Beliefs

Why tarot?

Wow, I have really been off the tarot wagon this year! I think I’m making another comeback though. I see a lot of people asking how other people use tarot. It’s not a super common question but it did come up a couple days ago. I figured it would be nice to list it all out.

I see a lot of people asking how other people use tarot. It’s not a super common question but it did come up a couple days ago. I figured it would be nice to list it all out. As you’ll see, it’s not a spiritual or religious thing for me but I still have so many uses for tarot.

My Uses

Tarot as a Thinking Tool

This is how I usually use the tarot. I don’t know if “thinking tool” is the best name but it’s what I’ve been using for awhile. I like doing non-divinatory spreads, with positions that ask probing questions. If the questions allow me to muse over something and spark ideas, then that’s the spread for me. I also just like doing some freeform kind of stuff to let the thoughts flow.

Tarot for Art Appreciation

I love art. I love it so fucking hard. Having a tarot deck is like owning a tiny, portable gallery. If I could get paid to look at art all day I’d be the happiest person ever.

Tarot for Learning Random Cool Shit

You’re not going to be able to do this with every card, and certainly not every deck but if you take the time to study a deck, you can discover all sorts of stuff.

A really exciting example of this is the 8 of Wands from the Dust II Onyx deck. Check out what I mean on the artists’ IG right here.

Tarot for Symbology

I am fascinated with symbology. It’s fun seeing how each deck’s artist interprets a card. I think that looking at a lot of different decks and artists can help you deepen your understanding of tarot.

Tarot for Divination

I don’t believe in divination but I will do those sorts of spreads if I’m bored or having fun with friends. That’s right, pearl-clutchers, I have fun with my decks! I don’t take these kinds of readings seriously but when a friend gets something out of it, that’s awesome.

Tarot for Meditation

This is a really popular way to use tarot. Here’s a post I made on one of my meditations. I don’t do it often but it’s a totally legit and awesome practice.

Tarot for Writing

I don’t write very much anymore but sometimes it’s fun to use tarot to brainstorm with. Do a Google search to find a lot of different helpful resources.

Tarot for Spells

This is another thing I don’t do very often because I’m lazy af. But it’s such a cool and interesting way of doing spells. Tarot Spells by Janina Ranee is pretty great and the Modern Spellcaster’s deck is great!

Card of the Day

I go through periods where I’ll do a card of the day for a couple weeks in a row. Then I’ll not do it for a long time. Doing a card a day has multiple uses but I like to pick my own card and think about it throughout the day. You can try to match the card to things (events or otherwise) in the day. You can also use it as a focus for your mood or personality but I feel that’s more spell-like and works great with oracle cards.

Other Uses

Tarot for Shadow Work

Shadow work is a pretty huge for tarot users, it seems. It’s not in my list but I think it might be pretty similar to some of the other tarot things I do.

Tarot for Gaming

I’m interested in using tarot for games but haven’t really put the effort into it yet. Here’s a discussion about using tarot for games. I’ve been particularly interested in this game here but have had a hard time figuring it out.

If there are more uses I can’t think of them at the moment! If there’s something you think is missing let me know. And do let me know what you use tarot for. It would be interesting to see!

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Facebook group for skeptical/atheist tarotists

So without rambling too much: I was getting frustrated about all the silly nonsense, woo, and general superstition that runs thick in the online tarot community. It has actually been making me feel rather hate-y and snarky. So I decided to do a little something about it:

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It’s a small gathering so far, and rather quiet. I’m not very good at organizing people and getting them interested in things but I’m surprised at how many people have been interested in it. And we’ve had some great conversations.

I think most of us are woo-tolerant (who doesn’t want to believe in fluffy magic shit?). This place just offers a respite from the mass of people whose tarot practice doesn’t include much logic.

If you’re a skeptic, atheist, agnostic or general non-believer with an interest in tarot, join us! We like newbies and seasoned cardslingers alike. 

Tarot lies #1: You can’t read for yourself!

I was originally going to call this post “Everybody has been lying to you about Tarot” but that seemed a bit dramatic.

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clusterfuck tarot tower aptly represents my feels

I have so many bones to pick in the tarot world and the longer I’m in the online community the meatier the bones get. And the more I feel called to help people read tarot, especially for themselves, the more twitchy I get.

This post is a knee-jerk reaction to a video I saw on YouTube this morning. The lady in the video says:

“It’s recommended that you only do tarot readings for yourself at least twice a month. Anything else and you’re going to be getting regurgitated information thrown at you. So if you could do it no more than twice a month that would be really really awesome.”

There is this stigma or superstition about reading for yourself. It’s not every reader but it’s just way too many. Not only can you read tarot for yourself I think you should.

I’m going to mention two things a newbie might hear about reading for themselves, with a suggestion on what they should be told instead.

1. “You’re going to be getting regurgitated information thrown at you.”

I’m quoting from the video I mentioned above, of course, but I’ve seen it worded differently all across the web. I read almost exclusively for myself and I’ve never had “regurgitated information”.

Instead try something like: “You should try reading for yourself for awhile and see how it goes. Don’t forget to journal about it! Figure out if it’s for you and if it’s not you are most certainly encouraged to try again later after you have learned more about the tarot and grown as a person.”

2. “You can’t read objectively for yourself.”

This is a big one and it’s really understandable but I still call BULLSHIT. People are perfectly capable of being objective with their own readings. The problem is of course that there are people are think they can but are just fooling themselves. I don’t want newbs hearing this and turning them off the idea of ever reading for themselves (unless they know they can never be objective).

Try: “To help you stay objective you can get a second opinion on your reading from someone else and make sure you’re really reading what the cards are saying and not trying to make them fit what you want them to say.”

I’m on /r/tarot and some Facebook groups and I’m always seeing people asking about a second opinion on their spreads. I think it’s a pretty good idea for the most part.

My only warning is if you’re an intuitive reader, the cards may tell you something non-traditional and a traditional reader may tell you you’re wrong. In that case you really do need to have a good think and ask yourself if you’re really being objective.

Biddy has a good post on this. Here is another, but similar article.

Final Thoughts

There are a handful of other reasons people give on this issue but they are kind of silly and not as big as the two above. I think the basic idea I’m trying to get across here is “Don’t let others dictate your tarot practice. If it works for you, do it!”

(Tarot Lie #2 is up!)

 

 

“But you’re an atheist!”

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a few weeks now but just didn’t know exactly what I wanted to say. I still don’t know what I want to say, but at least it’ll get out there.

I’ll try to remember the exact scene and words but it was fairly quick and simple:

I was sitting in the living room doing tarot stuff, surrounded by books, decks, and doodles, while witching clips of Atheist Experience on YouTube. My boyfriend walks in and says something to the effect of “Aren’t you a hypocrite if you’re a spiritualist watching atheist videos?” (or maybe atheist was switched with spiritualist, but you get the idea)

(After writing this post I asked said BF if he remembers what he said. He claims he didn’t say “hypocrite” but something more like “odd combination”. I’ll concede that it was something of a mix of the two, but either way what was said basically was like him saying my beliefs were incompatible, in a way that kind of got under my skin and stuck with me)

Whoa there. Whoa. Hold. The. Phone.

I’ll skip past Obvious Problem #1 which is We’ve Been Together Nearly Five Years & It Sounds Like You Don’t Even Know Me because this isn’t a relationship blog.

Obvious Problem #2: I am an atheist. I pretty much have been all my life except for a few brief years when I was trying to be a Christian before I realized I was just faking it.

Obvious Problem #3: I am not a spiritualist. I like a lot of things that spiritualists and woo woo people like because it’s interesting as fuck to me, and fun. Not because I believe in them. I may have had “training” in things like aura reading, alternative healing, etc. But that doesn’t mean I put any stock in it. And on the rare occasion I do a reading for someone else I do it for the lulz or state that it’s not an actual fortune telling tool, it’s just to help them think about their problem.

Obvious Problem #3: One can actually be an atheist and an spiritualist. Or atheist and pagan (arguably of course), atheist and whoknowswhatelse. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in any deity. An atheist can believe in spirits and woo because those aren’t deity, it just happens to be less likely because skepticism appears to run deep in atheism.

It’s a rare day that someone calls me a hypocrite or anything negative along those lines. When it happens it (usually) shuts me down to think… am I really being a Insert Bad Thing Here? If I am, is it a problem to me? Yes? OK I’mma fix that right now.

But not in this scenario. I had to remind him him that tarot is a thinking tool for me. He seemed a bit surprised? I’m not sure what he was thinking at that point but he seemed to accept it and quietly left the room.

The point of all this is you can come from any walk of life, any belief, and use the tarot in one way or another.

Some people just collect the decks for their art or novelty. Some people just have one deck and use it for writing stories. Some people use it as a thinking tool. Some people use it to “predict the future”, and who knows what other things. These people are Christians, pagans, atheists, agnostics, preachers, doctors, writers, lovers, haters, etc.

I think that tarot can be beneficial to most people, if not everyone. Just because I don’t believe there is anything supernatural behind the cards doesn’t mean I’m a hypocrite for using them.

And I guess that’s all I’ve got to say about that.