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Tarot and the Prediction of Future Events


by George A. Boyd ©2003

Tarot card reading has been associated in the popular imagination with "fortune telling" or predicting the future. This is an incorrect notion that should be clarified.

While each card can provide an intrapsychic representation of external objects or relationships with others, or act as a metaphor for personal or spiritual experience, it does not per se, tell us anything about the future. We will examine the different ways that you experience the future, and see in what capacity the Tarot does or do not predict the future.

The future in the Metaconscious Mind

The faculties of the Metaconscious mind, based on the goals that you have set for yourself, effectively create the idea of your personal future or "destiny". The following vehicles of the Metaconscious mind play a role in constructing the future.

    1. Causation (Effecting change) - the activity of the will sets into motion the changes that move you towards a defined goal. The will is an organizing and coordinating force for the whole personality, directing behavior and all faculties to progressively actualize a visualized objective.

    2. Pattern closure (sense of completion or purpose) - The intuition grasps the idea of completion inherent in your goal, and recognizes when you have reached it.

    3. Problem Solving (overcoming obstacles to achievement) - The intellect breaks down the path to the goal into discrete tasks that must be accomplished, and solves the problems encountered in each task.

    4. Planning (scheduling and identifying the steps to the goal) - The Concrete Mind checks of the steps towards completion, and delineates the time markers for each step to completion.

    5. Standards (ideal) - The Conscience creates the sense of ideality that will be achieved when the goal is attained. It also defines what are acceptable and unacceptable means for you to achieve your goal.

    6. Imagination (acting as if) - The persona allows you to imagine what it would be like to experience achieving the goal. It also embodies the social skills you must use along the way to get people to cooperate with you in reaching your goal.

    7. Commitment (motivation and perseverance) - The desire body commits to achieving the goal and tenaciously strives towards the goals despite setbacks and obstacles.

In the Metaconscious mind, you effectively reate your future by setting goals and acting on them. You make up your mind and work with skill and determination to achieve them.

When you don't have goals to work for, you may experience the state of being. This brings needed rest and repose. When you meditate, you enter the state of being.

The Tarot cards may mirror to you the activity of your Metaconscious mind. The cards may show that you have made a powerful commitment to a goal (Four of Pentacles) or that you have a very emotionally satisfying goal to work for (Ten of Cups). They may also you indicate have decided to undertake a new goal (Ace of Swords), or that you are planning for the future (Two of Rods). When the cards are reversed, they may show you that you remain conflicted, hesitant or uncommitted.

The Future in the Conscious mind

In the Conscious mind, you dwell in the experience of the present time. Here the sense of your future is mediated through filters of belief, reasoning, feelings, and the activity of your nervous system.

  1. Expectation (anticipation) - Your ego builds an expectation about what will happen by drawing on past experiences. Negative experiences in the past may produce attitudes of dread, pessimism, worry or anxiety. Positive experiences in the past may construct expectations marked by anticipation, hope, optimism, and confidence.

  2. Scenario Analysis (Reasoning and Inference) - Your reason analyzes the situation and attempts to arrive at a conclusion through seven strategies

  • It forms a null hypothesis, a belief that whatever interventions you do will not produce change, then analyzes the results of your intervention to see if there is indeed a change.

  • It constructs a trend-line analysis, projecting past experience into the future through mathematical modeling.

  • It uses deductive reasoning to infer behavior of people and objects from evidence available.

  • It speculates about possible scenarios for the future and assigns a probability for each occurrence.

  • It critically examines the evidence for each scenario to see which scenario is most likely

  • It evaluates the potential risk of each scenario.

  • It makes a conclusion about what will occur in the future based upon an analysis of the possible outcomes.

The quality of these inferential predictions is contingent upon the accuracy of the information available to you. The better the information, the more accurate your prediction will be.

  1. Emotional Response (affective reaction) - based upon your beliefs and attitude, your feeling center gives rise to different emotions. Hopeful and confident beliefs are linked with positive emotions. Negative attitudes engender negative emotions.

  2. Neural Activation (Behavioral Excitation/Inhibition) - Based on your beliefs about a potential scenario, your nervous system will either facilitate behavior towards that scenario (neural excitation) or block it (neural inhibition). Positive expectations typically produce neural excitation, while negative attitudes bring about neural inhibition.

In the Conscious mind, you try to make guesses about what the future will hold based on your expectations and your inferences.

The Tarot cards may reflect some of these attitudes you hold, such as discontent (Four of Cups), anxiety (Nine of Swords), pessimism (Five of Cups), grief (Three of Swords), optimism (Nine of Cups), or pride (Three of Pentacles). It can also show you your efforts to analyze and predict your situation, such as evaluation (Seven of Pentacles).

The future in the Subconscious mind

In the Subconscious mind, your sense of the future is conveyed through impressions, images, and dreams. This dreamlike sense of the future is mediated through your astral body, and is sometimes called premonition—a strong feeling of dread or foreboding about the future that you cannot express in words.

You may travel in the astral body in the trance state of hypnosis, in the state of dreaming, or in meditation. You may even seemingly travel into the future in guided meditations. Here you may gather impressions or glimpses of scenes in which you envision what the future may be like. Nothing is definite, though. This sense of the future is vague, contaminated by your wishes and fears, and associated with unrelated memories and images from your unconscious mind.

The Tarot captures this random and chaotic impressional nexus of the Subconscious mind in one of the Major Arcana, the Moon.

The future in the Superconscious mind

In the Superconscious mind, your sense of the future is your spiritual potential. Here you examine the future states of spiritual evolution of your Soul, the markers of progress of your spirit in the Nadamic Path, and the potential forms of your vehicles as you undergo the fires of initiation. As you grow in your ability to see within in meditation, you enhance your faculty of spiritual discernment (viveka), and can trace the track of your spiritual destiny.

In the Tarot cards, the Major Arcana card, the Star, captures this sense of spiritual potential.

The future as portrayed in the Tarot

The future pictured by the tarot is closest to that of the Subconscious mind. It is vague and impressional. It suggests an image or symbol to represent the unknown, the mysterious. This premonition-like presentation of the future is uncertain, not fully formed, even dreamlike.

The Tarot does not portray a destiny that is clear like a plan, or reveal a future with discrete behavioral events on a timeline. Instead it presents a template of meaning through which you can explore your expectations about the future, your attitudes, your guesses about potential outcomes, your wishes, hopes and fears about what might be or could be.

The Tarot in your future

Using the Tarot will amplify your ability to use reflective meditation to explore the meaning of symbols, and will activate your faculty of intuition. If the Tarot truly speaks to you as it does to some individuals, it can become a valuable tool that you can utilize to tap your intuitive wisdom.

If the Tarot speaks clearly to you, you may be able to access this intuitive gift to do readings for others. As you use these cards more and more, you will find that each card has many facets and shades of meaning that they will reveal to you. In this way your gift will grow and you will become a better reader in your future.


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