Yes, tarot decks are beautiful, vibrant, and provide answers to all those who have questions. I am not a skeptic and I believe that tarots are accurate representations of answers that make sense to each of us. No one knows the exact origins of the tarot cards. However, tarot decks have become famous (and infamous) among circles, more so in recent years.

Now, I would like to eliminate a myth. Tarot card readers cannot foresee the future; they can only interpret the meaning of the cards that one has ‘selected’. Tarots cannot give exact answers about particular incidents (except for yes/no questions). It reflects what your subconscious already knows.

Before delving into the interpretations, let me talk a little about tarot decks. There are different types of decks, with a varying number of cards. One of the decks used by tarot card readers has 78 cards of which 22 are the Major Arcana cards (that reveal the Greater Secrets) and 56 are Minor Arcana cards divided into four suits of 14 cards each. There are four Court cards among the Minor Arcana and each of the four suits is represented by coins, batons (wands or rods in modern tarot), swords, and cups. The commonly used tarot decks are the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck, The Tarot of Marseilles and Thoth Tarot deck. I have used Rider-Waite-Smith and it is also the most commonly used and seen.  There are also Lenormand Decks that have 36 cards and Oracle Decks which might even have 200 cards to read from.

Let’s get into the science of it now.

There are four aspects to interpreting tarot cards, namely using psychology, probability, spirituality and philosophy. Let us delve into the aspect of utilizing each to rationalize the cards.

Using Philosophy to Interpret the Tarot Cards:

Semiotics refers to the study of signs and symbols, and their uses and interpretations. Utilizing semiotics in interpreting tarot cards reveals to us our feelings, and thoughts that have already clouded our subconscious but are unable to take form in our conscious self. Each card has a specific symbol that attaches with itself a specific explanation. People attach intrinsic meaning with the specific cards drawn that helps answer their own questions, using their own subconscious mind. It is a way of projecting one’s own unconscious knowledge into a card.

Using Psychology:

One school of thought believes that tarot is less about magic and more about explaining psychology of human beings. Carl Jung utilized certain theories in Analytical Psychology that includes archetypes, individuation and synchronicity. Archetypes promote understanding, working like the Rorschach Inkblot Test (which uses different images to explain the human psyche). Thus, it psychologically explains the depths of our subconscious using cards we unconsciously pick. Again, individuation refers to the process of being self-actualized and synchronicity refers to meaningful-coincidences (while picking tarot cards). All of these explain the subconscious and its role in being used to interpret our own psyche, which gets activated by the tarots.

Using Probability:

I mean not everyone wants to hear this, but the probability of picking a random card from a deck of 78 is one out of 78. However, it has happened multiple times that one card has been singled out so much that it changes the probability of the Random event, despite being reshuffled. It might be regarded as a coincidence but does probability have coincidences? We can chalk it up to mystical involvement, or explain it spiritually.

Spiritual Interpretation:

Certain Wiccan Practitioners or Tarot Readers believe in the vibration of our neurons and synapses. They also believe that our brain already knows everything and just needs divine guidance to follow through with events. Tarot cards help to attune ourselves spiritually with the surroundings to help us come across answers to our own questions.

You might believe in energy, or chalk to it up to entertainment, but tarots are fun. So skeptics and believers, get a reading done, and believe (or laugh). However, trust that it indeed is not magic, but it just reveals by tapping into the higher power what you already know at the extreme back of your minds.

 

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Deboparna Poddar

By Deboparna Poddar

Editorial Fellow

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