How To Do Tarot Without Cards

by Mike Sententia on September 23, 2010

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In this post:

  • How tarot works.
  • How to get the benefits of tarot without carrying around cards.

Most people figure tarot is about which cards you deal.  That the magick is in the shuffle and cut, and that the dealing pattern matters.  That you need cards, and that you can’t do readings with a half-full deck.

They’re wrong on all counts.  Here’s why.

The Magick Isn’t In The Cards

Here are some reasons why the magick isn’t about which cards you deal:

  • Influencing how you shuffle is complex, and getting 1 card out of order would give the wrong results. It’s not a robust way to give a detailed message.
  • If it were, repeating a question would give the same cards.  It doesn’t.
  • Each card has multiple, conflicting meanings, so you can read the same deal in many ways.

So if the magick isn’t in the cards you deal, how does tarot help you predict the future?

How Tarot Works

When you read tarot, your mind receives information from The Universe, or some other external source (I call all those external sources systems). (Update: The term “systems” was confusing, so I now call them “ethereal software.” Post has been updated.)

To understand how tarot works, you need to understand how ethereal software communicates.

How Ethereal Software Communicates

Each thought you think puts each part of your mind into a different energy signature. So “Yes / Good” has one signature, and “No / Bad” has another, and “Next item” has another, and so on.

To read your question, the ethereal software reads these signatures. To write its response into your thoughts, it shifts the energy signature of each of those areas of your mind to match the signature it would normally have when you think “yes” or “no” or whatever message the software wants to send.

But precision is tricky. Imagine the ethereal software can say anything. To read it, you have to tell the difference between “you should” and “you will,” between “accident” and “disaster.” Those mental signatures are similar, so the software will have to set your mental signature very precisely, and you’ll have to interpret that signature without disturbing it with your own expectations. That’s hard.

Instead, imagine the ethereal software just has to say “Yes” or “No.” No messing around with “Probably,” “Unlikely” or any other shadings.  Now getting close to the right mental state is good enough.  Almost yes is as good as yes. That’s a lot easier.

That’s what tarot cards do: It boils down a complex question with an open answer into a series of simple questions with multiple-choice answers.

How Tarot Simplifies Questions

A client comes to you with an open-ended question.  “Tell me about my financial future.”

You deal some tarot cards. Each card has 3-5 possible meanings (I think. I don’t know all styles of tarot).

Now, the ethereal software just has to guide you to which meaning is correct. It can do that by sending one of those meanings as its message (and even getting close, you’ll probably be able to figure out which one it means), or you can go through each meaning and get a “yes / no” response. In both cases, the limited set of possibilities let the system transmit communicate its meaning more robustly.

Additionally, there’s redundancy. If you deal 10 cards, you get 10 data points. If 9 point to “You should start saving money” and one points to “Spend all you got,” you can figure that they should probably start saving. So you can still get the reading right even if you get one piece of information wrong.

How To Do Tarot Without Cards

Notice that nothing about the procedure requires actual cards.  Just a series of multiple-choice questions.

So next time you do a reading (any reading, even non-tarot), mentally go through different aspects of the situation and ask about a series of possible meanings, like you normally would when dealing tarot.  You should get the benefits of a tarot reading, without needing to carry around cards.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

nadroj April 12, 2013 at 8:48 PM

hey buddy!
I can relate to your words here so thoroughly, like others have nodded in agreement I’m right there too. Amazing, good job!

BUtttt-

I using the archaic deck of cards from time to time–often. I’ve developed an uber system of magick as well and it has developed my experiential results from the cards right alongside itself.

These things:
The Magick Isn’t In The Cards

Here are some reasons why the magick isn’t about which cards you deal:

Influencing how you shuffle is complex, and getting 1 card out of order would give the wrong results.

– How could there be an out-of-order? What about divine order? Shuffling is as complex as we make it but who, ever, proved there was ANYTHING that’s out of order? like ever?

It’s not a robust way to give a detailed message.
If it were, repeating a question would give the same cards. It doesn’t.

-I understand where you’re coming from here but I have to say that repeating cards have happened w/ same questions from me an unprecedented (italicize that) amount of times. Again I think there needs to be an old school perception-based inspection about these phenomena. I swear to you mane, if you’ve got an egregore-like energy formed in the deck it’s personality is it’s personality. if it’s personality, personae(masks) involves being an accurate little psychic–it will be. I believe this is a mainline energy running through any good reader whether they see it this way or not.

I’m having horrible Deja Vu–right now. HRM

Each card has multiple, conflicting meanings, so you can read the same deal in many ways.

-You make it sound as if the process as it stands is an impersonal robotic one…? or that it could ever be? Conflicting meanings ABOUND everyyywhere—how are they any less meaningful than supposedly non-conflicting meanings.

This is all perception based, all of it. i hate to use the most over-used word in occulture.

Reply

Mike Sententia April 13, 2013 at 10:10 AM

It looks like you have 3 questions. Let me reply to each.

On out of order: Imagine each card has one meaning, like a word written on a piece of paper. If I intend to send the message, “Bring pizza, I don’t like cookies,” with each word written on one piece of paper, and the papers get out of order, you might get the message, “Bring cookies, I don’t like pizza.” Which is the wrong message. In fact, if we get the message by shuffling the papers randomly, I’d expect to get the message out of order more often than I get it in order.

(You might note that order is less important for tarot than it is for English. But also note that there are always more cards in the deck than we use in any one session, so if the meaning were in the cards dealt, there would be a tremendous problem of making sure the right 10 cards show up every deal.)

On getting repeating cards often: If the message was actually in the cards dealt, I’d expect to get the same exact set of cards roughly 100% of the time. That simply doesn’t happen — if it did, that would be newsworthy in itself.

On impersonal / robotic: If the cards had one meaning, so all you did was read the cards like you’d read a fortune cookie, that would be robotic. Interpreting the cards — selecting one useful meaning from multiple conflicting meanings — is exactly the opposite. It requires human (or otherwise complex / intelligent) involvement.

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