Can Tarot cards tell us the future?
I have never really dabbled in Tarot card readings or other forms of fortue telling, but the rare times I did, the experiences I had were — kind of weird.
I was living in Ealing, London at the time, sharing a flat with a work colleague, Jane*. Her birthday was coming up and she hinted that she would like some Tarot Cards, so I thought it might be nice to buy her some.
So, the day before her Birthday we set off to buy some. I had no idea that it would be so hard to get Tarot cards. We must have been to about 5 different shops before she finally decided on which ones to get, not being satisfied with any of the designs she had seen until then. According to all that Tarot jargon — it is the cards that choose you. (In Soviet Russia — Tarot cards read you)
She had a book on Tarot Card reading, giving instructions from how to buy the cards, to reading them — I had always thought it was just a gift before then, I wasn’t aware that you could learn it from a book. It kind of took the mystery away a little.
Maybe Mystic Meg is not so Mystic after all.
So, we got those ones, quickly before she changed her mind and when we arrived home she started to mess around with them. Following the book to the letter on how to display the card and do a reading.
The cards are split into two subsets: The minor arcana and the major arcana. The minor consists of four suits, pretty much like a normal deck of cards, (clubs); cups (hearts); swords (spades); pentacles, (diamonds).
The major arcana consists of 22 picture cards that don’t belong to any of the four suits of the Minor Arcana, although the Fool shows up in playing cards as the Joker. Each of these 22 cards stand alone, but apparently, if you lay them out in order from 0 to 22, they tell the story of the Fool’s journey through life. Each card of the Major Arcana represents an important archetype, such as love, hope, deity, tradition, life, etc. These cards can also represent individuals and guides that play significant roles in our lives.
If you believe in all that, of course.
The book stated that first you must have a question in mind, then you split or shuffle the deck and give them back to the reader to place on the table. (See above video — how to display the cards). Jane spent the whole evening asking the same question and holding the deck to her chest before laying the cards out.
“Am I a good person?”.
I thought it an odd question to ask — I mean shouldn’t you know if you are good or not?. I am a terrible person — if I asked that question the answer would probably floor me!
She seemed to be getting bored reading her own cards — or maybe she wasn’t getting the answer she wanted, so she decided she wanted to experiment on me.
Now, I wasn’t really into Tarot Cards or Mediums for that matter. My sister used to visit one and to be honest, I thought it was a waste of money. But this was free so I thought I would give it a try.
So, I was about to split the deck when I was reminded that I had to have a question. Hmm…I asked about the future of humanity. I mean if I was going to get an answer from beyond it had to be a good question. I split the deck and Jane, the Tarot Master, laid down the cards.
So the first card was The Devil. Upside down. Nice. According to the book there was mention of a prolonged illness and many funerals…That didn’t sound too optimistic!
Next card was the hanging man. This spoke about new beginnings…
Death — Jane fumbled a bit on this one and said it meant change — I think by this time she was trying to convince me that the reading wasn’t all bad, also casually mentioning that none of these cards turned up on her own multiple readings.
The next card was The Tower — the picture showed a tower being struck and breaking into pieces, chaos and destruction was the idea here…but, it also meant powerful personal revelations, standing against chaos, radical transformation, and facing one’s fears.
This was fun…
The wheel of fortune — Good luck, karma, life cycles, destiny, a turning point
9 of pentacles — Abundance, luxury, self-sufficiency, financial independence. That sounded a bit better.
The World — the end of a cycle of life, a pause in life before the next big cycle beginning with the fool. It is an indicator of a major and inexorable change.
I can’t really remember the rest. There were warnings about meddling in politics, the mention of a fickle woman and false friends.
Jane decided that something must have gone terribly wrong. I had mostly major arcana cards — which was odd, as there are fewer of those in the pack — so we did another reading.
My question remained the same.
The reading was almost identical — could that be because my question was the same? Maybe we weren’t shuffling the cards well enough.
We did a few more after that and the devil turned up in every reading, along with a few of his friends above and a few new ones, sometimes he was upside down. This was actually quite positive — denoting insight, facing one’s fears and a call to a higher potential
Jane looked to her book for guidance. It said the Devil hardly turns up in many and would rarely turn up in successive readings — well the odds would say so wouldn’t they?
In the end she said she never wanted to do them on me again.
I was ok with that.
A few years later I moved to Portugal. A year after moving here I had a kind of ‘End Times’ revelation, that took years for me to understand, and I still don’t in full. Maybe that was the positive side of the Tower? I injured my shoulder around the same time, an injury that never properly cured and became chronic. I was later diagnosed with fibromyalgia — I remembered the reading and wondered if this was the chronic illness. (read about my Fybro madness here)
Over the many years I have lived in Portugal I have seen many funerals — I have known lots of people that have died. When somebody dies here it is like a social event. People like to pay their respects and it is not unusual to see large crowds at funerals. The fact they are celebrated by so many — makes them stand out more.
So that must be it.
The other day I was thinking about these readings and something occurred to me. My question at the time of the reading was not about myself — but the world. I hadn’t been asking about my future - but the future of the world
I read recently — just now in fact, that in a spread, the minor arcana shows that you can change things. However the major arcana shows that the universe is controlling things. You have to go along with it (positive or negative). If there is a lot of major arcana in a spread the universe is making big changes happen. Of course the interpretation of these cards can manifest at any time in the future.
Prolonged illness — many funerals….But of course it could all just be a coincidence.
*name was changed.