Where do Great Tarot Readings Come From? Part 1 – The Mystery!

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I have been seeing a lot conversations around how tarot readings work and how to best learn to read the cards lately. Often these conversations come with a strong feelings on some peoples part that their way is the best way. Reading the cards for me encompasses many tools, techniques, skills, and abilities. I want to share this series as a non-dogmatic exploration of all the answers to the question “where great tarot readings come from?” All the posts in the series can be found here.

Tarot feeds on mystery so that it can show you Truth!

My first and strongest thought is that nobody knows how tarot really works. They might know how it works for them. They might even know how to teach other people to do what they do. The actual mechanisms in the end, though, are wrapped in mystery.

I believe that tarot works by harnessing mystery. Whether you want to say it taps into the liminal spaces of our lives, that the cards evoke unconscious material for us to look at, sprit gives us messages, or that it is the collective wisdom of the ages distilled into graphical form – behind all of these statements if you ask “how does that work?” you will find mystery.

I don’t see this as weakness or mean it to insult anyone’s explanations. We are born into a world of mystery. “Where did we come from?” “Where are we going?” and “Why are we here?” are all questions with only partial answers. Faith tells us many things but even it requires us to abide with the mystery of creation. Honouring the mystery of the universe and tapping into its power might be the only option if you want to make sense of life.

A few years ago, sparked by an article by Mary Greer, I started to actively asking the mystery to speak. In reading about old spreads where some cards were never revealed. I started to add a card to my readings. A card that would be reshuffled into the deck after the reading without ever being looked at. A card that allowed for a direct path from the unknowable to our specific point in time and space.

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Where do great readings come from?

As I placed this card I would say “This card is laid in respect of the mystery that we are about to enter in to.” Peoples reactions would vary wildly. Some people got very upset. “What do you mean we don’t get to look at this card?” Several people tried to reach and turn the card. Probably creation would not have been undone if they had flipped the card but I stopped them regardless. Others appeared nonchalant about it. Honestly some people did not even notice.

There are many things that I have gotten out of this practice. First it certainly serves to remind me that I am human and cannot see everything. Second, it often opens up the client. If they need a place to put their hopes or fears it would often end up fixated on the mystery card instead of me. Third, I am more intuitive when I include this card. In the end one can rationalize about the real source of all of these benefits but in the end it is only more words that dance around the edge of the mystery.

Try it sometime and let me know if it adds anything to your reading.
Andrew McGregor

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“Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?” image by Paul Gauguin

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