Tarot in India has come a long long way since my newbie days of 2003 when it was considered to be a fad – Western substitute to Vedic Astrology. Today it is widely accepted as not just an alternative tool of divination but one of self discovery, self empowerment and guidance.
While cleaning up my files in my laptop I came across this memory from January 2004. I had been invited to give a talk on “Tarot FAQs” at a bookshop in Gurgaon. Just completed 5 years of studying Tarot and had recently gone professional in August 2003. Back then, awareness was scant, and the audience was curious, engaging and eager to learn.
Till 2002-3, people had been mainly exposed to traditional forms Vedic Astrology or Numerology and exposure was limited to television. The Tarot was a new and Western concept to people used to planetary movement and Lal Kitab remedies. It spoke of self empowerment, self love and being the master of our destiny, rather than blaming our misery entirely on fate, karma or the stars Tarot began with taking responsibility for our own lives and our choices and free will.
This deck of European cards was based not on the skies and the stars but the present moment. “What do you need to understand right now?” kind of question that would empower the querent with information.
These 78 cards lay between the querent and the reader. The Tarot was not passive, it was interactive. It depended on questions, answers, discussions and dialogue between the humans. The Tarot Reader was only an interpretor of symbols, images and messages that lie embedded in the cards and the querent sought answers through dialogue. Nothing sombre nothing grim. Never was and never will be.
From the 14th century to beyond. Today as I look back nearly 2 decades I see how truly adaptive and contemporary the Tarot is. And why it’s been such a source of intrigue and fascination since the medieval times. Many of the questions asked remain timeless – questions about love, loss, karma, money but the context has changed as we humans have evolved. And the philosophy of taking responsibility of our own lives, being in the present moment and shaping the future we want, remains eternal and intrinsic to the Tarot. I’m grateful for all that I’ve learnt from the decks and all the seekers who have come for sessions down the 18 years, simply a dot in time for this 800 year old timeless tool of discovery. May the Tarot continue to empower and inspire for centuries to come.
Copyright Mita Bhan. All Rights Reserved.