Tarot Isn't Magic

How to use tarot without compromising your belief in science.

Here’s a very simple way to use tarot that will hopefully be interesting even to people who are skeptical about its association with superstition, pseudo-science, and other sketchy things. This isn’t about pulling answers from the sky, or from God, or from the void. It’s about using symbols to add flavor to a conversation about something important to you. That conversation can be between you and another person, or it could be a conversation you have with yourself similar to journaling.

Here’s how it works. Think of a domain of your life that you are struggling to fully grapple with (relationships, work, personal growth, health, politics, etc). Form a question like “What new lens might help me think about (my relationship, my work situation, my personal problem, etc)?”

Two ways to get a card:

  1. The first is to hit the “draw a card” button, which will use the seed of randonmess to pick a card to use as a lens for your question.

  2. The second way is to use the seed of intuition and scan the cards below with your question in mind, picking one that feels like it resonates in some small way. Don’t think about it too much… just go with whatever feels right intuitively from System 1 (the quick-thinking part of your brain that is tough to access directly).

Whichever way you go, put on your meaning making hat and look for ways that the card relates to your question. Start by just looking at the imagery of the card, look for connections that spark to life outside the analytical thinking realm. Sometimes that’s enough to get a pointer to an interesting thing to reflect on. If you need a little bit more help, read the questions on the card page, and the descriptions of symbols, to see if that jogs anything loose in your head.

If either of those things does reveal a small pointer, take that think about it. Maybe journal about it if that’s your thing, or just put the card somewhere where you’ll see it a couple times through the day. The card is just a pointer, but it’s the actual self-reflection, untangling of thoughts, and new connections that are the real power of tarot (not magic).

If you still don’t feel any strong connection between the card and your question, put the card back and try again with a question about that. Maybe something like “What could be preventing me from seeing connections between these cards an my life?” Remember, it’s not magic. You’re not guaranteed to find something in the cards. Are you okay with that? If not, ask about that. Get as weird and meta as you like… that’s when the pretense is able to fall away and you can find the really fun questions and insights.