When I was scrolling through Facebook the other day I noticed a discussion in a Tarot group talking about what the members use the cards for. One person commented something like they use the cards “strictly for guidance, not for prediction”. I didn’t pay a lot of attention at the time and just scrolled on past but that comment is echoing in my brain.
What does that mean, to say we read the cards for guidance, and not for prediction? What are we asking the cards for guidance on?
Unless we are asking questions about the past, or if we are truly just looking within to understand ourselves and how we are feeling or acting under the auspices of spiritual growth, there is probably at least a whisper of prediction involved.
If we’re asking for love or career guidance, what could we ask that is completely free of an element of prediction? We might ask how we can invite love into our lives, or how we can attract a great job offer, but what we are saying is, “if I do this, then the result will be this”. For example, “if I release past heartbreak and old romantic patterns, a wonderful, new partner will come into my life”. Or, “if I increase my communication or technical skills, then I’ll get a fantastic job.”. You could say this is cause and effect, but it smacks of prediction to me as well.
And, there’s nothing wrong with this.
I think that the best way to do predictive Tarot readings is to use the cards to explore possibilities and options. “If I do this, how might that impact me?”, rather than, “My future is set in stone, please reveal it to me, Tarot”.
Those are some of my favorite types of Tarot readings, the If-I-do-this-how-might-that-play-out-for-me type.
When I do that, I’m not approaching the Tarot with the idea that the outcome is already set, I’m asking the cards to show how a particular situation or decision might impact the person I’m reading for, based on who they are, what they want for themselves, how they tend to behave and their hopes and fears around the matter.
The cards give much needed perspective, especially when the situation is heated or emotional, and remind the person that they have agency, they have the power to decide which direction they want to go considering the resources that they have at their disposal. Also, the cards spark discussion, and give them a way to look at themselves from a more neutral position, and this leads to deep personal discoveries and reveals what is really going on under the surface.
Getting back to prediction, the cards are really good at predicting how we are likely to act or behave in any given situation, and that is powerful. The cards often give us a sense of how we are helping ourselves, and how we are sabotaging ourselves. For example, if we ask something like, “How will I do on that upcoming exam?”, the cards may show that you’re going to ace it because you always study hard and always make sure that you are well rested and prepared, or they may remind you that you tend to leave things to the last minute and avoid things that you’re nervous about, so unless you shift that behavior you’re going to get a mediocre grade.
The cards reveal patterns, and patterns help us to predict outcomes.
The cards help us to see and know ourselves well, and adjust accordingly.
So, the next time you go for a Tarot reading, don’t sacrifice yourself on the altar of Fate, and don’t pretend that absolutely everything in your world is in your control. Approach the cards with the goal of receiving useful guidance, with a dash of prediction thrown in for good measure.
Tarot card images are from the upcoming Unifying Consciousness Tarot