Picture the scene. A dark room in the back of a ornate gypsy caravan where a plump lady with greying hair cascading around her shoulders, beckons you to take a seat on a silk scarf draped chair.

Imagine yourself making your way past bottles filled with unusual herbs and objects that you dare not question, you notice a crystal ball in the corner, the cobwebs, the black cat eyeing you from the top of a pile of books covered in weird symbols.

With the smell of incense strong in the air, you sit down and breathe deeply to calm your nerves. She shuffles the cards slowly and turns over the first one and inhales sharply. You glance down to see an eerie picture of a skeleton on a horse and the words DEATH below it. You scream, grab your things and are last seen running down the road shouting, “We’re all going to die!!!” much to the amusement of passers by.

Sigh… Yes, I know, a little over-dramatised, but a popular belief nonetheless. I’ve learnt a lot about the cards since I started, and I’ve only just touched the surface. These are some of the truths I’ve learned:

  • Tarot cards are not evil (unless you choose to make them so. You COULD turn them over and tell someone a bunch of lies, tell them their cat is going to die, and they might as well give up and spend the rest of their days in bed because it’s all hopeless. That’s NOT what card reading is about…)
  • Tarot card reading can be learned by anyone – male/female, gypsy/not gypsy, black/white/orange or purple, your Mum, your gran, your boss, ANYONE.
  • Using Tarot cards does NOT make you a devil worshipper. I mix with a huge community of card readers and not one of them worships the devil. Some know more about angels and saints than an average christian.
  • The DEATH card does NOT have to symbolise the fact that someone is going to die. Remember, we’re dealing with symbolism here, so death means the ‘end’ of something. A job, a relationship, an apartment tenancy, etc. Sometimes this is a GOOD thing. Maybe you’re ‘dying’ to get out of your current job and go travelling – in this case you’d want to see that card – it would be seen in a positive light. Get it?
  • The last and most important thing to remember is that Tarot Cards DO NOT PREDICT THE FUTURE. Using a beautiful quote from the book accompanying the Wild Wood Tarot, by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, “The future is a splintered hologram of possibilities and probabilities that we decide to accept or change every second of our conscious and sometimes unconscious lives. In the final analysis, we are masters of our own destiny, and the Tarot shows us some of the inner and outer states and how we might best deal with a problem, avoid making a wrong move, build a new lifestyle or find a partner.”

Tarot card reading is about providing someone with information about their situation in an effort to help them (i.e. giving THEM to have the power to change their circumstances), rather than telling them that something is definitely going to happen which inevitably causes encourages victim mentality. However, the cards are so much more than this. They have complexity, they have charm, they have character.

The pictures on Tarot cards are FULL of symbolism and it is through these symbols that people are able to interpret what is going on in a situation. Basic numerology is also used as well as colour correspondences. Using Tarot cards is about tapping into your natural intuition, choosing the cards and interpreting them using the symbolism. It’s exciting, it’s fascinating, it’s fun, and yes, somewhat magical…

In the field of Tarot, we are always learning, but it’s this learning that’s the fascinating part. I’m hoping you will join me on my journey as I discover and learn more about the cards themselves, and divination in general.

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