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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » How does tarot work? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dario
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Future is determined by our present actions, so we can look in our past for experience and in our present for possible choices.
enriqueenriquez
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Hello all,

Thanks for the interesting questions.

This is a very important topic because, when it comes to readings, “presentation” is a matter of philosophy and belief. For that reason, I hope my comments won’t offend those whose beliefs and/or professional experience are contrary to mine.

My personal experience has given me no reason to believe the Tarot is associated to anything supernatural nor paranormal, nor with astrology, the cabala, Latvian dyspeptic faeries, chacras or the like. Therefore, I feel no obligation to adhere to such views, nor to play along with anybody who believes so. In the context in which I work people isn’t really into the tarot. All what they know about it is hearsay. As a result of this they have learned to associate the tarot to three main ideas:

- Spooky

- Not to trust

- Tacky.

When someone expresses such view I tell them they are right, since the public image of the tarot has been shaped by conmen and madmen. (Keep in mind that the use of the tarot as a divination tool was concocted in France on the 18th Century by a few self-proclaimed experts who were completely ignorant of the tarot history or original purpose). If I were to take a deck of cards and simply run with what people believe the tarot is -or what 99% of readers do- I would be fostering these three misconceptions, which in my case is bad for business. That is my bottom line. My experience dictates that I can’t appear to be untrustworthy, I can’t be perceived as spooky and I definitively can’t appeal my market if I am associated with bad taste. More important, if I were to surround myself by people wanting to have their curses lifted, hoping to peek into other people’s lives or seeking lottery numbers I would be creating a horrible reality for me to live in. By finding more sober explanations I can establish ways in which people can feel more comfortable at approaching me, and the tarot.

When the usual prospect ask me: “Are you going to tell me my future?” I invariably answer: “Not really. But I can help you if something is giving you trouble by showing you a few things to think about.” If a person doesn’t find this mesmerizing nor appealing, chances are I won’t want to work with her anyway. When a person ask something that doesn’t fits these parameters I can a) rephrase their question -usually from “What is going to happen?” to “How can I behave?”- or b) tell them the tarot is not useful to answer that question. I see the tarot as a very limited tool and I try to downplay what I do as much as I can. The public is bombarded by ‘amazing’ people promising to help them “change their lives now!” and this is not only getting old, but people’s skin is growing thicker to it.

If in a social context I am asked how the tarot works I tell them it is “about language”. I do this on purpose because that is not what they expect to hear. This never fails to get their attention because they may be expecting for me to start talking about my ‘gift’, but suddenly find themselves in front of a person that is talking in rational terms. Most of the times this is the only way I get a chance to make my case, since I am surrounded by very cynical, jaded people. If asked, I would expand this by explaining what I wrote above: the way we think about something is defined by the words we have to talk about it, and when we are given new words to name our problems we see possibilities that weren’t evident before. (This, BTW, isn’t something I learned by reading books on the tarot but by reading poetry). Seeing people on a daily basis I found that some of them may have unrealistic expectations about the tarot, but very few have unrealistic expectations about life. When I ‘sober’ them up in regard of how to use their time with me, the experience tends to be useful for them.

Said this, I am in no crusade. I am not trying to convince anybody of the absurdity of the supernatural. If someone asks “are you psychic?” answering “No, I am not” will suffice. You don’t have to get cranky and say “No, I am not. I don’t believe in psychics and whomever believes in psychics is stupid!” People is entitled to believe in whatever they want, but no one is entitled to expect me to share these beliefs, no mater how much they are paying.

Now, in regard of Kevin’s question, I don’t work with symbolism. I have developed a whole understanding of the tarot based on observing the characters depicted in the cards, their attitudes and attributes, at a literal level. I simply describe what these characters are doing, assuming that, at some point, such attitude could be worth imitating by my client. (In a way this is close to the literal level of the Medieval Quadriga exegesis, which is relevant here since the tarot is a Medieval-Christian document). These days I am more inclined to believe that the idea of ‘readings-as-homily’ is a more apt model than the ‘readings-as-therapy’ one. In a homily you are interpreting a text while hoping that your interpretation will leave the listener inspired, invigorated, and in possession of a couple of notions that could be of use later on. You aren’t trying to ‘heal’, ‘change’ ‘analyze’ or taking power from anybody. Most of the time, what I do in my readings is to remind people of certain basic attitudes that are worth keeping in mind when we are facing life’s challenges.

But that is out of topic, I guess.

What I would like to impress upon you is that I don’t play along with any preconception a client may have, and that I don’t subestimate my clientelle. Neither I want to be a cartoonish reader who follows all the tasteless cliches associated with the business nor I see my clients as cartoon stereotypes. Readings are only useful if the client is willing to take responsibility for his/her life. When they are hoping that fate, destiny, or you will carry on instead of them, readings become a very sad thing to experience.

I hope that clarifies things.

In any case, Kevin, or anybody else, I will be more than happy to continue this discussion and answer any further question you may have.

All my Best,


EE
JohnWells
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The Southern Wild
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I am facinated by your allusion to the four fold mode of exegesis and its relation to Tarot. You have a PM.
Kevin Cook
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Thankyou for your interesting clarification Enrique.
Anthony Jacquin
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Great to read your thoughts on this subject Enrique.

All the best

Ant
Anthony Jacquin

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enriqueenriquez
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New York
1287 Posts

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John,

I am looking forward to exchange more thoughts about this with you!

Thanks Kevin. This is a topic that fascinates me and I am always happy to share.

Anthony, great to ‘see’ you.


Best,


EE
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