Before we jump in, you may have some preconceptions on what tarot is about – which may or may not be true!
In order to have a fulfilling first brush with tarot, it’s important to set your expectations about what tarot actually can and cannot do for you.
In this post, we’ll look at what tarot does and doesn’t do.
Let’s start with the things that it doesn’t!
Tarot is not about asking if you will marry a tall, dark, and handsome guy, if your ex will return to you, when you're going to have a baby, what country you should move to, etc. These questions don’t leave you room for choice or advice, and they’re not what tarot is about!
Yes, there are psychics who use tarot, but you don’t need to be psychic in order to study tarot. Many readers use tarot in a psychology-based capacity, such as understanding their past in order to anticipate future choices. We’ll talk more about that in a bit.
It’s true that some people call on deities or beings for guidance when they read tarot. Personally, I speak to God, the one that I’ve always prayed to since I was a child who grew up Catholic. Some of my friends call on Apollo, Selene, and nature spirits.
But plenty of other readers don’t call on any gods at all. Again, they just use tarot as a tool to understand themselves. If you take the magical element out of it, a tarot deck is just a stack of paper with pretty images on them that you may or may not find meaning in.
Whether you call on a being or no being at all when you read tarot is up to you. The point is that unless you intend to speak with evil spirits, evil spirits are not invited to the conversation!
Although tarot can be psychology-based and some therapists use tarot as part of counseling, tarot in itself is NOT a substitute for therapy. (Especially not when used without the guidance of a licensed mental health professional!)
Tarot can be a great tool to help you sort out complex emotions, but if you’re depressed, anxious, experiencing body pain, or in any way might be struggling from a clinical health issue, getting a tarot reading should not be your first priority.
If we look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, tarot is at the top of the pyramid under self-actualization needs. But proper medical attention is at the bottom, under physiological needs.
If you are ailing in body - and the brain counts as part of your body - you need to seek life-saving medical attention first, before you can focus on the deeper soul work required by tarot.
So please, if you are worried that you are ill, I don’t need to pull a card to tell you that the best thing you can do for yourself is to first see a medical professional!
Now that we've cleared that up, let’s look at what tarot CAN do for you!
First, tarot is actually about observing patterns in your behaviour and your choices. The predictive reputation of tarot comes from the fact that the more you analyse how past events have shaped your present choices, the more you can anticipate possible future outcomes.
But you have to remember that these outcomes are not set in stone! When you read tarot, you get insight on your thought processes and decision-making patterns. Now that you’re aware of what goes through your mind when you make a decision, this becomes the point where you decide whether these decisions are serving you or not.
If you like the outcome shown in your reading, you still have to keep making choices to make it happen. If you don’t like the outcome, this is the point where you have to start actively making different choices to avoid it or prepare for it.
That is how tarot empowers you to take charge of your future!
Tarot is less concerned with organised religion, God, or Satan (who is a creation of organised religion), and more focused on getting in touch with your inner self, understanding your purpose, and finding your place in the world.
I mentioned that plenty of people don’t call on anyone at all when they read tarot. Many times, they just open themselves up to humble introspection, just like when you journal or meditate.
Tarot is, first and foremost, a conversation with yourself. The cards are a mirror to your inner thoughts and feelings, and honest and effective readings can be done without calling or praying to anyone at all.
Given that tarot helps one introspect, heal, and be honest with themselves, it can be used as an adjunct to therapy.
If you’re already in the process of getting help, tarot can help you dig deeper into the root causes of your traumas and other issues. Tarot spreads break an overwhelming situation into bite-sized pieces that are easier to process and understand.
A reading only works if you’re willing to be honest with yourself about the not-so-great parts of yourself, making it an excellent tool to develop self-awareness.
In sum, tarot is not fortune-telling, talking to ghosts, or therapy. However, it is a great tool for introspection, self-awareness, and spirituality!
For these reasons, I believe that tarot can benefit everybody, and everybody is welcome – and invited! – to learn tarot.
If you want to dip your toes some more into this ancient art, join our Tiny Tarot Workshop via Zoom at 7PM on January 29, 2021! You can register here until January 27, 2021 only.