Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tarot: the Significance of the Question

This is my umpteenth attempt at writing this post, but I feel I have something to say even though I can't quite get at it.
There is a saying that the whole purpose of a tarot reading is completed before so much as one card is drawn. This must mean that the real purpose of tarot is served by the things one does other than actually reading the cards, such as cleansing them, shuffling them, treating them with respect, and thinking about the problem.
I have a feeling that the purpose of tarot, in common with all other magical acts, is in some way to affect the magician. And the way tarot does this is by forcing a certain introspection, a setting aside of place and time, and particularly rumination on the question as one is shuffling the cards.
And I think this is probably where tarot has its greatest effect on the reader: it forces a clarification of the question, and more generally of what is going on in the person's head and life. Perhaps in this sense it is as much a method of meditation as, well, actual meditation, because the reader arrives at drawing cards with the mature of the issue already identified. This would mean that this is a (possible the?) major point of a tarot reading: to clarify the mind, clarify the matter, clarify the right question to ask. I often think that tarot doesn't provide pat answers to questions, and perhaps the implication here is that it provides questions instead.


  1. Ooh! Yes! This! (The same goes for tea-leaves and ink)

    As you probably already know, and that this comment demonstrates, I quite often "have something to say even though I can't quite get at it."

    1. Btw if you can read tea leaves I'm green with envy and will throw in my wand now.

    2. Keep hold of your wand - I'm hopeless with tea leaves. I think it comes of not drinking tea...

    3. Ha! I'm told the froth round a coffee cup can be very illuminating.


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