Tarot is something that some folks might think about in a negative way–and yet, Tarot offers images that have the potential to inspire, challenge, illuminate and grow the psyche in a positive way: the Death card is not death, the Devil card is not the Devil, the cards do not predict any death. That’s how I see Tarot, and use it. For fascinating information on the subject of where cards may have come from and how the Ace is has it’s origins in the American Revolutionary War–read more here.
Fast-forward to our times: now there is incredible diversity and inclusion in the images in many commercially available Tarot decks. I celebrate this. Finally!
I did a reading with a friend today, using the cards to tell a simple story: Past, Present, Future. Here are the results, in that order, reading left to right. Above, a non-traditional–and beautiful–deck; below it, the corresponding card in the traditional Rider-Waite deck. The 2 columns of cards on the left correspond to the element of Earth, or Clubs in playing cards; the column on the right is the element of Air, or Diamonds. My friend could related overal to a sense of security and stability that had more good times in the past but now was static, but safe and financially secure with the offer of more of the same: the future column, the air, is the spirit of intellectual curiousity and wonder at the many ideas/words and their power–an amateur use of power though. This reading was of great help to my friend, who saw her current situation reflected here; and the last card gave her the affirmation/permission to continue a course of health and well being.
The “spread”, or narrative, is a common, quick and efficient sequence that can evoke in the viewer a short-script of sorts of their own personal narrative and a potential is understood, an internal block removed, a choice point clarified. That is the power of imagery and art like Tarot that has the intention to heal, help and assist humans: hardly to be the Devil or Satan. The Past, Present, Future Spread is an example of an efficient, an economical use of Tarot, and I say economical because Tarot can be absurdly expensive, and it’s difficult to discern quality as there is so much flim-flam. I believe a 3-card spread such as Past, Present, Future can be done and discussed in 30 minutes or less and it can be a very therapeutic experience as well.
Consider getting a deck and do readings for yourself and keep a daily journal; that is the best way to learn. I look back on a journal I started over 20 years ago now and cringe….but a journal is where you start to learn how to read the cards. Then you do not have to pay for readings–read for yourself!
I invite you to experiment with the deck of your choice. The Rider-Waite deck is problematic for many–the images are from the patriarchy. And yet, I continue to use the deck–perhaps as a nod to the power the patriarchal has over the collective imagination and thus, by default, over all of us. But I really appreciate the diversity of decks out there now; access to this tradition is only improving and thus our collective understanding of this tradition is improving. Finally!