Why Tarot?

People often ask – what made you get into reading tarot? The short version is that it came by way of being Pagan. I was going through a rough time health-wise, laid up on my feet most of the time and not particularly doing anything or going anywhere because I couldn’t. So I meandered about online and found a Pagan school; I’d disconnected a lot from my faith and belief system throughout my teen years so it was nice to be able to dip my toe back in. The online school had a tarot course and my little eyes lit up because it had always been something I was quite fascinated with. Coincidentally timed with my birthday so I could talk family into getting me the deck I wanted for my birthday (being sick meant no work which meant not a lot of money which meant I could not buy the deck myself), and I began to immerse myself in learning the art of tarot.

What I learned very quickly is the glamorous image I had in my head was not at all realistic. You know the one I mean, where the woman sits on her beautifully dressed table with her crystal ball and well worn cards, incense permeating the space, low light – all very mysterious and enchanting was not at all what tarot was about. Don’t get me wrong, there can be a shed-load of mysticism in tarot but it takes a lot of work and experience to be able to lay your cards out and get the story. Even though I’ve been doing it for a while, sometimes I can lay out a spread and not have the faintest clue what I’m looking at. It takes time and effort and definitely practice. I also learned that while I can (and do) channel some “predictive” information through tarot, I more often than not find myself being the counsellor, advisor, advice-giver extraordinaire (okay that’s me being overly generous with myself). Ultimately my ability to read and interpret tarot comes through my desire to help, a knack for giving guidance – in some ways tarot has now lead me to perhaps what is going to be my life path. Psychotherapy and Counselling (which I will be studying this year) is not something I had ever considered to my journey – God knows half the time I hide from people but tarot and counselling actually fit perfectly together as a healing modality.

But I digress – or tangent (which I do often do), tarot for me became a doorway into understanding myself, the things going on in my life and a way to look at a situation and see possible outcomes, speed bumps, obstacles and ways round. I found a home in a deck of cards and it spoke to me. I’d love to lay it out as though I am a selfless individual channelling divine guidance in an act of purity to help those who need a guiding light in their life (yeah, I’m really not that saccharine sweet) but honestly, it occupied my mind and gave me something to think about. What intrigues me I learn about, what fascinates me I try to understand; my mind constantly craves stimulation, knowledge and actionable problem solving and tarot offered this to me. I could look at the cards and before lay a challenge, a message needing to be worked out, interpreted and put back together into a coherent narrative that made sense.

Once I began to get into the flow of reading for myself, I tentatively started reading for others and found I had a knack for it. It was a surprise – still is most of the time. Some people I was able to give sound advice to, show a path forward, others I seemed to be able to do a long-range view for. I never found myself particularly “predictive” but sometimes things would come out in the cards that presented as future events – or rather future possibilities because one thing I have also learned with tarot is that nothing is set in stone. The future is fluid; it’s never a straight line so the smallest decision can change the future. I found that I enjoyed the challenge of understanding the symbols, signs and messages within the cards; to this day I sometimes look into certain cards and see things I missed the first time round and it opens up a whole new meaning to the card or the reading.

Tarot can sometimes have a reputation as “new agey” or “woo woo” but I have found it can be an incredible tool for personal growth, self awareness and insight into your thoughts and emotions. While I find that it doesn’t always give you the answer you want to hear, it does often have a straightforward truthfulness that to this day is surprising – or aggravating – depending on your mood when you read. Between some tarot friends and I, we often say ‘if you don’t want the truth, don’t ask the tarot’ and I do firmly believe that. Tarot is simply the messenger, it has no agenda, no ulterior motive, it simply is and it simply delivers.


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