Does it matter if you believe in tarot?
As with many answers to serious spiritual questions, the answer to this one is both “yes” and “no.”
No, it doesn’t matter.
Part of the answer lies in how you interpret the word “believe.” You could believe:
a) that a reader’s choice of which tarot card to pull is divinely inspired, and/or that magnetic energies related to the energy currents swirling around in the present moment cause the card or cards attracted to that energy to naturally be pulled out. According to this line of thought, we can develop our intuition and learn to pay attention to subtle differences in energy, and learn to notice messages from the universe, or from God or gods or angels or buddhas or other beneficial divine beings. It isn’t so much that we believe in the tarot cards, it’s more that we believe in ourselves — in our own ability to discern signs of what’s happening around us energetically.
Or, you could believe
b) that tarot cards contain archetypal wisdom and lessons that have the potential to be instructive and practical no matter what your individual circumstances, if you are able to rationally tease out the connections between these universal life lessons and your particular life. If you sincerely believe (there’s that word, belief, again!) in empowering yourself by contemplating what you can learn from events that happen and from the choices that you make in life, you could pull any random card, consider it, and come up with a useful, practical lesson for yourself, operating on a purely rational level.
There is an option c, in which you believe that pulling tarot cards is a total waste of time and the occupation of weak-minded thinkers, but if you believe that, you probably aren’t reading this blog!
People often ask me if I really believe in this stuff. The answer is yes, I do, but no, you don’t have to. You don’t have to believe in tarot and you don’t have to benefit from it, but if you want to benefit from it without believing in it, you absolutely can, using the approach I’ve described under point b, above.
Yes, it does matter.
There is a catch.
To describe this catch, of course, I’m turning to a tarot card. I pulled a card on the question of whether it matters if you believe in tarot, and got The Star, reversed. In this card, I can see both the answers that I’ve described under points a and b, above. We are naked and vulnerable in the world, either way, and either way, we have to find our life lessons where we find them, in the world around us, whether that means that we read tarot cards or that we read nature itself.
On the other hand, though — and here’s the catch — if you insist on taking a purely secular approach to your life lessons, then, yes, you will miss something. If you say to yourself that there is no such thing as energy, that there is no such thing as spirit, that there certainly could be no way for you as an individual to interact with energy and spirit, and that the world can only be mechanistic in nature, then you not only will be missing out on a massive opportunity for inspiration and renewal, but you would also be turning your back on your own spiritual self. You’d be deliberately choosing to block your own intuition and repress your own feelings. You’d be lying to yourself.
And why? What for?
For the sake of rationality? What’s rational about arguing that there is no such thing as energy? We know scientifically that there is. What’s rational about saying that there is no such thing as spirit? We know scientifically that the things that all the New Age “woo woo” people say will raise our vibrations and raise our spirits actually do improve our physical health in scientifically measurable, mathematically quantifiable ways. Meditation, prayer, music, chanting, nature, touch, colors, aromatherapy: all of these are things that rationally should not affect our supposedly nonexistent spirits but that nevertheless have been proven to help us.
I don’t care if you choose not to believe in tarot. I’m not trying to convince anyone. I firmly believe that people find their own way to spirit-based practices when they reach a point where they can’t not do so, because life experiences have pushed them into finding their own intuition and finding their own faith. Whatever you believe or don’t believe, though, do you see the water being poured by the woman on The Star card? Either way, it’s fundamentally necessary to find ways to nourish your spirit, to slake your spiritual thirst. And do you see the stars on this card? It’s fundamentally necessary to find your own star to follow, to find sources of inspiration and renewal. Otherwise, you’ll be dehydrated in the dark. And nobody wants that. 🙂