7 Tarot Myths Debunked


Thank you to Maddie and the Paranormal Museum for letting me share on one of my favorite topics today!

While the idea of Tarot has taken root in popular culture, there are also many myths about Tarot that have made their way into the popular psyche and made the art seem magical and elusive. While this is part of what makes Tarot interesting, it can also make Tarot seem inaccessible.

Let’s have a look at some Tarot myths that should be debunked!

1. Tarot is an Ancient Egyptian practice Not true! Playing cards were brought to Europe in the 1500s by Islamic soldiers that used the 52-card deck for a card game known as Mamluk. The cards were later adopted by Italian and then French aristocrats for a variety of new games, including an early version of Bridge called Tarocchi, and they updated the imagery to include Christian themes and iconography. And so the Tarot deck developed. It was only in the 1700s that French occultists began to use the cards for reading Tarot, and it was at this time that occultist Court de Gébelin suggested that they were linked with an Ancient Egyptian practice, an idea taken up by other occultists. It was only in the early 20th century that the cards were redesigned to include occultist and Egyptian themes.

2. Tarot Cards are Magic

Tarot cards are often presented in pop culture as magical, as things with a ‘life of their own’ that show the reader things that they don’t already know. There is also some suggestions that the cards could betray the reader, if they wanted to. Not so, Tarot cards are just ink on paper, mostly massed produced by printing companies. Tarot cards are tools that readers use to access their intuition in order to better understand the world and themselves. The cards are designed to represent all the different possibilities within life, but there is nothing innately magical about the cards themselves.

3. Tarot is about telling the future

Many people believe that Tarot is used to read the future, and that only psychics can use Tarot decks. While a psychic may choose to use a Tarot deck as one of the tools to support their gift, in general Tarot is not about seeing the future, but about gaining a better understanding of the here and now by accessing our intuition, and anyone can learn to use them. Better understanding the present may not seem that special, but in fact it helps us gain clarity about what it is that we want from life, and the potential consequences of our actions. This helps us make better decisions for the future and take control of shaping our lives.

4. Your Tarot deck must be a gift

It is commonly thought that at least the first Tarot deck that a person uses should be a gift, and that this is in some way an invitation from the universe to start reading Tarot. This is not the case. If your gut is telling you that Tarot is for you, what other kind of invitation do you need? This myth probably stems from the occultist group known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, that was active in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They are responsible for many of the occult traditions that are associated with Tarot. The idea that cards should be a gift was probably designed to reinforce the idea that you needed to join the order in order to read Tarot and pay the associated joining fee.

5. Never let anyone else touch your cards

Many people, including many Tarot readers, still believe that you should never let another person touch your Tarot cards. While Tarot cards are very personal, it is not true that another person should never touch your cards. The Tarot cards do pick up energy from the universe, from the reader, from the events and activities that they are connecting with, and from the people that receives a reading. Sometimes as a part of the reading the reader may ask their client to touch the cards, in order to give the reader a better feel for their energy. It is true that over time the cards can suffer from a build-up of energy, and regularly need to have their energy cleansed. If a reader asks someone to touch their cards as part of a reading, they will probably want to cleanse them before their next reading, just to make sure that the cards are fresh and the energy of the previous client does not influence the reading of the next client. It is true that Tarot readers prefer not to let strangers touch their cards, as they can bring unknown energy to the deck.

6. Reversed cards are always bad

In many Tarot reading traditions, but not all, when a card is laid on the table reversed, its meaning is different from when it is laid upright; but it is not true that a reversed card is always negative. Some readers believe reversed card may have the opposite meaning of an upright card, or a diminished meaning. For example, the upright Strength card suggests that you have the power within you to meet the challenge that lies in front of you, while the Strength card reversed suggests that you may be lacking some key resource to meet the challenge. But this in itself is not negative, it is more of a warning, letting you know that you need to seek something in order to prepare for and overcome what lies ahead. With this in mind, Tarot readings are never negative, they always provide constructive information to help you make better decisions, even though that information can sometimes be unpleasant to hear.

7. There are evil cards, like Death and The Devil

Just as reversed cards are never bad in and on themselves, none of the cards in the Tarot deck are “bad.” They may warn you of challenges on the horizon, but the cards themselves are not bad. The Death and The Devil cards have particularly bad reputations thanks to the other ideas that we associate with these concepts, but neither is bad. The Death card almost never refers to physical death, but usually refers to the end of a cycle or something important coming to an end. Endings can often be difficult, but they generally mean letting go of something that no longer serves you in order to make space for something new. Similarly, the Devil card does not mean that your soul is doomed because of something you have done, but is a warning that you need to live with the consequences of your actions. It is generally a sign to choose carefully and thoroughly consider the consequences before acting.

- By Christine Hirlehey from Numerology Sign

Note: The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of the San Benedetto Paranormal Museum.

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