Tarot for the Modern Life

Blog - Fresh Perspectives

Notes from the road, offering a little clarity free of charge.

The Pragmatics of Tarot


It’s time to take Tarot out of woo-woo land and deem it as a valid and useful tool for personal growth.

Those who are sceptical about tarot, particularly to the point of disparaging and belittling it as the stuff of scammers or those who believe in fairies, are cutting themselves off from one of the greatest (and cheapest) personal growth tools of the century.  The tarot process can mimic a valuable discussion with the proverbial ‘wise man’, a counsellor or even one of those friends some of us are lucky to have, who listens without judgement, to come up with fresh points of view, often seemingly completely out of left field.  These sorts of conversations can get our brains to do a complete U-turn on a plaguing problem or issue, giving us a valuable opportunity to break out of circular thinking or intellectual ruts.

"We can’t explain how tarot works, so we dismiss it as woo-woo nonsense."

The trouble is that because we can’t explain how tarot works, we dismiss it as woo-woo nonsense.  Unfortunately, there are scammers out there who further damage perceptions around this type of personal inquiry.  We’ve all seen them in one form or another, often using simply trickery to take advantage of the unsuspecting or overly-willing.  The result is that the tarot gets dismissed as nonsense because it is not provable, cannot stand up to scientific rigour and has no obvious explanation as to how it works.

The problem is that because there is no observable or provable basis for tarot's counsel, we are left in this uncomfortable place of 'not knowing'. 

The human condition dislikes the unknown/the unexplained; our natural tendency is to fill this place with likely answers.  This is a tendency shared by both scientists and those interested in new age or occult matters.  Scientists develop hypothesis, which can tested and revised.  Theories that hold up, are deemed as a suitable explanation for why things are as they are, at least until they are replaced with new theories, which look better still.

'New age thinkers', similarly explain the unexplained with intuitively-sourced ideas, such as by proclaiming that they are 'psychic' or that a tarot spread is produced by ‘God’s guiding hand’, ‘their guardian angel’ or ‘ spiritual guide’.  Many feel deeply committed to this belief, as it fills the space of the unknown, and the readings they produce continue to provide meaningful and valid guidance to their querent's lives.  Every successful reading becomes further proof that they are truly in connection with their declared tarot source.

Allow people their beliefs – at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.

Anyone of these positions could be as true as they could be untrue; my point is that we should step out of that debate completely because it can never be resolved; no one can ever really know. Simply, allow people their beliefs – at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.

What does matter, is the question "does this experience with the tarot serve me?"  Does it give me choices that I haven’t considered or been open to before?  Does any of this content pose a new view or possibly open a new solution to me?  If I was to sit with a wise person, who tended to draw on a deeper symbolism as part of his/her thinking process, who offered insights and prognostications that sounded feasible, applicable and perhaps even a bit inspiring, wouldn’t that be a valuable experience? 

For many of the readings I have done, my clients got this, plus a whole lot more from the experience.  It brought them hope, new energy and fresh ideas for actions they could take in the pursuit of clearer goals and outcomes.  Surely you can’t argue that that wasn’t worth the experience.  There are coaches, therapists, consultants and a whole lot of people who could be charging considerable sums of money to provide similar results.  I am not putting tarot reading and therapy/consulting in the same basket, but I am emphasizing there is a place for tarot to offer meaningful and useful insight into life’s needs.  All one needs to do is just hear what it has to say, and make you own decision as to whether the message has value.

Always take what it says in proper perspective – don’t forget that ultimately you make your own decisions. 

The tarot technology is gaining in popularity – although over five hundred years old, it’s really only been since the 70’s that people really got interested in it.  Now there are hundreds of new decks of cards being created, and possible millions who read them.  There are even more millions that find new hope, insight and life-directing inspiration, from engaging with their cards directly or through their favored tarot readers.  These experiences can even bring resolution to problems or situations that are entrenched, with no hope and no apparent way out. 

Most of us would never get advice from a friend or particularly wise person, and just simply enact that advice without at least considering its relevance or appropriateness.  The same applies to the tarot; always take what it says in proper perspective – don’t forget that ultimately you make your own decisions.  Tarot is getting less and less woo-woo as the world is getting more and more opening to new ideas.  Tarot can be viewed as a potentially valuable sounding board to your ideas, dreams and problems – millions of people around the world will gratefully testify that the tarot has served them in all sorts of ways.