Tarot cards are mysterious.

It seems illogical that just placing pictorial cards out on a table would give any hint about the future or could tell us anything important. This has led, not only to thoughts, but also theories about how these cards work.

Some of the more common theories include the idea that tarot cards are evil. This dates back to early times when things that were not understood or did not follow established belief systems were thought to be evil. As things started to be understood in more scientific ways these explanations became less common.

Instead there are now other theories suggested to explain how tarot cards work. One theory involves something called ‘synchronicity’. The idea of synchronicity was developed by the psychologist Carl Jung (a student of the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud). Jung considered synchronicity to be meaningful coincidence. Some people may think of synchronicity as ‘signs’. The purpose of such signs is considered to go beyond coincidence. Instead they are given a more important role in guiding our lives.

Another theory that is common is that people who can get accurate readings on tarot cards have a strong psychic ability that enables them to read minds. Others say that tarot cards allow us to use the natural psychic ability everyone has or our subconscious mind. I can say from personal experience that the first theory of psychic mind reading does not seem useful. I’m certainly not psychic but have tried tarot cards and found them to be eerily accurate. The theories of natural ability and the subconscious mind are ones that I find more interesting. Perhaps using a tool like tarot cards enable us to tap into different sides of our intelligence that are not accepted in today’s society - such as psychic ability. The use of pictures on tarot cards may sidestep this problem because they promote an instinctive reaction that is less controlled by today’s society. Perhaps it is this same instinctive way of working with tarot cards that gives our subconscious mind greater importance. The theory of subconscious mind has importance in psychological theories and was discovered by Sigmund Freud. So the theories of tarot cards do not go far from established scientific theory.

There is another possibility that also takes its theory from psychology and links in with the idea that people get psychic readings for many different reasons. This theory suggests that it is how people interpret tarot cards not the cards themselves that is important. One of the key points of psychology is that our experience of the world is subjective. (Even with synchronicity it is the meaningfulness of the signs to us that is important. Not just the signs. It is only synchronicity if it is important to us.)  As  this idea has such a core importance to all areas of psychology it is highly likely that this is happening when tarot cards are read as well. Yet it does not mean that none of the other theories are correct. It is quite possible that there is more than one reason why tarot cards can be so accurate.

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Credit: Donna L. Faber (Flickr)