There is more to Tarot than being right

When I started reading cards professionally for people it never occurred to me that I might do a reading without endeavoring to predict the future. I just assumed that this is what most clients wanted and that is what I had to give them. Over time it became clear to me that the flashy side of reading – knowing the unknowable and telling people – was actually not that interesting. I am going to go out on a limb and say perhaps knowing the unknowable is not even particularly helpful. People were often unable to use this information to their benefit.

Firstly, I should try and explain how I perceive the future. To me there is not a fixed thread that winds forward in time defining our lives but a network of options, obstacles and influences. These forces limit our choices and direct us towards certain outcomes and away from other ones. Also, not everything is possible and so many ‘options’ are not available from where a person is starting. On top of this we have free will. We have the ability to move or not move, go right or left, forward or back at any given time. The final piece of the equation comes from things that cannot be changed. Think of these events as being like a large planet’s gravity that pulls you towards them. You might not crash land on the surface of one of these events but no matter what you do you cannot escape being influenced by them either.

So when I sit with a client, you could imagine us as standing on a cliff with the past behind us and the shifty sea of the future in front of us. Behind the moving of the waves there is a pattern composed of the clients plans, previous patterns, karma, statistical possibilities and everyone else’s free will. As the future slips into the present the waves of that sea crash into the now and create a concrete reality, which quickly slides into the past. In that ephemeral moment between the future and the past predictions are proven correct or not.

“There is nothing more useless than predictions once they have come true. It’s like looking at last years amazingly successful stock picks. What are you going to do about them this year?”
Dmitry Orlov from his podcast on the Long Now website.

Now don’t get me wrong here – I enjoy being right. I think that having predictions come true creates trust and sets the stage for growth and evolution. Think about it – you don’t go back again and again to someone who gives you advice that doesn’t change anything.

As Dmitry points out, it is not the prediction that has passed us by that is relevant, it is the prediction that we can still do something about that is valuable. In the Tarot the Final Judgment card talks about what happens when something has manifested that we wish had not. This card represents end of things and a reckoning – a time when we must be judged for our actions. If we live a lie it will come out. It we steal we will get caught. If we are inauthentic we will be unhappy. On many levels there is this process of facing the consequences for our action or inaction.

Of course we don’t have to wait for judgment day to come in order to figure out what we should be doing differently. When I read for people these days the emphasis is on what can be done to avoid a bad outcome or to ensure a good one. By the time the Final Judgment comes down it is too late, so looking for the actions which will avoid an undesirable outcome becomes key.. Think of it as making a course correction to avoid a bad path. In the end it may change the outcome in your life. The reading may end up being wrong, or more accurately avoided. How great is that.

Sit with your Final judgment card and think about what you might do to avoid a bad verdict down the road. Try doing a spread that seeks out this information. Pick an area of your life – place one card for the Judgment – what is wrong with the road you are on, a second for the thing you could change NOW, and a final one for the new outcome. Repeat this for each area of your life. You could think of this as a Karmic Tune Up Spread.

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