An Atheist with a Tarot deck…
What use does an Atheist have with a Tarot deck? Tarot is used by those who are mystical or spiritually-minded. Atheists do not believe in a higher power, nor of energy fields of inanimate objects. So how can an Atheist be a reader of cards without a belief of something higher than themselves?
First off, to understand how an Atheist can read Tarot cards, you need to take away the idea that you must possess this connection to mystical energies to be a reader. I know many readers who believe that their cards talk to them; they have a soul of some kind, which special care needs to be taken, such as wrapping your cards in silk or burning a candle. Many follow specific traditions or rituals in the belief that it will help them give better readings.
Being an Atheist, I think on a very logical and scientific basis.
This idea that the cards have a soul, which I do not believe I have myself, is a little hard for me to swallow. Or that any energy can be transferred from a person to the cards. The idea of mystical energy has little scientific backing. Often times, I think that these rituals are more of people imbuing ideas into their own minds rather than them actually doing anything.
That being said, there are some traditions I do follow, not really for myself but out of respect to my friend. The reason for this is when I told him I wanted to get a Tarot deck, he started the tradition for your first deck was to be a gift, and not something you buy yourself. Every now and then I will put my cards in order to “clean” them.
Other traditions I do follow are more for those seeking a reading, such as shuffling my deck 11 times between readings. Why 11 you may ask? This is due to an idea to make a deck of cards truly random; you need to shuffle at least 7 times, especially if it is not precisely shuffled. I do 11 because, following the tradition of my friend, I did a numerological measurement, which was my number (also my Significator), and by adding up the numbers of my date of birth, I came up with 11. For the seeker, they can see a specific pattern of behavior and imbue that in their own way. Then I would give them the deck to shuffle how they desire, in a way giving control of the placement of cards to them, even though they themselves do not know the actual order.
So what is Tarot for me?
Tarot is a deck of 78 cards (some have more) that represent different concepts of life. I feel that the Tarot can be used as a therapeutic/psychological tool. Most cards found in a Tarot deck will be relatable to most people, even if the card doesn’t directly relate to them. For me, the idea of the Tarot forces people to look inside themselves and ask questions.
Every event that happens in our lives is an opportunity to learn something. Something that happens in our past can affect our future. And that future is ever-changing. Tarot is often about change, about learning, about bettering one’s self. Taking that into consideration, one doesn’t need to use the energy of the universe to give a reading.
Often we don’t learn everything we need to at the time something happens, but rather in hindsight, when we can more properly analyze a situation. Looking at things from a different perspective often teaches us new lessons.
In regards to future readings, as an Atheist, I fall back to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal. The act of measuring changes the outcome; knowing of the future, can change the outcome of the future. Now, if you know something is supposed to happen, you can prevent it from happening inadvertently. Of course, one could say that it is one possible future. But that is too easy and irresponsible.
Can the Tarot tell the future?
Yes and No. So how do I deal with this hurdle that is about the future? If you are walking down a street, and you happen to see me standing next to the road, and I tell you, “About a mile up, you will see a stop sign,” and a mile down the road you see a stop sign; did I foretell the future? Technically, yes. But would that be your first conclusion, most likely no? You’re more likely to believe that I’ve been down that road before. That’s how I knew there would be a stop sign.
Except in very rare circumstances, your life’s story is not unique.
It has been done before. Yeah, there are different variables, but the story remains basically the same. Tarot represents this concept, and it tells a story of this path that we are on. It has been shown in Literature there are 36 different kinds of plots (that can be debated). Especially with the Major Arcana, the cards tell of the elements we will often see in our lives, representing complex ideas, about the path we are on. It is then the reader who tells the story of the seeker.
Because I seek to maintain a logical standpoint to Tarot, I believe I can give a good reading. Not necessarily better than others, but different. Ultimately it comes down to the seeker and what they take out of it, but if I can help someone think about their life and question what they are doing with it, then I consider that to be a successful reading, even if every card failed to relate to them in some way.