Tarot is a wonderful tool to help you on your spiritual journey in this material world. If you’ve never had a Tarot reading before, now is the time to discard the stereotype of dark divination and occult images. Or if you’ve had a reading before and are looking for someone with a pentagram spreadcloth who will light candles for you then you’re in the wrong place.
Tarot is a deeply spiritual. It can reveal things in your heart that are hidden behind a fortress of defense mechanisms. It can give a clearer “big picture” overview of your situation. It can give a micro view desires and intentions at play.
I believe there are no negative cards in Tarot. Tarot is not dangerous, evil or bad luck. Each card has something to teach us. They reflect aspects of life and our subconscious which we know through experience to be true.
While divining some aspect of the future may be inherent, The main idea of the Tarot is to guide you to your more authentic self. My experience with Tarot is that it reveals the most probable outcome based on YOUR current behaviors and attitudes and of the people around you. Freedom is what defines us as spiritual beings. Free will trumps fate. Change your actions, change your cards.
There are many variations on the Tarot, but the standard deck has 78 cards total. There are 22 Major Arcana or Greater Trump cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards which are divided into four suits.
While the Major Arcana are a minority by number, they carry great weight and will “trump” the cards in any given reading by influencing the cards around them, or by simply being more important. Some correlate the Major Arcana cards with the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. These 22 cards tell the story of a rich spiritual journey – there are bumps, obstacles, intrigue – but in the end there is hope and redemption.
The Minor Arcana are divided into four suits: wands, swords, cups, and coins. Each suit has cards numbered Ace through 10, as well as Court cards; The Page, The Knight, The Queen and The King. Four Court cards for each of the four suits gives us 16 Court cards in a deck. By coincidence (or not) there are also 16 possible combinations for the Myers Briggs personality types which some readers (self included) correlate these personality types with the Court cards.
The real origin of the Tarot is unknown. While some look to Egypt and the occult, I find myself drawn to its Kabbalistic roots. In the Tarot, I find a a rich, ancient, esoteric Jewish tradition. Some believe that the Tarot originated among Jews who were persecuted by the Medieval church. A written record of their beliefs would have led to persecution and death for the Jews and destruction of books they considered holy. Instead, the imagery of the Tarot was created to hide their knowledge of the cosmos. The commonly accepted European origin of the Tarot is still derived from Jewish tradition. When the French gave asylum to persecuted Jews, the practice of Tarot surfaced and flourished in Europe.
The fact is, no one knows the true origin of the Tarot. Cards don’t stand the test of time as well as carved rocks. Esoteric knowledge and oral traditions have had a hard time surviving the road to the digital age. What we do know is that the seems Tarot reflects spiritual truths in many faith traditions.
One aspect of the Tarot that resonates deeply with me is the idea of unity in diversity and diversity within unity. This worldview stands in stark contrast with most modern discourse that tends to create dichotomies. The Tarot speaks of an ancient (or at the very least, Medieval) worldview that beholds mystery with wonder, humility, and respect. Issues such as immanence versus transcendence, duality and unity, physical versus spiritual, sacred and profane are not presented in dualistic opposition. Hermetic wisdom gives us the doctrine of analogy, “As above, so below.” It’s not just human beings that are created in the image of God, it’s all of creation.
I can’t begin to encapsulate in one blog post the the 1000 sermons that can be found in 78 cards. The best book I’ve studied on the Tarot is written by an unknown author and titled Meditations on the Tarot. At almost 700 pages, it is a full exegetical study of each card in the Major Arcana and has sat at the desks of the last three Popes.
Meditations on the Tarot has an afterward written by Swiss Catholic Cardinal Hans Ur Von Balthasar. I don’t want to mislead you—at no point does it ever promote Tarot for divination. From experience, I’ve found that the Tarot, by nature, does not divine the future. Every time I’ve pulled cards and read them, they tend to assess a situation, offer guidance, or bring light to things that are hidden. They can give guidance for possible outcomes that are dependent on the querent’s actions or choices.
I’ve mentioned before that I studied systematic theology at an Evangelical college. Evangelicals accept that the Holy Spirit works through scripture. The Catholic worldview embraces the Spirit working through scripture and tradition. In some circles, the idea of Holy Spirit working through culture poses hermeneutical questions that make some consider it borderline heretical. It is widely accepted among mainline Protestants but in my opinion, less so among Catholics and and Evangelicals (although they do exist and continue to grow and exert influence).
I believe the Holy Spirit works through culture. Tarot has been a part of culture for thousands of years. It’s meaning and significance is important to many faith traditions, many cultures, many eras of time. The Tarot points us toward the center of God’s will for our lives – a place of prosperity and not harm. The path revealed may not be easy, but it is filled with hope for the future.
Want to see what insight the cards have for you? Contact me to schedule a reading.