Having been a dabbler in the art of Tarot as a more benign divination tool than my first horrible experience with an Ouija board, I’ve often wondered if the cards point to an advice, an event that is scripted to happen, or something that is considered fated or destined for the recipient.
My mother used an Ouija board, read playing cards, and always knew when the phone was going to ring—really!
For myself, at about age seven, I played with the board with one of my only playmates on our block who was at least five years older than me. But still, when I asked the board how old are you, and it spelled out “dead,” was that something a twelve-year-old would think of to say? It scared me and gave me a healthy respect for dead things … and that was the last of my divination attempts for years.
The along came the Tarot. And to an artist, just comparing the pictures from deck to deck was a delight. For years, I bought myself a new deck each year on my birthday. One year, I lined the decks all up in rows and took photos—like a poster of images which supposedly all pointed to a singular interpretation, or at least a similar interpretation.
Then, I met a few readers who actually “knew” things. Someone who could tell me the details—from another state—of where I was sitting, in front of a big picture window, and that my parakeet was still in the room with me. He had hung just to my right for eight years, and she had no idea I’d had a parakeet. Even my friend who was basically one step up from homeless got things right often enough to surprise and amaze me. Like saying I’d have a red car. I never wanted a red car, and it was another four years before I got one because it was the last one on the showroom floor. Still, I did eventually have a red car.
My talent was to be healing, not divining, but it was still fun to do a reading—more fun still to have someone else do one for me.
I’d rather spend my dollars on a Tarot reading than a therapy session. You get to discuss intimate issues with a complete stranger, they offer advice, loosely based on the cards, and you walk away with new ideas of what to do, or what someone else might be thinking or experiencing. A lot more fun than exploring the depths of your psyche and/or your projections of your own issues onto someone else.
Then, over time, I started to notice something. What can only be actual messages from the cards. I’ve done readings on two different Web sites with different decks and pulled the same cards, repeatedly. I’ve seen the hanged man in two out of three readings for the past two months, and indeed, I am between jobs, indecisive, and wishing I could find another road to be on. Almost like the cards have an intelligence. Or like the cards are an object of quantum physics that relays a different outcome dependent upon being observed. When a particle is watched, it behaves differently than when it is not, so say the physicists.
So the same cards, the same messages for two or three months? And still, I prefer to choose. Which brings me to the interesting point. The cards are about possibilities for me. If I sit here at my desk and make no choice, I remain the hanged person. The minute I choose something different, the reading changes. The cards are about choice.
Some people say the cards have helped them avoid disasters, paths that shouldn’t have been taken, warnings that were heeded. But for me, even with all the remarkable and unexplainable readers I’ve known, the cards have always been a summation of what was true for me now, what my experience is at the moment.
Which means they reveal neither destiny nor fate, but simply choice. If I choose to believe this message—say, the hanged person and the hermit; I’m stalled and I desire a time for solitude, it becomes the right and true choice for me. But maybe I don’t want some time of solitude; although all messages seem to be urging it, I move on. And guess what? The cards change. The story is rewritten.
So, the real question I ask the cards is if this is my choice, what is the story? And then I am grateful to the Divine that gives me the ability to choose.
My favorite interpretation of this fall and winter season has been that of the World; “If your motivation is close to the will of the Divine, even if you commit an error it will be turned to the greater good” (interpretation credit to Tarot.com).
The best choice of all is the one that can do no harm, and isn’t it nice to think that a force greater than ourselves can use our choices for good? With all the change, and all the dismal headlines, I still long for that place or moment in time when all my choices can be the right choice. Choices blessed by the Divine. That is what we all long for in our moments of wanting so desperately to know, to see, to interpret the future. That somehow, it will all turn the Wheel to the greater good of all.
And so we use our intuition to discover our paths, our point to meditate on today, our choice to go forward with one idea and leave another, and we use the tools we feel good about to support our choices. But really, isn’t the point to choose, knowing that even if we choose wrongly we are free to choose again?
I’ve long believed that any choice made with good intent will ultimately bring good to the bearer. So fate, destiny, synchronicity, or Divine will isn’t what controls the cards. What controls the cards is our belief that we want to bring joy, love, and light into our lives, and the lives of those around us. Sure, we want to avoid chaos and discord, stagnation and enforced solitude, but the cards and life show us that the reading changes, these things will pass. With nothing but our will and a belief in the Divine, we can choose again, and watch the story in the pictures change right before our eyes.