Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tarot Readings - Their Role and Limitations

The Tarot, believed to have originated in Renaissance Italy, has experienced a revival.  From occult seekers and therapists, to events including showers, birthdays, retirement and graduation parties, the public has begun to look to Tarot for guidance and entertainment. The hope of being able to glimpse the future and know how one’s fate will twist or turn carries great allure.  The Tarot is long regarded as a tool to help bring mysteries to light.

There are many misgivings about the use of Tarot which can contribute to undue fear and disappointment.  This is especially true if a questioner is anticipating specific instructions in a reading to instantly spring forth only to find that the cards give guidance or overall indications of emerging patterns in his or her life.  Professional readers are often regarded with fear, curiosity, and suspicion. Sadly, many who would potentially find a Tarot reading enjoyable and enriching, become anxious and shy away from having cards read, fearing that they will be given negative information.

The Tarot contains symbols that transcend any one culture, religion, or philosophy. It is believed that the vast array of symbols on each card can speak to the questioner; the symbols carry a message that will be in some way beneficial to the recipient of the reading. To some this is “fortune telling,” to others, it is entertainment.  Yet, this tool is also considered by many, including Carl Jung, to be a useful way to explore the subconscious for purposes of healing and awareness.

Tarot readings are effective both in person and at a distance.  The questioner does not have to believe in order to receive a reading that is often satisfactory or better. Many believe that all people if they remain open enough, are able to receive information they need when they need it, regardless of the source.  In the case of Tarot, the source is a set of widely accepted archetypes whose “random” appearance in a reading is really not coincidence at all, but rather a link to the subconscious.

Tarot readings can be used for guidance, planning, and healing. Tarot is like a weather forecast. It is not the role of a Tarot reading to instruct the questioner to act or not. A competent reader should take care to not deprive a client of free will.  This is especially true if a client, out of frustration and confusion, would prefer to be told exactly what to do or not do.  To instruct the questioner in this manner is a practice best avoided. Respect for free will should always be valued. However, guidance from the Tarot should be considered as a forecast of conditions, some of which are alterable, some of which are not, that the questioner should be aware of in making their decisions. To use the weather example, if a forecast predicts rain, it does not answer the question “should I have a picnic outside?”  Rather, the cards inform the individual that if he or she chooses to have an outdoor picnic, the questioner should bring an umbrella and prepare to seek shelter when it rains.

Sometimes readings seem to spell out a clear instruction. Let’s assume that the weather forecast was a torrential downpour and perhaps a tornado. It is still the decision of the individual to choose another date for their picnic, to have it indoors, or to risk braving the elements. Likewise, a Tarot reading can give warning about conditions that have occurred or may occur if conditions persist as they are. This is not the same as instructing someone in what they should do.

Since Tarot is based on conditions that may be underway, but may not yet have occurred, it is important to for the questioner to keep an open mind. Significant people or events forecasted in a reading may not seem familiar or accurate, but this could be due to the fact that the situations or conditions forecasted have yet to emerge. In some instances knowledge of an event can also alter it. To use the weather analogy, if a forecast predicts rain in one town on the day of a planned picnic, but knowledge of this causes, the questioner to drive to the next town and host the picnic there where it is not raining, it would not make sense to call the weatherman and say “you were wrong, you told me it would rain on my picnic and it didn’t!”  There can also be cases where an indication of events portrayed do not occur exactly as predicted, similar to rain predicted on Tuesday, but not actually arriving until Thursday. Prediction is not always exact, and many factors can affect the outcome of events such as personal choice, resistance, or the immediate decisions made by the questioner.

Readings do not cause psychological, physical, or spiritual damage.  If it is against your religion to use Tarot, do not use it. If information brought forth in a reading is psychologically distressing, chances are the stress the questioner is experiencing would emerge as the predicted stress-causing events arise. Again, sometimes challenging situations occur, but they would occur if the reading were conducted or not. Looking back at the weather forecast, if one is too terrified of the prospect of a significant storm and therefore avoids the weather report, they will be both scared and unprepared when the storm finally arrives.

Tarot can be used for creative means as well. Consider exploring the archetypes in the cards to promote ideas for writers or artists, to help develop knowledge of symbols, to uncover subconscious associations with the past and present, and to explore meditation.  Witches and other practitioners of Magick can also use the cards as focal points in spell work, but the Tarot is not limited to these arts.

Article by: Angela Kaufman.  Angela is a Priestess for the Dragon Warriors of Isis Coven in Upstate, New York, and the co-author of Wicca: What's the Real Deal?  She is a professional tarot reader.  For more information checkout

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