My Experience with Tarot Cards

I can imagine a psychic tarot shoppe here

Due to my fascination with mortality and the humanistic stages of life (it's certainly more interesting than school-college-career-retirement to write about), I splurged on a seemingly pointless purchase of Rider-Waite tarot cards.

While I did not become a cross-dressing gypsy (yet... just kidding) or lose all my marbles (I lost my Christmas yarn bag of green glass marbles a long time ago), I wanted to embrace more of the mystical, humanistic traditions like the Kabbalah, which even Madonna was influenced by, and religion without actually having to go through all the effort and conversion. Who has time for spiritual texts and interpretation when there are textbooks to be read?

This is one of the bamboo offshoots of my quarter-life crisis that I experienced, in which admittedly and embarrassingly a professional services firm rejecting me played a large part, but I will not express more opinions for fear of my public blog opinions coming back to haunt me. Anyways, a quarter-life crisis is not necessarily a bad or depressing thing, but merely a time of reflection and contemplation, and, like with Apple apps, there's even a tarot card for that: the 4 of Swords! It is also a period of urgency with the feeling that certain periods like college will graduate in the near future and what one really wants to do will be siphoned off, and also a period of consideration of one's place in the world, which can be satisfactory or unsatisfactory, with the underlying motivations. Check out this spread:

According to the video below, the 4 of Swords can be seen as a knight resting and contemplating in a coffin built for him in the case that he doesn't return alive from a crusade.

Clearly, I am educated enough to know that the future cannot be divined by plastic cards biased by the reader's touchy-feeliness, which in psychology is the confirmation bias. Misinterpreting symbols and superstitions can be self-imagined constructs, but this doesn't destroy the main reason I bought the tarot cards: not to predict the future, but to see perspectives on life. 

While life in the Middle Ages depicted in the cards seems irrelevant to today, life is surprisingly still relevant with many emotions little changed through time, such as in a quote that I read somewhere that poignantly mentions that we all lived and died under the same sun.

A note must be made for the artist, Pamela Colman Smith, who died in obscurity and before recognition like Van Gogh, which is what the majority of the world will admittedly, including myself since there are too many people. People have the gift and curse of rationalizing death, but I must point out a funny card that I think is in error: How can the contemplative guy in the 2 of Wands see the world as a globe when the Middle Age people didn't know that the Earth was round?

Hmm... Reminds me of the faultiness like with Chinese knockoff Chrisdien Deny of which I actually saw a store of in China

In this individualistic society, it is sometimes hard to think about other people and their concerns. The tarot cards are supposed to tell the story of life and beyond. This is why I keep all the business cards I get; they represent a large culmination of a single person's activities, and we know that the most important person in America and the world is him/herself. This recalls a premise from How to Win Friends and Influence People; what are another person's concerns worth when one is personally struggling with bills, balding, etc.? It is a little myopic but unfortunate and inescapable.

I admittedly wanted the fast path to simple understanding and interpretation of the cards being swamped with schoolwork at the time, so I found this video extremely helpful in illuminating the intricate stories, pronouncements, realities, and symbolism in the cards, which includes things like the sun, moon, death, and even society.

While I don't shuffle the deck to keep them in my order of 56 minor arcana and 22 major arcana, I keep the box on my desk as a warm reminder of the stages of life. Occasionally, I slide through the cards when I need perspective to recall many of the stories that shed light on our short lives.

Ultimately, this purchase was extremely worth it and is my cerebral but emotional type of endless toy, sort of like a Rubik's cube or kinetic sand. It is something worth revisiting to remind ourselves that what concerns us now also concerned our ancestors even if knowledge has accumulated significantly to allow things like the Internet and skyscrapers in the modern age.

Even if I am not an expert, I <3 my tarot cards! Fun trivia: the standard 52-card playing deck evolved from tarot cards.