Many people believe services like these will predict the future for us; we can ask a question, throw down some cards, and know exactly what is in store for us. That belief requires the future to be predetermined—and that is a belief I personally don’t agree with. Giving that power away to anything (or anyone) else leads down a dangerous path that can end with people being taken advantage of, hurt, or worse. Instead, I try to provide services that empower my clients.
I firmly believe the best way to predict our future is to create it ourselves. Yes, sometimes future predictions do come up in a reading, and sometimes they're eerily spot on. But this is a rare case that tends to happen mostly when we are so far down a path that any other options are limited.
I view the tarot as a kind of snapshot of that specific moment in time. When the cards are laid out, we’re seeing a bird's-eye view of a tapestry woven from the energetic variables operating in and around a situation. We can examine the story in the cards and follow the currents that flow out in all directions. These in turn may lead us to any number of signs on the horizon that we may not even be aware of. Even this investigation can alter the course of things, though.
I find the comparison of throwing a ball up in the air to be useful:
After we toss a ball up into the air, from our experience we can usually determine the arc of the trajectory, and likely even where the ball could land. But we don’t really know what will happen.
Some things are more likely: the ball falls to the ground pretty much where we thought it would.
Some are less likely: a sudden gust of wind throws it off course and it lands in a pond.
Then there are those things that leave us gobsmacked, totally amazed at how we’ve witnessed something so unbelievable: an eagle swoops in, grabs the ball in mid-flight, and we never see it again.
(A similar thing happened to a friend, except it was her small Yorkie that was out in the backyard, and then suddenly was up in the air—no one saw that coming! I couldn’t really use a metaphor about throwing a dog up in the air though.)
My point is, similar to Schrödinger’s cat or the observer effect, until one of these things actually happens, any of them could happen.
The purpose of a tarot reading is to call our attention to what’s going on around the ball, or even what is on the horizon. If we see the grass blowing in the meadow, we might expect the wind to affect the outcome. If we see the shadow of the eagle overhead, we might not be as surprised if it steals our ball—or we might change our plans entirely and hold onto the ball for the time being.
Why does it work? No one knows. Or at least, I have yet to meet the person who knows, or read the book they’ve written (and I’ve been to a number of tarot conventions and have quite a library of books on the subject). Answers range from the scientific (maybe it’s our collective unconscious) to the esoteric (maybe we are accessing the Akashic records). These could be messages from God/Spirit/Universe, or we could be plumbing our own unconscious minds. Really there are as many answers to these questions as there are readers. I don’t pretend to know how it works, and would be slow to trust anyone who claims to. The important thing is, it does.
I don’t let that lack of knowledge hinder my practice, however. I come from a scientific background (biology and chemistry) and I realized long ago that what we can explain is the tiniest drop in the bucket of what’s out there. Not only that, but, while science is pretty good at explaining the mechanics of things, it is not so great with the reasons that lie beyond those descriptions. There is a lot we don’t know or understand, but that doesn’t stop us from taking advantage of those things every day—divination is just one more.
I find it useful for clients to know where readers are coming from when they book a service so everyone is on the same page. In my experience if you’re someone who believes in a predetermined fate, or is looking for a reader who just tells you what to do, I won’t be the reader for you. But if you’re open to exploring possibilities, then we will get on just fine.