the ether because it was too long. Please let me know one way or the other, and feel free to delete this comment.

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