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Completely not my normal fare, but I really feel the urge to say

Until I came to this hole in the world, I'd never even seen these things,
and knew less-than-nothing about them. [ie, like 4/5 of the world,
I was convinced they were halfway between the bad kind of witchy-woo,
and complete tosh]

I have several friends here that are avid tarot users. They have a
healthy conviction that there's more to it than random chance, and
apparent evidence to back it up.

So anyways. I'm vaguely cynical about this stuff [obviously enough],
but something weird kept happening - every time any of my friends would
get their deck out and start playing with it [especially if they were
doing my reading], I'd end up crying.

Not because the reading was close or accurate or anything [a different
topic I'll get onto shortly], nor that the pictures scared me. I can't
really explain it, it was just something that seemed to happen - I always
felt something really strongly, and I'd no idea what the hell it was,
except that the only response I had to it was to cry.

So, in an effort to stop this sort of thing from happening, I decided to
learn about it in the hopes that actually knowing what was going on would
stop me wigging out - and because suddenly it seemed like an interesting
topic, and I tend to gravitate towards things that I find interesting.

A few things I've learned, from the perspective of someone who's
mainly unconvinced, but reasonably open-minded:

1) The tarot tends not, in my experience and from what I've read, to be
magical kinds of mystical things. They don't cause bad things to happen.

Terribly sorry, for example - the morbid-sounding "death card" is usually
a good thing. It's kind of a gentle flavor of "Something's gonna come
to an end, but that's a good thing, and whatever begins after is much

2) They tend to be more of a way of focusing what you already do when
thinking about stuff. They have images that are there to aid your
imagination and thinking [the word we're looking for is "meditation"].

As a general rule, we all know what it is that we /should/ do whenever
we have a question about something. You'll know what the right answer is,
whether you want to hear it or not. If you're having to ask whether or
not leaving your job is a good thing, the very fact you had to ask means
you already know the answer.

When you try to do a tarot reading about a topic such as this, all
that'll happen is the cards will give you the kind of yes that you need
to hear [think "Oracle from the Matrix"]. The imagery may also tend to
get your attention onto other things you may have missed - As a really
basic example, an adult male figure may become pertinent in the reading
that hadn't occurred to you as needing your attention before.

3) Bad cards aren't necessarily "bad" cards

By way of example;
If you see a Tower in the recent past, then all you have to do is think
back on the topic the reading's about, and there'll be some kind of
catastrophic change of events. In this case, it's a statement of fact,
not a prediction of dire events to come.

If you see the Tower in the near future, it's a warning. It's letting
you know that something heavy may be coming your way. But this means
that you can see it coming, and possibly lessen the negative effects,
redirect them to become a more positive thing, something like that.

The observant may ask about fate-vs-free-will at this point. I don't
have an answer for you, but you can glean that it's possible to get a
negative card in a reading about love, yet still meet your One True Love
the next day.

Something that occurred to me the other day, and the real reason I'm
writing this.

I've probably done 10 or 15 readings for other people at this
point. Clearly, I'm thoroughly inexperienced, but something I've been
noticing about my readings - I'm doing exactly what I slated John Edwards
and friends for the a couple weeks ago.

I read the cards as I see them. Literally, I read what they have to say,
looking up specific card meanings wherever I don't remember what it
is. And I find myself saying things that I could have rehearsed without
either the cards or someone to read them for.

I'd be reading cards about me, say, and the cards would tell me that
I'm intelligent but lazy. That I need to manage my finances better,
and that there's a bunch of things going on in my life that suck. Well,
shock-and-amazement abounds. Who'd'a thought?

Taken in the context of point #2 above, this would make sense. I already
know I'm a lazy bastard, and I tend to end up convincing myself that
there are other reasons for not having done something - when it's just
that I've been lazy. Oddly, I'm re-affirming faith in the cards.

So there you have a bunch of stuff that may or may not mean that tarot
cards may or may not be anything of practical interest.

And now the slightly more witchy-woo side to this.

1) I find the cards are right more often than would be entirely reasonable
if it came down to chance.

There's a game that we play sometimes, where you basically deal the
cards into a few stacks, ask a simple yes-no or two-choice question,
and turn over the top card on each stack. How many cards face the relevant
direction is your answer, with varying degrees of potency.

The tendency also is that if you ask stupid questions designed to test
the power of what's going on - "Does two plus two equal four?", then you
may or may not get the right answer. On the other hand [and a favorite
among the girls I know who do this] "Does XXX fantasize about YYY?" tends
to be right pretty often [take that one on good faith]

Yes, there's a H2G2 reference here -
God: "I refuse to prove that I exist for proof denies faith and without
faith I am nothing"
Take from that whatever you will.

2) I find that the same cards are coming up, more often than would be
reasonable by pure chance.

Pretty much every single reading I do about work, the seven of cups
appears. To me, in readings about work, it represents my boss. But what's
disturbing is that it turns up every time. Out of 78 cards, I deal ten,
and he appears in one of the four or five salient positions every
single time.

When I first got my deck, I found that the Heirophant would keep turning
up. And not just in readings. I'd be shuffing and he'd fall out. I'd
pull the cards out of the box, and he'd be the only one left. I'd be
shuffling and he'd fall out again. I sat down and had a hefty think
about the whole thing, and he no longer continuously pops up requesting
my attention.

One of my closest friends has at least one of the same group of cards
turn up every time they want to know about relationships, and the cards
pretty much all represent the most recent ex, in a malevolent context.

3) And the obvious - Every time someone else is playing with them, I'm
feeling something. Not just mildly, either. Something offensively strong
and supernatural that I don't have an answer for or an explanation of.

Read into all of that whatever you want. I just felt that I had to put
all this down. The cynics out there can find explanations for all of
these things. I know I could, if pushed. The people that believe
everything, blindly, probably think I'm being narrow-minded and that
there's more to it than I've described.
Honestly, buy a deck and make your mind up yourself.

When this .plan was written: 2004-03-29 13:33:40
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