Tarot is magical because it gives images and a language to describe the things we all experience but can’t always explain.
Like the Strength card. The woman leans down, her arms around a lion, lovingly holding a beast that could kill her.
The lion is the things we want but that terrify us.Strength is a picture of how we could look if we were willing to be real with ourselves about what we want. Leaning down to embrace the lion of our own desires.
Or the Tower. It’s how we feel when things don’t work out. Everything is crashing down. In real life, we feel it crashing down, but thankfully, most of the time, there’s no fire, no debris, no people falling from the sky. The Tower gives us an image of that internal experience. It says, “Yes, this is really devastating. You’re not imagining it.”
I read tarot at fairs and events.
At one event, in the beginning of January, they kept the door propped open and I could feel the frigid cold for hours. Everyone was packing up early so I took a stroll through the fair to look at the other booths.
A man stopped me and showed me a device that looked like it could hypnotize you. He told me, “You could use this to hypnotize people so they believe that what you tell them is true.” When I said that wasn’t very nice, he seemed genuinely confused.
What he didn’t understand is that I have never needed to convince anyone that a reading is true. Because the cards reveal what my clients already know in their bodies. So often I hear, “I already know all of this. But I needed it reflected back to me.”
The cards are a projector. They validate your experience.
We so often doubt ourselves and our truth. We feel a subtle pull. Or we feel that something isn’t right. Or a deep hunger, opening us to a new layer of life.
And a lot of the time, we tell ourselves that we’re wrong. That we shouldn’t want what we want. That everything is fine. The cards take our inner experience into the light where we can see it and know that it’s real. And then we can choose to do something about it or not.
The 78 cards are archetypes of our own experience. Nothing in the deck doesn’t belong to us. Every single card is a piece of our lives and a part of what it means to be a human.
Who hasn’t started a new journey like The Fool, holding a nearly empty bag on our backs because we don’t know what we need quite yet. But we know we will figure it out on the way.
Every one of us has a deep intuition like the High Priestess, that sees beyond the black and white columns on either side of her, that feels like the pomegranates on the curtains behind her, with countless seeds, if only we had the time and the patience to listen, picking the seeds out and sucking their wisdom.
There’s no one who hasn’t felt the deep pain of the Three of Swords, a primal wounding that we can’t quite name and that drives our inner stories and actions.
Sometimes, when I’m reading at a fair, I’ll have someone stop in front of my booth, look at my sign, and stop walking. I lean forward, ask, “Do you want a tarot reading?”
“No,” they tell me. “I’m too scared.”
“I don’t tell the future,” I tell them, “Every card in the deck is here to help you understand yourself.”
But maybe that is scary for some people. Maybe going within feels like a risk, because they don’t know what they will find. Maybe they are afraid of knowing themselves better.
Maybe to them, getting a tarot pull is like holding the lion in the Strength card, terrifying but magnetizing. Maybe their intuition is pulling them to my booth, but they aren’t ready to cut open that pomegranate and taste the seeds within.
I don’t try to convince them to do a pull. I let them continue on, spending their cash on candles, ceramics, and freeze dried candy. It’s not my place to pull cards for those who don’t want, or aren’t ready for their messages.
But for me, and maybe for you, the cards unlock a doorway to a magical room. One in which your thoughts, feelings, needs, and experiences are reflected back to you. One in which you can deeply know yourself and be utterly transformed.