What is Tarot?

According to The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, “The most powerful sources of information come from within; the Tarot aids in coming in contact with one’s Higher Self.”

Tarot is often described as our own personal psychologist, on call 24×7.  In many ways this is an accurate description.  Often when in the middle of a stressful situation it’s difficult to step outside and view the situation objectionably;  Tarot enables us to do this.  It allows us to view our own lives through the eyes of others.

Wait, isn’t tarot some magical system?

Tarot ties together several systems from the roots of the Western Magical Traditions. This includes the classical elements, numerology, the hermetic qabalah and astrology.  The roots are worthy of study themselves but the important point here is: tarot is a representation of information; it is the application of this information that offers us insight.

So, there’s no magic?  I’m disappointed.

We started this page with a quote from the Golden Dawn.  How much more magical do you want?

But seriously, what is ‘magic’?  The ability to influence action, the world around us, to change ourselves?
Tarot provides a means to do exactly this.  Some may see it as a purely psychological process, others as divine guidance, a reflection of ‘universal energy’ or perhaps in a universe where everything is linked “the micro reflecting the macro”.  However you view it, the magic is in ourselves – in the insight gained and the ability to learn and take action as a result.  Tarot is the tool that enables us to work this magic.

What’s with the crystals, cleansing, moonlight etc?

People perform rituals to help put themselves in the correct state of mind.  Sometimes these rituals may be a cup of coffee and a comfortable chair, other times a complex routine involving lunar cycles and incense.  Regardless, it’s a time away from mundane life and a time for something a little ‘extraordinary’.

Can tarot predict the future?

Yes and no.  Tarot can give us new ways to look at the past and present whilst also offering insight into a possible future.  That future is only one of many, but it may be a future we hadn’t considered and in considering that future we may change it.  Schrödinger’s tarot?

That sounds disappointing!

Not at all.  Any tool which offers an opportunity to analyse and better ourselves, it a tool worth having.  Every decision we make is based on the information available at the time.  The more insight we have into our lives, the better decisions we make.