Misconceptions about Tarot – part 3

Hopefully, after reading the last two posts, I’ve helped you to have a more open mind about Tarot if you didn’t before. Or for those who are already interested, perhaps I’ve helped to alleviate one or more concerns you may have had. Feel free to let me know, and I’d love to know if you have any more myths I haven’t covered in this mini-series.

You can not read your own cards

Now I’m not really sure how this one came about, and it’s probably the one misconception that grinds my gears the most.

The reason I find this one so irritating is pretty simple, reading for yourself is the easiest way to learn the language of your cards. Why? Because you can ask the deck questions that you already know the answer to. That then allows you to cross-reference the meaning of the card(s) against the answer. From there you can examine the artwork and map out what parts of the image relate to the card’s message. In this way, you’ll get to familiarise yourself with the cards and imprint your energy onto them in turn.

In my experience, it’s important to spend time getting to know your deck. One thing I like to do is just sit and shuffle them. This suits me well because, firstly I’m a fidgeter – I can’t help it, I’m not happy unless I’m doing several things at once – And secondly I recommend this because it gives the cards a chance to talk to you. Now I know that sounds pretty silly. After all, how can a deck of cards talk? You’re probably asking. Well, it’s simple, when shuffling a single card can occasionally appear to ‘jump’ out. When this happens I look at the card and try to examine how it could relate to what I was thinking about while shuffling. Sometimes the cards will answer questions you weren’t aware you had and this can be unnerving at first, if it doesn’t happen for you it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. Some decks appear to be more talkative than others.

One of the most highly recommended ways to get to know the cards’ meanings is to do a single card draw in the morning and ask: what message do the cards have for me today?

This isn’t a method I used myself, as I only learnt of it many years after I started learning the cards, but it’s one I would have found useful. As such, I felt it was worth including. In short, you can read the cards for yourself. It’s a great way to bond with them; just don’t keep drawing more cards to force the result you want. Further to that, don’t keep asking the same thing over and over hoping to get a different answer. I’ve been guilty of this one. Just like a person would get annoyed by it, my cards got very irritated with me!

Everything in a tarot spread is set in stone

This is, in my opinion, a misconception for all forms of divination or fortune-telling. Yes, I read the cards. No, I don’t believe that everyone’s life is planned out for them before they are born by a higher power.

Every decision you or I make shapes the future because the choices open to us are often dependent on those we made previously.

However, that doesn’t mean once something is foretold it will happen without fail. If anything, using a divination tool like the Tarot, changes things in and of itself. Think about quantum physics for a brief moment; by observing the behaviour of particles we change how they act.

If you prefer a less nerdy way of looking at it, we have the Hawthorne effect from Psychology. Which simply states that people act differently when they are aware they are being observed. I’d bet money that most if not all of you reading this, know somebody who acts differently the moment a camera is pointed at them. It could be yourself, a family member or just a friend but I would be surprised if you’ve never met somebody who altered their behaviour in reaction to being filmed or photographed.

Having a Tarot reading is much the same, by having the reading you will act differently than you would have done without it. In doing so, you will more often than not change the outcome predicted, for better or worse. This is why I have always refused to read for anyone who wasn’t willing to accept that any predictions are purely advisory. 

Some cards are always bad, and some are always good

This another pet peeve of mine when it comes to reading the cards, I’ve heard stories from other people who have been asked to take certain cards out of the deck to omit them from a reading entirely.

No card in the deck is completely positive, and on the flipside neither are any of them completely negative. If you’re not prepared to consider the negative outcomes of the question you wish to ask, then you shouldn’t ask the question in the first place. The only time you should remove a card from the deck prior to shuffling and laying out the cards is if you are using a significator card.

A significator card is traditionally one that is used to represent the person that the reading is for, and would normally be one of the court cards. Due to those cards typically representing people who have influence over the situation you are asking about. However, you can use any card for this purpose, if you are reading for yourself then you can use a card that best represents the core of the issue. For example; The two of pentacles would be the significator if you are asking about an important decision relating to finances, or work.

So we’ve now talked about nine myths and misconceptions around tarot cards and readings. Hopefully, this has helped to change your views on tarot reading in a positive way. Until next time.

Thanks for joining me.

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