What do you expect when you go to a Tarot reader? Do you want to hear about your future? What do you think the cards do? What is Tarot anyway???
Yes, more questions, again! This time I invite you to see the benefits of Tarot readings. There are people who think Tarot is scary, for some reason. Maybe because whenever you see card reading on TV, it's usually sinister and that's the mental image Tarot conjures in a lot of people's heads. In reality, Tarot is far from being sinister, on the contrary, Tarot can help turn life around and put one on the right track and even on the path of healing and enlightenment! If you think I'm exaggerating then continue on reading!
Let's start from the beginning! There are many kinds of cards out there nowadays. There are cards used for self-help, like affirmation cards but cards used in divination could be put into two main categories, Tarot and Oracle cards. Oracle cards come in various themes and the number of cards vary, depending on the authors and the messages they want to convey. A Tarot deck traditionally contains 78 cards which are divided into 22 Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. The 22 (actually it's 21+1) Major Arcana cards can be used alone, some people do leave out the Minor Arcana cards in their readings. These cards contain the major forces (Major Arcana = great mysteries, forces, arcane) that are present in life cycle. Minor Arcana cards are divided into 4 suits, wands, cups, swords and pentacles, corresponding the 4 elements.
History of Tarot is shrouded in mystery. Usually people are divided into 2 main camps, those who think that Tarot came from ancient Egyptian esoteric tradition and those who don't. If you look at evidence of cards used in history then you would see that the form of the cards can be traced back to gaming cards in Italian courts in the 15th centuries, but cartomancy using Tarot could only be traced back to the 18th century when Etteilla, a French occultist, popularized the esoteric meaning of the cards. Of course, if you follow this line of thought then you could say that the Western Occultism is derived from ancient traditions like the Egyptian one, but I'm not here to argue for or against anything. I'm only saying that there is still a lot that we don't know about Tarot history.
Most Tarot on the market these days are either based on Rider-Waite-Smith deck or Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot. Both of these authors were occultists and every detail in the card, from color, number to geometry and figures means something. The cards were designed as an esoteric tool to understand one's psyche for its development. Contrary to popular belief, occultists and (high) magic practitioners aim to reunite with God, with the Source, but they do it by means of working with invisible energy and various forces of the universe. It's not about making a pact with the devil and hurt people. One of the ways towards enlightenment is actually to understand your own psyche. When you shine the light to the shadow, to your unconscious, you become more aware, more conscious and thus a little more enlightened. And Tarot is a perfect tool for that! In fact, it was designed for that!
However, since the universe speaks in symbols, any symbolism can be used as a means of communication and therefore divination! So Tarot has taken a life of its own and can be used in fortune telling as well as a magic tool. So when people think of Tarot, they think 'fortune telling', 'divination'. Many people only see Tarot as a method to retrieve information hidden from them, whether it's about their personal life, professional life, career or future in general. Some people think one can ask the cards anything, including finding lost objects! I'm not joking, someone just asked me to find their lost ring! It was hard for me to reply without any sarcasm. Lost objects isn't my field of expertise. In fact, I don't really foretell the future as much as helping my clients understand the situation they're in so that we could find a solution and then move forward and/or heal.
As a matter of fact, did you know that Tarot is also used in psychotherapy? I've read that some therapists use the cards as a tool of reflection for their patients, slightly differently from the way traditional tarot readers would use the cards but this goes to show how versatile and efficient the cards are! When you understand the system of Tarot, you will see that it contains lessons, cycles, and situations normal human beings go through in life. They don't only describe the force or situation but they also ask us to look into the meaning behind all of it and learn what we need to learn. They help us understand ourselves, see ourselves and possibly find our way forward. They often offer further questions for us to meditate upon. And thus, they impart wisdom of all the ages to us.
As long as we are humans, we go through various experiences like birth, growth, love, family, friendship, work, money, health, death and more. However different we are, at the core, we all go through life and Tarot covers all the main themes and experiences humans go through in a lifetime. We might be living in a different time with different cultural, environmental and technological context but at the core, we still go through similar feelings and lessons our ancestors did. The love, fear, hate, the inner world and life lessons are still there and the cards can accompany us through life, if we only learn to understand and listen!