If you’d have asked me a year ago what I thought of Tarot cards, I might have felt an inward shudder. Tarot? That’s what a gypsy fortune-teller (perhaps in a turban, swathed in mysterious robes, a crow on one shoulder) uses to give grim prophesies of death… right? Truth was, I’d never seen a Tarot deck, but societal folklore led me to imagine it as full of darkness and danger. I loved my collection of beautiful Oracle Cards, and shared their inspiring messages from angels, goddesses, and poets with my friends. But I was quick to clarify that they had nothing to do with Tarot, and thus were entirely positive and safe.
Then several months ago, my favorite Oracle Card creator, Alana Fairchild, shared a photo of one of her cards taken by Imogen Walters on Instagram. It was lovely, and with a click I began following Imogen as well. Soon I realized that Imogen’s work featured not just Oracle Cards, but Tarot as well. And in fact, she had an entire blog and video channel devoted to the subject. Imogen writes poetry and prose of stunning beauty, and much of it relates to the Tarot. In one blog post, she explained how a single card, the Six of Cups, took her back to her childhood, to the sights, smells, joys and fears of the girl she once was. There was nothing dark or scary to it; the card inspired a sweet journey to her past, finding the gems of beauty there, and recognizing how much she’d grown in her personal and spiritual life since. If a single card took her on this kind of deep and meaningful journey, where else could the other 77 cards take her… or me?
I decided to find out, and dove into all the videos, books and blog posts on Tarot that caught my eye. I realized I’d encountered a rich system of archetypes, mythology, and the human emotional landscape in these cards. And until then, I’d dismissed it entirely out of ignorance. Could it be that the true intent and power of Tarot had been obscured for centuries by societal forces (religious and otherwise) bent on keeping the masses dependent and afraid? The more I researched the Tarot, the clearer this explanation became. The 78 cards have been described as “covering every aspect of the human experience.” The messages they portray are deceptively simple, yet contain layers and layers of wisdom. Each card is a gateway, a portal through which we can view the kinds of events, emotions, and struggles we all will meet at some point in our lives. The Tarot reminds us that we’re not alone; that there’s nothing new under the sun. The details will change, but we will all encounter moments of disenchantment and celebration, for example, and navigate bigger life themes like self-empowerment, balance, and commitment.
It is that deep relevance to the human experience that fascinates me about Tarot, and keeps me diving into every resource I can find to expand my knowledge. The more I do, the further Tarot moves from its unmerited image as a tool to prey on the vulnerable with dire predictions. I believe the key with Tarot – as with anything touching the essence of our human experience and our connection with Spirit – is intent. My intent in studying Tarot is to foster personal growth, empowerment, faith, and greater understanding of the human experience. And along the way, I’ve found that Tarot also serves as a beautiful, even magical way to connect us to the divine energy all around and within us – and that will keep me fascinated for a lifetime.