Let’s chat a moment about tarot readings, and horoscopes, numerology, the I Ching, Kabbalah, psychics, chakra alignments, and others intuitive things that are usually dismissed as bunk by all the smart, academic people out there. Most of all I want to confess how much I believe in them — yes, your friend Tony Chavira thinks these are all awesome and worthwhile (and now you’re wondering if all this time you’ve been reading posts by some sort of new-aged kook). You may even be a scientist friend, or fiercely science-minded, and think that these are superstitious mumbo jumbo for crazy morons who might as well believe in a Flying Spaghetti Monster. This is a totally fine response. There are worse flying foods to worship, after all.
I’ll start by saying that logic is totally overrated sometimes. Logic might tell you to be doctor like your dad demands when you want to be a novelist. Logic might tell you to buy a house while you struggle through high blood pressure and intense debt anxiety every day for years. Logic might tell you it’s smart to marry someone you don’t feel you love. Logic might tell you that there are lots of guns out there, so we shouldn’t bother banning any of them. And logic might tell you to work tonight instead of spending that time with people you care about.
On a bigger scale, our world seems constructed sometimes to prioritize a single-minded kind of logic that just doesn’t hold true many of us. For example, we are told that we should logically always eat right, exercise, and sleep full nights. Do we? It’s also logical to only take jobs that make us money, then use it to buy houses and cars, have children, retire, and die, all in that neat order. It would also be logical to somehow love these jobs, and our families, and our friends, and our lives all the times… or else why, logically, have them? This wild array of logical expectations, sure, might work for how our lives play out at times.
But when do we ever get to just feel like doing something, without explaining ourselves? Why must we always be logical?
When do we get to drop the idea of being driven by logic, remember to heed our own sensibilities, and pay attention to what matters most in life? When do we get to make right-for-our-lives-but-bad-when-described-to-others decisions? When do we get to worry less about having a logical reason for what we do today and focus more on what rings more true, and feels more like the wise way forward?
That access to my own intuition is what I’ve gained from doing tarot; an understanding of my life from a non-logical point of view.
Have you ever read your horoscope one day and found it shockingly spot on? Let’s presume for a moment that this has nothing to do with whatever it said. Instead, let’s presume that it felt right because your intuition just said so… it noticed that whatever was written did reflect what you were dealing with. It’s not right because this random horoscope got lucky. It’s right because your intuition needed greater personal insight, and put some extra thought into the horoscope’s words. And if it’s way off the next day, your intuition will know that too.
Tarot is like this times fifty. What I find most interesting is when a card comes up that confuses us. There’s already a conceit that every card will matter somehow, and so more than once I’ve sat in silence while a person searches a card’s meaning that doesn’t make sense to them, and wonders about it, to discover a nuance in themselves they may never have noticed, and the card now serves as a fresh angle of awareness on an old dynamic or problem in their lives.
I think this is the real gift of intuitive tools: they don’t predict anything or know anything mystical about you. They just ask us to access our intuition, wonder about ourselves a little more, and maybe even take the viewpoint of an impartial witness to where we are relative to events in our lives we can’t control.
This is what most hard-minded people don’t get about Kabbalah, Numerology, Tarot, Chakras, Energy work, and the like. They’re not supposed to be explicitly logical tools. They’re access points for us to tune directly in to our deeper intuition and better know ourselves without everything having to make sense. Hell, even hearing a psychic say something wrong confronts your intuition. You know it the moment you sense they’re off.
You might also be one of those people who think of these tools and instantly presume that there are some dark arts afoot, and by partaking in any of them, you worry you’re opening yourself up to diabolical influences. I mean, what can I even say to that? The world is already so full of legitimately sad and scary stuff… something like tarot isn’t going to introduce you to anything darker than what’s in you already: something in your unconscious you’d rather not face, but if you’re asked to search, you will easily discover.
That’s actually when I find tarot the most useful: when times are rough and looking inside to deal with how far away I am from myself seems scary. It’s super-easy to live in denial of a problem after all, but it takes deliberate effort to avoid these deeper problems too painful or stressful to face. So if you’re that sort of person, struggling to shut your own intuition down, who’ll grin and bear a persistent stress in life you’re hoping will just go away on its own, facing your intuition — that things are now unmanageable — may be the last thing you want.
After all, wouldn’t facing ourselves and how we’ve been abandoning our intuition (and ourselves in the process) be akin to facing the Devil? Why else would someone be so scared when that cards comes up in a reading? No one fears some goatman in red as much as they fear a darkness within they’re too intimated to face head-on.
I started memorizing a tarot card a day around the age of 16, basically when the internet became available and a slew of sites began to post their meanings. I bought my first deck while in undergrad, but kept it to myself since I couldn’t even explain to others what it was I gained from reading my own cards so often. And over time I’ve come to better listen to my intuition with each reading, and come to trust other tools like the I Ching, astrology, chakra and energy work, etc. all in an effort to challenge who I am from a lot of different angles. In short, I needed to understand the parts of myself that didn’t want to care by society’s rules, my nonlogical and maybe childish personal preferences that didn’t want to have to explain themselves…
All this said, you can still think I’m crazy, if that’s what your intuition tells you. It’s alright to listen to it.
And if you change your mind, read your horoscope online, visit a psychic, or ask a friend who can to read your cards. You’d be surprised at what you’ll learn about yourself once you stop listening to your own logic.