Tarot is not about predicting the future. There I said it.
I’ve probably got hundreds of years of wise women turning in their graves as I type this but despite all the esoteric mystery and spooky imagery surrounding them, tarot cards really aren’t that great at fortune telling, and any card reader that tells you something is definitely going to happen based on the tarot is as fake as Derek Acorah’s hairpiece.
Bear with me here.
You see it all depends on what you believe about fate. If your thoughts on the topic are that the universe has an inescapable plan for all of us, and life is but a series of meaningless, pre-planned steps which will eventually bring you to your final goal, your destiny if you will, then ok fine, tarot cards can probably tell the future. But the thing is, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.
If you ask me, life is more fluid than that, things are inclined to change, and it’s unlikely that we’re born with a solid plan for us, otherwise what’s the point?
I believe that we create our own destinies, and that fate is less of a sure thang and more of an optional extra, like sprinkles on ice cream (although the fate kind can’t always be guaranteed to taste good).
We have to be in the right place at the right time for “fate” to happen. If you didn’t go for ice cream to begin with, you wouldn’t get the sprinkles, right? And if you didn’t go to that party you wouldn’t have met that guy? Orrrrr… if you chose to never leave the house again you wouldn’t do anything ever, and that sounds like a pretty rubbish destiny, amiright?
Through all these great ice cream metaphors I hope you can probably grasp that I’m talking about the existence of choice. You have choices about everything from your clothes to your job, your food to your friends, whether you go out or stay in, then bit by bit all these things shape your destiny – and that’s what tarot cards pick up on.
I know at this stage I’m sounding like a level 27 skeptic and you’re probably thinking “but Ellie, I thought you read tarot cards? You love them!” and you’d be right, I do read tarot cards and I do love them, but for a slightly different reason (though admittedly I do also dig the spooky imagery).
The thing about tarot card that gets me is their uncanny ability to help you work through your problems using those same little building blocks of fate that we just mentioned.
When you think about the fact that there are 78 tarot cards in a deck, each with several different meanings, and an endless number of possible positions for them to be placed in, you’ve got yourself a lot of options, but once you can read the tarot, those options can speak to you in ways that turn even the biggest skeptic into a believer (but definitely not a ‘Belieber’ – just to clarify).
Think of the last time you solved a problem. How did you do it? Did you break it down into bitesize, manageable portions? Did you discuss it with a friend, or even meditate on it? Tarot readings pretty much do all those things.
Tarot reaches into your soul, finds out what’s up, and suggests ways to fix it.
Tarot does not tell you the exact outcome of your issue, nor will it offer you baby steps and spoon feeding for your woes. What it does do is highlight the areas in which you can improve, move forward, and when to hold back. These kooky cards give you a gentle nudge in the right direction and encourage you to help yourself – teach a man to fish and all that.
But that’s just how I like it. I don’t want some bossy boots set of cards telling me where I’m going to be in 20 years, I want to figure that out for myself, and what might seem like a good plan for my future right now, might turn out to be a terrible choice down the line.
Things happen in life to throw us off course, we win we lose, leave behind loves and find new ones. If we were constantly dictated by the universe or the tarot, then we’d never learn what works and what doesn’t, we’d never have the chance to combine all those tiny little fate sprinkles into our own ice cream vision of a destiny and succeed at something we truly want, but of course those little nudges of tarot wisdom never hurt along the way.
Featured image: Oliver Hibert’s Tarot
Body image: The Tarot of Pagan Cats
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