One of the first questions I am often asked when I tell people I am a tarot reader is does the Tarot really work? The answer is of course a resounding YES! Not just yes because – well that what I would say of course! But yes because it really actually does.
This apparently mysterious phenomenon of shuffling 78 pieces of card and being able to access information about everything from past and potential future events, current situations in play and the potentials around them, emotional landscapes and relevant advice on a particular course of action, sounds to the local mind quite ridiculous!
I am (I like to think) quite a logical person and it has taken me many years to really get comfortable with what actually happens. As I’ve mentioned before I grew up with family card readings and discussions about seeing spirits was normal conversation but although interested when I was young, even told I was also ‘gifted’ I decided not engage too far into that world and seek other paths. This changed later in life though and I came, as we sometimes do, full circle.
There are lots of explanations as to how the Tarot does what it does.
There are many references to the Jungian Archetypes throughout the Tarot. Our subconscious minds communicate almost entirely through symbolism and there is a school of thought that suggests the tarot appears to work because we subconsciously recognise and automatically attribute meanings and stories to the cards on the table making patterns that appear and feel personal that aren’t actually so. As a qualified hypnotherapist, I can say this is a perfectly valid, logical explanation and in itself very useful. Anything that allows us a dialogue with our subconscious mind is a powerful tool which offers great potential for transformation and change.
But… while this does appear to make perfect sense, my personal experience is, that in practice, so much more is happening. Something else is going on here, something more specific and more intimate. There is, in my experience, an actual conversation that takes place when the cards are consulted. Whatever name one wishes to give ‘the other’ whether it be spirit, the universe, God, source, another dimension or anything else you wish to call it – there does appear to be information being communicated that is not accessible on a rational mind level. The symbolism in the cards seems to act as a common language, enabling us to communicate on another level with a different place. This is not the client who is responding to symbolism, this is the reader, who based on a spread of cards is able to give the client information they cannot possibly know.
So the cards themselves aren’t the point, they are a bridge, a translation system, if you will, enabling questions to be asked and answered in terms the reader (having learnt the language) can understand. There are more theories about our universal unconscious (a kind of human world wide web of information), discussions about time and how it’s not actually linear but a loop of some kind and we are able to tune into aspects of it. The truth is – we don’t really know. Most tarot readers ultimately take a pragmatic view and simply accept that they are able to use the Tarot to help without the benefit of a rational mind explanation. The more tuned in we are, the clearer the information becomes, it’s our job (in my opinion) to simply get out of the way, and let the information speak for itself.