The Real Reason People Believe In Astrology And Tarot Card Readings
Is astrology real? And do tarot reading, horoscopes, and zodiac signs help us predict the future?
From an outside perspective, astrology and tarot cards may not be reliable sources for life advice, but for some people, it’s a harmless way to seek answers to their problems.
But, unless you did it as part of a parlor game, when you tell most people that you’ve consulted an astrologer or had a tarot reading, you’re likely to get a lot of funny looks.
You might even get a lecture from a born-again Christian about how sinful these things are and that you might wind up in Hell.
At the very least, you’re likely to hear the argument about how these things have been scientifically disproven, and how many practitioners of these disciplines are charlatans.
My response to these: Who cares?
It doesn’t matter.
Most of the time, people who seek out occult practitioners for advice are in some kind of crisis. That’s just when they need to do some serious critical thinking about a situation in their lives that’s causing them a lot of pain.
I once did exactly this, and I found astrology and tarot so helpful to me that I started studying both disciplines. “But astrology and tarot can’t actually predict the future!” many will protest.
That’s exactly right, and as a student astrologer, I can tell you why: Because you have the power of choice in your life.
When I look at your chart, if I look at a long enough span of time, I see the main spheres of endeavor your life is about, and I can see the choice points you have and how those can work out later on. All of the choice points and possible outcomes are there, though they can be difficult to disentangle.
Sometimes the positions of the planets are reflecting that you have a very heavy probability of choosing this path or that, but astrology is never going to tell you your future. (And, therefore, neither am I.)
That’s because the planets aren’t making the choices. You are.
Where disciplines like astrology, tarot, and runes do their magic is in their description of your situation.
Once upon a time, I suffered a very painful breakup. I found this online tarot site, and every time I did a reading, the cards just screamed at me. I was too controlling, they said. I was too domineering, they said. I was too needy, they said, and I really needed to work on that.
This hurt and baffled me, because it was a three-party situation, and from what I was given to understand, I was a kitten compared to the other woman. That was her the cards were describing, not me!
Here, however, is where divination has its value: When you sit there staring at the cards and going, I’m not like that! How could this possibly be the truth?
When you start to comb through the possibilities as if what you’re being told were true, that is when you gain in wisdom from the cards. Or the stars. Or the runes.
Over time, through my tears, I began to see that I was, in fact, thinking and about to behave toward this man the same way the other woman had. In a much milder degree, but there it was. These weren’t good traits to have, and if we’d stayed together, I would have ended up treating him just the same as she did!
I know this, not because the cards said so, but because I looked critically at what I was thinking during the relationship, how I expected him to act, how I expected we’d live, what I expected we’d do. How did that square with my conscience, given what I knew about how this person had already been treated? Was I being needy and domineering, or not?
Sometimes the truth hurts.
Then I had to think about: Why was I doing that? How could I treat someone that way whom I said I loved?
Astrology had something to say to me about that, too. Your natal chart comments a lot on how you were raised, and how your childhood affects the person you are today. Reflecting on that, I saw some things I had sort of shrugged off to the side, especially about how my father treated me when I was young. He passed away when I was only twelve, and I’d spent so long without him, I didn’t think what happened before then was important.
What matters here is not that the astrology said it was important, but that it made me think about it; it made me consider whether I believed it was important or not. If I disagreed, why? If I agreed, why? What should I do about that?
As another example, as the child of a mentally ill mother, I have read enough about codependency that I recognize it when I see it in a horoscope chart. My charts with the fellow in question warned that the relationship would be heavily codependent, and forecasted, more and more as the relationship went on, emotional dishonesty in the relationship, cheating, and a devastating breakup. It didn’t have to go that way, but it was most likely that it would.
I certainly wasn’t happy to see that. But, because of my background, I was able to lay hands on more reading about codependency than just Codependent No More, the seminal Melody Beattie book from the eighties.
That was when I discovered not only that severely enmeshed codependent relationships often end in exactly the way our charts described, but why. Oh, and that showed up in our transits, too. With the additional information I had, I could see this was going to be the truth if I were with this guy.
Again, I could consider: Do I want to be this codependent? Do I want somebody who is, and who won’t work on his problems? How would I feel if all this actually happened in the future?
Because I did that kind of thinking about that relationship, I found myself strongly motivated to work hard on my problems, get myself over them, and not get mired in another relationship like that. If the guy comes back, he has some codependency recovery work to do.
If he doesn’t do it, I need to ease on down, ease on down the road.
It’s been a very in-depth study, but I can definitely say I’ve profited from it. I will never be so naive and idealistic about people who look healthier than me again.
It is in the thinking and consideration of the topics occultism and divination bring up for us that we become wise.