I recently purchased the Visconti Sforza deck (the one you see pictured), and it is as gorgeous as I imagined. But I must say the book that came with it was a really pleasant surprise. Written in Italian and published by De Agostini, it is a real wealth of tarot history, knowledge, and information regarding tarot as a professional and ethical practice.
One of the articles I found particularly interesting is titled “Responses to possible objections.” That’s a nice topic to cover in a book about tarot. I think it succinctly covers quite a few of the perplexities and questions a lot of people tend to ask of tarotists and about the tarot in general.
Let’s be honest, tarot cards can tend to freak people out a bit, especially people who have been told that they’re a “tool of the Devil” or people who equate them with levitating tables and Ouija boards. Part of the work of an ethical and professional tarot card reader, in my opinion, is to educate the general public about what tarot truly is, and what valuable purposes it can serve. I found this article to be a good contribution to that discussion, and I am going to request permission from the publisher to translate and reproduce it here on the blog. Until that time however, here are few of my own “responses to possible objections.”
Objection: “If everyone has free will, or if destiny is pre-determined, then why even bother asking the cards what to do or for information about a situation?”
Response: In my personal view of reading the cards, it is undeniable that everyone is given the power and responsibility of free will decision-making regarding their lives and their choices. I don’t personally believe that destiny is pre-determined in the sense that things are set in stone and we’re all somehow simply puppets on a string. At the same time, it’s a fine line, because I do believe that each soul who chooses to incarnate on the Earth does so with a specific evolutionary purpose, and to that end, certain lessons have to be learned, and certain experiences will serve the soul in learning those lessons. Therefore, in that gray area between free will and karmic or evolutionary learning, lies the space within which divine creation exists. Within that space is where I believe tarot becomes a useful tool. By showing the client information about their situation and their question, tarot helps the client to see things from a more objective standpoint, to consider truths he or she may not have considered, and to examine both self and others in a search for making the best possible choice in a situation with varying energies and possibilities.
Therefore, the value in turning to a card reading when facing a situation is that it is an additional tool with which a person can conscientiously direct their future and their life path, thereby being a conscious co-creator of their own destiny, rather than a passenger simply along for the ride, not having any sense of direction or purpose about where he or she is going.
Objection: “How can you charge people for reading their cards? That’s just somehow not right.”
While it might seem to some either unethical to charge for readings, or somehow trivial, the truth about a professional tarot card reader is that he or she has devoted countless hours to study and practice of this ancient divinatory tool. Just like any other profession in which the practitioner comes prepared and therefore has a valuable skill to offer, compensation for the time and the preparation are warranted just as they would be in any other profession. Unfortunately tarot has been given an unsavory reputation by some people who have abused its sense of mystery and power to take advantage of the vulnerable, and therefore tarnished what is an otherwise noble reputation and purpose.
The way I look at it is that any of my clients could just as well read their own cards. As many other professional tarot card readers have said, reading the tarot isn’t a special skill reserved for a select few who possess a mysterious gift. Tarot is a tool that has a fascinating history and a rich basis for continual learning and study, that anyone who is determined enough to uncover and access can acquire. However, just like any other profession, acquiring the skills and knowledge to apply the tool in an optimum format requires dedication, time, and expense. Therefore, a client isn’t paying just for the concrete information given in the reading, but is also compensating the professional reader for his or her time, and for the service that he or she is providing, because the client himself either doesn’t have the time or desire to acquire the ability to read the cards for him or herself.
Objection: “How in the world is it possible to provide accurate and useful information to a person who merely types an email question over the Internet? That’s impossible. You must be making things up or somehow tricking people.”
Response: Frankly I don’t begin to claim to know how tarot works. Part of that mystery is what attracted me to the cards in the first place. The idea that it’s possible however is what is needed in order to make a reading a worthwhile experience. Oftentimes in our overly technological and scientific society, intuitive gifts and experiences that defy rational explanation are dismissed as scams, tricks, or impossible and statistically outlying coincidences. The truth in my experience however shows that this just isn’t the case. Whether you want to study quantum physics or the laws of manifestation, or Jung’s concept of synchronicity, or simply how various authors describe a “sixth sense” commonly known as intuition, just because we can’t see and necessarily explain how something functions in a rational or linear way, doesn’t negate a universal law that exists which enables such feats to occur.
What I can say is that in reading for complete strangers, based on emailed questions, knowing nothing about them and nothing about their lives, I have drawn cards to answer general inquiries and through simply explaining to the client the meaning of the cards that came up, the client was able to intimately identify with the situation at hand and the advice or information being given. It continues to astound and delight me, and what keeps me going is knowing that a tarot reading can be a useful tool for a person to make positive changes in their life.
What are some of your objections to tarot? And what are some possible responses to other objections? I’m interested to hear your thoughts!