Tarot and The Probable Future

I just finished reading The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman, a story about generations of women in a single family all with a unique gift bestowed on their 13th birthday, the youngest of which received the gift of being able to tell the future, or rather, how a person will die.

This story intersected well with my life as a tarot reader and witch, captivating me, accurately displaying the truth of all the important things. That’s the thing about novels: they cut right to your heart, they sidle up to you and whisper “me too” in your ear and as you read them, your interpretation is the only one that matters. You get a taste of what it’s like to really recognize your own judgment without anyone else telling you what it means or what to think. You enter into a private world and relationship with the characters who relate to you, change you, slip truth into your heart without you even knowing, though you feel it. You feel when the book is ended that something magical occurred between you and the words. And how could it ever be explained? It has to be experienced.

This is true for all things that matter in life. No second-hand account or blurted philosophy can substitute for feeling the swelling of the heart, the knowing within, the magic of relating. No self-help book, educational or religious text have brought me closer to what can only be known beyond words. We ourselves are mysteries to be encountered and known.  No one can explain the how of their relationship to the Divine. The closest we come is through allegories and stories. It is a mystery.  It is living poetry. 

The same is true for tarot. A handful of people have asked me how tarot works, and there are many theories, from connecting with the unconscious through archetypal images, to intuitive connection to spirit guides or a higher power, all of which dance around the real inner truth: I don’t know. No one does. Not really. It’s a mystery. I can’t explain it to you as if it were mechanisms on a machine. It’s not a parlor trick. It’s not the work of a magician (in the pulling the rabbit from a hat sense). There is no expounding on it with words. It is a thing to experience in order to know. It is cut from the same mystery that underpins our entire existence and provides meaning. 

As I finished The Probable Future I thought about how true it is that we can change our own futures. Though I do sometimes like to look ahead (after all, forewarned is forearmed), a decision here in this moment, no matter how small, determines so much of what’s to come. We can vibrate a different sound and suddenly change the entire tune. What exquisite power. How many eschew it. 

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