Why and How the Tarot Works

It seems to me that there are many people who would like to get involved with Tarot, either by giving or receiving readings, but they are unsure of how Tarot works. They suspect that there is some sort of contact with God, the Devil, spirits, or the like. These fears (or hopes) often lead these people to avoid using this valuable tool. But the mechanics of Tarot are much simpler and far deeper.

Tarot cards are nothing more than coloured ink on sheets of laminated cardboard. There is no magic present in the cards, and no spirit or divinity attached to them. Everything that is “magical” about the Tarot comes from the Reader and the Seeker. And by that I don’t mean that these two people cast a spell or call upon a god, rather that it is their intuition and observations that make the Tarot work.

The Reader is in control of the Tarot at all times. The Reader has bought the deck, chosen to use it in this particular reading (or given it as a choice for the Seeker to pick), and shuffled the cards (or directed the Seeker to do so). Every step is directed, all the way down to choosing the spread and placing the cards in the correct positions. The correct cards show up because the Reader has encouraged them to do so by believing that she or her Seeker can make this so.

This, of course, begs the question of how we can direct the correct cards to show up. It would be easy to dismiss it as magic. Rather, there is a theory that our minds are aware of everything that goes on, at a subconscious level. So it is likely that our mind is actually aware of each card as it passes through our hands while we shuffle. It is when the cards are laid down that our subconscious has a great deal of influence. It knows what issues that are bothering us just as well, or perhaps better, then our conscious mind. And it is able to help us interpret the cards before us in a way that will help us to solve our problems (or those of the Seeker, because, remember, our subconscious mind knows everything that is happening). The more we are in touch with our feelings and dreams, through our subconscious, the more accurate our Tarot readings will be.

There is another theory, which says that time is not linear and that our subconscious is aware of this. It is thought that our subconscious is able to understand the patterns of the future, if not outright predict it. Our subconscious then uses the images of the Tarot to help us by giving advice to direct our actions to maximize the possibility of a happy future.

Personally, I see the Tarot as a focus. I don’t know if my subconscious directs the cards or not. But I do know that I am often able to see something of my life in the images before me. They tend to remind me of events that I had forgotten about, or point to things that I didn’t realize were influencing the situation. I do believe that the subconscious has a role to play in readings, by reminding me of these events and connecting the archetypes of the Tarot to my life. I think that it is important to believe that the Tarot works through whatever method you are comfortable with, otherwise you will spend too much time doubting yourself and not enough time focusing on the message of the cards–the message from yourself to yourself.