“When we eliminate the illusion of ‘reading the future’, the Tarot becomes a psychological tool and a tool for self-knowledge.”
These words appear on page 420 of The Way of Tarot: The Spiritual Teacher in the Cards by Alejandro Jodorowsky. On page 432, he states, “The tarologist reads the present, which is the true unknown for the consultant…”
Both sentences enliven me because, for me, the tarot, whether using its structure as a map or drawing random cards to surprise ourselves into insight, assists us to look at the here and now. A tarot consultation is an opportunity to withdraw for a time from the bustle of a 21st century schedule in order to contemplate a visual representation of our present. The symbols arranged before us invite us to notice what is occurring in our bodies, minds, emotions, souls, environment, and world right now.
From the vantage point of the present, we can be aware of options, some of which we knew were there and some that seemed unknown because our minds were elsewhere. Engaged with the tarot’s potent images, our imagination and creativity can call forth options, allowing us to choose more consciously. Such choice-rich moments are empowering because they reveal to us more of who or what we can be, do, or have.
The tarot’s response to questions such as “What is the next right thing in my life?” or “What is the best possibility that can emerge from this situation?” isn’t dipping into prediction, but rather is our Inner Teacher showing us, via the language of the cards, something that already sits waiting for us to activate it or not, according to the choices we make based on the information delivered. Again, it is seeing something that is present, but seems as though it doesn’t yet exist because we haven’t slowed down enough to pay attention to it.
The future isn’t some pre-ordained room into which we stroll hoping to find the goodies or dreading the crap we might encounter. The future is the sum of our choices. Thank Life that the tarot and other tools of insight can be lenses into the choices that dwell in the present.
Image: La Justice from the Camoin-Jodorowsky version of the Tarot de Marseille.