I have a friend and fellow author, Dominica, who’s really into tarot. I’ve actually never asked her whether she really believes in tarot or not (as in, does she believe it actually tells the future), but I don’t really believe in it. I think it’s mostly just a combination of cold reading (discerning what your audience wants to hear) and vagueness (if you say that someone’s romantic life is going to be rocky, then pretty much everyone will believe it).
However, I really enjoy having her read my cards, and today I realized why!
I think it’s because I tend to fall into ruts in my thinking, especially when I’m focusing on the future. I tend to either think that the thing I am looking for is about to happen. I never think, “Oh, maybe I’ll suffer a failure” or “Maybe I’ll switch directions.” Somehow my mind doesn’t go there. Instead I just take sight of one thing and get really locked in.
Whereas when Dominica reads for me, she’s really good at opening up other possibilities. For instance, in the part of my tarot reading that forecast my writing future, she gave me a card that meant, she said, I was in chrysalis, and that I shouldn’t be too anxious to break free. Which was interesting to me. I don’t think that way. I never think that maybe my current struggle to write is worthwhile and that it’s part of the process. Then the next writing-related card she dealt me was a tree that was on fire, and she said that meant I’d suffer a rejection soon. Again, that’s not something I think about. It’s something I try not to think about: the idea that one of my precious projects will be rejected. But it felt, in some way, valuable to have to face the possibility.
Put one way, this sounds really banal. Obviously, I always knew that maybe I needed to struggle a bit more before I’d find another project. And, equally obviously, I always knew that rejection was a possibility. But even if you don’t believe in it, the tarot deck feels so definite. When the card is in the deck, it’s a possibility. But when it’s laid out on the deck, it feels frighteningly definite. This is real. This is the card you got. It happened. It’s useful as an imaginative exercise. After getting a reading, I feel like I’m able, to some extent, to process the possibility of future misfortune. So it’s pretty worthwhile. Of course, Dominica does it for me for free. On the other hand, maybe it’d work even better if I paid for it…