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Superstition Doesn’t Mix Well with Tarot

I am not a superstitious person, though I have fun with the traditions of some superstitions. I will throw salt over my left shoulder if I spill it, and I announce that a man is coming to dinner if I drop a knife. Yet, I don’t worry about bad luck should I forget to throw the salt. Nor do I set an extra place for a stranger at dinner.

Some people think it is strange that I am a full-time professional tarot reader and not superstitious. To me, it makes perfect sense. Tarot is a proven tool, when used appropriately. Superstitions, when taken seriously, seems to be borne of fear and idiocy, and seem to increase and create both.

Superstitious people who use tarot rarely gain the many benefits tarot has to offer because they are too busy ascribing supernatural attributes to cardboard rather than using the cards to find the magic within themselves.

This is a difficult distinction for a couple of reasons. Tarot does seem to operate magically. The cards can speak truth in uncanny ways. The tarot images feel sacred to us. It is both easy and appropriate to revere tarot as one might revere a sacred text like the Bible.

I believe that tarot works well because it works with the third eye, or brow chakra, by stimulating our eyesight when we see the cards, and then stimulating our imagination and intuition. Vision, imagination and intuition are all seated in the brow chakra. These things work together to help us create a tarot reading.

No one really knows for sure why random token divination of any kind works as well as it does. People have ascribed all kinds of theories to it, understandably. The Golden Dawn felt that the angel Hru presides over tarot. Many of us feel that spirits speak to us through tarot. Still others feel that the power that makes the tarot work resides within the cards themselves. There is nothing wrong with any of those theories, until we start to use those theories to absolve ourselves of our own responsibilities as diviners.

When we start to feel that we are getting bad readings because our decks are angry at us, we step into superstition and step away from real spiritual practice. When we blame a deck for a faulty reading rather than looking at our own mistakes in interpretation, we are as bad as any fundamentalist in any religion. When we use the practice of a “deck interview” to decide how we will work with a deck rather than deciding to learn the deck and try actual readings with it we are artificially limiting the deck and ourselves.

When we are receiving cards that don’t make sense, it is our job to study until they do make sense. When we blame those nonsensical cards on the deck itself, we have lost the opportunity to learn and grow, as tarotists and as people.

Whatever rituals we use to honor our deck and keep it holy, we are remiss if those rituals don’t include our own study, our own psychic development and our own meditation.

When we rely on our superstitions about tarot to provide the parameters of our tarot practice, our tarot practice will always be limited by those superstitions, and by the lack of scholarship they allow us.