When I was 15 years old in Freshman year of high school, I was trying out for the soccer team. It was a few weeks’ ordeal and I was horribly anxious and impatient. Having been newly introduced to a Tarot reader at a New Years party, I was fascinated by the art and decided that this would be a way to know if I would make the soccer team or not. It couldn’t hurt, anyway, and it helped distract me a little. Thanks to a bunch of new websites popping up dedicated to such esoteric arts, I was able to scavenge lots of free “coins” to use for online Tarot readings. You can believe that I was online every night, asking the same question in different ways: “Will I make the soccer team?”
Part of me was skeptical of the process, but even more of me was curious and eager for any answers or clues. How could floating my mouse over the “spread” of cards on the screen simulate the real-life experience of picking Tarot cards? Did waving the cursor actually “shuffle” the cards, or was this all nonsense?
I didn’t care. I wanted to have the ultimate answer: Would I make the soccer team??
Different days would yield slightly different answers, vague enough to be noncommittal and open-ended to possibility, which was both hopeful and maddening. Why couldn’t I just get a simple answer --- yes or no??
Yet the more I asked, the more I began to pay attention to the nuances in the answers, and the interconnected stories that the cards laid out. Depending on different layouts, each position refers to an aspect of the question – background of the situation, my personal intention, outside or unknown influences, etc. The same card in different positions told different stories. Futhermore, the way the cards connected to the others in a given spread gave emphasis to different aspects of myself.
Soon, I became less interested in the overall outcome or answer to my question, and enthralled with the depth of the Tarot cards. Undoubtedly, I wouldn’t have continued shuffling that digital deck over and over if the spreads didn’t speak volumes to me, and seem to reveal deep aspects of myself that my emerging teenage self couldn’t even fully contextualize yet.
If I didn’t understand a message or a card right away, I thought about it; I digested the information, I slept on it. I allowed insights to filter in and for life to unfold and confirm what the cards were telling me. I became less interested in asking, “Will I make the soccer team?” and began exploring all aspects of my life: relationships, school, family, my personality. I always kept an open mind, but increasingly heeded the advice given in the cards. It was hard not to notice coincidences increasing in my life and how they corresponded to the Tarot cards.
Soon, I created my own makeshift Tarot deck and bought a guidebook. I started doing spreads for myself and as with anything, gained confidence with more practice. Over time, once I got to know the cards, it was less of an intellectual strain of piecing together the puzzle (although this is still fundamental) and more of a feeling experience. I could see how cards balanced each other out, and I could recognize intuitive “hits.” I learned that the aspects of ourselves and situations are far more important than the outcome; the point is what we learn. By observing how life mirrored the cards, I could then start to affect my own life by seeing ahead. This is why intuitive and oracle arts are so empowering! Mysterious, yes. But once you begin to see these as another tool, and recognize that perception itself is something to be honed and mastered, then you see how we as individuals create our own reality.
As it turned out, I did make the soccer team that year. But what I gained from studying Tarot shaped me far more than that soccer season, far more than I ever could have imagined.