The popular image of the Tarot is that of a mysterious and sometimes foreboding pack of fortune-telling cards. Typically, you see a bohemian-looking female handling the cards. Interestingly, modern Tarot readers often perpetuate this image of the Tarot on social media platforms such as Instagram.
While most people think they have an idea about what the Tarot is, there are many misconceptions and superstitions still floating about. This is perhaps not strange considering how clouded the history of the Tarot is. The Tarot is also one of the mantic arts. All the mantic arts have baggage because of how religious institutions have treated and continue to treat them. The church has always viewed the Tarot as a threat. Rightly so! The Tarot empowers its users to find truth away from dogma on their spiritual path.
5 Strange Facts About the Tarot
1. The Tarot can actually be used to foretell the future
Though I’m not keen on viewing the Tarot as primarily a tool for fortune-telling, it can indeed be used this way. I know this from my own experience and reading for myself, as well as from reading for clients. The current trajectory is rarely set in stone. However, when it is, the Major Arcana cards tend to come out in force. Though sometimes, you can get just as clear a prediction with only cards from the Minor Arcana–especially if you read intuitively, based on the ‘film’ you see unfolding in the Tarot imagery.
Internally, you as a reader will feel a ‘click’ when you view a fairly certain timeline in the cards. The imagery in the cards harmonises perfectly with the question asked or what is currently on your mind. It’s important to know that this is still one of any number of possible future timelines, albeit the most likely one. Never ever make a 100% guaranteed future prediction. You can still rest assured that when you do feel you are looking at a ‘fated’ future event, your accuracy is almost certainly going to be better than the BBC weather forecast.
2. Nobody knows the origins of the Tarot
Though there has been wild speculation about the origins of the Tarot, nobody knows for certain. The 18th-century French occultists stated with great certainty that the Tarot had its origins in Egypt and the Egyptian mystery schools. This has since been debunked. I recently read one book that claims Cathar origins for the Tarot and am currently reading about possible Magian (Persian Mithraic) origins. The speculations are interesting and all serve to add new perspectives on the cards but no firm conclusions can be drawn.
The only thing we know with any amount of certainty is that the oldest known Tarot deck was commissioned in 15th-century Italy. I’m talking about the famous Visconti-Sforza Tarot.
3. A curious blend of Christian and Pagan imagery
The curious blend of Christian and Pagan imagery present in the Tarot cards may seem strange. However, it is likely to have its origins in the pervasive syncretism of its era. Really, this is not strange at all from a Sophianic perspective. The mysteries presented in the Tarot all point to Sophia, Lady Wisdom. She was revered in the Hellenistic (Greek Pagan) tradition, as well as among Gnostic Christians.
In modern ‘woke’ circles, there would be a lot of finger-pointing and shouts about ‘cultural appropriation.’ However, back in the day, the Mystery Schools saw a blending of teachings and traditions as a way of enriching their understanding of the numinous realms.
Unpopular opinion: Our ancestors got it right and post-modern ‘liberals’ (fascists, more like) got it wrong.
4. The Tarot has the perfect structure for lifelong learning
The structure of the Tarot makes it a perfect ‘skeleton’ for superimposing other metaphysical subjects. This is why we see correspondences for Numerology, Astrology, and Kabbalah, just to mention the more prominent subjects.
Because of this natural symmetry and affinity with the other metaphysical arts and subjects, the Tarot easily turns into a lifelong study. Anything you could possibly learn will fit on one of the 78 hooks in your mind.
Check out my FREE Tarot Resources page to kick-start your Tarot learning journey!
5. You don’t have to be psychic to use the Tarot
The Tarot has many uses that are not related to divination. Secular, ‘non-spooky’ ways of using the Tarot cards include using them as journaling prompts, as inspiration for creative writing projects, and as regular playing cards for playing card games. You can find more, lesser-known uses for Tarot cards in this post.
Even if you do use the Tarot to divine an answer, you don’t necessarily have to be psychic or in possession of precognition. You simply need to be able to tell the story you see unfolding in the cards. Your intuition will do the rest. We all have intuition and the Tarot is an excellent way of exercising your intuitive faculties.