The Energy of Belief - How Does Tarot Work?
I believe that intention is a necessary element in the formula for making magic. I have been noticing this in my tarot readings as of late – there can be no magic/meaningful outcome without an intentional practitioner or querent.
I have always noted that the most effective readings happen when the querent is open and receptive to their messages. I used to think this was simply due to different approaches to the cards – what you put into a reading, you get out.
As I tune into the wisdom of Deepak Chopra and Menas Kafatos in their book, “You Are The Universe”, I am beginning to understand the cards through new eyes. (There are some great interviews on YouTube as well!) In the book, they write about how we very literally, bio-chemically create our environments and existences to play out in alignment with our belief systems.
Where tarot is concerned, traditional reasoning states that the cards turn up at random and we read into them based on our beliefs. Following Chopra and Kafatos' thinking, I propose that our energy may actually determine the cards that show up for us.
Chopra and Kafatos draw upon the history of placebo studies to illustrate the ways in which the energy of belief influences our experience of reality. In placebo studies, people are told they are being given a medication to address their health concerns, but it is actually a sugar pill. They often get better because they are convinced they have taken real medication. In these situations, the mind has had a very real impact on the material reality of the body.
Chopra has spoken to the idea that when we are sick, we imagine something material has malfunctioned, and so we seek healing methods to fix our material disposition. In fact, the basis of all matter is energy, so it is energy that needs to be addressed to achieve healing.
If matter is made of energy, it is plausible that our energy can create our material reality.
My understanding of this theory is that the mind/body (one entity) interacts with its environment on an energetic level through thoughts and feelings to attract outcomes that align energetically. So when we believe something with all of our being, we are emanating that energy of conviction into our environment to connect us with realities that confirm our belief.
Chopra and Kafatos imply that our current cultural ideology has convinced us that life is happening to us, when in fact, we are creating the conditions of our lives on a cellular level through our thought and feeling patterns.
I won’t claim to understand all of what Chopra and Kafatos explain in this book. The takeaway for me is the application of this particular idea to my tarot readings.
During a tarot reading, if the querent’s intention is strong and they believe in the power of the cards, their reading is utterly magical. When someone is more skeptical, unsure or doubting the legitimacy of the craft, their cards can seem to reach at a connection to their lives. I always attributed this to a lack of willingness on the skeptic's part to engage with the possibility that the cards may be meaningful and magical - I didn't realize that the skeptical energy may play a hand in the cards that are pulled.
When I read for myself, I notice my intention determines the quality of my reading. When my faith is strong, my messages are the most accurate. And when my intention or focus wavers, this can affect how significantly the messages resonate.
I’ve also noticed that the tarot cards pick up on the energy of a space – Three of Cups flying out at a girls’ night, for example. In my experience, it is clear that there is energetic power in visual symbolism that connects to our thoughts and feelings.
I still don’t know how it is possible for imagery to resonate energetically to the degree that our mind/body determines which cards show up for us, but I feel like I’m getting closer to figuring it out! Maybe I should accept the mystery, but I believe that questions about the nature of psychology and spirituality are critical to the evolution of epistemology on a global scale.
If you have thoughts on this or resources to share, please contact me!