Tarot is Confusing?
I just saw a blog post from a Rune reader, lamenting that Tarot is too confusing--too hard to learn. She can't seem to make heads nor tails out of the Tarot book she owns, a dry tome full of estoric puffery, arcane symbolic connections and labyrinthine philosophical musings.
Hey, I'm all for mental masturbation for the fun of it, but when you want good, solid Tarot sex--that is, a Tarot book or method that helps you connect (flesh-on-flesh) with practical interpretations and relevant insights...you need a modern approach to the cards.
Here was my reply to her:
I think the reason that Tarot is confusing to many people is because many "experts" and traditional books on the cards offer complex symbolism and esoteric minutia that simply doesn't reflect everyday, modern living. That's one reason I created my Back in Time (BIT) Tarot Method, as well as created the Snowland Deck (with my artist husband). In our cards, we depicted what the card actually means rather than strange, static poses that lack connection with traditional interpretations.
For example, the 6 of Cups in the Rider-Waite shows a boy giving a girl flowers in a cup. One of the accepted interpretations is "nostalgia". What in the world does that have to do with the topic based on the image? Nothing. So what we did was portray a grandmother showing a toddler sepia pictures from her past (you can see the image on our FB page at this link).
Sorry to be long-winded. :o) It's just that Tarot is only confusing if approached with traditional, dry methods. I hope this post encourages you to keep exploring the cards!
What do you think, dear reader? Is Tarot confusing? If so, what makes it that way? If you once thought Tarot was confusing, but (eventually) found clarity, please share with us how you did it in the comments below.
It wasn't too confusing to me, because I started learning to read when I was 12 and my brain was young and eager to learn something new and mystical and magickal. Still, even with that, I was in my 20s before I felt completely comfortable with my skills as a reader. If I'd started later, like in my 30s or even older, it would have been a much different story. I've been trying to learn to read playing cards all Summer and the Spirit is willing but the fifty-seven year old flesh is scratching its head and wondering why I'm subjecting myself to all this brain activity. :-) I think if more people, myself included, had started out with Snowland and its clear imagery, the trip would have been much shorter and much more enjoyable.
Posted by: Angie | 08/18/2013 at 08:22 PM
I wonder if, as we age, spontaneous brainstorming, storytelling and creativity are all but beat out of us by the traditional educational system? "Be sensible! Follow the book! Do it the RIGHT way!"
And, sometimes, Tarot enthusiasts and authors are just as narrow and dogmatic. :oP
How lucky you were to be exposed to Tarot at that young age, Angie! And thanks for your kind words about Snowland. We certainly it hopes it helps make Tarot reading fun and engaging for people (including kids!). :o)
Posted by: Janet Boyer | 08/18/2013 at 08:34 PM
There are many things you write that I have strong issues with... but I have to say on this particular point, I agree with you. I also find that many images from traditional decks are rather weak or somehow unrelated to the message they are meant to be depicting. Initially I assumed that was because I did'nt get it, but gradually I concluded it was the images, that didn't "do it".
Posted by: Ciro Marchetti. | 09/08/2013 at 09:13 AM
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to post, Ciro. Unfortunately, many decks being put out (especially by mainstream publishers) aren't "doing" it.
Fortunately, self-publishers like yourself--and those daring to depict nontraditional Tarot imagery--are finding it easier these days to not only create their own decks, but find an eager audience via personal websites, Etsy and other outlets. :o)
Posted by: Janet Boyer | 09/09/2013 at 09:47 PM
Oh, I am a 'newcomer', only a relatively short time of the real interest in Tarot under my belt. And although it does intimidate me a little - it's like being newly in love, with all the excitement and wonder. It's beautiful to be in a solid and loving marriage for years, but I am like a newlywed! As to the age and learning skills - I have to agree. But I am a much better story-teller nowadays than when I was in my twenties! And thank you again, Janet, for your empowering approach.
Posted by: Yelena | 10/02/2013 at 02:19 PM
Music to my ears, Yelena! Try not to ever lose that honeymoon feeling with the cards (I have a feeling you won't). ;o)
Posted by: Janet Boyer | 10/06/2013 at 05:44 PM