The Tarot is not ridiculous because... (748 words)

That the Tarot can give accurate information about future conditions may seem ridiculous; it sounds quite irrational and primitive and not to be taken seriously. If we are choosing and turning over cards for answers to questions, we might wonder about how low we have fallen. Or have we?

Dream interpretation is considered to be quite respectable
A lot of people think their dreams are important. They will buy books that purport to tell them what their dreams mean; they will pay experts a lot of money to be given an analysis of their night-time excursions in their own minds. They will keep paying even when the expert's analysis turns out to be wrong. I suppose the idea is that our dreams reveal inner understanding, or can help us to connect with areas of our being from which we are normally cut off. Is there really much difference with Tarot cards? I don't think so.

Thinking outside the box
Again, we can have moments of inspiration or insight; we can see or hear something that causes an immediate shift in our understanding and all becomes clear - at least for a time. We make a connection or a number of connections and see links, even though the answer does not come from a logical or rational approach. What is going on here?

We are encouraged to be creative and to think outside the box, as the saying has it. Tarot cards are a ready-made method for such activity.

We don't object to people's superstitions
Sports stars can be superstitious. A baseball player might wear the same "lucky" helmet for every game, and refuses to break the habit even when he is playing badly. Soccer players will often make the sign of the cross on their chests before a game, presumably to bring them luck or blessings. You have to wonder what goes through their minds about their habit when they miss an open goal, or when they lose yet another game. They will still cross themselves, even if it isn't producing results. We don't think less of them for their behaviour, however.

The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth 1
Armada portraitThey say that a picture paints a thousand words. Stained glass images in churches told stories in the days when most people didn't know how to read. Art historians and other experts write books and lecture on the information and stories hidden in paintings. The image is there, and they explain it or make sense of it in some way and their interpretations are generally correct since the artist usually had something in mind as he or she or they painted.

There is a well-known picture - The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth 1 - by George Gower from around 1590 that is a tribute to the majesty of Queen Elizabeth whose navy had defeated that of Philip of Spain. In it, we see that instead of holding an orb as would normally be seen in a painting to represent power, Elizabeth's right hand rests on a globe - indicating that her dominion stretched far beyond the shores of the British Isles.

Imagine if you were walking through an art gallery with a friend who was explaining a problem and you happened to stop in front of a painting like this just as your friend asked you for some input or advice and you looked at the painting and your eye fell first on a globe. What would you say? That your friend should take control of the situation; that he or she should think big and figure out how to achieve the goal; that the solution was to be found in expanding into new areas, and moving beyond the normal comfort zone? The advice would probably be something along those lines, and it would be good advice that ought to be followed.

Again, the precious stones on Elizabeth's dress carried their own meaning. They were pearls - that represent virginity - and she was becoming known as the Virgin Queen, in contrast to the Virgin Mary who belonged with her rival, Philip of Spain. At the same time, pearls come from the sea, and following the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the message is also that Elizabeth is Queen of the Sea.

In a sense, you are bringing an art gallery into your environment when you use cards, instead of having to travel there and wander the corridors hoping for the coincidence of questions and pictures.