Monday, July 23, 2012

The Imaginative Imagery of the Tarot

I just published a book about Tarot card divination, which has been practiced for around 500 years. So, there are many historical aspects to it. Also, the Tarot imagery is full of intriguing allegories and symbols, saying a lot about our culture and its past.

Therefore, the subject is fascinating to many more people than those who want to try the tarot for divination. But you should all try it, at least once.

Here's my preface to the book:

I was introduced to the Tarot cards in my early twenties, by a friend who was quite learned about all kinds of divination methods. It was love at first sight. The charming illustrations on each of the cards, full of symbolism and intriguing mystery, were a feast for my eyes and got my imagination roaming behind them.

The Tarot works by images, as do we humans to a great extent. Words make us wonder, numbers puzzle us, but images make immediate impressions on our minds, at lightning speed. They dance with our dreams, play with our memories, and blend with our perception of the world we live in. We are creatures of imagination. As the word suggests, that’s mainly done by images, swirling in our minds.

So, reading the Tarot cards is processing the images in our imagination. We get it to the extent we allow ourselves to think in pictures, and that comes naturally to us all.
The Fool card,
from the Tarot Major Arcana.

That’s why I dared to choose the ambiguous subtitle for this book. “Imaginative reading” suggests mere fantasy. Maybe so. Lots of people would claim that’s all it is. But fantasy is no trifle. It’s how we relate to the world and its many enigmas. It gives us ideas by which we are able to discover the secrets of the universe. It unfolds reality.

I can’t think of any other human capacity that takes us farther than fantasy has done through the past thousands of years, and continues to do. It’s the fuel of creativity, and what surpasses the ability to create?

Therefore, whether we put trust in the divinations or not, reading the Tarot cards through our imagination inspires us to reconsider what we are, where we are, and the constantly elusive answer to the question why. Perhaps the wondrous way our mind relates to what is called reality will present some dazzling revelations along the way – or at the very least some thought provoking surprises.

Although I’ve played with the Tarot on numerous occasions through the years, I never thought of writing a book about it. Going from pictures to letters seems like retreating. But then it hit me that this was exactly what I felt like talking about: Reading the Tarot is taking in the images and letting them show themselves, unbound by words and reason. Our imagination will do the rest, and the result has its very own profundity. A picture is worth a thousand words.

So, in the following I will try to tickle the imagination of the reader into going on the spiritual quest induced by imagery. See the Tarot pictures come alive and make other pictures emerge from your mind to meet and transform them. It’s like going to the movies. It’s what we do.

If you haven’t indulged in it before, you may find that the world will never look the same again.

Click here to see the book at Amazon.


  1. What do you think of smartphone apps for Tarot readings?

    1. Well, I see you have one...
      Why not, but it's difficult to make it with the complexity needed to get something substantial out of it. I guess it would work the best for users who are already very familiar with the Tarot cards.

      Actually, a friend of mine is making a script so that visitors can test the Tarot on my Tarot website: Tarot Card.

      I still think doing it IRL is the best, but a screen version (and a smartphone one) can work as an introduction - and for those who know very well what each Tarot card signifies.

  2. Thanks. The use of the app as an extension to the physical deck might be a better fit. I also got feedback that it is hard to factor the human element into an app. But if it is self-readings as opposed to having a reading done for you, then the app makes sense.

    1. The "metaphysics" at play in Tarot and many other methods of divination is one of the truth hidden in chance. So, I don't think it makes much difference if you do it by hand or by computer random number generator.

      For example, I have tried my I Ching Online generator, and it works just as fine in divination as when tossing coins or sticks.

      The problem with any online solution is in the reading. Computer generated texts can't be as relevant as a personal reading. That's why I think a Tarot app works the best for those who already know the meanings of the cards quite well.

      Also, an app can be a great introduction to the Tarot for people who are completely unfamiliar with it.

  3. Thanks for your suggestion well written article with lot of helpful information about tarot cards online