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Tarot: Facts and Myths

Myths cling to tarot cards because the stories appeal to our need to have something special, something that evokes the mystical as we hope Tarot cards will. Voices from beyond, cards that flip themselves, luck given or destroyed because of how you treat the cards, these ideas appeal to our story telling needs. And telling a story is an important part of reading Tarot. These stories are about the power of superstition and aren’t needed to give tarot cards their value. Tarot cards are images from our collective unconscious and they help you connect with your more intuitive and creative parts. That doesn’t mean we have to abandon our rational brains when we work with them. At most, try a suspension of disbelief as you would during a move so you can enjoy how the story develops. Then examine the story you and the cards create to see how it can help you create a future that appeals to you.

No one else can touch your tarot cards ~  

While other people can leave energy on cards, that happens regardless of if they touch them. I regularly clean my own energy and those of my space and my decks. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes cringe when someone who isn’t good at shuffling bends cards when they try. I prefer to have other people cut the deck rather than shuffle them to reduce the wear and tear on my cards. You can decide to allow anyone or no one to touch your cards. Reasonable precautions like having clean hands is a good minimum to practice.

Tarot cards can cause bad luck to follow you ~ 

Tarot cards show you what is happening, they don’t change your future anymore than watching a horror movie will cause zombies to start chasing you. I’ve had some movies make a huge impact on my life. What you see can change you! You might look at your life differently after seeing a movie or a tarot card. The power still resides with you. If changing the future was that easy, more of us would be millionaires. We can change our future by changing ourselves, and that takes dedication, intention and time. Later we’ll look at ways to use all of that to start shaping our future. 

Tarot cards are haunted ~

At the risk of repeating myself, Tarot cards are usually pieces of heavy paper that have been laminated for durability. They are mass produced and when ordered online or bought in a store, they are like any other printed material. So clean the stray energy out and bless them for your use. They don’t contain any power or energy other than what YOU put into them. Buying them won’t make you psychic and buying athletic shoes won’t make you a marathon runner. Tarot decks aren’t inhabited by spirits or guides or ghosts. I know more ghosts who are attached to teacups than tarot cards. (Yes, being around haunted teacups is cool. Check out the feel you get from them when cruising resale shops.)

If you get the Death card someone you love will die ~ 

Most likely you or a close family member is graduating or changing jobs. The Death card is more about transformation than literal death. I get the Death card the most at Senior All Night Parties because it’s the last few hours of their high school career and everyone is going through a huge transition.  

Tarot Decks must be wrapped in cotton/silk/natural fibers ~ 

Store your deck any way you want. Using things that are special to you is a way of showing your intention and value. I’ve kept cards wrapped in a silk cloth I dyed myself that I then used to cover the table when I was reading. At home I keep the deck I read with most on my table in a wooden box my son gave me for Mother’s Day.  I keep my travel deck in the metal tin it came in. I think keeping it in something waterproof is a smart way for paper products I leave in my car. (If I lived in the desert where metal left in the car gets hot enough to burn your hands, I’d go back to using Tupperware.) Using something pretty does signal your inner child that this is fun and special. Your child self gets to decide what that fun and special is and your adult self gets to decide what is safe and practical. 

Tarot cards are a New Age invention ~

While new Tarot decks are published all the time, Tarot is the French version of the Italian Tarocchi that formed from playing cards in the 1400’s. Playing cards arrived in Italy in the mid 1300’s. Over the next 100 years they changed until we get the 4 suits and 22 Trump that we currently consider a Tarot deck. The deck was used to play a game called “Trumph” and was referred to as Tarocchi Decks. The French name became more common because the deck spread to France around 1500 and fell out of favor in Italy. The Marseille deck became a standard that we know of from letters in that century. The earliest surviving Marseille Tarot cards are from 1650.

I would love to hear some of the myths you have heard about Tarot cards. Send me an email to share some of your favorite myths or questions about them. You can also join my Patreon community.