The Tarot and the Higher Self

The desire to achieve a deeper understanding of one’s present and future life circumstances is as old as humankind; the means through which this is done, however, are disparate. The Etruscans and the ancient Romans, for example, would examine the liver of a ritually sacrificed sheep before making important decisions; observing the flight of birds was yet another way to predict outcomes. In much of the contemporary world, we use crystal balls, obsidian mirrors, or even coffee grounds; many of us rely on tarot cards.

The first tarot decks were produced in 15th century Italy. For about two centuries, they were used exclusively for playing games. By the late 1600s, however, the intuition of arcane connections between the tarot’s images and the observer’s fortune had developed into a divination practice in its own right—one that, at the dawn of the third millennium, is as popular as ever.

What is the power of the tarot? Replete with Neoplatonic and Hermetic symbols, each card prospects a range of emotions, personality facets, situations, interactions, relationships, and dynamics that are intrinsic to the human experience; reverse it, and its semantic potential doubles up; pick a few cards and observe them in relation to each other, and you will begin to build a complex sentence with a syntax of its own—a sentence that, more often than not, will provide some kind of answer to your question. At the most basic level, the power of the tarot resides in its holding a mirror to the many possibilities constantly unfolding through the human condition.

The tarot’s semantic complexity as a microcosm unto itself, however, is only half of the story. Readings that are based on the cards’ symbolism are fascinating intellectual exercises; as you grow increasingly familiar with the tarot, however, you will begin to rely on skills such as intuition and empathy to generate information that is nuanced and actually reflective of the querent’s situation. What makes the difference is the ability to open oneself up to oneness as a type of consciousness where the knower, the known, and the act of knowing are one and the same. As an experienced reader, you will have an answer to your querent’s questions because, for the time of the reading, you will become this person. Yet you do so from a more expansive place: one that is inaccessible to the querent’s conscious mind. The tarot cards, in this type of reading, are springboards for your intuition; their symbols point you in the right direction while your access to a deeper knowledge adds substance and nuance to their message. Approach a tarot reading like a channeling session during which you connect to the higher self–yours and that of others–and the results may surprise you.

Image by Jen Theodore via Unsplash