What Is Tarot Reading? (The Hocus Pocus Version)

I came across a Howcast production on “What Is Tarot Reading?”–

The host of the Howcast, Paula Roberts declares with dogmatic conviction that “No real psychic reads for themselves.” The rationale, claims Roberts, has to do with the issue of objectivity. One cannot objectively read for oneself.

There is nothing objective about tarot readings, however. In fact, she starts off by saying there are different ways to read tarot, one being the mechanical approach where you assign a set meaning to each card and then apply those meanings objectively. What an interesting thing for her to say, considering that would be the only time tarot readings are objective, which she agrees with and yet contradicts when she says a psychic cannot read for herself due to the lack of objectivity. Um… what?

A good tarot reading isn’t a trial where a verdict has to be rendered. Of course if a tarot reading was like a trial, then I’d agree with Roberts and say you cannot render your own verdict. But tarot isn’t about objectivity at all. It is the unabashed embrace of the subjective. When you read for yourself, it is about what the signs and symbols of tarot mean to you and the significance of those meanings to you. Whether you are reading for others or for yourself, the interpretive process is wholly subjective, completely within the confines of the mind, though therein lies its power.

A tarot reading, at least a good one, has a way of triggering the mind into action and that action then becomes externalized, objective. The whole objective part happens much later in time, however, after the tarot practitioner and Seeker have parted ways.

If we want to take this one step further into the beyond, let’s say there is a universal life force that connects us all, that unifies the space-time continuum into one unit. I’ve heard it referred to as the Akashic records by some, especially psychics. Psychics contend that they have a stronger connection to the Akashic records than others and that is how they retrieve psychic knowledge that seem to defy the space-time continuum, i.e., they can see the future, the far past, talk to dead people, know what’s going on someplace far away, blah blah.

Let’s diagram this. We’ll illustrate the Akashic records or universal qi/life force as a unit circle.


In theory, a psychic can connect to any point on the unit circle (aka the Akashic records aka the universal life force that connects us all and defies the space-time continuum) and see into certain information for a particular person, place, or event. If so, then why can’t a psychic read for him or herself? Is it because the psychic’s own consciousness is so opaque when it comes to the self that the psychic can’t reach past it to access the Akashic records?

I’m not claiming I have any idea. I’m just saying that you can read tarot for yourself and to say that no real psychic, whatever the hell that means, does it is just Roberts’ way of imposing her position onto others. There is no concrete limitation like that applied uniformly across the board. Maybe she cannot use the tarot for divination purposes for herself, but that for sure doesn’t mean others cannot do so effectively.

True, there are many ways to read tarot, as Roberts mentioned, and I refer to this so-called “psychic” approach to tarot reading as the hocus pocus version because that’s what it reminds me of: birthday party magicians who are able to wow the naïve but there is nothing special, gifted, or magical about what they do; it’s a mechanical application that anyone can learn. Likewise, tarot requires your intuition, but it’s something we all have and like our muscles, it’s something that can be developed and enhanced with training.

No “psychic” will read tarot for him or herself. Pah, I say. Psychics can. Most simply choose not to for philosophical reasons.

Like my application of tarot, predictive readings and fortunetelling do more harm than good. It takes wisdom to distinguish between what you should know and what level of your brain you should know it at (conscious, subconscious, unconscious…). Those with wisdom and strong intuitive abilities will opt not to bring to their conscious certain information from their unconscious because through their wisdom, they understand that knowing such information about themselves won’t be beneficial.

However, for some of these psychics, this is only a self-imposed philosophy. They understand that everyone is different and if someone feels he or she could be helped by knowing and the psychic can help tap into that knowledge, then the psychic will. In that case, the psychic has opted– out of voluntary will– not to read for herself, but to remain open to reading for others. It has nothing to do with whether she can or cannot read for herself. It’s about imposing one personal moral philosophy on the self but not imposing the same on others.