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[Spiritual Journey] Why Did I Start Studying Tarot as a Scientist

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Crystal Visions Tarot by Jennifer Galasso

As a woman of science, I have often been asked how can I study the occult and science at the same time, and I often answer: “why couldn’t I?”. I do not think the two are mutually exclusive; I see them as the two sides of the same coin instead. To me, science and the occult are different approaches to the same question: how things (or the universe) are, and why.

A lot of the times people treat tarot as a tool for fortune telling – a tool that provides a glimpse into the future. Not only is this a misconception, it also underestimated the full potential of a deck of tarot. Tarot reading is a form of divination, it is a tool that could help us reflect on ourselves, as well as analyze a situation/problem when we have one. It could not foresee the future since our future is not fixed (no I do not believe in fate), but it could show us the possible outcome of certain events with the given circumstances. It could help helps us better understand ourselves and provide insights when we are lost.

There are many theories out there that explain how and why tarots work, but I am not going to explain them here. I would like to say, however, is that although tarot reading may not be accurate science (that being said, not even science works with 100% certainty), nor it can replace or overrun scientific theories; it may be able to help us in aspects where science doesn’t necessarily work. Scientific theories and practices are facts based research and are the fruits of decades, if not centuries, of hard work. Science for sure have changed and improved our lives (yes, you should be vaccinated; and no, veganism does not cure cancer), but at this moment, science cannot explain everything in our universe. As much as we know, the fact is that we still know very little about the world we live in. There is nothing wrong with relying on the trustworthy, tried and true science. It, however, may not be a bad idea to keep an open mind, and utilize other tools that we have. You will be amazed by the number of witches there are with scientific backgrounds. 

The Anima Mundi tarot by Megan Wyreweden

What the Tarot Is and Isn’t

When reading the tarot, it is important to understand that the cards are not for fortune telling (don’t ask your deck when will you get married, it cannot answer it), nor it could make decisions for you (the deck would not be able to answer questions like “should I switch to a new job”, it could only provide information on what would happen if you choose to/ not to). The tarot is not the wheel of our Lady Fortuna, and your future is not written. The tarot is just a mirror that reflects ourselves; a way of seeking guidance and a tool for our inner growth.

Some say that it’s best for the tarot reading to be inaccurate. This is especially true when the tarot is used as a coaching tool. Let me explain this with an example. Let’s say someone wanted to know whether she will get promoted in the following year, and according to the card, the answer is no. What would she do next? Accept this as a fact and stop working hard for the promotion? If she turned out to not being promoted, was it because the card said so? Or was it because she didn’t work hard enough for it? When using the tarot card, it is important that we ask for guidance and advice, but not for the visage of the future. Asking the right question is always important, instead of asking will you get the promotion, ask the cards HOW can you get promoted. I believe this is how we could best benefit from the practice of tarot reading.

The Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Barbara Moore

My Experience

I cannot explain to you scientifically how tarot works. All I can say is that it has worked for me throughout my journey, and have helped me many times in my life. There were times when I needed to make important decisions and I simply just didn’t have the determination to make the call. During those moments, I turned to my tarot cards. Not only they helped me better understand what I was dealing with, it also has shown me options that I had yet to consider. Most importantly, it encouraged me to make the change. Believe it or not, it had once helped me identify the reason why my experiment kept failing when no one else could. :)

Tarot reading has helped me better understand myself, to understand my strengths and weaknesses, and to help me improve myself. There might not be a scientific explanation on why or how tarot cards work, but neither could I ignore the amazing experience that it has given me throughout the years. It does not matter whether you have religious beliefs or not, give it a try and it may work wonders for you. Even if it doesn’t, at least you would know you didn’t miss out.

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