While its attributed capability to guide your way into the future and gain insight into your past is highly dubious, a Tarot deck is undeniably full on symbology - each major trump can be traced to one or more Jungian Archetypes, sometimes not uniquely, and the minor arcana provide elements of a story.
Thus, the really interesting thing about a Tarot reading is not the divination performed by the augur, which usually is not about much more than smoke, mirrors, and knowing what you want to hear. I myself see a Tarot reading as a reflection on the reader herself. I use it very alike the modern Rorschach Test, in the sense that you get clearly defined but richly detailed characters and suggestions for the themes of scenes; you can proceed and try to correlate all these elements to give the throw a single meaning, to tell a story by using the trumps. Your story will be very different than mine, because it's your mind which imposes structure and purpose onto the cards. We can get insight, mystical knowledge even, into your identity with such a divination, as long as we allow you to be the reader of it, instead of a passive querent.
Or, on the other hand, we might know a story to start with, and we would like to expose the subconscious thoughts, meaning, knowledge we got from it. This is the most often overlooked use of a Tarot divination. We shall try to tell that story with these elements, picked by our hand, and then grasp beyond the very reason why we chose that trump by using other symbols of the arcana. Let me show you how this would work with a story I'm very familiar with.
We're introducing the protagonist of this story. You might have expected me to choose "The Magician" as the opening, but that's poor sense, only uninitiated don't look beyond the name of the arcana for its meaning. The First Trump stands for a stage magician, a person who knows the tricks of the trade - he's an initiated, sure -, but one who shows them in full sight and let others try to pick on them. His hat is in the form of infinity, while his wand points to the sky. He has laid all the suits of Tarot - sword, baton, cup, pentacle - on the table. He looks at you. The Magician is thus a guide, knows the secret, shows it, teaches it, and points you at the path to infinity to get these secrets. The Magician is someone who knows how to get you out of troubles, will act in your benefit with a unique capability of his, or is a tell that you're unaware of a possible solution, by your own hand, to a problem. Captain Sawyer strikes more as The Magician to me, and you for sure can see why.
No, I've chosen The Popess, The High Priestess. She's intelligent, intuitive, knowing, and mystical, very much like The Magician, but with an interesting twist I'm very fond of. This is, The Magician is masculine, a show-off, aggressively taunting you to grasp his secrets; the High Priestess is feminine, she waits, she watches you, she hints at her secrets but doesn't point at them openly, she manipulates you into thinking you know what she's all about only for you to discover further along the road she's guarding much, much more. See it? The High Priestess is the Initiated, the Keeper of Secrets. She holds the TORA, the Word of God, on her lap. Boaz and Jachin, the two pillars of the First Temple of Solomon, frame her throne. A veil, which can be The Empress' veil, stands behind her: The Empress is the Jungian Mother, the Giver of Life, and there was a veil covering the presence of God at the Temple of Jerusalem. What secrets does she guard, then? The High Priestess knows the Secret, like The Magician. But her job is not to guide you to it, but to cover it. She's not to be trusted.
Here we have our antagonist. As with any good antagonist, it's a twisted version of the hero. The Moon, like the real - or actually, the mythical - moon has always been associated with the Mystics, the Hidden as well as the Primal Fears. The Moon is Hecate - you have a wolf and a dog there, see? -, she's Isis. You're even looking at traces of Ereshkigal in this representation: two tombstones, one at each side, and the crab that rises from below is a guardian of the dead, ascending from the Underworld. The Fear of Death, that lies within human subconscious. We of our nature have Death even more present in our endless nights, always there, hidden beneath the mockery of life we've made of ourselves to pass through the endless nights. The crab joins up with two canids, representing the worst Fear of the higher mind of humans, and that is its own animal nature. The mind is analytical, made of logic and reason, it has such a control of our ego that it has even fooled us into believing "I am my mind"; but its feet are really the paws of a savage beast, it has to struggle with the instincts that arises from the Reptilian Mind or submit to them - specially when it enters the domain of the Moon, that is the Illusion, the Deception, the Fantasy, the Dream. For us, this is the Fear of the Beast you're deeply intimate with. The Moon has grown stronger inside us. There is a path, though it passes by the dogs and the crab, and between the tombstones, going into the horizon. This is the Path of the Mystics The Moon is guarding. You have to overcome your most inner fears, to surpass death and grasp the Beyond. But The Moon doesn't want this, and so she feeds these fears, obscures the Path, tries to deceive you with unrealistic ideas, anxieties and psychological conflicts. She's not to be trusted.
Anyone who has the slightest interest in Tarot knows two things: "The Death" isn't about real death but the death of the status quo, it talks about change and evolution; similarly, "The Devil" doesn't refer to Satan, other kind demon, nor to any concept of evil. It will play the role of a supporting character in this story, one who's always been besides the protagonist. The Devil is about the obsession, it's the primal force of purpose. This obsession can escalate to the point of slavery, thus the couple of demons chained to its seat. The Devil's usually said to bring a bonding to an idea that is actually an obstacle to the growth of the self, pointing at the known story of the Fall from Eden and the Temptation to Christ as the inspiration behind this idea. The Devil will show you your most inner desires, and it will provide you with the passion, the strength, and force of will to achieve them if you allow it to accompany you, but, are those desires really what would make you a better individual? The common answer is no, you will instead end up chained to the obsession after having eaten from the fruit of the underworld and tasted the darkness, as happened to The Lovers in this trump. I've got a different idea, though. I propose The Devil can bring you Enlightenment, and who's to say you've not become better in the aftermath? Admittedly, it maybe isn't the "better" you foresaw or wanted. But Adam and Eve got to discern between Good and Evil after eating from the eponymous Tree and they became half-gods; Christ came up with deeper resolution after enduring the proposal of materialism by Satan; The Lovers were transform into demons, closer in form to The Devil than they were before. As you can see, The Devil has a torch: It can bring light to us, in a sense, but you can and probably will be its slave and that torch shall become your only sun. He's not to be trusted.
With the characters introduced, we proceed to throw them into scenes and conflicts. These are better represented by Minor Arcana, the little siblings of the famous Major ones, for no other reason than them being less iconic and difficult to attach to. They still bring onto the table a lot of symbology, though.
This is The Meditation, the inner dialogue to overcome the turmoil of the mind. The blindfolded lady sitting while wielding the two swords both evokes The High Priestess and the common representation of justice. But she's not concerned so much about impartial mediation but about balance. She's been conflicted by two situations, the two swords pointing to different directions, and she's retorted to going inward for a solution. She's blindfolded herself to rely only on her deepest thoughts - hinted by the sea behind her - undisturbed by external stimuli, to get insight into the issue at hand. She's already got the power to act, the dual blades, but is pondering where to apply it.
The Exile, The Solitude. Imposed by oneself, in looking for something only achievable through contemplation. Also imposed by others, where the warrior seeks distance from the cruelty of the world he's seen. This is a tomb of a soldier, he has fought hard in the past and fall. But he's on a prayer attitude, searching for Enlightenment in his afterdeath. There's noone accompanying him, and no ornament, decoration or flower warming the scene: he's either forgotten or he wasn't loved. But, this card holds within it the promise of the return, this is King Arthur's story.
This trump can be seen as both The Blockade and The Ordeal. The woman is in a harsh situation: bound and blindfolded, she has to escape; but if she dares to move a bit, she'll get cut. This is representing those moments of damned if you do, damned if you don't. A way out is pointed obviously by the card, but it's not pleasant. This Arcana is compelling vividly to move, to take a decision, to act. The woman will need to endure the cuts, either figurative or real ones, to get her freedom, lest she's trapped in there forever. "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children" and "By the sweat of your face you will eat bread", He said. Nothing comes without suffering.
With the decisions and actions, consequences shall come. And there are always unpleasant consequences, even from the bestest, most humane acts. The Nightmare talks about this. Fear, doubt, guilt, everything is hanging above the woman, disturbing her in the worst way imaginable. But they're more than what they seem. They are represented by swords, and a sword represents the power of the mind, for you can find strength and determination in these feelings to cut through what's troubling you. Also, they are a dream, an illusion, ultimately only a figment of the mind. What's been done, it's done. Anecdotically, this Arcana is the Lord of Cruelty.
The most grim Arcana of all, this is more about death than The Death itself. The Doom or The Destruction awaits at the end, for this story is a tragedy - I'm very fond of this genre.
I've gone and tossed in three Elder Futhark runes for added flavor: peorð, þorn, and take a special note of the last one, the blank. This is gaining momentum and favor recently, even if it isn't obviously part of any runic system. Its interpretation is the deepest, though; just as the numerical '0', which opened whole new avenues of play in Mathematics, the blank rune is about potential, about the Everything in the Nothing, the Divinity making an Apparition, it can be anything.
So, now, what can we get about this story I've just told? Of course! That the story isn't to be trusted, it's all talking about secrets, illusions, and mind tricks - the suit of swords is the suit of the mind. And the storyteller is the worst offender of all: he's deeply biased and unashamedly obscuring details on purpose.
But that's not saying you didn't gain any knowledge or insight by reading between lines, didn't you?