The FAQ of Tarot

By Jeanne Fiorini

For several years the TarotWorks website was hosted on MS Office Live and peace and happiness reigned in the valley. Everything in the valley was easy-breezy, quick to access and edit, plus it was free. But of course, things change.

Microsoft decided to move all its web customers to the new-fangled cloud-based format, which would have been fine if they’d sent us all a techie to make the switch. The once-free services would now be costing either a sizeable fee handed over to a web geek or untold hours of one’s life in the figuring out the thing on your own-- as the self-transition manual attests is possible if you follow all the steps very carefully. All this in addition to a monthly fee, of course, to be waged for web hosting services after April 30th.

Did I mention that this switch was to be made between February and April 2012, during a period of retrograde Mercury? Did we really need the astrological influence to complicate this already- diabolical situation? Isn’t there an astrologer living amidst the genius throngs at Microsoft?

Naturally I opted for the self-torture … I mean self-transition ... and during the valiant quest for a properly-functioning website encountered many an internet page entitled FAQ:  frequently asked questions. Oh yes, many FAQ pages were visited whilst on this particular quest.

Anyway, all this got me thinking about the standard questions that arise when people learn that we “do Tarot.” Although many of us have developed a sphere of people around us for whom Tarot isn’t a freak show, and although the cultural mindset certainly has become more metaphysically-aware in the past 10 or 20 years, there’s still a huge chunk of the population for whom Tarot and its accompanying retinue is as foreign a concept as running into King Henry VIII in the neighborhood grocery store.

So I’ve developed my own little FAQ sheet for the Tarot, short little bites of info that will lead the uninitiated toward a speedy understanding of this mysterious and ancient system of wisdom. Let us begin: 

1. How does Tarot work?

No one really knows. The modern consensus is that it’s a function of one or more of the following factors: one’s own inner knowing which speaks through the cards, spirit guides/ helpers/angels “from the other side” who help information come through during a reading, the quantum fact that all that is and ever was and ever will be sits within the implicate order of the Universe and is accessible if you have the right tool, and/or the activities and influence of the Tarot Fairies. Take your pick.

2. Where does Tarot come from?

No one really knows. Was it born in Egypt? Was it a deck of Gypsy playing cards? Did it come from the Templars or perhaps the Rosicrucians? Today’s Tarot emerged in the late 19th century but really didn’t fire up globally until the 1960’s. The moon landing, Malcom X, Gloria Steinham, Woodstock, Tarot cards, Age of Aquarius, tomato, tomatoe.

3. Does getting the Death card mean that someone’s going to die? 

No one really knows. Just kidding… sort of. Rarely does the Death card indicate a literal death, but rather a transition of identification, the falling away of a familiar experience to make way for something new. However, if the reading’s query was related to literal death, then the answer may be “yes.” So the answer here is “yes”,” no”, and sometimes “maybe.” 

4. Isn’t Tarot the work of the Devil?  

The Devil card is about misplaced, misinterpreted, and misappropriated power. Any system that operates in this manner is the work of the devil. Anything that takes power from the individual is economically politically, socially, emotionally, or financially diabolical. 

If I take my sister’s candy and blame it on my brother, that’s the work of the devil. If I cheat millions of people from their life savings so that I can become a millionaire by the age of 30, that’s the work of the devil. If I use Tarot cards to manipulate and disempower others, that’s the work of the devil.

5. Can Tarot really predict the future?

If "the future" was anything quantifiable we might have a real question here. If further clarification is required, see question #1.

6. Don’t you have to be psychic to use Tarot?

If this was true, Tarot card sales would fall dramatically. In this scenario, only those who thought themselves to be psychic would have Tarot cards, and not all of them would be accurate in their self-assessment.
Tarot is an excellent resource for developing personal awareness, goal-setting, self-reflection, and is a great conversation starter. You don’t need to be psychic to use the telephone, and neither do you need psychic ability to use the Tarot.

7. Isn’t all this sort of creepy?

If awareness is creepy for you, then yes.

So there you have it. Feel free to print out and plasticize this list for handy reference. Hey, maybe there’s a product marketing angle here, hmm …. pocket-sized TAROT FAQ …. available at all CVS, WalMart, and Mobil Gas Station counters everywhere. I can see it now.

Maybe by then my website will be up and running.

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