The Tarot is a powerful tool for looking within, for uncovering how Self is approaching a situation and how that can be changed, improved, worked with — so that the Self that emerges each day is a little deeper, a little more on track, than the day before. A tarot deck is a divination tool. It can break apart our opinions on how things are going and how they might go next, giving us room to find new options and discover our own opinions as we work with the cards.
What the Tarot Can and Cannot Do
No matter how good you get, your deck will never tell you to “expect a dark-haired stranger at 2:00 next Tuesday afternoon who will inform you that you have won $800 in the lottery”. The Tarot is about revealing your internal relationship to the situations that are unfolding in your life. It can give insight and even advice on what’s coming and how to approach it, and as such I see it as a way to commune with the Divine — and perhaps most importantly, with that spark of the Divine within the Self.
Talking to Goddess and God… Reaching out to Source
No matter your religious tradition, if you have prayed or reached out to Divinity in your life you know the experience of seeking for an answer to a request, or a question, or a thought… It’s maddening. Who hasn’t at least once, in a moment of loss or rage or doubt, asked God to just speak up and say “Yes!” or “No!” or at least “I’m here.”
But at least for most of us, divinity doesn’t talk that way. Working with the cards allows the divine to communicate with us in the way that is most natural–not in our own stilted language of words with all the limiting absolutes of ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘oh, you really don’t want to hear this’… but in the energetic language of the world and the stars, the give-and-take of the tides and winds, with its overlapping vibrations, its deep and silent knowing, its room for growth and change and options yet unexplored.
Humanity and Divinity
As humans we seek signs and meaning — it’s in our DNA to look for guidance or reason in the world. Social scientists have been studying this phenomenon for a long time (check out Dr. Daniel K. Stewart’s “Signs, Symbols, and Meaning” from the 1966 Journal of Communcation vol. 1 for a good start).
That doesn’t mean that our search for meaning is an accident of biology. No, the age-old traditions of divination can be powerful forces for self-determination and can provide guidance unlike any other.
This well of knowledge is so powerful because:
- It takes discipline and time to learn a divination system, cultivating a person’s own self-knowledge in the process.
- Divination encourages us to follow our intuition, to listen to our own internal “still small voice” in our interpretations. That’s where we tap into Divinity, and the more we practice the stronger that connection gets.
- In Tarot, the visual cues the cards give us build layers of meaning, some of which we interpret consciously and some of which speak to us on instinctual or subconscious levels.
Taking the time to consult your cards (or read for another) makes a sacred space to look at the situation and your options, using all our available tools to live our most authentic lives. Look to your cards for guidance and inspiration. Take time to learn and love them, and you’ll be surprised how perceptive the advice they give becomes.
The Tarot takes us into the cave and up to the mountaintop, touching the same parts of us that respond to the vision quest, to dreams, to dancing or to drums. That’s where Divinity lies. Not in the limiting logic of the human brain, or just in the physical world, but in the spaces beyond ourselves–not in the Created, but in the Process of Creation. And so divination is an action, an activity… always in the making, never set in stone.