The true origins and meaning of the tarot are unknown. While there is much literary conjecture and scholarly debate on the tarot, it is unknown if the cards are truly steeped in the mystical or if they were originally created for a mundane purpose such as an ordinary card game, or perhaps even a story told through images and numbers. The one thing about the tarot that we know for certain is that it is widely used as a device for fortune telling. But is predicting the future really possible with a deck of cards? Is there truly some powerful unseen force at work behind the tarot that allows us to see into the future? From my experience, no, the tarot cannot predict the future or show us our destinies. Even if the tarot or any other divination technique could show us the future, would we really want it to? For me, one of the most intriguing facets of life is the mystery of what is still to come. The mystery of the unknown and an unpredictable future. Life is a gift full of choices and uncertainty, and if we could simply pull a card from the deck that would show us the outcome of every choice we will make and every road we will travel, what would there be to look forward to? Do we really need to know who we will marry, how wealthy we will be, or when we will die? Is this really the purpose of the tarot? Even though from my experiences the tarot cannot show us the future or solve the mysteries of life, it can allow us to see something much more practical and valuable to our everyday lives: a fresh perspective — the chance to see things from a different point of view. A chance to reevaluate our lives and situations.
For me, the most difficult part of reading the tarot isn’t deciphering the meaning of the cards; it’s deciphering the mind of the person I’m doing the reading for. While many of the individuals I have done readings for in the past have only asked me for a “general” reading, which consists of a basic overview of what the cards show with no specific questions being asked, every once in a while a tarot card reading can turn into a psychological counseling session. Sometimes a person just needs to vent or to talk with someone about his or her hopes, fears, and needs. Sometimes a person just needs to hear that everything is going to be okay and that they aren’t the only person in the world with problems. Many people view those of us who can give clear and accurate readings through divination as possessing mystical powers and supernormal knowledge of the unknown. While this may or may not be true, it can be a real comfort for a person to talk with someone that they believe possesses deep spiritual insight. A person is much more likely to pay close attention to what they are being told and take stock in the information when it comes from the mouth of someone they believe possesses supernormal knowledge and understanding. While this can be both a good thing and a bad thing, it places heavy responsibilities squarely on the shoulders of the person giving the reading: the responsibilities of accuracy and honesty.
As a teacher of the occult, I have learned the importance of telling my students what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. I conduct tarot card reading in the same way. For example, I recall doing a reading for a woman who was stubbornly holding onto her belief that in the case of her husband’s health, she was right and everyone else was wrong. The cards (as well as my own insight) clearly showed that this wasn’t the case, and that by holding onto her belief she was only compounding the problem by adding psychological damage to her husband’s physical illness. It was also clear that what she wanted from me was verification of her belief. Needless to say, when I told her that she was wrong and that if she didn’t change her attitude she was going to worsen her husband’s illness; sparks flew. She stormed out the front door without paying me for the reading. She had a few choice words for me as well. About a month later I received a letter in the mail from the woman. Inside the letter was the money for the reading, as well as a note thanking me for my honesty. It turned out that in the case of her husband’s health, she had indeed been wrong all along. When she finally accepted this fact, her husband’s health began to improve almost immediately. The cards didn’t show her future, or even what she wanted to see. The cards showed her what she needed to see.
I could go on to cite many more examples of how the cards work their magick by showing us what we need to see, but that would only undermine the point I’m trying to make. And that point is that tarot cards, or any other form of divination for that matter, cannot show you the future or solve life’s problems. They can only give you a fresh perspective of the life you are currently living. The cards cannot predict when you will find love, but they can give you clues about what you need to change in your life to open the door for love. They can show you a glimpse of the roadmap of life.
Out of every person alive on the planet there are maybe, and emphasize the word maybe, a small handful of individuals that have the gift of being able to see into the future and predict exact outcomes. But this begs the question “if a person were to have knowledge of their future, would that knowledge change the timeline and render the knowledge useless”? Knowledge of the future cannot make your life better. It can only lessen it by removing the mystery of life.
The first card in the tarot is The Fool. The tarot is the story of the Fool’s journey through life and the things that he learns along the way. The Fool begins his journey with newness, spontaneity, and an eagerness to learn and explore the mysteries of the universe and of himself. He embraces all aspects of his life, both the good and the bad. He seeks not fame, fortune, or even knowledge of his future; he is satisfied by knowing and understanding the spirit of his own heart. Even a Fool can teach us valuable lessons about the mystery of life.