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The Truth in Tarot

Jasmin Texidor | jtexidor19@dtechhs.org | June 27, 2018
Photo from Jasmin Texidor

A practice to ground and guide troubled lives, or a supernatural phenomenon loaded with taboo superstition? Whether either of these perceptions are true, there’s a veil of intrigue and fear surrounding the practice of tarot reading. Believed to have debuted in 15th century Italy under the name “carte da trionfi”, tarot is the practice of reading cards in hopes of making sense of someone’s past, present or future. At the core of every tarot deck are the 22 Major Arcana cards, each telling a story that may parallel the lives of those who read them.

Seniors Andrew Osgood, Kehl Shaw and former d.tech student senior Taylor Strongheart are students who’ve had varying levels of experience with tarot.

Osgood revealed his lack of expertise, commenting that he “just knows that you go to somebody and they pull these cards out of a deck and from that they’re supposed to tell you the future or something that’s gonna happen.”

“I just picked up a box that I bought a few years ago and decided to learn how to do it,” Shaw said. Similarly, Strongheart simply “received some cards found for free from a friend and taught myself how to read”.

As tarot enthusiasts, Shaw and Strongheart provided perspective on what reading someone’s cards might look like. Shaw started, “It’s very stressful, especially when you get a card and you don’t know something. A big part of it is not memorizing what the cards themselves mean, as they usually have pictures, so you can get a feel from them and correlate them to the person and interpret what they mean.” Strongheart echoed what Shaw said, adding “You can have some natural talent at it, most skill comes from being attentive. Any good tarot deck will have a lot of interconnecting images between them. Use the cards to your advantage so you can piece together a story”.

What about the supposed supernatural element? Osgood commented, “Tarot makes me feel scared, because in [Catholicism], we don’t like to mess with spirits and stuff, like the ouija board, like tarot, you don’t do that, it’s the devil.”

“It has a lot of potential of sowing seeds into people’s minds that come to fruition in their own way,” said Strongheart. “That’s not supernatural really.”

Shaw said, “I don’t really believe them, I’m just doing it for fun. It could just be when people are thinking too much, and people see patterns that aren’t there and that just feels spooky.”

Both Shaw and Strongheart seemed to feel that the cards mainly fuel or assure what someone might already be thinking. An interesting point that both Shaw and Strongheart brought up was how readings can be beneficial to a subject even if the cards don’t truly hold a predictive power. Shaw said, “Personally, I think tarot is a way of giving yourself advice, or the person you’re doing it for… I think that people latch it to something in their own lives and it helps them get a perspective on things.” Similarly, Strongheart remarked, “I do believe it helps structure our own intuitions about the future in a way that allows us to make predictions”.

Supernatural or not, tarot has a way of influencing the minds of believers and non-believers alike. Will tarot be a practice for the past, present, or future? That’s up to the beholder.

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