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Witches and The Use of The Tarot


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#101 Autumn Moon

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 01:49 PM

Tarot can be an excellent learning tool about history and different occult practices, in addition to it's obvious use in divination. If you look at more "beginner" decks (like rider waite, although I'm not sure it's a deck exclusively for beginners, and more like it's just good for beginners to start with) the clear symbols and meanings in each card have a rich history in the occult, spirituality, paganism, mythology, astrology, etc etc...  If you seriously decide to dissect each card to learn from it, you will learn a ton- even if it's not about your path. If you're a book worm - which, obviously I'm not *sarcasm* :thumbsup: - it can be fun, and you can absorb information like a sponge. For example, Boaz and Joachim in the older high priestess cards; what do they mean, why are they even there...? Where does that veil lead, and why is she in front of it? Whats with the moon? (rhetorical questions, but my point is that basic questions like this can help you learn about things you never knew about older spiritual traditions and how magick had been historically done in different groups) 

 

More modern decks that use the spirit of these cards, and have these meanings more subtlety (or not at all explicitly drawn in the cards) can be good because it forces you to understand your deck personally rather than these concrete meanings -which some people find obscure - and start relying on your intuition. I think this is what many people in the thread have been saying; to listen to the "voice behind the cards" which ultimately is your own voice coming to surface. Heck, you don't have to learn the history of the cards to do an accurate reading, if you:

-get to know your deck 

-let the cards speak to you, and

-start learning to develop and trust your abilities... 

-practice

 

That's my two cents *shrug*.

_______

As far as I know, the Rider-Waite deck creation was the beginning of 'modern' tarot decks. There are many clones (with some variation) i existence today.

 

I don't think the RW deck is a beginner deck, although many new to tarot start out with it. Many long time and professional readers still like to use the RW deck.  I also do not think the symbolism in other decks is more subtle than the RW. I like to  use the Druidcraft deck. It is a RW clone, but with some differences. I'm not druid or wicca, but on the whole I like this deck. 

I think the reader has to 'like' the Tarot deck in order to have good readings with them.


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#102 SachaX

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 02:14 PM

Tarot for divination is a whole lot of a newer concept then when they were originally created.

When Columbus sailed the ocean blue, they were nothing more than a game. They were not used for divination.

It is easy to overstate their importance in divination because their history in that regard is not so old, and Crowley sure helped the masses accept it as that.

 

But I see what you are saying about new technologies.

Let's start divinating by using random lines in moves, or the beep beep of our cellphones, or the amount of times car alarms go off in your neighborhood.

 

Why not use tea leaves? or bark surfaces, or rain drops in your hand? The old crystal ball, a black mirror, reflections in a lake? These are time tested devices of divination. Why does it HAVE to be Tarot that is the most popular tool for divination?

 

Would you advise anyone starting out to use any thing other than Tarot? Why or why not?

 

Thanks for your help everyone. I'm asking these questions as to further educate myself as well as to completely flesh out the Topic at hand.


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#103 RoseRed

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 02:56 PM

I don't understand why Tarot bothers you so much.

 

I advise people to start out with what works for them - whether it be tea leaves, water scrying, cards, sticks or stones or bones, whatever. 

 

Tarot has a voice all it's own.  I call it 'the voice behind the cards'.  They speak to me in a way that other divination methods do not.  I work with what I work best with and have spent countless years trying others methods and honing my skills.


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#104 Nikki

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 03:10 PM

RR, I get what you are saying. After a lifetime of not feeling compelled to divine via Tarot (but liking them) ... I recently heard that voice speak to me. 


Edited by Nikki, 31 August 2014 - 06:15 PM.

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#105 Belwenda

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 03:34 PM

Tarot is EASY that's why, (yes, before the printing press it would have been difficult to have a Tarot deck).

For divination, people will use what is at hand, a pool of water or fire (for scrying) might work as well as a black mirror or crystal ball, chicken (or other bones)  work for some- but cards are easier to transport, and not as creepy as bones (to my mind). And like RR said they work for me.

Although lately- I've been using Thehoodedman's Tyke Dice and they are pretty cool :crystal-gazing:


Edited by Belwenda, 31 August 2014 - 03:36 PM.

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#106 Gyreleaf

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 04:47 PM

Couldn't one argue Tarot is a time tested form of divination?

 

I don't think tarot was the most widely used form of divination within witchcraft until more modern times. But I think it became a more socially excepted form to use even within religious communities. Its easy for folk to see the connection between the pictures on the cards and what was revealed and took away some of the "supernatural" or witchy element from getting a reading. The other techniques were and are still used but it is perhaps not for public consumption. It became expected that if you went to someone for a reading it was going to be with cards. Perhaps a product of the industrial age and a stepping away from old ways.

 

Could you imagine the look on a clients face, who knows nothing of our ways, if you just stared at a puddle water for an hour and rambled out a reading. The cards are at least something solid they can see for themselves.


Edited by Gyreleaf, 31 August 2014 - 04:57 PM.

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#107 Wexler

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 07:58 PM

But I see what you are saying about new technologies.

Let's start divinating by using random lines in moves, or the beep beep of our cellphones, or the amount of times car alarms go off in your neighborhood.

 

If people can get accurate readings from movies and cellphones (cinemancy? Phonomancy?) then more power to them.

 

Again, just because something is older or more natural does not make it better. That is a common fallacy people buy in to these days - something handmade must be better than machine made, something 'artisan' must be better than 'contemporary', even though likely both of them were mass produced in the same factory. It is a response to what we perceive as soulless industrialism. At the same time, I think a knee-jerk reaction to progress is somewhat misplaced. Humans develop technology because it makes our lives easier. If tarot makes your life as a witch easier, why would you toss it aside and engage in methods of divination that are less convenient or less accurate for you? Witchcraft is about results, not being rustic just for the sake of antiquity.

 

Why not use tea leaves? or bark surfaces, or rain drops in your hand? The old crystal ball, a black mirror, reflections in a lake? These are time tested devices of divination. Why does it HAVE to be Tarot that is the most popular tool for divination?

 

Because I don't want to. I tried scrying with a black mirror, and that did things to my head that screwed me up for a few weeks - tarot doesn't do that to me. It doesn't rain here. My family doesn't buy loose-leaf tea. Because I cannot possibly explain to my family why I'm sitting and staring at a tree for an hour, and I cannot risk outing myself just for the sake of divining. I can't afford a crystal ball. Besides, it is not as if every witch has the ability to successfully employ any method of divination.

 

Tarot is somewhat more socially acceptable than other divining methods. It is cheap, convenient, and the resources to learn it are innumerable.

 

Is there value in to learning older systems of divination? Absolutely - and I think I would be amiss to not try them out when I have the opportunity. But I am not going to contort my life around forcing myself to use these methods for their own sake.

 

Tarot HAS to be the most popular tool because a majority of witches prefer it. That is how popularity works. And most witches prefer it because it is accurate, convenient, and easily accessible.

 

We can argue until we are blue in the face about doing things the 'old way' or about how it was nothing but a game until it was turned in to a divination system by occultists. But that doesn't change the fact that if a witch sees something that will expand his or her path, they are not going to ignore it just because it is a mere 600 years old, and not as ancient as fire or rain itself. If we had to wait billions of years for things to become old enough to be acceptable to use in witchcraft, it would never evolve as a tradition. And if something cannot adapt through evolution, it dies.

 

So maybe that is why tarot has to be the most popular. Because it is an adaptation to the modern world. Clinging to the past and refusing to evolve is the sign of a dying, out-of-touch tradition. Learning how to bring magic in to modern technology and tools is perhaps a vital function of today's witch. So saying "why are witches using things as part of their path that didn't exist before modern man" is not being more traditional than the next witch, it is just an argument against evolution. A time-honored facet of witchcraft is survival through adaptation, and that is what witches are doing when they adopt new tools and methods. A witch can stick to how they believe witchcraft functioned 20,000 years ago and pioneer a new reconstructionalist path (Paleo Witchcraft?), but it does not mean they have found anything more true or more powerful than how witches operate today. And there is no reason to assume that tarot takes witches away from the heart of witchcraft, or that scrying in puddles will take them towards it.


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#108 SachaX

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 10:26 PM

As to the OP, Witches and the use of the tarot. A fine list has been created to help answer the question deeper.

Thank you everyone for your input. I may add a few of my own in here.

 

Even though Tarot is not as old as some perceive them to be, it is a very easy method to use to divinate with. It is light, easily portable, cheap, many resources are at easy disposal to learn them, they speak to people, they have the gravitas to grab our attention, they don't lie, they don't take hours to use, we didn't have to kill anything or stand out in the freezing cold to use them. They are tightly wrapped into the fabric of occult culture and are very popular. Many different forms of divination should be advised with the newbie getting stated, but Tarot should not be ignored just because it is a newer idea. Like everything else, a witches tools can too change with the times. 


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Posted 31 August 2014 - 10:42 PM

Tarot is also easy to hide in plain sight and won't attract undo attention by having a deck of cards about you.


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Posted 31 August 2014 - 11:05 PM

.. Tarot HAS to be the most popular tool because a majority of witches prefer it. That is how popularity works. And most witches prefer it because it is accurate, convenient, and easily accessible.

 

 

I think it's the most popular because its easy to use compared to all the other major divination methods.  It's easily explained and there is a basic rule book for it.  As such there is a structure to it whether it be a single card reading or a complex layout that has to be deciphered.

 

Look to any other form of divination and there really are no hard rules and procedures on how to use them.  Many are very much trial and error and require the reader to "Understand" what is being revealed and how to read the signs and indicators that are associated with each form.  So divination upon the third eye is similar to water / smoke divination but quite different from it as well.  The symbology is very much individual and based upon the readers own symbology and how each symbol is understood and related to its surroundings.  

 

While there are books on dream symbology for instance you find out right away most of the dictionaries are useless and you have to know on a deeper level.

 

It's sad but tarot is also made for dummies in many usages.  It's a great cold reader application and gives you something visible you can use to pull forth info from whomever your reading for.  It has a very deep cultural presence, almost an egregore of its own that anyone can tap into and get a base reading.  Sadly it also does not require a lot of commitment or dedication to use it.  In some ways falling right into the old commercial "So easy even a caveman can do it!"

 

That is not to say or suggest only dummies use tarot or you should call tarot readers dummies but in its simplicity it takes little to no training to use it.  Purchase the deck and your off and running in giving out future readings and have the check list right at hand to analyze and reveal the future.  Symbology wise just find an oracle or tarot deck that you like the artistic work on and your already ahead of the game for you rely upon the mental stimulation of the imagery and what it suggests to the one who is being read for.  Rider Waite was harder for only a few cards had a symbology that connected on multiple levels and the reader had to see through the cards not just see on the cards.

 

I've always believed if you want to find out if your a reader use a deck of regular cards and do divination with them.  The whole tarot deck is in them along with all the same meanings and feelings along with the visible spreads.  Ironically though most tarot readers either can not or will not use them as its to hard and requires almost as much skill and training as the other forms of divination do.

 

Of course just my own opinion though.


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#111 Hecolyte

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 12:33 AM

_______
As far as I know, the Rider-Waite deck creation was the beginning of 'modern' tarot decks. There are many clones (with some variation) i existence today.
 
I don't think the RW deck is a beginner deck, although many new to tarot start out with it. Many long time and professional readers still like to use the RW deck.  I also do not think the symbolism in other decks is more subtle than the RW. I like to  use the Druidcraft deck. It is a RW clone, but with some differences. I'm not druid or wicca, but on the whole I like this deck. 
I think the reader has to 'like' the Tarot deck in order to have good readings with them.


By "more modern" I meant ones made in the past couple years, hence the "more" and not just "modern", lol ;).
I agree with you- it's useless if you don't like your deck, or don't connect with it. What I've noticed in my hunt for recent decks modeled after RW, is that they do not use the same smack you in the face clear symbols and mythology to get the point across of what the card is "supposed to" convey, which is what the RW does. I didn't mean they were more elusive to the reader, since many people read cards based on how it speaks to them, not based in the meanings written in books... what it is supposed to convey and what it means to the reader can be different, of course.
If you read above, I also made the exact same point about rider Waite being considered a beginner deck, even though it really isn't, its just popular amongst beginners, so I'm happy to see someone else agrees. I actually like RW.

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#112 Wexler

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 01:05 AM

I generally agree with you Hecolyte. I do not think any deck is 'beginner' in that it is less complex and meant for learners. Tarot has a steep learning curve, so no matter what deck you first pick up you need to do a lot of studying before you can do a reading on your own without help (unless you are a wicked intuitive reader).

 

I will argue that Rider, Waite, and Smith made up the meanings for the minor arcana cards based on occultish theories at the time, especially numerology and the four elements. So I do not think each card is 'supposed' to mean anything, and as long as a tarot deck represents the complete macrocosm, the cards can mean anything and they are no more or less correct than what is in the Rider-Waite decks. But I agree that for the meanings they have chosen, the symbolism they used was excellent, and a good introduction to occult symbolism.


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