Tarot is constantly evolving, both the deck itself and the way we use the cards. Since the mid-1970s, readers started taking a psychological, New Age approach to the cards. Despite several decades of books, workshops, and "educating the public," most people think of tarot cards as a tool for predicting the future. That stereotype comes, as most stereotypes do, from a truth, however old and distorted. Lenormand cards, playing cards, and tarot cards, as well as crystal balls and tea leaves have had the grave responsibility of revealing our futures.
It is easy to see how the trend shifted. People who were interested in tarot, scholars and teachers, authors and practitioners, shared in the changing worldview. The future was not, as some once thought, set in stone, but was ours to create. We had power in our lives. This extreme took many forms; one that is distasteful to many is the idea that everything that happens to us is our own doing—it came to us because we desired it, whether it was wealth, love, disease, or other. This trend, I think, reached it peak when Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret was released. The Law of Attraction became part of popular culture, and many people who knew nothing else of New Age subjects knew the basic premise of The Secret.
However, America's economy tanked—badly—and has been deeply depressed for years. What many people have experienced in the past few years is that they actually cannot create whatever they want, and sometimes things happen in their lives over which they have no control.
Consequently, readers are folding this into their readings now and more and more are talking about using the cards to predict the future. This is a very controversial subject with many arguments on either side.
My personal philosophy about predicting the future is that it is a lot like predicting the weather. Things are trending in a certain direction. Events have been set in motion. By looking had what's going on now and what energy from the past is still playing a role, we can tell with some certainty what will happen next. But actions and decisions and random chance can change the course of events. As with a weather forecast, the next day's is usually pretty accurate. The seven-day forecast, not so much. That's because so many things can happen between now and then to change the forecast.
Whatever your philosophy, predicting the future is neither completely beneficial nor entirely damaging. As you think about your own world view and practices, consider the following pros and cons. The cons may help you decide to not predict events or they may encourage you to think of ways to include predictions in your readings in the most useful ways possible.
Benefits of Predictions
The Downside of Prediction
How To Incorporate Predictions
How To Practice Predictions
One of the keys is reading about things that will resolve soon, for two reasons. First, it is important to get quick feedback. Second, remember the weather analogy—events closer to the present are more clearly defined than those further out.
If you decide to pursue predictions in your own reading practice, make sure you are clear on your philosophy so you can explain it clearly to your clients. Practice so that you gain confidence. And perhaps most importantly, include predictions in a way that serves the client.
Barbara Moore (Northern California) has studied and read tarot since the early 1990s. She wrote the bestselling Tarot for Beginners and more than a dozen other books, and she has contributed to many bestselling tarot kits, ...