by Stephanie DeFazio
They’re mysterious, and they seem tricky. Somehow, I’ve discovered, they have an uncanny ability to connect with people, or through people, and shine a light on what you’re truly asking.”
I visited mystical Salem with a friend recently, where we popped in and out of the various quirky shops there. One shop in particular always intrigues me: Enchanted. The whimsical name reminds me of fantasy stories and yes, I will be honest, the well-known 2007 Disney movie of the same name! Stepping inside, you immediately smell calming incense and you know you are in a spiritual place. There are many unique items throughout the store, including love spell packages, and an entire section devoted to tarot card decks that vary in themes from dogs to dragons. I am familiar with tarot cards, and I have had readings before. At first glance though, these decks do look like themed playing cards. In my own research that followed, I learned that tarot cards have a much deeper, spiritual and therapeutic meaning.
When exploring the origin of tarot cards, my findings pointed to Northern Italy in the early 15th century as a card game for the wealthy. (Tarot Documentary). This card game was the “ancestor to our modern game of bridge” (The Little Known History of Tarot). So, the deck itself had the same look as playing cards, as it was divided into four suits with images symbolically representing the structure of society. Cups were the church, coins were merchants, swords represented aristocracy, and wands or rods were the peasants (The Origins and History of Tarot Cards). In Southern France, these cards were further developed out of an interest in Egyptian and ancient Hermetic philosophy (The Little Known History of Tarot). The deck had 78 cards, divided into the Major and Minor Arcana. There were 56 cards in the Minor Arcana, which represented the recognizable playing cards (Tarot Documentary). The 22 Major Arcana cards were a bit more complex, with “allegorical images associated with human journey” (The Little Known History of Tarot). In the 19th century, occultists and authors began making the connection with the cards to ancient symbolism and mysticism. One British occultist, Arthur Edward Waite, worked together with artist Pamela Colman Smith in the early 1900’s to create what we recognize today as the Tarot deck, connected to divination and spiritual guidance (The Little Known History of Tarot).
"Tarot cards do not tell the future; rather, tarot is a tool for spiritual guidance and enables the person receiving the reading to connect to his or her inner wisdom. Tarot readings help a person understand what he or she needs to know about a particular situation. Decks are best used as a tool of inner wisdom and guidance, as readings give a person insight to past, current and future events based on the person's current path at the time of the reading.”
Gaye Weintraub — owner of the holistic wellness company Soul'ed Out
(Ni'Kesia Pannell, 7 things you need to know before you start reading tarot cards)
Could tarot card readings actually be better than modern-day counseling and therapy? In my own experience, I have found that while therapists are really good listeners, they do not provide the insight and connection to the divine that can offer specific guidance. That special connection to my own spiritual team of cheerleaders can define the root of my issues and provide answers to how to get “unstuck.” I believe it is also important to have the confirmation that “we are not alone” and we have “super helpful spirits” around us (Sami Main, 5 lessons learning to read tarot cards taught me about my life).
I had an amazing intuitive reading with Peyton two years ago. He used tarot cards throughout the reading, and I felt very encouraged. Messages such as “let it go,” “attract all that I need,” and “what we say we bring into our lives” made me realize that I need to pretty much relinquish my control over everything. At the same time, though, I need to continue to keep my thoughts in alignment with what I want and watch as everything comes together. The tarot card that was most memorable to me was the Strength card, which is part of the Major Arcana. Peyton explained that this card is all about being courageous in my truth in alignment with what I truly want to do in this life. I have seen this strength evolve tremendously over the past few years, and I am starting to see things magically fall into place because I have been digging deep about what I truly want in my life. It is amazing to step back and see that transformation!
Keeping a playful spirit around you is important for tarot, even if you’re dealing with some heavy stuff. Remain curious! Remain hopeful but keep your feet on the ground. That sense of seeking, of wanting to learn, is incredibly important. We should all be so lucky to hold onto that part of ourselves.
Sami has a great perspective here. Although a tarot reading can cover some very serious ground, it is also meant to be inspiring and provide hope. The act of actually seeking guidance through a reading means that you have a sense of curiosity and value learning and growing in your life. That is the best step you can make towards your own personal transformation. I encourage you to check out Peyton’s upcoming class, It’s in the Cards, where you can learn how to read tarot cards, and experience the magic for yourself!