Oops! I just spilled the secret, didn't I? How does the tarot work? The tarot works because you do.
You don't have to believe in God, spirits, fortune telling, psychics, clairvoyance, or any of that stuff, though the tarot does make some of those things make a lot more sense.
We already know, because of physics, that everything is made of vibrating energy (how cool is that??). I'm not really clear on the science behind this next part, but it's a sensible leap that our thoughts and emotions are energy, too. If nothing else, they're electrical impulses in our brains, right? That's some powerful stuff. When you direct that energy into something, such as a deck of cards, you'll find it responds in surprising ways. Over time simple, predictable patterns emerge, but in the beginning you just see a lot of synchronicity: coincidences that are too big, or too frequent to be coincidences. The same card pops up over and over again, the suit you've recently been reading about is the only one showing up, things like that. Over time, your energy gets more clear and direct: the cards start offering up answers to question, wisdom, advice, warnings...
That may seem like the impossible leap: if you're thinking about coins a lot, then, sure, maybe somehow your brain knows where the cards are in the deck and keep spitting out coins cards...but how do the cards know what your friend should do about the jerk at her new job?
Because you do. And she does, too.
If you believe we're spiritual beings having a human experience, then that may seem logical enough. But even if you don't, think about everything you've learned over a lifetime of experience. It's a lot. The proper responses to millions of common situations are there in your brain as learned behavior. They're just tucked away in hard to recall cracks and crevices. The tarot doesn't monkey around with your conscious mind. It dips straight down into that much, provides a voice for all of that accumulated knowledge. You can think of the tarot as sort of a translator.
If you believe in the idea of collective conscious: that we have innate wisdom that born with like a set of instincts, or that we all have access to the accumulated wisdom of the ages at all times, then, again, it all seems pretty simple.
The husband, who is skeptical of all things, has experienced enough readings with me to know something is going on there. He believes that the cards function as beautiful, complex inkblots. Since each one has so many varied concepts and potential meanings, it's no surprise that we humans can project our situation onto a spread, and get answers out of it that match the pattern and move us forward, getting us the results we want.
Honestly, I'll take that, too. I don't need it to be magic. I just know that crazy things happen when you start studying the tarot, and when you get several tarot readers together in one room...well! You'll just have to come to our next Brooklyn Tarot Meet-Up to find out what that's like!
Don't forget that I'm teaching classes at Bella Vita Fitness in Chelsea! Come in anytime to check out the space, and take a class, and make sure you tell the person at the desk you were refered by Emily Hursh! I teach one hour hatha-vinyasa classes Tuesdays at 10:30am, Thursdays at 2:30pm, and Fridays at 1:30pm. Come yoga with me!