My approach to tarot
As I said in my previous text and podcast, I want to create a better balance between writing and talking about astrology, tarot and magic here at Age of Air, since things have been a bit heavy on the astro side now for a while.
So, ta-da! Here’s a little podcast and text about my approach to tarot!
People take different approaches to the cards, just like they do with astrology, so I thought it would be important for you to understanding where I’m coming from before I get started doing more with tarot.
Here are the three things I consider most important, and the system I prefer.
The question asked is key
To get a precise answer to the question, you need to ask a precise question. Rather than ask a general, broad question like, Will I ever be happy in my career? ask something more specific that gets to the heart of what you actually want to know, for example:
Why am I unhappy in my career right now? What changes can I make? Should I throw in the towel and go into business for myself? and so on.
Questions about the far-off future are less effective
The tarot is better for short-term insights no longer than six months to maybe a year away. Anything else is likely to get vague and muddled. In general, this is true for other forms of divination as well, such as hoary astrology.
Therefore, when reading tarot or having someone read for you, when it comes to questions, think precise and to the point about topics either in the past, present, or near future.
The cards deliver radical clarity
If you ever have your cards read and the person only says marvellously positive things that reassure you that the outcome you’ll have is exactly what you hoped and dreamed it would be, then I’d say it’s time to start getting sceptical.
Sure, there is a chance that a lot of great things are on the horizon for you, and if so, then lucky you!
However, the greater chance is that this may be a cartomancer who is keeping their customers happy by just telling them what they want to hear. No wonder, since often the underlying reason why most people ask a question is because they want to be reassured that what they wish for will come true.
This I understand, since I’d be lying if I said I don’t sometimes feel that itch for reassurance when I read for myself as well.
However, the real power of the cards is their ability to help us see more clearly. They can cut through our confusion, our blindness, our delusions and illusions and tell us what is, what was and what is likely to be.
But the saying is true: truth hurts. Therefore, it’s important to only ask questions you honestly want answered, even if the true answer may not be something you want to hear.
If you’re open to the answer, be what it may be, the tarot can lift up the veil and reveal what you knew all along at some level, which is incredibly liberating, even though its sometimes hard.
The card system I prefer
In the English-speaking world, the esoteric Waite-Smith tarot (1909) is the most popular system to use. Created by Arthur Waite and the artist Pamela Smith, this tarot system married the Tarot de Marseille cards with many other occult disciplines and symbolism, such as astrology, Kabbalah, Christian symbolism, and so on. Here’s what the original (minor arcana) cards looked like.
Both Waite and Smith were members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a secret occult society for magic and spiritual development, which is why their system focuses on (spiritual) self-betterment and the “journey through life.”
These days I prefer the directness and simplicity of the original Tarot de Marseille. It can seem a bit more intimidating because the pips (called minor arcana in the Waite-Smith tarot) don’t have pictures. However, the system offers much more flexibility, and trims the fat of all that extra symbolism, which in my opinion sometimes gets in the way of reading clearly.
Here’s an example of the coins suit in the deck. As you can see it looks more like a playing card that the Waite-Smith deck, where you get a picture. However, the pictures tend to point you in the direction that Waite decided you should go, which is ultimately more restrictive and less creative.