Tarot reader myths

Today’s post is brought to you by a delectable cup of tea (or three), served in vintage Crown Lynn and savoured as close to nature as I can get. I find the view from the back veranda most soothing (though the IBC tanks in the foreground will soon hopefully find a new home as aquaponics tanks).

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For Crown Lynn lovers: teacup and saucer: Earthstone collection; teapot and plate: Peter Gibbs (circa 1967 I think)

I love the reflection of the trees in the tea, it brings about a romantic touch and makes me prone to daydream… but I digress.

I decided to list my top tarot reader myths (which I find rather irritating to say the least), simply because it beats talking in my head at 3am in the morning. Here we go, in no particular order:

You must be given your first deck
Nonsense. I bought my first deck. And the second. And the third… etc etc. Sure, it is always fantastic when you are given a deck, and I have received a few treasures as gifts from friends in this way, but it is no way mandatory that you must be given any deck in order to read with it.

Tarot reading is a gift that is passed down from generation to generation
And always from your mother’s side. Yeah, right. Utter nonsense. Again, it is great if you have such role models in your family, somewhere along the genealogical tree. But is it a prerequisite? Absolutely not.

Oh wow, you are Romanian, are you a gypsy?
What do you even mean by that?!! In my experience, I’ve found whenever western people use the word gypsy, they do so with a look of old world romanticism and wishful thinking. It conjures up quaint little wagons, a nomadic lifestyle in tune with the rhythms of nature, and a good dose of escapism from whatever problems reality imposes on them. Sure, I love the notion of travelling like a nomad in a tiny house – in fact, for someone who lives in a rather big solid home, I have developed a strong affinity for tiny homes and the like.

What I think they really mean when they ask that, however, is whether I am a gypsy by blood, although most of them display common cultural illiteracy by associating Romanians with gypsies, which came to Eastern Europe from India many, many moons ago. As far as I know, no, I am not, though I wouldn’t care either way and it wouldn’t matter an iota for my tarot readings whether I was one or not. It would simply tick someone’s preconceived notion of what a Tarot reader should be. Ugh.

To read Tarot you must be soooo spiritual
Yawn. Again, what do you even mean by that? Because as far as I’ve learned, dealing with the material world is equally important as delving into the spiritual one. In fact it is imperative that one has a good grip on the material realities of life when dipping one’s toes in spiritual waters. I’ve met so many people who are indeed well in tune with the spiritual dimension of life, yet are unable to keep any job for long, or pay the bills, sustain healthy relationships, nourish the body and so on. Granted, most of us, including myself, have had to struggle with one or more of these challenges at one time or another, but overall, as time goes by, one matures and learns a few lessons on the way, including mastery over such matters to the best of one’s ability.

Just because I read Tarot does not mean I spend my days in seclusion meditating upon the cards, or my nights worshipping the Moon. Truth be told, most of my time is spent looking after a 3 month old, cooking, baking, washing, folding nappies, and some gardening in between. The precious “me” time I now have is reserved for my astrology course, the occasional blog post and, one or two evenings a month, to tarot work. It would be great if I could spend 50% of my time devoted exclusively to my Tarot pursuits, but at present it’s just not feasible. Plus, I’d rather be sleeping😉

So no, I don’t think I am any more “spiritual”, just like I don’t think I am any more “material” than most folks out there. I believe everyone has the ability to tap into and exercise their spiritual awareness, and it is not an exclusive club where some people with personal issues get to feel more superior over others.

Tarot is very spiritual because it comes from ancient Egypt
or Atlantis. Or whatever New Age fluff is your flavour of the month.Gaaaaaa!!!! Get yourself to a Tarot history lesson!

The only reason the whole Egypt reference came about was due to a French fellow who gave the cards and their symbols the Egyptian link – a great article on the matter can be found here, though I quote the relevant extract:

By the mid-18th century, the mystical applications for cards had spread from Italy to other parts of Europe. In France, writer Antoine Court de Gébelin asserted that the tarot was based on a holy book written by Egyptian priests and brought to Europe by Gypsies from Africa. In reality, tarot cards predated the presence of Gypsies in Europe, who actually came from Asia rather than Africa. Regardless of its inaccuracies, Court de Gébelin’s nine-volume history of the world was highly influential.

Teacher and publisher Jean-Baptiste Alliette wrote his first book on the tarot in 1791, called “Etteilla, ou L’art de lire dans les cartes,” meaning “Etteilla, or the Art of Reading Cards.” (Alliette created this mystical pseudonym “Etteilla” simply by reversing his surname.) According to Etteilla’s writings, he first learned divination with a deck of 32 cards designed for a game called Piquet, along with the addition of his special Etteilla card. This type of card is known as the significator and typically stands in for the individual having their fortune read.

Etteilla eventually switched to using a traditional tarot deck, which he claimed held secret wisdom passed down from ancient Egypt. Etteilla’s premise echoed the writings of Court de Gébelin, who allegedly recognized Egyptian symbols in tarot-card illustrations. Though hieroglyphics had not yet been deciphered (the Rosetta Stone was rediscovered in 1799), many European intellectuals in the late 18th century believed the religion and writings of ancient Egypt held major insights into human existence. By linking tarot imagery to Egyptian mysticism, they gave the cards greater credibility.

Building on Court de Gébelin’s Egyptian connection, Etteilla claimed that tarot cards originated with the legendary Book of Thoth, which supposedly belonged to the Egyptian god of wisdom. According to Etteilla, the book was engraved by Thoth’s priests into gold plates, providing the imagery for the first tarot deck. Drawing on these theories, Etteilla published his own deck in 1789—one of the first designed explicitly as a divination tool and eventually referred to as the Egyptian tarot.

Plus, the earliest recorded Tarot cards we have are from Italy, circa 1450, and they were used for playing card games.

You can read what I’m thinking, can’t you?
No, I cannot, nor do I wish to. If I could truly read people’s minds, I’d end up in a mental asylum. Sure, I intuit what a person is about fairly well if I need to, but I truly do not read anyone’s mind. I’ve got enough on my plate dealing with my own mind, thank you very much, and let me tell you, it’s a good thing I discovered yoga and breathing techniques.

DSCF8786Phew. I think that’s about it for now.

I shuffled the Alchemical Tarot and asked for a card on these tarot myths. I drew the 8 of Swords.

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Shackled by the boundaries and fears of our own minds, is how I read this card. Our most powerful limitations are often driven by our mind – superstitions, fears and desires alike.

Until next time,
Monica

8 thoughts on “Tarot reader myths

  1. credencedawg October 21, 2015 / 1:46 am

    🙂 I also find it a little unnecessary when people insist that you *must* keep your cards wrapped in silk, in a special box, otherwise you are really not a proper tarot reader, and just not following the rules. I have a few felt pouches for some of my packs, and they are nice to use, but the cardboard box they came in really does work fine😉

    • Monica October 21, 2015 / 8:39 am

      Ah, yes yes I forgot about that one!! You are so right – honestly whatever you are comfortable with works well. I’m a fan of nice cloth bags, but also have a wooden box, and yes, the cardboard packaging is just fine too🙂

  2. Zanna Starr (@zannastarr) October 21, 2015 / 4:05 am

    Lovely photos and welcome discussion of tarot reader myths, Monica! I often have to explain to clients that I do not wish to read their boyfriend’s (husband’s, neighbor’s) mind even if I could do so with Tarot cards.

    • Monica October 21, 2015 / 8:41 am

      Yes Zanna, I know…. (rolling my eyes). I’ve had to make a point of noting this with some of my clients too – and still they look nervous and I can tell they don’t believe me!!! Sigh.

  3. D. D. Syrdal October 22, 2015 / 7:12 am

    I’ve done a similar post on my blog. I’ve also heard silly things like “you should steal your first deck”!!!! WHAT??? I don’t know where people come up with this stuff. Oh also, you should sleep with the cards under your pillow, put them back in order after EVERY READING (come ON!) I even heard of a reader who insisted each client bring a brand new deck with them for her to read with. It just goes on and on.

    And people who get freaked out when Tarot is accurate… What is up with that? Why would you bother reading the cards if they weren’t?? :::SMH:::

    • Monica October 22, 2015 / 12:47 pm

      Ha ha – oh yes one could go on and on with this… Geee I would love it if every client brought a new deck for me to read with😉 how ridiculous though. I think Mary Greer did a great post on tarot myths, it was a collection of tarot readers’ takes on the subject. We have a long way to go it seems…

  4. Magic Mentha (@MagicMentha) October 23, 2015 / 2:39 pm

    What a fun post. I can resonate with these–except that I’m not Romanian and such. Heheeee. I’ve spent a good amount of time just telling people who are new to tarot that you don’t need any special skills or weird rituals to do tarot. It’s easy. Anyone can do it if they’re paying attention. And there’s no perfect or one ‘right’ way to do it. I think anything that seems odd or out of the norm is looked upon with trepidation. And it doesn’t matter what deck–except that it should be one that you enjoy reading with.

    • Monica October 24, 2015 / 11:48 pm

      Yes intent is the key. And yes, one does need to like the cards and the artwork too🙂 which, let’s face it, is not too hard these days, what with the plethora of tarot artists out there🙂

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