The Tarot, what a beautiful, complex, and mysterious tool of divination. For centuries it has been a part of society with its inception dating back to the 15th century when it was considered a simple card game. It was not until the 18th century that the Tarot came to be known as a tool of divination, thanks to French spiritualists developing customized decks to be utilized in the art of cartomancy. Now this is where we may lose some of you who are questioning the validity of Tarot, and to that I say a loving goodbye. This article is not meant to persuade you, it is for those of us who already know the power of the Tarot and wish to understand more about its use.
When most of us start the practice, we are gifted or buy a deck and a guidebook and start on the journey of learning each card’s meaning. We often see predictive statements tied to each card, for example The Devil may be listed as “addiction, bondage, self-harm” where the Empress may be listed as “motherhood, fertility, feminine energy, abundance”. I could go on and on giving you examples from both the Major and Minor Arcana about their historical meanings, which are all well accepted in the Tarot community, however and with respect for those who came before me in developing this current day understanding, they can often lack a sense of inclusivity.
Let’s say that you are a person living without a father figure in your life and a traditional reader draws the 10 of pentacles and The Emperor for you and interprets it so say, “You will receive a large sum of inheritance from your Father or Father figure”. Logically, you might feel that this more literal interpretation does not apply, and therefore you may leave this reading feeling more alone and more uncertain because you have never had a Father figure or because your Father or Father figure is no longer in the picture. This may be a simple example but is it one way of showing how interpreting cards like the Emperor through the traditional lens of “Father figure, Authority” and the 10 of pentacles as “sums of inheritance” may not feel encompassing for all. However, when we view this same example through the lens of the Tarot as a Healing Source, I might say “Opportunities for healing ancestral wounding (10 of pentacles) around your own sense of self-worth, and feelings related to your divine right to be seen/heard/take up space (Emperor) are present.” Does that feel difference to receive, even reading this right now?
One interpretation is not right while the other is wrong, and a truly gifted Tarot reader may understand both interpretations and sense into which message is accurate for you. For this reason, I encourage an understanding of the Tarot through all facets. What I feel is most paramount to our work as Tarot practitioners, and even for self-healers, is to understand the cards through the lens of inclusivity, which allows the necessary space for the healing that these cards can provide to the person you are reading for. If you pull the Empress and read the card to say “oh motherhood is in your future” you may not be aware that you are reading for a non-childbearing person. Instead allow space for the deeply healing connection the Empress provides, which is all about allowing ourselves to receive, and come into the knowing that abundance is our divine birthright.
When we start to study the Tarot through the lens of messages intended for Spiritual healing, we embrace an expansive all-loving and encompassing connection to the Tarot, where these 72 energies become our guides, our support system, and our teachers. We move away from fear around “Death” and “The Devil” and into empowerment where we know surrendering to the new beginnings in “Death “ and reclamation of our own power through “The Devil” will expand our life in limitless ways.
If learning more about the Tarot through an inclusive lens interest you, we highly recommend following the teachings of Lyndsay Mack and Tarot for the Wild Soul. Additionally, we offer remote and in the office readings if you are seeking opportunities for healing readings yourself.
Written by Dr. Callista Lay
Editting by: Em Harris @bluelacebaby_