When I first began to study the Tarot seriously, the first thing I learnt from books and among the psychic circles was that these cards were simply a tool. Like a pen. Or a spoon. Or a keyboard. No way were they a substitute for our lives and how we lead them. Nor could they or should be allowed to rule our lives in any manner. Dependency on predictions alone by the Tarot would surely guarantee errors and disappointment, because the cards worked best as an understanding of the present moment. I remember the words of Monica one of my mentors, a 60 something psychic healer and reader in Singapore “Tarot reading is not fortune telling” she stated as she shuffled her deck.

What it is truly, and the way it works beautifully is as a tool of self discovery, or as a road map to our lives to help us find clarity and understanding about what was going on then, at that present moment when we turned to the cards. The future is not carved in stone and in the ever changing dynamics of energies, a Tarot reading was simply a snap shot of one moment, and the possibilities that may arise if certain actions are or are not taken. In a spread, a reader ought to stress not on the outcome, but more on the cards that come out in the advice position. Rather than when, it’s the how and the why that Tarot works best with.

In theory that made so much sense, and I incorporated a 5 minute introductory spiel to all my Tarot readings, stating it’s powers and also it’s limitations. But practice proved to be another thing all together. A large majority of the querents who came to see me were only focused on the future. A growing few began to evolve with the readings and I can proudly state I have clients who come for readings asking Why, How, How Can I rather than When. And who walk away applying the wisdom and benefiting from it in leaps and bounds. Marriages have been salvaged because a querent chose to listen to the message of acceptance and tolerance. And careers have soared as querents applied the messages in the cards as to how they could improve their professional situation. But that’s only half the story. The other half still came back again and again asking when they would marry a man who the cards clearly indicated was commitment phobic and would take time to propose (maybe even years), and others who were only interested in a rough time frame for their answer rather than how they could make things happen for them.

As cocreaters of our lives, I believe some opportunities are truly Heaven sent, but it’s what we do with them that makes us feel on top of the world. Information is power, and when the cards go into depth about why a certain issue may have cropped up again in your life, or how a personality trait of yours may hinder the blossoming of a relationship, it’s time to take notice.

Not for the Tarot’s sake. Or for the amount of time and money you have spent on a reading’s sake. But purely for your sake.

Let’s take an example.

A dynamic corporate manager in her 30’s comes to ask about her job security at a large multinational that’s recently undergone policy and management changes. The cards answer “Yes there’s security BUT you may need to improve your interpersonal skills and be a little proactive” She walks away smiling.

Months later I hear she has lost her job. And the Tarot was to blame.

For a few minutes I felt awful, even responsible in a way for her loss. After all hadn’t I told her job would remain secure if she learnt to get along with people. I listened to her ranting. And remembered Monica’s words from way back when. Tarot is not fortune telling. Focus on the advice and not the outcome.

It seemed pointless to remind her of the Tarot, somewhere perhaps she may have become complacent by the outcome of the cards. She didn’t listen, it was past, I gently told her about the fact and she calmed down remembering that in my introduction I had told her clearly that the future can always change. I don’t know if I took the blow or she did as the message came hurtling down on the telephone.

But somewhere it made me think all over again to the true meaning and purpose of the Tarot. Why blame the cards when they weren’t ever meant to be predictors in the first place? Why not focus on the guidance the cards have to offer instead of focusing only when and just when?

Mita Bhan