Reading Tarot is so much more than just “telling someone’s future”. Like most things, what is known and the truth of a thing are often vastly different. Tarot has been hugely underrated by John Q Public because it has been cloaked under the mantle of fear, and general misunderstanding.
So besides doing oogy boogy so scary readings, or telling your best pal when she will walk down that aisle, the art of Tarot is an incredible resource for personal growth and self-discovery. The act of learning to read tarot will change you as a person, and for the better. Like any tool, Tarot can be used for a variety of uses, there is such a world to Tarot, it can do so much more than most give them credit for!
But, don’t just take it from me, I opened the question up to several online Tarot groups,
“How has Tarot benefited you as a person?” I was overwhelmed with positive responses from new to Tarot to Tarot Masters and here is what they had to say:
Tarot Helps Us Be More Compassionate to Others
Tarot helps Us See How We are Agents of Change
Tarot Supports Our Healing and Transformation
Tarot Changes the Way We Interact With Ourselves and the World
The benefits one gets from learning Tarot far outweigh the work involved in learning them. These stories from other readers of all levels reveal incredible insights as to why working with Tarot is a worthwhile persuit of depth, healing, connection and insight in addition to the more popular understanding of what the tool of tarot does for us.
Tarot is so much more.... and its positive changes are deep and wide-spread...
Yet again, the con artists claiming to be spiritual workers are up to their usual shenanigans in the Philadelphia area. I have been hearing a lot about a particular con artist in the area who has been charging clients of mine from $600 to $6000 for spiritual services.
To be clear, the American Tarot Association, the body of guidance for professional Tarot readers in the US has the following to say about Tarot and honesty:
“The ATA is disturbed when it comes across reports that Tarot cards have been used as a tool to defraud or take advantage of the public. The ATA fully supports the actions of law enforcement in the prosecuting of these individuals. The ATA does not condone the use of Tarot cards to identify nor remove "curses" under any circumstances.” - American Tarot Association
Sometimes it is rather hard to figure out which readers are the real deal and which are con artists. The scammers are really good at mimicking the style of legitimate readers. They certainly do their homework and at first might appear so wonderful so accurate so psychic, that of course everything else they say is true. I have put together a general guideline of what to watch out for below. May this never happen to you.
I hope that an experience with a scam artist does not color your opinion about all readers, should this happen to you. I believe there are far, far more ethical readers than not. That being said, these scammer readers can be quite visible to the public and can often be the front line for people wishing to have a spiritual experience. To wit:
Their website is often quite spartan, using only generic images and they do not provide a full name or photo of themselves
Often their website does not have a full list of services and charges but they spring the extra special services on your at the time of the reading. Additionally, their website never has a refund, guarantee or code of ethics clearly posted as is the guideline for the American Tarot Association. There may be some mumbly language of “certified”, by whom? For what?
Most ethical readers have a code of ethics, reviews, links to established psychic or tarot associations and so on.
They often (but not always) have a storefront and live in the same building.
This one is tricky because there are some amazing, ethical readers who also have bookstores and some do have storefronts.
I mention this, though, because every scammer in that I have heard about from others also has a storefront, too.
In general, a storefront with the big neon sign in the window should be a sign to get references, look at reviews and appraise with a critical eye before moving forward.
They are often either incredibly intuitive, or phenomenally good at cold reading techniques.
These con artists are incredibly, incredibly, good at appearing to be phenomenally psychic. Some are in fact very intuitive and will be able to immediately say things about you and your life that ring incredibly true. This is the initial hook. By using subtle sentences and being masters at body language they then begin to get a feel for how receptive you are, how easily you can be influenced, and they begin to think about what they can tell you and get away with.
Many of them are intuitive, but that does not mean they they are instantly good people. Many will use their intuition for tricking you out your money and have no compunction to use fear and psychological intimidation to do so.
Since many clients will intentionally under say something, testing the psychic, the scammer will expect this and use mentalism or cold reading techniques to “wow” the client. This is not an accurate test or measurement for psychic ability, much less an ethical reader. Even if the scammer can tell you what your Grandma was wearing on the day of your 10th birthday party, that doesn’t mean that they will be ethical, honest, or have your welfare and safety at the top of their list.
They use your fear to try to upsell you on services.
Once they believe they got a victim, they begin to upsell you on products. Sometimes they will begin small and work their way up. At first it might be a $40 candle that they, of course while you are not there, will pray over you to remove the negative energy.
Or they will have candles that they will use to create some powerful positive force into your life.
They will also tell you that they can attune your chakra (of course when they do… they will find some very bad energy on you) and then think up some crap to convince you to buy. While you are at home thinking this person has set up a special candle in your honor they are probably buying new bathroom accessories at Wal-Mart with your hard earned money. This website has an excellent page detailing how these scams operate.
My one caveat here is that there are Rootworkers who do in fact use spell work and candle work to help people with problems. These Rootworkers almost always have their services and fees clearly posted on a website and would never make up something about you in order to sell you products. The difference is that as a client you would go to a Rootworker to explain the problem he can help with. A con artist invents a problem on you that he can then solve...at a price.
The prices of those services change depending on how wealthy they perceive you to be and how willing you are to pay them.
Since their prices are not clearly posted anywhere, the price for their services changes depending on how wealthy they think you are. They will look at your clothes, your shoes, your purse, your jewelry to determine what they think you can pay.
They use fear and shame to keep clients from calling the police or their lawyers.
People are often ashamed or embarrassed to be seeing a Tarot reader, much less a reader who is conning them. It is out of this embarrassment or lack of wanting to get involved that allow this criminals to continue to operate. The police are unable to do anything unless people file reports, make waves and shine a big bright light on these unscrupulous people.
Additionally, some people might be worried that these same people will “curse” them or spiritually harming them by doing so. These so-called spiritual advisors have no power other than the power to con people out of money. If you find that this has happened to you, then speak to your local police department. You will not only protect yourself, you will also help defend other good, yet vulnerable, people who could be conned in the future.
Despite these Scam Artists, there are wonderful ethical readers out there. Please do not let one bad apple spoil the bunch.
It is unfair and sad, the amount of clients I get who are now suspicious, worried, frightened because these con men got to them first.
It is exhausting to constantly combat the stigma about readings and Tarot in general, it is far worse when that stigma is rightly placed because of con men who use Tarot as the shield behind which they do their nasty business.
The tri-state area is rife with these kinds of readers, like an infestation, they grow in the dark.
Only when we continue to shine a light on them to expose them do we begin to root out the problem.
By following these general guidelines, you can easily navigate and rise above the nasty game of using your heart and your emotional vulnerability to part you from your cash.
Most people would say that Tarot reading is foretelling of what will come to pass. A Tarot card reader is someone with mysterious supernatural powers that enable her to see what lies ahead in someone's life, often this foretelling involves the ideas of fate and soul mates. For many, Tarot is synonymous with the understanding that things are fated to be and there is an order to how each life unfolds.
Our basic idea for how Tarot may work has evolved out of a medieval understanding of how time works. I posit that Tarot does not tell the future in the way we traditionally understand it because what we understand about time is fundamentally wrong. In order for us to truly be able to use the gift of Tarot, we need to update what we understand about cause and effect.
Rather than ask, "does tarot see the future?" how about, what do we know about time?
The traditional western perception of time (not universal, culturally) is a line always moving forward:
past---> present -->future
Like a rollercoaster we are strapped in for the continual ride forward. Physics calls this the Arrow of Time. But, mathematically, we cannot prove that the Arrow of Time exists.
So if the Arrow of Time does not exist, then what does?
Instead of a line moving forward on a rollercoaster, (time is not linear or even directional) it is more like a boiling pot (it is helpful to see the picture above as if you are looking down into a pot of water) in 4 dimensional space with complex interrealities constantly shifting, moving, colliding and being affected by other things.
So if there is no arrow of time… how can we use Tarot to see the future?
We can’t. At least, not in a concrete 100% right on the money kind of way. I believe that when we use Tarot as a predictive method we are not seeing the future; we are plotting a probability. A probability (one of many that exist) based on current causality and as soon as those causes change the many effects, the future changes right along with them and not always in a one directional-linear kind of way.
The power of Tarot lies not in the understanding of what will be, but rather to understand a most likely probability based on many different factors. A probability that may change as soon as you have become aware of it. Or, a probability that is actually happening at the same time as your present-time. (See Eternalism, see Wave-Particle theory, see Chaos theory for more info on these concepts). We are alive in a multidimensional causal reality that is astoundingly complex, inter-dynamic and beautiful.
Understanding that Tarot is plotting a probability is immensely helpful when looking for clarity on any given situation. Changing the Arrow of Time question like, “Will I get fired from my job?” evolves into the causal, “How can I either keep my job because I feel insecure about it” or “How can I best weather the instability I am feeling in my position right now?” The latter questions are more useful in terms of creating an empowered life while keeping in mind that the future as we understand it is fluid and complex.
So, can Tarot tell the future as we have traditionally understood it? No.
Can Tarot help us create rational decisions and give us important information to create the lives we want to live? Oh yes, very much so.
"The Wheel of Fortune": E. Burne-Jones
The Wheel of Fortune, or more correctly, Fortuna's Wheel, is a very old concept with many literary mentions in classic Greek literature. The idea of the capricious nature of luck and fate is an old and enduring concept still captured in Tarot's very own Wheel of Fortune. The Wheel of Fortune often represents a change in luck, or a very lucky streak which is about to run out mostly this has nothing to do with you but greater events largely out of your control.
In our modern lives we purchase insurance, wear our seat belts, and take our vitamins. We are obsessed with mitigating any negative effects Chance would like to play on our lives. Alternatively, Las Vegas is the city that reveres Fortuna by never sleeping and about the country lottery tickets purchased to win ever increasing pots of gold we also curry Her favor. Rabbit's foots, lucky pennies, and four leafed clovers are carried to an attempt to sway the direction of the wheel in our lives.
The modern Western world is preoccupied with completely controlling every aspect of life but sometimes Chance rolls the dice and it is your turn: to get cancer, to lose a child, to experience tragedy and loss that often makes no sense and we keep running in our heads over and over,
"How can this be? This is not fair! What did I do to deserve this?" This is the experience of the Fortuna's Wheel spinning against your favor. But when She decides to smile upon you, you find $50 on the ground, you get that job or that house, you give birth to a beautiful, perfect baby. Usually we congratulate ourselves when it goes right and blame God when it does not. But often, it just makes no sense, it is just Fortuna spinning her wheel over and over again.
1. Do you consider yourself a lucky or unlucky person, why or why not?
2. Right now, are you in a period of good fortune, or running through a time of bad luck?
3. Are you a cautious person, or do you let the 'chips fall where they may'?
4. Do you believe that luck is largely an uncontrollable aspect within our lives, or do you believe you make your own luck?
Not too long ago, I was at a large event waiting for the doors to open and my line to fill with eager clients. I had two gentlemen pass through my way and toss off a quick,
“Oh I bet the ladies are going to LOVE you!” while not breaking stride past my table. Ever the feminist I rejoined, “Well you know… Tarot is for men, too!!” they laughed and in fact did not take me up on my offer to read for them.
I would say 90% of my clientele are in fact women but is this truly a “women’s thing”?
"the power of the changing moon ruled over women"
The Delphic Orcle. c. 440-430 BCE.
A review of history places women in the unique position of being spiritual seers, ranging from cultural beliefs that the power of the changing moon ruled over women to the idea that women were thought to be the dark (yin) the mysterious dark power. A power that was so disturbing, in fact, that witch hunts were thought necessary to curtail this mostly feminine power. The great witch hunt during the inquisition mostly brought the elderly, the unmarried, the local herbalists, healers and fortune tellers all women believed to be in danger of losing their souls as a result.
"foothold over the mysterious, the nonlinear, the inner knowing..."
However, our earliest literature describes in detail the power female oracles have had over heads of state, army generals and philosophers alike.
Today, even in places where women are disenfranchised the most, do we see them retaining the foothold over the mysterious, the nonlinear, the inner knowing. So normative it is that it is known as “women’s intuition”.
Modern society often scoffs at intuition; fortune telling, probability casting, with some men disempowering the act, “oh well, you know how silly women are… rational men like us have no need for ‘fortune telling’.”
Women with significant intuition have had an interesting journey; from having immense power and influence over society, to eventually being feared and hunted to today’s mixture of bemused patronization. As women have gained in so many areas in the last 100 years in the western world, truly a revolution for equality, there has also been a loss of seeing women with intuitive insight as something deserving of respect.
"women as holders of intuitive knowledge..."
King of Wands renormed: Gaian Tarot
The tarot journey taken by Rider Waite Smith (Rider Waite deck) and later by Crowley (Thoth) continues the themes of women as holders of intuitive knowledge but also under patriarchic control.
Cards such as the Empress and even the Queens continue to express women as mothers and wives, considering only care-taking as the primary role for women. Except for the Queen of Swords perhaps, but even then she is the unmarried sister.
Later on, the Tarot underwent some revolutionary norming with the birth of the 70s feminist Tarot deck by Vogel and Noble, Motherpeace and the Feminist Tarot by Gearheart and Renny. There was significant revision of these roles that continues in many decks today. One of my favorite examples of this is the Gaian Tarot which has turned King, Queen, Knight, Page into Elder, Guardian, Explorer and Child thereby releasing the gender/power dynamics from the Tarot.
"women have come so far"
The Housewives Tarot
Post post modernism loves all things anachronistic, and we see evidence of this in the cult following that is supporting the Housewives Tarot, using images of the quintessential 1950s housewife.
In many ways, women have come so far that this stylized domestic bliss is seen with endearment which is a far cry from the 60s and 70s earnest and revolutionary efforts to break from the domestic woman role. Post post post feminism, perhaps?
Regardless, it seems easy for today’s man to dismiss what he considers to be a “woman thing”. This is a person who is not considering that throughout time wars were waged, land was conquered and ships launched all by the voice of a woman who could see just a little further on up the road.
Some men might do well to pay attention and listen to inherent intuitive observations by the women around them rather than dismissing it as folly.
But whatever our male gender decides to do or not do, women around the world and in every culture keep the torch burning ever believing in their own intuition and curiosity for information outside of time; a legacy that extends back to the very dawn of humanity.
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