I’m still doing my daily two-card tarot reading, and will continue until July when I begin a three-card reading. I still don’t know what I hope to gain from the study of the tarot. It isn’t a great prognosticator; from what I’ve read, although the tarot is used for cartomancy (fortunetelling using cards), it isn’t supposed to be a fortunetelling tool. Which is good for me because I really don’t want to know the future. Obviously, I will know the future when I get there (though we can never really arrive at the future because “the future” is always ahead of us), but I don’t see any benefit to knowing either the good or the bad before it happens. All I can do is the best I can do each day, and hope those myriad small decisions lead me to where I need to be.
A lot of people use the tarot to help them make decisions, but again, that’s not something I need help with. At least not now. So many of the important decisions in my recent life have been made, such as where to move to, what to do once I get there, if I should buy a house, if I should get a job. The little decisions take care of themselves.
The real purpose of the tarot, or so they say, is to offer insights into our lives, to help us see our thoughts and behaviors (both past and present) more objectively, and to give us a better understanding of ourselves to help create a better future. It’s like an in-depth discussion with yourself, or if you’re doing a reading for someone else, the discussion is between you and that person. Although the tarot makes sense to me in this regard, it’s as little help to me as using the cards to tell the future or make decisions.
So far, in the almost two years I’ve been doing a daily reading (first, a one-card reading and now a two-card reading), I don’t think I’ve learned anything about myself that I didn’t already know. I’m sure there’s much that I don’t know — to be honest, I think there is much we can’t know — but so far, the cards haven’t been helping me reach any deeper understanding. Part of the problem, I suppose, could be in the question I ask. Since I don’t have any questions (I’ve pretty much given up on asking the unanswerable questions, and the answerable questions are easy enough to find answers to), I stick with “What do I need to know today?” And the answer often seems to be, “not much of anything.”
I do find it interesting that at times the cards seem to reflect what I am thinking (though that can be more a matter of my reading into the cards whatever it is that I am thinking). More often, they repeat themselves. For example, in today’s reading, the Six of Cups is about wish fulfillment. It’s also a reminder to see the beauty around us, to find pleasure in simple things, and to become more appreciative of the world. The Empress is about abundance and creativity. She calls us to connect with beauty to bring happiness to our lives.
Admittedly, that’s a nice reading, but does it tell me anything or bring to the fore any new insights? Nope. I already try to see the beauty around me, to find pleasure in little things, to appreciate the world with its beauty and bounty, though I suppose a reminder to continue trying to do so doesn’t hurt.
Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.