Pardon the Hanged Man

By Melanie Harris
Doubt is a healthy function of intelligence, but too much of it can ruin a good time.  From Santa to love itself, belief in the unexplainable makes life more fun.  Belief is knowing in your mind and feeling in your heart the possibility of Truth, that sacred essence that permeates the Universe, known by a million names.  Truth is what it is, regardless of our awareness of it.  When we perceive and embrace the Truth, however, our belief allows the sacred to work its magic for us.  While believing that your dog can fly probably won't make it so, to a certain extent, belief in what is actually possible can clearly affect reality.

For example, often, when I've had the pleasure of doing a reading for a person who scoffs at the Tarot, the cards come out all nonsense.  Belief is necessary for the Tarot to "work."  Without it, the person's psychic energy will not be properly transferred into the cards, and the cards will not be arranged in any significant order.  In contrast, if a person believes that the Tarot can offer guidance, then guided they will be.  Belief creates possibility.

At a Grateful Dead show, for instance, the real magic would happen when the crowd and the band believed it would happen.  I wasn't cool enough or lucky enough to see the Grateful Dead, but I've experienced the effect at the band's post-Jerry shows.  When everyone is radiating with love, believing in having an excellent time, the Ace of Cups is overflowing.  If you believe in joy, then joy will you find.  Belief determines potential.

I was recently reminded of this when my family went to see Barack Obama give a speech at a local college campus.  We arrived late, and the line was giant, 3 or 4 people deep and stretching for at least a mile.  It looked like a perpetual Seven of Pentacles to me, and I believed we would be waiting forever without a chance of getting in.  We were ready to turn around and go home, but instead, we decided to believe in a remote possibility.  Our 8-year-old son is Deaf, and we realized it might be possible to get special seating where he would be able to see the American Sign Language interpreter.  Since we hadn't made prior arrangements for that, we knew it wasn't very likely, but we thought we'd give it a go.  So, placing our faith in a long shot, we walked right to the front of the line and explained our situation to an usher.  To our delight, we were led through the press entrance and escorted to a restricted access area about 50 feet from the podium.  My husband said, "Wow!  And to think we almost gave up and went home!"  We were so glad we had believed it was worth a try.  Our belief made great luck possible.

My son was invited to stand next to the interpreter, and he held one of the campaign signs, "Change we can believe in."  The crowd was charged, and a collective belief in change was definitely thick in the air.  Like a combination of the King of Wands and the Knight of Cups, Obama communicated eloquently, and in the general opinion of the crowd, as shown by the widespread cheers, stomps, and smiles, he seemed to offer a taste of something much more appealing than the latest cup of terror.  Obama's popularity comes from people's belief in the possibility that he can truly create positive change, and this belief has created a growing movement of supporters.  While doubt causes failure, belief manifests success.  

I see the same cause and effect dynamic when I examine belief on a personal level.  For example, I believe I'm highly (and shamefully) addicted to smoking cigarettes, and because of this belief, I have not seriously tried to give it up, not thinking it possible.  In comparison, I believe that my husband loves me, and so I have a happy marriage.  If I were to foolishly believe that he doesn’t care about me, however, the Three of Swords would be my lot.  Belief affects reality through the power of our hearts and minds.  

The next time I find myself in the misfortune of reading cards for a non-believer, I think I'll explain away my confusing prophecies by saying, "Well, you have to believe it to see it."  Without belief, there is no passion and no possibility, and we are truly at the mercy of the whims of fate.  

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2008 

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