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.
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