The Tarot is an ancient method of fortune-telling that uses the 78 cards of the Tarot deck to create a story of you — past, present, and future.
From time to time, we all look for guidance. It could be on a grand scale, something that will affect the very course of our lives, such as deciding whom to marry or where to live. Or it could be something of smaller consequence but important in the moment. We look to a lot of sources to help us make our decisions. Here’s a list of some of the sources most of us don’t think twice about consulting every day:
Status meetings at work or guidance counseling at school help give us a good perspective on what we’ve already accomplished, what needs to be done today, and how to tackle future challenges.
Medical doctors and other health-care professionals tell us how to develop good life habits to keep our bodies healthy, while psychologists and therapists offer good counsel to help improve our mental well-being and promote healthy relationships with others.
Many of us turn to our faith in a higher power to draw inspiration and guidance through prayer and the study of sacred texts.
We look to the five-day weather forecast to get a handle on whether we’ll need to carry an umbrella, break out the sun block, or put the snow tires on the SUV. How about listening to the radio for the daily traffic reports? It’s essential to know the most efficient and beneficial route for getting to the office on time.
Hey, admit it. Do you check your daily horoscope?
We have so many choices to make every day! Which choice is the best one? Who can help us make our choices? And how will things turn out?
Tarot is one of many metaphysical tools that enable us to look into our lives and find some extra information we hadn’t really understood or known about before. Working with the Tarot brings to light a confirmation of things you’ve always known (your own inner wisdom) or it adds a new perspective to a perplexing question or problem.
Sometimes what we’re looking for might be not so much a glimpse of the future, but a glimpse of our true selves. The better we know ourselves, the more likely we are to have the confidence and self-esteem to work through our life decisions fully and with the care essential to produce splendid outcomes.
The Tarot can be a wonderful tool to help you get in touch with yourself. Instead of waiting passively for life to happen to you—reacting to events and emotions without fully understanding or appreciating what’s going on around you—you can use the Tarot to enhance your experience and active participation in the events and emotions of your life.
The Tarot is only one tool you can use to make your life decisions resonate closer to your heart’s true desire. It’s not about surrendering to fate or being handed a one-way ticket to the future. It’s about making choices that are honest and that feel right for you. It’s about getting in touch with your own life energy and using that energy to live up to your fullest potential as a human being.
The Tarot reveals what’s really happening below the surface of events around us. The Tarot is a visual medium; those of you who love pictures, art, music, design—anything picture-related—can appreciate all the rich colors, symbols, numbers, and archetypes present in the Tarot cards. The 78 Tarot cards represent every element of life, every emotion we will experience, every lesson that needs to be learned, and every condition possible to know. The story the Tarot tells every time you receive a reading allows you to know more and gives you the decision-making edge extra knowledge can provide. [Tarot History]
You’re in the Cards!!!
The Tarot opens your intuitive sense. Its pictures stimulate your gut feelings. The Tarot cards absorb the thoughts, ideas, and curiosity of the person who shuffles the deck. By shuffling and concentrating on the question at hand, it’s your energy that’s being reflected through the deck of the Tarot. Your subconscious wisdom is shuffled into the cards. When the cards are thrown into different patterns, or spreads, the relationships between the cards reveal your personal wisdom as you infused it into the deck. The 78 cards of the Tarot deck are divided into 22 Major Arcana cards, which lead us through the archetypal passages in life’s journey, and 56 Minor Arcana cards, which illustrate the various things that happen to each of us from day to day.As with any method of fortune-telling, reading the Tarot is much more than merely memorizing what each card or symbol means. In addition to understanding Tarot cards, Tarot readers have strong backgrounds in disciplines ranging from psychology to mythology and recognize that a reading opens life’s possibilities rather than narrows them to an inevitable course of action.
Just as certain people are natural painters while others can’t draw a stick figure, some people are naturally good at reading the Tarot. The best Tarot readers understand that no card has any one meaning, but rather is a metaphor for a variety of interpretations.
The person asking the reader a question is called the Querent. Querents might ask specific questions: “When will I meet my soul mate?” or “Will I win the lottery?” They might ask about the world: “What’s going to happen in the year 2005?” or “Will any film ever top Lord of the Rings?” Specific Tarot spreads can address different types of questions, such as how to set a goal, make a decision, or find a solution to a problem. Readings can span a time frame (“What’s going to happen in my life this year?”) or reveal a message (“What’s my purpose or mission in life?”).
The reader and the Querent don’t necessarily have to be in the same place. Readings today take place online or with the absent Querent thinking about the question as the reader deals the cards.
What if the Querent wants to know about a family member, a spouse or life partner, or another person? The Tarot will answer the question through the energy of the Querent him- or herself. Whatever information is revealed through the Tarot will have to do with the Querent’s own relationship to the person the Querent wants to know about. Remember, it’s the Querent’s energy that infuses the cards for a reading, and theirs is the energy that will come through.
Does Tarot Really Work?
The magic in Tarot comes from you!
Okay, if the cards indicate wealth and financial reward, should you run out and buy that new Armani suit or dress? Maybe, maybe not. The reader’s skill of interpreting the Tarot involves the ability to remain objective, to accurately describe the message of the cards, and, with the Querent’s help, to put that message in the right perspective.
The cards are a great tool, but they’re not so great at giving orders or pronouncing ultimatums. The message of the cards, properly understood, gently (or not so gently, depending on the situation) guides you to arrive at the correct decision that already waits in your heart. That doesn’t mean the Tarot does this by providing an easy excuse to let you get your own way and buy that convertible!
Now, wait a second. If the cards are showing what you already know in your heart to be true, why bother? The answer is that the cards are in touch with a universal intelligence—our human collective unconscious—something we westerners are not always good at tapping into. Like the dream world that opens your mind as you sleep (Sigmund Freud called dreams the “royal road to the unconscious”), the Tarot cards awaken that place deep within you that is in touch with your human nature.
Tarot works when you look closely enough to get the real message, to both receive and understand it for what it really is. This means coming to the reading with an open and unprejudiced mind. Don’t assume anything—either as reader or Querent—and be ready for anything. The true message of the Tarot might surprise you!
How Does Tarot Work?
The power to make the Tarot more than just a deck of cards lies within you!
We’d like to call on a really smart guy, psychoanalysis pioneer Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961), to answer this question for us. Jung was fascinated by the patterns of life and the way seemingly unconnected events were in fact connected. He noted that every day of human experience is filled with what could only be called meaningful coincidences, or synchronicity.
Jung’s study of synchronistic events led him to examine ancient occult practices from astrology to the I Ching, and the Tarot was no exception. He found that the mysteries revealed by these practices were in fact not mysteries at all, but events common to each of us on our paths of life.
Jung called our common situations (and common recurrent characters) archetypes and believed that ancient fortune-telling methods revealed these archetypes to us symbolically. He noted that although modern science “is based on the principle of causality,” occult methods look to a “picture of the moment.” Jung concluded the pictures on Tarot cards are “descended from the archetypes of transformation.”
We agree with Jung that Tarot cards are a way for us to connect to the archetypal wisdom of the human collective unconscious. The Tarot deck in its entirety is a portrait of the human condition, its potential, and its possibilities. Shuffle the deck and deal the cards: Your Tarot reading is a reflection of those possibilities inherent in your life and present situation.
What have dreams got to do with the Tarot? A whole lot, it turns out. The metaphors in our dreams and in Tarot cards have a lot in common. Jung asserted that all humans share common archetypes, but that most of us can get in touch with them only through our unconscious. Dreams are one way of tapping into our unconscious thoughts, feelings, and awareness—and the Tarot is another.
Does Tarot Seal Your Fate?
No. Nothing “seals” your fate. Your life path is a series of possibilities, branching off in one direction or another with each decision you make. A Tarot reading might suggest to you what could happen if you continue along a certain path, but it’s up to you to take the responsibility of choosing your own direction, if you dare.Much of the fear and superstition associated with the Tarot—and with all the occult sciences—is that they somehow do foretell the future and seal your fate. Nothing about the Tarot is inexorable or inevitable. What you do with what the cards show is up to you! The Tarot reveals possibilities and probabilities, not certainties. In fact, the only thing that’s certain about life is that nothing’s certain. Fate is what you make it.