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My Personal View of the Tarot

For a start, although I am not a Christian personally, I think it's worth noting that Tarot was founded in the Italian Renaissance. Christian nobles commissioned decks (see the art page) and the symbolism used in the cards was often religious. With these roots in mind, I don't think that modern Christians should consider that there is any conflict between their religion and reading Tarot cards. It's true that the modern resurgence of Tarot was largely the responsibility of the Golden Dawn movement in the late Victorian era (the Rider Waite deck, for example), and their ideals were probably not acceptable to most Christians - hence the common association of Tarot with witchcraft and the occult. I would encourage readers to consider the significance of Tarot's beginnings, though. Even the Rider Waite deck still contained much Christian symbolism in addition to the more arcane symbols (See my page on Is Golden Tarot a Rider-Waite Clone?). There are many good books on the subject of Tarot history, in particular the Encyclopedia of Tarot by Stuart Kaplan.

Secondly, I do not believe in fortune-telling as such. Although my personal beliefs include an acceptance of the existence of Fate, I think that personal determination is more significant in controlling the future - at least, it is if the individual asserts that power. We are only passive victims of Fate if we choose to be.

So why do I use the Tarot if I don't believe that the future is predetermined? Well, I'm all for personal responsibility and empowerment, and I think that the Tarot is an excellent tool for helping us to analyse ourselves, the people around us and our place in the world. If the Tarot can make us stop and think about the situation we are in, then it encourages us to take control and responsibility for our own destiny.

Fate may send us trials and rewards, maybe you want to call it good or bad luck. I think that the Tarot can help us to foresee such circumstances - perhaps through our own subconscious, or perhaps through some psychic phenomenon. My firsthand experience with forkbending and other anomalous experiences has taught me to take nothing for granted, and that our own minds have abilities that we can scarcely imagine.

I also have a fundamental belief in the idea of people getting what they deserve - call it karma, divine justice or whatever. Whether that will happen in this life, the next, or some alternate universes called Heaven and Hell, I don't know. But I need to believe that somehow, somewhere, everyone will get what's coming to them.

I also believe that people are inherently good, and that they would naturally do unto others what they would have others do unto them. True evil, in my view, is a very rare thing and usually rooted in self-hatred. That may make me sound like some wimpy liberal, but I assure you I'm not. I just think that most pain is caused unintentionally, and that if that can be reduced by people better understanding themselves and others around them, then that's a constructive thing.

Maybe because I am female, I believe in the rightness of compromise. I think that a situation where both parties receive some small benefit is inherently better than one where one party wins at another's expense.

Well, those are my basic beliefs, and of course they have affected my interpretations for the Tarot card meanings contained on this site. I can't tell you the future, although I hope I can help you to prepare for it by getting you to know yourself a little better.

If it's a flashy fortune-telling you want, then you're in the wrong place. Go find a gypsy and give her some gold!

stuart kaplan's encyclopedia of tarot


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