A lot of my friends think I’m a little bit crazy, and a handful of very close friends know it for a fact. Most of them are aware of my obsession with learning new skills and becoming ridiculously fascinated by subjects for short periods of time, so when I told them I was learning the tarot, they shrugged it off as another one of Sarah’s weird learning things. But some of them didn’t really understand my reasoning behind the tarot, because… I’m scientifically minded… right? Why would I learn how to do something that has no basis in science?
The Power of our Beliefs
I don’t believe in magic, or psychics or God or ghosts or anything remotely paranormal or spooky or other-worldly. However, I do believe very strongly in the power peoples beliefs have over their reality. In fact, that’s a huge fascination of mine, a fascination that led me to learn Hypnotherapy, NLP and other “alternative” therapies such as EFT, Reiki and so on. I love to learn why people believe these things work, and I love to learn how those beliefs influence their results.
Our beliefs are fascinating things. When we believe something so absolutely, we completely ignore other evidence to suggest that our belief is faulty and even misinterpret evidence, so we see the evidence as proof in our belief. Two people who see a sunset, one of them marvels at the beauty of Gods work, another points and says “There cannot be a God, nothing can create such a beautiful sight”. They’re using the same evidence but taking different meanings from it based on their beliefs.
So what’s this got to do with why I learnt to read the tarot?
The Power of Projection
Not only are our beliefs fascinating things, but our minds are, too. I’m sure all of you have heard about how it only takes us a moment or two to make a first impression about someone. Truthfully, it’s impossible to make a true judgement about a person within a second of meeting them, since we haven’t got any information about this person other than their appearance at that time. Yet, we make massive judgements about them at an unconscious level within seconds. We take that information from what they’re wearing, how they stand, how they gesture, how they talk and the way they say what they say. We associate those things to people we’ve met in the past; people who acted similarly; and attributes that we like and dislike about ourselves. We project all those things back onto that individual, and we’re completely unaware that we’re doing it.
And that is the great thing about learning tarot. When I pull three cards from the deck, three cards that have been pulled completely at random, I tell a story about that person based on what the cards say. A story I couldn’t possibly know at a conscious level is brought up, from somewhere within my unconscious mind. And, because the story I am telling myself about this person is a massive generalisation and because it could quite easily be told as a metaphor, the person I am doing a reading for can get a massive benefit from it. It can feel completely true, much in the same way as a horoscope can seem to relate to our lives despite them being attributed to the lives of thousands of other people reading the same one.
And being able to tap into my unconscious projection and tell these unconscious stories about the people around me with a simple deck of cards, it’s not just immensely beneficial for my own well being, it’s also a lot of fun.
The Confusion of Others
There’s another reason why I learnt how to read the tarot, but this one is a lot more selfish and almost cruel of me. When I’ve told people I’ve learnt the tarot, I get a lot of mixed reactions. Some people think I’m evil. Some people think I’m getting mixed up in the occult. And some people are horrified that I, an apparently scientifically minded young lady, would dabble in something clearly meant for psychics and other meddlesome things.
And considering that there’s nothing remotely unusual about a tarot deck, I don’t understand it. The fear or discomfort regarding the tarot that I’ve seen seems almost contradictory. They are cards with pictures of them, nothing more. To fear them or to somehow shun them as a thing reserved for the occult almost gives them the power people are so quick to disregard them for. And if you’re afraid of something, or unwilling to understand it based on a strong disbelief and closed mind, how will you ever understand how it works, or why people hold it in such esteem?
And on that note… Who wants a reading?