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 counseling 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.
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!
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.