Are Tarot Cards Simply 78 Illustrated Pieces of Paper?
This is exactly what non believers in Tarot would like us to believe.
And its also the exact reason which drove me to explore this mystifying world of occult.
So if we go by that theory then why do people Shy away from it?
The answer is simple.
Ultimately, the fear is of us, the fear of self-knowledge, "The cards are meant to reveal."
With origins in the Middle Ages, tarot decks have evolved over the centuries, infused at every turn with new meanings, new mythologies and different forms of imagery for reading. "A lot of the basic imagery of the tarot comes from the 15th century, Christendom. "The most widely used deck now is the Rider-Waite version, commissioned by Arthur Waite, one of the major figures of occultism in the 1800s. A Freemason and contemporary of Aleister Crowley, Waite spent years refining his 1909 deck, which became the standard one."
Waite was one of the first to illustrate all 22 cards of the Major Arcane–composed of concepts like The Lovers, The Wheel of Fortune and Justice–and the Minor Arcane, 56 cards in suits of Wands, Pentacle, Cups and Swords. He established a new egoistic way to read symbols.
"Every image on the card has a meaning; every colour, every number, every symbol. Just one card can contain so much information, allowing the seeker of the tarot to dig deeper," Even though the tarot imagery and symbolism has its origins in Christianity, the practice has moved away from it.
By the 20th century, after brushes with the mysticism of Carl Jung and science of Sigmund Freud, the tarot's purpose and function became closer to modern psychology than institutionalized religion. As a symbolist, Jung popularized ideas of self-mythology, while Freud centralized hidden consciousness. The result is a psychology that justifies intelligent readings of the tarot.
Take the Hermit Card or Aloneness, for instance. In the Waite deck, it appears as a singular, aged figure holding a dim lantern. In LeBlanc's minimalist version, The Hermit is represented by a small lonely black triangle with only the suit being identified in text.
"If you draw this card in a reading, it could mean you're being solitary by choice," LeBlanc explains. "It could be loneliness, separation from the herd or family, asceticism, religious devotion. So even something that seems clear-cut and simple can quickly turn into a personal interpretation. You can even have opposite interpretations of the same card.
The purpose of the tarot is to use the symbols to construct a story or narrative about desires, mental patterns and to draw out the more occult preoccupations of the complex mind.
A simple three-card layout, the triad," she says. "In the Freudian sense, it can represent the Id, the Ego and the Superego; it can also represent time in the past, the present and the future. It can be a way to start general and get more specific."
Another interesting aspect of tarot is when cards or a particular card keeps on recurring in many readings for the same person although for totally unrelated question. "That's really weird,"
The clients would normally state?
Sceptics say we must have rigged the deck. But we haven’t. And that is the mystery of the tarot.
My experience says that recurring cards are common. "There could be a meaning behind that card that you might be missing. There is a lesson you need to learn but aren't getting yet," she says.
It's true and also it's an example of how the tarot can powerfully draw out the psychological patterns of the mind. At this point it's up to me to construct and then deconstruct a meaning. The other cards showed overcoming it.
"That's what's intellectually fun about the tarot, You get a jumble of possible meanings and you get to tell a story about yourself, to reflect on your actions, to interpret your life."
"The tarot is a tool that can be an extremely useful guide; People always want to know about the big things: money, romance, careers. But increasingly, people are asking more questions that are spiritual in nature, wanting to know what is beyond the material world."
The tarot's spiritual elements call back to its original purpose, to uncover the occult.
"Even if it's an accident, having someone know or show something about you, and get something right about yourself, can be incredibly powerful. You give yourself permission and freedom to create your own meanings. How cool is that?"
I think that clears all doubts one may have about Tarots being more than just a punch of beautiful looking hard pieces of Paper.