I don't believe in the Tarot as a tool for divination. Anyone who tells you the Tarot is magic, is either selling you something, or deluded. Having said that, I love the Tarot. I think it's a fascinating cultural artifact.
I occasionally read the Tarot when I'm at a crossroads in my life. The symbolism and Archetypes it contains help me to open up my mind, and think about my life in ways I might not have otherwise; to make connections that may have been in the back of my mind, but I was not fully conscious of. I use it as a psychological tool rather than a decision making tool. Granted, I take every reading with a grain of salt, but reading can be fun, thought-provoking, and even a stress reliever.
I just thought I'd open up this discussion to see if there were any others out there like me. Even if there aren't, I'd like to see how other people view the Tarot.
Well said, John! and sort of illustrates my point. You don't need the cards to tell you what might happen, but through thinking about the symbols, they could highlight a trend YOU see (not that the cards see) in your life that you may want to change, or something that you may want to stay the same. Bringing it to the forefront might help you make a decision, or confront something you knew was there, but may have been ignoring.
I agree, when you are talking about people who believe it has mystical significance, but when you realize that the cards come up by pure chance, and it does nothing but randomizes a series of symbolic images and numbers, there's nothing woo about it. And the symbolism is so generalized, like any divination tool, you take from it what you want to take, you draw the conclusions you want to draw.
"Why not let ME decide what each card means? Why would my decision be less valid than whoever chose those meanings?"
It wouldn't make your decision less valid at all. It's not the meaning of individual cards, but the combination of meanings that provoke thought. As I said above, all divination tools have such generalized symbols, you can interpret them a million different ways.
"Sheer randomness, not some invisible unknown intelligence, is making each card appear next in line as you pull them. Sheer chance. Might as well roll dice on the topic. same exact thing."
It is randomized, and that's what makes it useful. But it's not the same as rolling a die, or flipping a coin. This is much more subtle. It takes a series of symbols and provokes me to draw new connections based on thought processes I already have.
"Still, i'd think reading a book----- or searching online----or discussing it outloud with knowledgable people on the topic-------- for the problem you are studying -------might be more rational, but, whatever."
Of course I would consult others, and get the advice of those I trust; gain all the information available to me when making an important decision. And as I said, each reading should be taken with a grain of salt. What Tarot does for me is keep my thought processes from stagnating on a particular topic.
Not saying it's right for everyone, just thought I'd put forth a topic that other atheists and skeptics may not have considered.
I used to do Tarot readings for people and I was very accurate. I really wooed people out. This is how I discovered I was really good at reading body language and the kind of cold reading that most 'psychics' do.
When you say something like "Hmm, this means water" and the person said they just joined the navy or went fishing last week, or nearly drowned when a child or something you have a hook. If they say they don't associate anything with water you tell them it is in the future and then if someone spills a glass of water on them the next day they think you are a genius.
I never took money for this I am glad to say but I certainly entertained friends and strangers at parties for a while when I was in college. I never told them anything bad. I was careful about that. I never believed my own 'press' either.
It is all a scam and some people are just good at deluding themselves and others. And some of us know how to ask leading questions and read body language.