A few years ago when scrolling through Instagram, I would have found my feed dominated by fitness, business, and beauty gurus.
Everywhere I looked world was hyper-focused on what we presented to it, what we achieved in it, and how well we fit in. It was disheartening for the spiritually-minded like myself, those who were hoping for a global push into the collective heartspace.
But today, the world seems different, doesn’t it? I may find those same gurus on my feed, but the message has shifted. We focus less on how we present ourselves to the world, and more on how the world is present within and through us. I truly believe we are experiencing a consciousness shift from output to input, getting to growing, appearing to becoming. We seem to be rediscovering an essential spiritual element within ourselves, and we are more thoughtful about who we are than ever before. Communities of the spiritually-minded are excitedly building or uncovering all the brilliant tools to encourage this shift, and many of these tools are already familiar to us, such as yoga, astrology, and the various forms meditation. But the tool I find to be the most profound and useful of all—and the most overlooked—is the tarot.
Tarot, unfortunately has gotten a bad rap. You may have learned to associate it with gypsies or fortune-telling or psychic scammers. But in its most basic form the tarot is a collection of the universal archetypes that make up what it is to be human. It is a tradition of spiritual clarity, one that is becoming more and more individualized to our developing needs. So if you are riding the wave of revolutionizing spiritual consciousness, here are the reasons you should absolutely get on the tarot bandwagon and add a deck to your toolkit.
1. Tarot is a six-hundred year old mystical tool.
While there is admittedly little information about the origins of the tarot, the earliest decks date all the way back to the 15th century and was known as a card game called tarrochi. Tarrochi was the foundation for the playing cards we have today, except it included twenty-two “trump” cards picturing intriguing archetypal figures. One of the popular beliefs about the tarot is that the trump cards cleverly and covertly spread the spiritual themes developed by early Christian mystics. By the 18th century the tarot was openly used as an esoteric tool, and thinkers tied it to Kabbalah, Egyptian mysticism, and other occult practices like astrology. The tarot, therefore, has quite a long history of being used as a tool for spiritual development.
2. In the 21st century, sometimes the closest we can get to the divine is through magic.
For most of history God has been the great unknowable force in the sky. The ancients made sacrifices for rain, the medievals kissed the bones of saints to be healed. God’s magic was utterly mysterious but also utterly real, and it was the mystery of God’s power that engendered deep faith in divine intelligence. But now, as Mr. Nietzsche infamously declared, God is dead. Many of us don’t believe in the old man in the sky, and most of the answers we seek are found in the halls of science. But magic still exists in our technological world, and when we find it we feel that thrill of meeting the unknowable divine. Tarot enables this meeting, the encounter with mysterious divine intelligence, delivering messages only it can tell us.
3. It provides a formula.
Unlike meditation or psychotherapy, tarot does not leave it open to the wild unconscious to tell you what needs to be discovered. It gives you a very specific message in the form of archetypes, or images of the universal human condition. In a 3 or 5 or 10 card spread you may pull several cards relating to maternal forces, and understand you need to deal with your mother issues. Or you may pull mostly pentacles and see that your work and home life are taking precedence over your inner life. Pulling just one card a day will pull your focus to its archetypal energy, and make you consider what role it plays in your life. The tarot guides your spiritual development so you feel some structure, and thus some control.
4. It blends with other practices.
Because it is a collection of archetypes, the tarot seriously goes with everything. It provides a clearer intention, and more material for contemplation when you feel unsure. Try meditating on a certain tarot card, or pulling one just before your yoga practice. Tarot also merges beautifully with astrological reflections, as many of the cards were drawn from the same archetypes as the planets and zodiac signs. It’s even a great tool to bring into psychotherapy! By identifying tarot archetypes in certain people or patterns in your life, you can get clearer on their true significance. Overall the tarot only deepens practices you may already be working with, providing greater clarity and intentionality.