Tarot, Mirror of Our Souls

It has been a while since I wrote my last blog post. Perhaps I shouldn’t have started a blog at all, knowing I will eventually desert it after five post or so. I am not exactly a creative person and it takes me quite long to organize my thoughts, also to think about an eye-catching post title. Not very feasible when you have a jammed schedule with work, freelance job and, well, tarot challenges to do.

But I digress. I am breaking my routine because I realize something important that I almost forgot in all my eagerness to master tarot:

He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28)

Now, I think I have mentioned earlier that I am a Christian, and the reason I embrace tarot is because God has given His permission for me to use it as a visual aid to hear His voice in my heart, as I could be rather deaf sometimes and only through some sort of pictured book I can ascertain what He is trying to say.

But in all my eagerness to study symbolisms and practice my knowledge by doing multiple tarot challenges (I am a translator in real-life, so I feel really accomplished when my readings make perfect sense), I forget that original purpose. I got lost in myriads of prompts about self-care, self potentials, abundance and all that jazz, and forget that the reason I am allowed this in the first place is so I can hear God’s voice and His will in my life clearer.

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And with that realization, I come to understand why tarot becomes associated with Satan and sorceries and everything ungodly. Again, the fault is not in the cards, but in the way we use it. Any object dear to us, not just tarot cards, becomes the receptor of our energy and thus reflect who we are. Tarot cards just happen to have pictures and symbols to make it plain. And so, when we start to ask the cards more about ourselves than about God’s will in our lives, that’s when the cards become the tools of our egoistic nature rather than a channel for the Spirit of God within us (read: conscience) to convey its message.

For this reason, I have decided to cut down the number of tarot challenges I am going to follow in the future. I can use select few to sharpen my reading skills, but I am going to limit my reading time to only questions that serve my growth in God.

Disclaimer: this post in NO WAY accuses tarot challenges as being useless or satanic or whatever. Tarot challenges are very, very useful in sharpening reading skills and knowing ourselves better, but as with any good things, we can’t have too much or too many of them. Select just the readings that you feel will help the growth of your spirituality, and spend more time practicing what you learn from there in real life. 

Animism and Tarot

Most of my friends who practice tarot treat their decks like their best friends. They name them, ask their birth dates, give them personalities, place them in pretty pouches and boxes, and even chitchat with them. When I first got into tarot, I found this rather unbelievable, but then I understood that this is one way to “bond” with the decks, to integrate the cards with us and our spiritual energy, and therefore make reading and interpretation easier as the cards naturally become extension of our subconscious mind.

I have had my doubts though. A couple of weeks ago I had a friend used my new tarot cards, and for some reasons the cards got sticky and felt disconnected when I tried to use it afterwards. It reeked of my friend’s perfume and got soaked in her energy. I asked for advices and did whatever I could to cleanse the cards: slipped them in-between the pages of my published translations, fanned them under the sun, compressed them under thick dictionaries to restore their shapes, and so on. I even “talked” with them to restore the energy bond with me. The method worked, and I began to be able to read them again, but then the deck suddenly went berserk and threw me ominous-looking cards after two days.

My friends told me the deck has not recovered from the ordeal that changed her (she was being used multiple times that day for heavy readings) and the best way is to leave her alone in her usual storage place until the upsetting energy evaporates, while talking and humoring her. I followed the advice, yet at the same time I suddenly got reminded of ‘animism’, a word that has not crossed my mind since I encountered it in religion subject in high school. For the uninitiated, it means treating dead objects as if they were alive and had souls. I felt ridiculous for humoring the cards, wondering if I have gone a step too far in treating them like a person. After further discussions with my tarotier friends and some mulling of my own, I came to the conclusion that, while naming the decks and treating them like our favorite dolls does help in familiarizing ourselves with the cards, we also need to draw the line and establish that we are the mistress in the house of cards, not the other way around.

So I did a tête-à-tête with the cards, confirming that I am the mistress of the house who serves the Lord as the highest command and that my deck is a mere assistant whose job is to translate our communication. Please be aware that I was actually talking to myself, establishing that thought in my mind to clear the confusion. It worked: I regained my peace once I made it clear about my position in relation to the cards, and my beloved deck again becomes my lovely assistant.

There is indeed a fine line between appropriate and inappropriate use of tarot decks, and every tarot reader must use their discretion and listen to their conscience to know the correct ways of using the cards. I am thankful of my God-fearing spiritualist friends who have been there and done that and able to share their experiences.