The Generation Gap Between Tarot Practitioners

Photograph that is unrelated to the topic at hand but posting here for the visual effect notwithstanding because your eyeballs need there to be a photo here and I couldn't source one that would be related.
Photograph that is unrelated to the topic at hand but posting here for the visual effect notwithstanding because your eyeballs need there to be a photo here and I couldn’t source one that would be related.

First off, naturally I will be speaking in generalizations.

People my age are sandwiched somewhere in between the Old Guard and the Millennial Readers.

Although my mother is not a tarot reader, she’s a metaphysical reader/practitioner of sorts and I’m super sure that had tarot been accessible to her as a young one, she would have totally become a tarot reader. Instead, she reads other stuff. Like your face. No, I kid, but oh no, I don’t. She really does.

I can see her attitude reflected in many of the Old Guard tarot readers. “I’m not normal. Tarot is not normal. Damn straight this is fringe. Deal with it.”

There’s an unabashed embrace of marginalized culture. There’s no embarrassment with dressing woo-woo as you walk among normal society. You can almost see traces of a hedge witch mentality.

Although she has never come outright to say so, I get the distinct sense that she doesn’t want everyone and the mainstream to become diviners, mediums, shamans, and practitioners of craft. There is a tacit yet clear exclusionary attitude. Or at least that’s always been the impression I got. She doesn’t want (let alone buy in to the ideas of) Mediumship 101, “everybody’s psychic,” or “pay me $300 and I will certify you as a bona fide tarot master.” (Hi. Certified tarot master here.)

Meanwhile millennial readers apply general business and marketing tactics to tarot–e.g., general PR and marketing principles to tarot business, coaching anyone and everyone to become diviners, mediums, shamans, and practitioners of craft, if you so choose. There are efforts to establish tarot into mainstream culture.

There is a pop psychology approach to tarot (which I have been pegged and critiqued as adopting, so apparently I’m in this camp) that strives to normalize divination practices or astrology, and to talk about spell-crafting as the law of attraction and “yay for positive thinking.”

However, at the heart of the millennial approach is the notion of accessibility, a socialist attitude toward the metaphysics. We can all have equal access to the Divine, to metaphysical energy work. (I confess, that is the attitude I adopt. That line sums up my opinion.) Metaphysics is for everyone. This is not paranormal, it’s normal. You don’t need anybody else to help you connect to the Divine. You only need you.

Okay, so as circumstances would have it, I’m now only a couple paragraphs in and I’ve already changed my mind.

Maybe I haven’t changed my mind exactly, but it is for sure vacillating. Is it really a generational thing? Or is it just a two-different-schools-of-thought thing? Is my personal anecdotal evidence and direct observations even reliable?

I’m in effect just looking around me, only to the point I am able to physically see, and making gross generalizations about what else is out there based on only what I see. Is what I happen to see an accurate microcosmic sampling of the macro? I don’t know. I really don’t.

However, there is for sure a determined voice among the occultists and metaphysicians who say that “occult” means concealed, and we are not to remove the veil for all. Only those who choose the path should or even can go beyond that veil to see for themselves what is there, and then come back with divinatory or revelatory information as needed, like an appointed messenger.

Is that way of thinking a bit reminiscent of limiting literacy to the elite so that the proletariat must rely on figures of authority (like a priest or priestess) for Divine insights? That was the way of institutionalized Western religion for ages. Is it hypocritical when metaphysicians repudiate that kind of authoritarian approach to religion, pursue occultism because they’re anti-authoritarian and want the answers for themselves, but then once they’ve found those answers, act in the same exclusionary manner?

I’ve observed that the Old Guard, Mom inclusive, have this sense that what they do “isn’t for everyone.” She would probably opine that not anyone can just pick up a grimoire, follow something in there, and yield results. Only certain people can do that. As I said, there’s a staunch exclusionary attitude. I’m also sure if I introduced her to the 21st century spiritual coaching power of manifestation business model, she’d find it absurd.

Actually, she wouldn’t. She’s pretty open-minded. She’d be surprised at first, but then come around. “Okay, all right, I get it. I wouldn’t have thought of that but I get it.” For instance, it might take her some time to grasp the idea that, say, I’m holding an online webinar course on Learning the Opening of the Key for Tarot Summer School and teaching occult theories to a whole bunch of people I’ve never even met, all at once. Perhaps in her view, spirituality, divination, and woo-based teaching is done one pupil at a time, a single teacher to pupil relationship that is honed over several years, not in 60 minutes.

Whereas maybe I do have a more “free love” attitude here. We’re entering a social era where notions once reserved in the New Age or even occult category run as an undercurrent through mainstream society. Corporate offices pay for yoga classes and meditation retreats for their employees. Businesses far from the woo will consider feng shui tips and tricks. Law firms invite in tarot and palm readers for their company Christmas party. Silicon Valley high-tech companies will hire a witch to cast a circle of protection around their computers, protecting them from hackers. All true stories here. I doubt any of this would have happened even 20 years ago. Things are changing.

As woo practitioners such as tarot readers converge more with the corporate and mainstream worlds, they adopt corporate and mainstream commercial strategies to advance their tarot business. Corporate and mainstream businesses converge more with woo practitioners and adopt woo into their environments because hey, “anything to help us earn more money. If that’s a spell or feng shui, then let’s do it.”

So admittedly, there was no point or core thesis to this post. I just thought I’d ramble on some thoughts of late.