Rachel Pollack on What We Learn from Tarot

“Tarot readings make us aware of the wonderful variety of human nature,” writes Rachel Pollack in the tarot bible Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot.


Tarot image - Shadowscapes Deck.


Author dwells into the reasons why people consult with a Tarot, and provides rather simple answer – specific information. That’s what people search for.

Those who understand the cards a little more may look on the reading as a means of finding a direction. And those who follow a series of readings will see them as a method of keeping in harmony with the changing patterns of life. But to spend a long time reading cards for yourself and others is to discover many things beyond personal information.

Pollack reminds that Tarot teaches us to pay attention to ourselves and to the whole world. It makes us more aware of surroundings and the life itself.

It teaches us to pay attention. As we begin to learn the ways in which people act, and the ways in which the world acts on them, we become more and more in the habit of noticing what others do and what we do ourselves. [...] Once we start paying attention to what we do and what happens as a result we notice all sorts of things, not just through readings, but in daily life; patterns of anger and trust, hope and fear, how our response to situations may come from inside us rather than from the situation itself. We become more conscious of the way we deal with work and friends, of tendencies to shift responsibility either away from ourselves (‘It’s not fair’ or ‘You did this to me’) or onto ourselves (‘It’s all my fault’) . We will notice, for instance, that saying ‘It’s all my fault’ is often a trick to avoid seeing what we have actually done. By making it all or nothing, we make it easy to avoid a true assessment of the situation. Paying attention makes it just a little bit harder to get depressed or to manipulate other people. As we begin to observe the subtle reasons why people cry or become angry or accuse others, we will at least know a little about ourselves when we do these things.

“The Tarot teaches us as well the valuable lesson of context. No matter how absolute a quality may seem to us in the abstract, in reality it affects us only in the context of other influences,” she writes, and asks intriguing questions that probably many tarot beginners or those, who did not read themselves, ask – how do we know what the reading tells us?

Some things become obvious from the images of the cards. Ifwe ask about work and the Lovers and the Two of Cups appear, then the reading will probably concern not work but love. As a beginning reader, however, you cannot expect to uncover all subtleties. Experience alone will help you find your way to the heart of the labyrinth. As you continue with readings you will fmd yourself able to sense these things. And the heightened perception will carry over to other areas of your life as well. [...] A Tarot reading actually reaches beyond time, bringing out the true pattern that includes past and future. The random pattern of the cards leads us to bypass the limitations of consciousness. And yet that limited consciousness must interpret the reading.

Tarot is a special tool that gives us advantage to life, by using it we can experience it and make it better. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot by Rachel Pollack can definitely help you to understand it faster and more effectively.

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