With origins springing from the 1400s, Tarot was not always an occult practice of divination; it traditionally started as a game.
The first Tarot games played in the mid-15th century included the Austrian-based Königrufen and the Italian Taroccini. Some Tarot games are still played to this day, but these aren’t the Tarot applications The Weekender was interested in. People started using Tarot cards in the 18th century for occult purposes; reading the cards and divining upon what was picked by the reader or the subject. We wanted to see if this form of divination held any clout, and the results were disturbing and eerily true, to say the least.
A Tarot deck consists of two classes of cards; Major and Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana include 21 cards such as The Lovers, The Fool, The Emperor, The Devil, Death and The Hermit. The Minor Arcana include 56 numbered (and classed) cards split into four suits. Unlike playing cards, which have hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs, the Tarot suits are coins (pentacles), wands (batons), cups and swords. Each signify different energies and circumstances going on in your life; past, present and future.
Alison Sturgeon is a mother of two boys and a self-described empath. She uses Tarot when she gets together with friends, and the friends believe there is a weird power between the cards and the reader because a lot of the time the readings are spot-on. She first became interested in the cards when she was 12 years old.
“I was 12 years old when I got my first deck,” said Sturgeon. “My cousin read them; she was older than me by 10 years. Really, you’re not supposed to be able to read them until you are 18 because you don’t have the understanding of the way life works. You have to experience life to be able to understand the workings and meanings of the cards. I purchased another set a couple years ago and wasn’t really able to read them until somewhat recently, other than reading the writing out of the book. I learned to tune into my intuition and go with my gut.”
How does this process work? What goes into it? Is it all speculation? Is it phony?
“I honestly don’t know,” said Sturgeon. “You have to suspend your doubt for a moment. If the subject is not receptive or if they are doubting it, the reading won’t give anything they will be able to use. A lot of times the readings will be so spot-on that they will leave people with their mouths hanging open. Sometimes a card flies out while shuffling, and it’s like the hand of God is picking the next card. It is kind of magical.
“There are different spreads. My favorite is past, present and future; three cards. That way it’s like a story, a timeline, a progression of events. While the cards are being shuffled, you can ask for clarity; you just think your questions and don’t ask the reader. A card will fly out…something in your gut will tell you to stop and pick a card. You have to trust your gut, even if it doesn’t make any sense. The more you do it and tune in to it, the stronger it gets, I think. There are other spreads, like the Celtic cross, which can give you other insights, but my favorite is putting three cards down and treating it like a story line.”
Many people are apprehensive about Tarot readings because it is associated with the occult, something many everyday citizens question or are wary of.
“I think people think the readers are changing the future sometimes, or that they might be doing some kind of spell, which isn’t true,” said Sturgeon. “People wonder what’s going on behind the scenes. Nothing is going to happen that wasn’t always going to happen; it just gives you some insight.”
I was handed the standard Rider Waite deck and asked to shuffle the cards. Sturgeon told me to shuffle until I had a gut feeling or a card fell out. No cards fell out, but I had three gut feelings for the three different draws; first draw being about my past, second about my present and third about my future.
First card (past): Five of Pentacles (or Coins)
This card depicts two destitute-looking people out in the cold looking up at five pentacles, or coins. It seems as if the people are sickly and in need of the coins above them.
“That is weird,” said Sturgeon. “This card fell out of the deck earlier in the interview. It looks like someone is leaving you out in the cold. It’s harsh.”
Second Card (present): Nine of Swords
This card depicts a man sitting straight up in his bed in agony with a black dog snarling at the foot of his bed; above him hang nine swords on the wall.
“I’m angry for you, now,” said the reader. “So, you’re up having sleepless nights in pain.”
Third Card (future): Six of Cups
This card depicts two children of differing ages in a garden; one offers the other a cup with a living plant in it.
“This is interesting, kind of a new spin,” said Sturgeon. “Somebody from your past is going to come back. So this can maybe be an ex, or just someone from your past, in general. A re-connection with somebody. It’s like childhood…something sweet. It’s like a very caring love.”
“So, in the past somebody left you out in the cold and you are freezing and suffering,” said Sturgeon. “It makes you feel like you are out there alone, and nobody is coming. The second is pain. You are up and feeling it intensely. You are sick with the pain. You are suffering emotionally, but something else is going to come back into your life from before. Maybe there will be a new start
The reading hit home. The first and second cards held true, but the future is yet to be seen. This was an amazing experiment, and a half hour after Sturgeon left, I was gifted (or I manifested) my own set of Tarot cards. Now it’s time for me to study.