Yet another #TarotThursdayThree, guys! I know I missed most of it in February but hell, this week's questions are juicy and quite serendipitous for me personally, as some of this stuff has been on my mind as of late. Here we go!
1. What was it that initially sparked your interest with Tarot?
I think I mentioned this a few times but I've never really been a tarot person. I read Elder Futhark since I was 15 years old and considered runes to be the divination tool for a very long time. You know, Futhark 4 life, screw other tools, they're lame and mainstream - not interested!
Something changed after I graduated from uni. Those five years of studying psychology were a time of withdrawal from any kind of spiritual practice, it was time of the Mind, of getting to know and understanding my Self and shedding some unnecessary beliefs, habits, ways of thinking that I picked up on my life path thus far (and gaining a whole new baggage of shit!). I was very much interested in spirituality, liminal experiences, transpersonal and jungian psychology, altered states of consciousnes and the like but it wasn't really the main focus of who I was at that time. If it wasn't for my thesis I've no idea who I'd be today. I was always curious to know how spiritual experiences actually affect our lives and whether or not they influence its quality, so I decided to research it. This research and the whole thesis opened my eyes and made me experience somewhat of a reawakening, coming back to roots, rediscovering my old Self - but this time in completely new ways. I'm not going to describe this shit in detail here because it would probably take (p)ages, but that's basically what sparked my interest with Tarot. I got intrigued and decided to just give it a shot.
2. Is it what you expected it to be and if not, in what ways were your expectations defied?
I didn't have high expectations. All I knew was that it was going to require a lot of studying and that I might not like it as much as runes. I also expected it to work similarly to runes when it comes to divination because I had no idea it could be different. But generally, I craved for something new and complex that I could just dive into and get lost in for months - that part didn't disappoint me! As for the rest, I had to learn that tarot is a completely different tool and I needed to find out what it feels like to me and what it's going to be useful for.
3. How do you primarily use Tarot? I.e. for divination, self-reflection, analysis, shadow work, ritual or something else?
All of the above. Rather than primary use, I'd say for me it's about the primary focus - Self. Growth, reflection, transgression, processing, gaining perspective, inspiration. "Knowing Thyself" is what all this is about for me. Divination (as in gaining insight by interpreting omens and signs, not fortune telling) is a technique used to get to know one's own symbology, which - when practiced and mastered - significantly helps with deciphering the contents of our subconscious (shadow work). As for self-reflection and analysis, it's mostly for solution oriented "operations" - dealing with problematic things that we're conscious of (unlike with the shadow work related stuff) and need a tool to help us come up with an answer, help us find direction or get inspired. Sure, in practice all of these are basically same shit - doing a spread or a single card analysis - but I find this kind of breakdown by function really useful in terms of meeting my (or someone else's) needs without having to spend too much time thinking about what it is that I'm dealing with.
My favorite has to be shadow work, even though it's not what I do most often - once or twice a year in condensed monthly (or shorter) sessions is enough for my personal taste. What I actually use tarot the most for is inspiration - daily or weekly portions of food for thought, something to meditate on. I really don't need much, little goes a long way for me. And I definitely don't use tarot every time I stumble on a hardship - I prefer to solve problems "on my own" to stay sharp. As useful of a tool as it is, it's sad to see people who are dependent on it. After all, it is just a tool and a tool is supposed to be used for something, not become that something in itself.
What's your thoughts on this, people?