“The magic of Tarot lies in you, not in cards.”

*Title quoted from Katia Beeden, found on instagram

If you’re a tarot reader and/or tarot enthusiast and at least one person within your close circle of friends or family has told you that tarot is a “demonic practice” raise your hand πŸ™‹πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ.

Recently I received a note from someone close to me that went on about how I need to throw out my decks, how tarot is only for psychics, how it’s only about fortune telling, how it’s a practice tied to Satan, and how I need to get back on the right path. Of course to go with this there were several Bible verses for reference as they attempted to get me back “on track”. This card came with what I thought was a regular gift, so you can imagine my surprise when it came with a full lecture/sermon inside.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve done lots and lots of work to not let these kinds of condemnations and judgements get the best of me. I don’t consider myself religious anymore, but coming from a deeply faithful Christian family, I’ve learned to play the part. But sometimes when these notes and words of disapproval come unexpectedly, you can’t pretend that it doesn’t hurt. And sometimes, for me in particular, when these judgements come from older family members or respected friends, in the spirit of “respecting my elders” it’s easy to feel powerless and disheartened knowing that they’ll never see me and what I do in the ways that I want and am trying so hard to be seen. In other words, this instance (which was quite a long note) was a reminder that this person will never be able to or never want to fully see me in the ways I see myself.

Life is a series of “coming out’s” whether it be coming out about sexuality, spiritual practices, changes of life path, you name it. Along our way with these changes and these coming to terms with how we view and come to accept ourselves, we are bound to be met with blockages in the form of disapproval and pain that comes for hearing negative or harsh words about what we’re doing. For me, these moments have a tendency to tap into my own self doubt and make me wonder in the particular case of tarot, “Well why am I doing this?” “Is this really as demonic as people say?”, “Am I truly straying from the ‘right’ path?”

So through my upset, and through my tears (as much as I don’t like to admit sometimes, I am in fact a very teary person), I saw this quote on my tarot Instagram. “The magic of Tarot lies in you, not cards”. I’ve been repeating this over and over to myself in my head all day. The magic is in YOU, not the cards. As I explained to this member of my close circle and others, I see tarot as a tool, not an ultimate decider of fate, not a 100% certain predictor of the future. Tarot is something that is given its power by the people that use it, like any other symbol, text, painting, statue, etc. Of course with any symbol there are people that misuse it whether it be to scam people of their money, their time, their trust, or anything else, but I would like to think that I’m not one of those people.

If I had to explain to the “giver of the sermon” in my life what tarot is to me and how I use it, what would I say? I would say that tarot is a powerful tool for reflection. It has allowed me to visualize situations and areas of concern and interpret them in ways that I don’t feel any other tool has so far. It helps me get out of my own head and literally lay my thoughts out in front of me. Tarot reads as poetry, it reads as powerful symbolism, and from the way I study it, it is a representation of all kinds of combinations of internal and external elements that I face on a day to day. It is not my religion. It is not my crystal ball. When I read for others, I am very clear that I am not predicting anything. I’m seeing the images in front of me, I’m taking in their questions and context, and I’m using the images to allow me to give advice or guidance as I would for a close friend.

It’s a way to connect with people of common interest. It’s a tool to empower me and ground myself in my own decision making. The cards are pretty. Doing readings is fun. And it in no way allows me to pretend that I know something that I don’t, or pretend that I am something or someone that I’m not.

In any spiritual, intuitive, or life journey, the most important thing you can do is find and lean into tools that work for you. Tools that help empower you, ground you, and allow you to meditate on your life and on your experiences. We could spend another 1000 words or so and go on about what the word “magic” means, but for whatever it’s worth, whatever it means to you, know that it is within you. And I hope that you find the tools that help you tap into your personal brand of magic and feel most grounded in the best possible version of you.

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