Editor’s Note: Sarah has chosen an article from the tarot archives for today. Originally published in October 2011, it fits well with a time of year when we tend to want to know what’s coming up for us in the ensuing weeks and months — but do we really need to know?
By Sarah Taylor
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
This week is ‘devil’s advocacy’ week in terms of the tarot. It’s the week when I ask you to consider the possibility that sometimes tarot is not the answer we are looking for. More: that it is sometimes a material hindrance to progress — for readers and for recipients of a reading alike.
I have approached this topic from a different angle several times, most notably in When you’ve got it, when you haven’t, and knowing the difference and Two approaches to tarot — and why it’s tricky reading for yourself.
Both of these times, the focus has been on what happens when you do a tarot reading and there isn’t sufficient detachment, or when you don’t feel connected to your intuition. What I want to focus on today is the flip-side of this idea: that is, what you potentially allow to happen when you don’t look to the tarot for answers.
I am not saying that we should simply give up on tarot altogether. Far from it. Tarot can be a profoundly effective tool for transformation when we are clear about what we want and we are willing to look at what it shows us.
However, there are times when we use tarot so that we don’t have to look at what is going on. We seek confirmation of what it is that we hope for; we seek collusion in the denial of what it is that we don’t want to acknowledge. And tarot doesn’t tend to play ball with our hopes or our denial. Tarot is a mirror: we see who we are in it. When we look in that mirror and realise that what is looking back is more Wicked Queen than Snow White, we have a choice. We can either try to replace that image with something more agreeable, or we can open our eyes with acceptance.
How do we achieve this? By being still. By being willing to stand by ourselves as witnesses. By, in the context of this article, resisting the urge for a tarot fix to numb ourselves to the reality of who we are in the moment.
This is what choosing not to do a tarot reading can offer us:
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