Anyone who has not had a tarot card reading, or has only had a couple amateur ones, will be skeptical. Of course, this is true of any art or science: experiencing unskilled results puts a bad taste in your mouth. On the contrary, anyone who has received a reading from a talented reader will be amazed, and often confused. How can a stranger know intimate details? And even more perplexing…
How cAn someone predict the future?
Many people think psychics keep it vague and thus only appear to know how things will play out. If they say “you are unhappy”, it takes advantage of the fact that many people are unhappy, and people seeking answers are more likely to be unhappy at the moment. Also, they give stale predictions such as “This is not your soul mate”, or “You will have big changes”. Sweeping statements that are obvious can be signs of fraud. I don’t dispute that some psychics and tarot card readers are frauds, and are purposefully vague due to lack of ability but, the fact is, I also have seen too many excellent psychics to dismiss the whole thing outright. The more I dig and study, the more obvious it is to me that this is, in fact, all very real. I have some theories that I would like to share, and I would love to hear thoughtful responses or critiques. I am a student and eternally testing the waters when it comes to anything I think I know.
First, my theory on psychic ability is simple. Everyone can see into the future, but as we look further out, the accuracy goes down. I would bet that you could tell me in great detail what is going to happen in an hour or tomorrow: what you will do, interactions with certain people, or reactions you’ll get. You can predict with extremely high accuracy what will happen even weeks from now, big decisions, outcomes that have been building. This is similar to being able to look up and literally see down the road. You can see where you are headed, you can see if it’s a clear path (or whether you have to turn off, stop at a light, or go around something). Some people have better vision and can see possible potholes or obstacles further than others. Other people have tools, like glasses, or binoculars, maps or gps, and they can see with even more clarity. Some people have a mix of both.
The information you get from glasses and maps is not magical– it is feedback being sent from the outside and then processed into familiar ideas (light reflecting off a pothole or detour sign). There is information in the direction you are headed, and gathering that information helps you make better informed decisions. Time is a dimension. We don’t understand it the same way that we understand spatial dimensions, but we’ve come to agree that it has similar properties. So, like I said, just as all of us can look down the street and mostly see what is ahead of us, we can all look into the future a couple of hours or days and have similar accuracy. Breaking down HOW is beyond the scope of this piece. Think about how difficult it was to explain sight before we knew electromagnetic theories, visible light ranges, and descriptions of how eyes and brains work to relay information, then I believe you can understand the similarities. All I know is we can all ‘see into the future’. Some of us seem to do it better naturally, and there are tools which can help anyone do it better.
Tarot Cards: A Language, A Tool.
If you are not familiar with tarot at all here is the quickie version: there are decks of cards (78 in proper Tarot decks, but there are many Oracle decks with varying numbers of cards). Each deck is split into the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The major Arcana is 22 cards and the pictures depicted on it tell a story- THE story- of human existence. It is a walk through of life’s lessons, triumphs and phases. This, in its own right, is fascinating and a valuable thing to study.
The minor Arcana are broken up into four suits which start with the Ace and end with the 10 and have a court with Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings (poker anyone?). Each of the four suits represent another facet of life, such as emotional or physical desires. Starting from the ace and moving up until the tenth of each suit, each of these are also story lines that show the progression in our manifestations of these different desires. Taken as a deck, the basic idea is that you learn what each card means, shuffle them up, and then ask questions or lay out spreads to show information about your life and the most probable outcomes.
So, how can tarot cards Actually tell the future? Also, by saying ‘probable’ and saying there is uncertainty, aren’t tarot card readers just being vague so they can be wrong and still seem mysterious?
To the last question, the answer is ‘not always, but sometimes yes’. Many people are unscrupulous and want to appear to be capable of things they are not. We see that in every profession; people may not fully grasp what they are doing and eek by with mediocre results, relying on vague language and the ignorance of others. As in every facet of life, psychics and card readers have varying degrees of talent. We all know that some people are amazing cooks, and even though we follow the same steps they do, our food just isn’t as delicious. That’s not magic and its not trickery. Same with musicians, artists, surgeons or people with a green thumb. Suffice it to say, if you spend more time around tarot card readers, psychics and astrologers, you will see that some people really ‘get it’, some people are straight up faking it and many people are reasonably skilled and proficient. I will come back to the idea of why outcomes are only “probable”, but first let’s get right to the most burning question:
How Do Tarot Cards Work?
There are SO many different tarot card decks, and more are coming out all of the time. The pictures on each card are full of symbolism and highly detailed, and each card can take years to really understand. Some decks are heavy with astrological symbolism, with the planets and their meanings playing a major role in the cards identity. I won’t get into the different types of tarot card decks, but the symbolism isn’t always the same, and some cards have different meanings from deck to deck or even reader to reader. The variations would seem to be proof that people are, to quote Monty Python, “just making it up as (they) go along!” but, I have seen that this variation makes perfect sense when you view it in the context of a language. Language is, simply, a set of sounds and symbols that have been painstaking agreed upon as a way of transferring thoughts. We get ideas or information from the surrounding world and we then match those thoughts to the symbols and sounds, then present those symbols and sounds to others. They then, for the most part, now have the same thoughts in their heads.
Of course, we see everyday how each word has slight to drastically different meanings or connotations as we move from person to person. Sentence structure and inferences across languages throughout the world are proof that there are many ways to imply that you like someone’s hair, or that it’s going to be time to leave in an hour. Once you see that tarot is just a language, it’s not any more unbelievable then you reading this and explaining to someone what you read. Card readers use the cards as an interface between information they are receiving and a way to communicate that information. As I mentioned above, we are always getting information about future events, and these cards help us to articulate and organize that information. What is EXTRA interesting is that it doesn’t matter as much how you learn the cards, but that you have a consistent view of what each of them means. They are the interface between you and whatever is giving you the information (probably a part of our supercomputer brain that we don’t understand yet), and, the more clearly we define the interface the better the results.
*When I get readings done by others, I may notice the cards or point them out, but their interpretation is what I came for.*
The Future is Not Set In Stone
Now to tackle the idea of finality in readings. Many people fear tarot cards and clairvoyance because they think it means they lack control of the future. This is not only wrong, but is self-defeating. It would be like driving with your eyes closed because if you were going to run into a wall you would rather not know until it happens!
Let’s go back to the metaphor of physical vision. When you are walking, you look ahead to see where you are going. If you see something you don’t want to run into, you simply change course. That is the essence of tarot as a personal tool- it just helps you see where you are headed and then you can decide if that looks good to you or not! Using tarot and psychic abilities is the equivalent of looking at your path on a map and asking:
“If I keep walking straight where will I be in two months or a year?”
“Oh, looks like I’m headed to Milwaukee! That sounds fine I’ll keep going”
“Ugh, no thanks, I think I’ll try and turn off”
Like a map, it can also be used more actively, to plot a course to where you want to go,
“If I wanted to get to San Francisco, am going the right way? If not what are the steps to get me there?”
People who are skilled cartographers have a better chance of getting people where they wanted to go, it’s just that simple.
Of course, the question of whether something will definitely happen or not has a lot of factors attached to it. The biggest one is what we call chaos- which just means stuff we don’t understand. You should be getting to work on time but a rock hits the perfect spot in your tire and it blows out. You are able to reduce the probability of this happening (were your tires bare, were you choosing roads that are not well kept, etc), but, no matter how thorough we are, we can never seem to get it right 100% of the time. Even chemistry, medications, and engineering have acceptable ranges of variation built into what is called a successful, repeatable outcome. We, as humans, do not have perfect accuracy on anything.
We simply make the best decisions we can using the best information we have and that is good enough most of the time. We have some sense of stability and control – that sense is real and valuable, it’s just not perfect. It is the same with seeing events unfold in the future. We get better at predicting, and it is really amazing once you are aware of it. You can learn to do it yourself while also having help from more skilled psychics. Yet, just as even highly skilled chemists have variations and mistakes, there is always a small chance that unseen factors change what we thought was certain.
Changing the future momentum
If you have a large amount of momentum and realize you’re not headed where you wanted or, worse, headed for a crash, it’s going to be unlikely you can stop or turn off in time. Also, is your momentum tied to other people or things? Maneuvering a two person bike is different than riding solo. Co-creation is the name of the game, and like physics, we have to take into account the forces from all of the bodies in play. This all ties into understanding how the manifestation of our ideas and energy into events and things happens, which is really the reason we use tarot. We are gathering information about where we are headed, what forces are in play, and how difficult will it be to stay on track or change direction. This is just the opening of the rabbit hole, and hopefully I have piqued your interest. Perhaps you will give a second look to something you may have passed over, or have sparked a deeper curiosity. The more minds we have on a subject, the faster we turn the magic into science and really reap the benefits!