For me, tarot is a wholesome way to develop intuition.
While I understand the criticisms from both materialists and some religious people, I think they're mistaken. I plan to write an article explaining what tarot is—as I think it's often misunderstood—but this article is about tarot and me: why I read tarot, and its influence on my fiction.
I studied psychology, which I enjoyed, but I found myself agreeing with Carl Jung that you can learn more about psychology by reading literature that you can by studying experimental psychology. Unfortunately, psychology tries too hard to copy the physical sciences—a mistake because it misses much of human experience.
Tarot is obviously subjective, but it has an objective part too. I'll explain that more in my article on what tarot is. Here, I want to focus on my personal experiences that have changed the way I see the world. It's no longer possible for me to deny my experiences, which was something I previously tried to do in order to fit in with the common criticisms any kind of divination faces.
I’ve had an interest in tarot for decades. The colourful images and the rich symbolism of the cards have always attracted me, as has their effect on my imagination. But in 2017, I decided to study the tarot in depth.
As a part of that, I read for hundreds of people, and had interesting and moving experiences when reading for complete strangers.
The quote attributed to Nietzsche is probably the most poetic way of explaining why I’m doing something that some people will find inexplicable.
My intuitive experiences are really one of my motivations for going deeper into tarot. Everyone has an intuitive sense, of course, but for some it’s sleeping, and for many others it’s awake, but ignored, and therefore undeveloped.
Knowing things intuitively is the heart of tarot, and it’s been something that I’ve experienced all my life—sometimes very dramatically, although I’m not yet ready to share the most intense and personal experiences I’ve had, but I can share some everyday ones.
A commonplace intuitive experience that many people have without even labelling it as intuitive is having a feeling to go somewhere, sit next to someone, or take a particular action. If you follow your intuition in this situation, it’s certain that there’s a purpose—either in helping yourself or another.
I want to intentionally pick a small, everyday type of experience. Once, I walked past a bookshop and had the feeling that I should go inside, even though I had no plan or previous intention to do so. Inside, I saw a book I’d been looking for for years, which I bought. This type of experience happens quite often to most people, and it might not seem special, but if you develop these types of experiences, more will come.
A stronger example was when I was at home one day when a mental image of a friend unexpectedly came to my mind. Minutes later she arrived at my house. This is not such a rare experience—many other people have experienced this type of thing.
Tarot is about developing this intuition of knowing things.
I agree with the Buddha, and I use my reason and commonsense to test any new ideas I bring into my life. For me, to doubt my intuition would be to doubt my own experience, reason, and commonsense.
I gave a tarot reading to a woman in another country. She asked a question, which I answered, but I kept noticing the red boots in the image, and I kept having the feeling of her husband being elevated or being above the ground. I asked her about this, and she immediately replied, telling me that her husband had a favourite pair of red boots, which he alway wore to work, and that he worked as a tree surgeon, therefore spending much of his time raised above the ground.
Similar stories are common from working with tarot (and will be completely unsurprising to anyone with a developed intuitive sense). Knowing things, which from the perspective of an objective reality we shouldn’t be able to know, is an everyday experience for me, and anyone who is also developing their intuitive sense.
The magic in my fantasy is simply magic. It’s fantasy and fun. However, the intuitive and psychic abilities of the characters, although exaggerated, are based on real intuitive and psychic abilities.
In Blue Prometheus, Lucy begins the story giving a tarot reading, and she continues to use the tarot throughout the story. In The Darkling Odyssey, she gains an oracle deck (something similar to a tarot deck), which has certain magical qualities that can’t exist in real oracle decks, but the fundamental principles behind using the deck is something I take from real intuitive work.
I plan to write about some of the topics I mentioned today in future articles, discussing my experiences exploring intuition, and others topics.