Hidden Assumptions in Tarot – Part I


What do you believe the tarot do?

Strike that. Don’t say anything.

Answer with your tarot deck. Lay the cards face up. Consciously choose. Which cards speak the answer? I’m a literal thinker/speaker. I’m literally asking. Answer in the comments.

No deck? No problem. Close your eyes. (Well after you read this part obviously.) What symbol comes to mind when you think about what the tarot does?

Is it a conch shell that you hold up to your ear? Is it a pan where you warm up your food?

What do you see?

Embrace the mundane, the profane, the confusing. When you don’t know what to do with the answer, note it for later. Noticing counts so much more than people realize. Noticing is trusting your subconscious to do the rest.


Some of my answers for what the tarot does depend on how old I was. Some of my answers never change.


15 years ago the tarot protected, predicted, and calmed.

And then I no longer felt I needed protection. And then I learned that prediction is some kind of dirty word. That it’s bad to care about knowing what will happen. That the good and normal people only care about empowering readings that don’t talk about the future at all. Because everybody has the food and shelter they need and they shouldn’t have questions about those things. Because everyone’s emotional needs are being met, so no questions there either. And we all have plenty of time to focus our attention on only the “highest” spiritual goals.  Right? ‘Cuz that’s normal, isn’t it?

It depends.

Today the tarot still calms. Me and those I work with. This is a blessing because it inspires me and affords me the time (and it takes years) to unlearn my harmful beliefs about tarot. The beliefs that one kind of intuiting is better or holier than another. The belief that it’s my job as a tarot reader to police someone’s questions. The belief that I need to bury my connections to the spirit realm and squash my gift for prediction. Because that’s what the normal people say.


We all have hidden assumptions about the way things work.

The tarot is no exception. Maybe you believe that the tarot will tell you what to do. Maybe you feel that the world is a dangerous place needing lots of protection. Maybe you believe that you can manifest your wildest dreams. Some beliefs serve, and some don’t. In my tarotscope earlier this week, I talk about the fluid nature of beliefs. About how it’s possible to swap out beliefs like so many hats, one for every mood. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s as simple as looking at a tarot card.


This week I interviewed Sheilaa Hite in my Face Up series over at littleredtarot.

We talk about fate, and we talk about choice. One of the reasons I love drawing tarot cards face up is that it challenges all kinds of beliefs – ones about the future and about what we deserve. It raises our awareness of our power. This is especially important to those who believe that prediction is possible. It is also important for those who believe that the future is what you make it. And contrary to some popular beliefs, it’s possible to believe both of these things.


I want to talk about some of the popular beliefs I’ve encountered in tarot reading communities and with clients.

Beliefs that stand in the way of intuition, openness, acceptance, affirmation. Beliefs that stand in the way of the largest versions of ourselves, our communities, and our lives. Beliefs that stand in the way of having an amazing experience with the tarot. In this mini-series, I’ll talk about Harmful Hidden Assumptions in Tarot, what these assumptions cost us, and the intuitive advantage we gain when we check these assumptions.

But first, I’ll answer my question and close out the process that started this post by pulling my own face up cards.

Reflect  |  Liberate  |  Inspire


Tarot de St. Croix – St. Croix – Devera – 2013

  • The Moon – The tarot reflect deep truths from within, from the past, from possible futures.
  • The Lovers – They liberate us by reminding us of our co-creative relationship to the present moment. We are liberated through our choices.
  • The Star – They inspire us with their beauty, with their legacy, with their limitless potential. They remind us that anything is possible.

Now over to you, what do you believe the tarot do?
And if new to tarot, what do you hope that they do?
Comment Below
Stay Tuned to Read Part II of this Series!

4 thoughts on “Hidden Assumptions in Tarot – Part I

  1. Marianne says:

    Like all your posts, I’m going to take this away and chew on it for weeks to come! For now, off the cuff, my three face up cards are –

    The High Priestess, because tarot provides a rosetta stone for the language of our intuition.
    The Devil, because tarot endlessly shows us the places where we thought there were no more possibilities.
    The Magician, because… it’s magic.


  2. Danielle says:

    The first card that popped into my mind at the question of what do you believe tarot to do was The Moon and it makes me so happy to see that connection I have with the card is shared by others as well! The way that I use tarot is predominantly for myself as a way of trying to understand what and how I’m feeling about things in my life, the light of the Moon has always been such an important guide for me and such a powerful source of wonder; I really feel the connection between the comfort I’ve felt from the moon and the guidance I receive from my cards. I’ve been following your face up posts but before this I had yet to pull cards face up, it’s an interesting experience that I definitely will be testing out more! The other two cards that I pulled were the Six of Pentacles and the Nine of Chalices. The 6P because when I’m not pulling for myself it’s almost always for people close to me as a way of giving advice and just connecting with them on a different level. The 9C because tarot is about seeing possibilities, about finding new angles and perspectives that I might not have seen before.

  3. Moss says:

    My belief is that the tarot works when we have a clear mind and a firm intention while pulling the cards. Also that the tarot shows us what is going on in any given moment and then can speculate on what could happen logically given the order of events.
    I have some weird assumptions about tarot like… If my mind isn’t clear enough or my intention isn’t clear enough it won’t really work. Also, sometimes I believe I’m not doing it right and then will second guess the cards that come up. I’ll assume it was just a mistake to pull a particular card because of the way I shuffled, etc. basically I have an assumption that the tarot only works sometimes.

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