I don’t remember when I first came across tarot, but I expect I was skeptical. I do remember that to start with I thought it was all about predicting the future and that, like horoscopes, you can ‘read’ something generic and relatable and keep everyone happy about this pretend future. The idea of tarot as a way of connecting with self is more recent, through people like Susannah Conway who includes cards in her newsletters and Be Love Life.
For me, tarot is a way of connecting with myself, listening to myself and helping me explore my emotions in a focused way. It is a tool for self care and I have started to learn more as my psychologist appointments are coming to an end. I am very aware of how helpful it has been having weekly opportunities to check in with myself and reflect on how the week has been and feel that this is something I need to continue to do in order to manage my mental health. By learning and practicing tarot, I hope to develop a regular practise of checking in with myself and listening to and identifying my needs. As I develop this, I also hope to use tarot to help me find ways of meeting those needs.
I think my main challenges with tarot will be maintaining a routine (which is important to me as without a routine, it won’t be able to fill the gap of therapy as effectively), in particular reading and putting in the effort on bad days when my depression or pain is worse. I’m going to try to maintain a routine by keeping the cards nearby, working through the alternative tarot course and signing up for newsletters about tarot so that there are lots of reminders and reading isn’t a hard thing. I will also reduce the amount of ritual involved in reading the cards, potentially keeping this for particular occasions. I will use ritual breathing to get myself into the right space and mindset but for the most part, that will be all I do. I think it’s important for me to retain some ritual so that you draw a line around your time and make it about the cards rather than what you want for dinner. I am also aware that I’ll struggle on a physical level because of my hand pain and difficulty handling the cards. So far, I’ve managed this although I’m aware I don’t shuffle cards well etc and looking towards the future, I will either need to explore online tools or apps to replace my deck or involve someone else.
As I said, I’m very early on in tarot reading and I have used a book alongside my readings and the internet when I wanted more information about a particular card. In addition to this I am also using the cards themselves and the images on them to help me understand their meanings, and more particularly, the meanings at that point in time. The Wild Unknown are a beautiful deck and it would be a shame not to spend a lot of time looking at them!
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t believe that tarot can predict the future because interpretation of cards is so wide and depends so much on your context and history. However, I do believe that being more attuned to a possibility of something happening means we are more likely to notice if it happens and possibly attribute it to the cards. The cards heighten your awareness of a possible future and our minds are predisposed to focus on the link over the times when it hasn’t happened. But for me, their merit is in the present moment and helping you to understand yourself in the present moment.