Have you ever wondered what's in the cards for you? Ever thought about consulting a diviner or tarot reader, but think it might be hocus-pocus? Well, we checked it out.
To understand tarot you have to take a step back from science as you know it, or better yet, relieve yourself of rational thinking for a while. Tarot has to do with the spirit, and universal and personal energy - abstract concepts, for which there really aren't any scientific explanation.
Last week I went to see Cape Town tarot reader Lana Miller. The way she explained it to me is that the reading is based on universal energy as well as the spiritual energy of the person whose reading is being done.
Here's an everyday example of spiritual energy: is there a person who automatically puts you in a bad mood? Maybe someone else who always lifts your spirits? Or what about the tension in the air when a certain person enters a room? That is the kind of "energy" I'm talking about.
Now apparently it's the interaction between this energy, with the universal energy, that helps you pick the card with your message from the universe.
Tarot cards have archetypal symbols which represent an outcome, situation or event.
Cards are packed to a certain format, and the sequence in which they are drawn is interpreted to make the reading. The combination of cards you draw is also meaningful. The reader then interprets the cards' meaning and helps you apply it to your own situation.
An example from my reading would be the Death card (which I drew not once, but twice). Luckily for me this card doesn't represent the actual act of dying, but rather some kind of transformation – the end of one thing represents the start of another.
A tarot reader doesn't have to be a diviner or have any psychic abilities whatsoever, they just need to understand the technique and how to interpret the meaning of the cards. "But being intuitive is the difference between a tarot reader and a good tarot reader," says Lana.
So you can see why it's better to go to a professional rather than trying to interpret your own cards.
A brief background
Tarot is believed to have been practiced as far back as ancient Egypt, though the first concrete evidence of its existence is shown in the writings of a Swiss monk in 1377. It is also known that Girilamo Gargagli wrote in 1572 about tarochhi cards being used to designate psychological types. The tarot later found its way to the Hebrew Kabbalah and during the 19th century it was popular among occult groups in England, where it then was developed into the tarot deck we know today.
Today the tarot deck contains archetypal symbols that can be related to the analytical psychology of the Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung. He saw all of the tarot images as "descended from the archetypes of transformation".
Interesting titbits from my reading
The only details Lana knew about me were my name, profession and where I work (because the reading was organised as a work project).
Surprisingly the cards tell the diviner more than just the future – they also reveal much about your personality, character and approach to life.
Mine was a "very positive reading. Honestly," said Lana. The universe is sending money my way – and we're not talking Christmas bonus. "That's small change." Hmm… maybe I should start playing Lotto.
More good news is that I can attain the things I want, and I have the abilities to make a success of a new project. That's great news as I've just enrolled in a course and I have been a little worried about how I'm going to juggle work, studies and life in general.
She didn't tell me anything negative about the future, but then again I'm not sure that she would. She did, however, point out that all too often I follow my head, and not my heart to make decisions. That's true. I've learnt that my heart doesn't really know where it's going. I always thought it was quite clever of me to override emotion by rational thought - but apparently it's no good for the spirit.
This naturally flows into the next pitfall she pointed out – "you often bite off more than you can chew" and then "you regularly feel overwhelmed". Yes and yes.
She compared my spirit to an orange – citrus is not the best thing to have your spirit compared to, but I guess an orange is better than a lemon – with all the goodness cooped up inside. She suggested I cut it open and squeeze out the juice. Great, so the sum of my problems is that I'm in need of a good squeeze. HA!
Something weird also came up in my reading. At one point she said I should think of a person and pick two cards – I drew Love and Happiness. Lana got a twinkle in her eye and suggested that this person would make a great life partner. She even used the "M-word" more than once. Thing is, I was thinking of a girl, a troubled friend. And, well, I'm a girl too. Not that there's anything wrong with girls who like girls, but I've just always preferred boys. Or at least I thought I did…
I must admit that the concept of universal energy boggles my mind. But just because I don't understand it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I learned that early in my life with trigonometry too.
Overall it was a great experience – it's always special to get someone's undivided attention for an hour, especially when we're discussing the content of my soul and how wealthy I'm going to be in the future.
I was astonished at all the personal details Lana conjured up – even things I try to keep hidden from people who know me well. And I'm not talking generic stuff like they use in your daily star sign reading at the back of the newspaper – real personal stuff: my fears and other deep-rooted stuff even my best friend was surprised about when I told her.
The experience was empowering – in my case soothing some worries about my planned studies and offering encouragement. And however silly it seems, all that money waiting for me in my future makes me hopeful. I'm not sure what to make of the idea of me taking a wife, but like I said before, just because I don't understand it… Maybe there are some secrets left to reveal after all.
Lana Miller can be contacted on (021) 462 4740.
Sources: Chaos and the Psychological Symbolism of the Tarot by Gerald Schueler, Ph.D (1997); Wikipedia.