At one time, tarot was used primarily as a tool for divination; its forte was getting under the skin of outward appearances in order to examine the roots of causality found within a querent’s subconscious grasp of his or her personal reality. This was usually expressed in terms of the chance for occurrence of some future event within the context of the seeker’s present inquiry. It tapped a universal (or “archetypal”) stream of unconscious intelligence that was “personalized” only in the sense that it could be translated into situational awareness and developmental insights that ideally shed light on the subject’s private concerns as they evolved toward resolution. Empowerment for self-willed action resulted from opening a unique window on trends and probabilities that were previously inaccessible to conscious scrutiny, providing useful input for constructive decision-making. “Forewarned is forearmed” was its guiding principle.
This was before the emergence of the New Age fixation on psychological deconstruction, in which every phenomenon must be understood in terms of its effect on the human psyche. Trying to figure out the simplistic “what” and the “how” of something rather than the more complex, humanistic “why” was dismissed by purveyors of the self-awareness mandate as unreliable, old-fashioned fortune telling, the problem being that events don’t always play out as scripted, whereas there is always something going on in our heads that we fancy we can figure out by gazing at images printed on cardboard. Not only for ourselves, but for anyone we choose to point our cartomantic microscope at, no matter where in the world they reside.
However, my goal here isn’t to beat that particular “dead horse,” but rather to slaughter a fresh one for our dissection. Diviners of all stripes do a brisk business with that age-old conundrum “Does ‘X’ love me?” Since the existence of mental telepathy has not been conclusively verified by empirical methods, answering such questions amounts to so much intuitive guesswork masquerading as psychic revelation. While I have no problem with the concept of psychism, since I think all such techniques are simply a form of mental physics – or mentation – that we are not yet able to measure and quantify, I think tarot cards are more a convenient prop than a leading indicator in the exploration of how some typically absent individual “thinks or feels” about the querent. When used privately for the purposes of self-understanding and spiritual development, tarot can stimulate associations with all manner of previously acquired experience and knowledge that can in turn create meaningful insights into personal growth potential. When used for public demonstrations of psychological profiling, it falls more into the realm of mind-reading. I would much rather answer the question of what “X” is likely to do or not do regarding the querent than whether he or she is emotionally predisposed toward any kind of romantic relationship. Even then, when third-party subjects are involved, it barely creeps over into SWAG (scientific wild-ass guess) territory for me.