Occultist Éliphas Lévi (1810 – 1875) wrote that tarot is “the most perfect tool” to understand life.
He believed that "an imprisoned person with no other book than the Tarot, if he knew how to use it, could in a few years acquire universal knowledge."
But whose knowledge would we be acquiring?
Human history is ever-changing, and tarot changes with it.
Tarot dates back to the 1400s, when it humbly began as a card game. It wasn’t until 1909 that the Rider-Waite-Smith deck made its debut.
This was the deck that popularized tarot into what we know it as today. Many of the decks that have been published since, along with the meanings that we associate with each card, have been inspired by the RWS.
But 1909 wasn’t that long ago in the grand scheme of things.
And yet despite its youth in comparison to other systems like astrology, tarot’s potential never ceases to amaze me. The cards work. I still have moments where I find the experience to be uncanny.
I love that we live in the best time for tarot, astrology, or another related practice. It’s easier than ever for artists to publish their own decks.
We have thousands of books, blogs, and online courses at our fingertips. These practices that were once hidden, or even forbidden, are now more accessible than ever.
And even though tarot is hundreds of years old, it continues to adapt the changes in our world.
It truly is a mirror for those who are willing to see their reflection in the cards.
Just as communication, language, relationships, technology and more continue to transform, tarot changes, too.
It changes in correspondence to our perspectives about fate, free will, agency, autonomy, and personal responsibility.
The types of questions people bring to tarot readings, and the meanings we ascribe to tarot cards, reflect the changes in our personal and collective priorities.
Things like independence, autonomy, creativity, ambition, and self-care can all be found in tarot’s archetypal imagery.
Which is why it’s important to go back to the question I began with:
When we consult the cards, whose knowledge are we accessing?
Whose history and experiences do we need to take into account?
The is no singular answer because the knowledge tarot holds is vast and ever-changing.
The answer will also be different each time we consult the cards. Especially when we are reading for others, and encountering querents who all bring their own unique life experiences to a reading.
There are so many different ways to work with tarot, just like there are so many paths we can each choose in our lives.
There is no right or wrong to live your life. Your path is yours to walk, and so it is with reading tarot.
Look beyond the conventional storylines, whether they are in the cards, or in the people you meet.
Staying open to those options, and staying open to fluidity, is how we keep tarot relevant in an ever-changing world.
And: If you’re a tarot reader who wants to learn how to hold space with supportive, non-judgmental readings, there’s still time to sign up for this week’s masterclass, Reading Tarot for Others.
Memorizing card meanings and keywords only goes so far when it comes time to sit down and hold space for someone else’s life.
People can really open up to you as a tarot reader, which means that when you decide to do a reading for someone else, you need to be ready to take on the responsibility of guiding them appropriately on their journey.
This workshop will help you create a container for empowered tarot readings. Learn more at lizworth.com/tarotforothers.
Until next time,