How Do Tarot Decks Work?
The Tarot, from a reader's perspective.
"So do you believe?" was the question from a client.
"Of course," came the reply, but not to be deterred,
"Can you put your hand on your heart and tell me you honestly believe?"
"I can do better than that, I can tell you why I believe..."
(What I wish I'd said)
Here's how it works: If you had started shuffling a normal deck of 52 cards at the start of the Universe (the big bang), only now would you be repeating the first patterns of cards that you had started with - billions of years covering many trillions of combinations, all different, the maths is staggering. Now consider that Tarot decks are made up of 78 cards (typically) and that each of those cards may contain anywhere from 2-3 up to 20 plus different symbols with their accompanying meanings. In any given reading, any amounts of these symbolic meanings may or may not have relevance to that particular reading (or reader) at that particular moment. The skill is linking all these together and making sense of them. The art is knowing which ones. The maths still holds true though, only in another 7 billion years or so would patterns start to be repeated had you started shuffling a Tarot deck at the beginning of time. Even then, the individual symbols on individual cards may or may not be used out of a particular pattern and here's where my maths starts to fail. Literally trillions upon trillions of mathematically possible readings... hugely random numbers that on the face of it can have no possible bearing on any subject... utter chaos. Which is the clue. From chaos comes order and randomness gives birth to patterns.
Just like life.
That's what the Tarot cards are - an analogy of life itself, our lives and at the moment of a reading, the life of the client. By using a system that that has such vast variability that it can mirror the complexities of our own chaotic, disordered and random lives, it can simplify and reveal the pattern. That pattern can then be read. Even if reading this you feel that your own life is not disordered and random, let me assure you that it is. Next time you travel down a busy street, on a train, a bus or leave your house for any reason at all then you should be able to witness just a small part of the chaos that being one of around 7 billion humans on this planet entails, if you take just a moment to see it. Even given that in the case of traffic or human movements this is more easily observed from above, the perception should be available to every one of us on the ground. What's really observable from above is the order that seemingly springs up out of nowhere. City planners use this to predict movements thereby designing roads and traffic systems accordingly. It is the same with the Tarot. As above, so below. Except that we're not looking down at a city street from a helicopter. This is our lives and human interactions and all the complexity that that entails. Sometimes it is not easy to see the patterns, but they are always there, whether the person living that life is ordered or chaotic, and whether the reader is skilled or talented, or both.
That's the maths, which hold true across a wide variety of divination systems.
Then there's the other, the more esoteric. That which is so much harder to define and discuss. So much harder to quantify, identify and explain.
Start by imagining a blade of grass. From that blade of grass there is a line, a connection, almost tendril-like, opaque and barely visible. It stretches away so you take your perception out to follow it, and see the same thing, the same connection from every other blade of grass, every plankton, every tree, every insect, every animal, every other living thing. You see the majesty of space now, and these connections all moving constantly through it to intertwine and merge and join together to form a vast seething pulsating mass which is a representation of the total of all the life on our planet and that itself is intertwined with an even greater mass which stretches off into infinity constantly joining, merging and parting itself to match the mass in the Universe and the life it represents. A latticed web-like membrane, sometimes it is stretched thin, but never breaking and sometimes it is bunched together, fat and bulbous.
It is possible for an individual to tap into that. To connect with that representation of life and love and knowledge and healing in a meaningful way. It is possible to share that connection with others. It is possible to channel it. It can express itself in many different ways to many different individuals on many different levels. Spirits, colours, sounds, images, words, random systems (cards, coins, tea leaves, stones, etc.), the conscious and the subconscious can all be connections to it. Sometimes it allows itself to exhibit the illusions of control, order or chaos. It is as constant as the life in the Universe. It is always there.
...have You started to feel it yet...?
If the answer is yes then you understand what I mean... if the answer is no, perhaps this will explain it:
When I first began reading Tarot cards seriously, a close friend of mine was a devout Christian who was greatly pleased by my success. I asked how they reconciled their beliefs with my own.
In a really innocent, child-like voice the answer came: "I think God puts words in your mouth."
Finally, there is the evidence. The validations clients give - and when asked they tell me the exact circumstances which mirror completely the pattern as described to them by me.
I believe because of the maths.
I believe because I feel it.
I believe because I have seen it work on a daily basis for years.
(What I actually said)
Well, um... what happens with any divination system is that you take a very complex thing (like life) and use symbols and their meanings to simplify and by simplifying make it easier to understand. It's basic maths. Do you see?
Didn't think so, which is why I felt I had to write this article.
(Reader no. 4076)
Love and Life.
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