This thread arises out of discussions in the thread certification or not?!???...
, in which suggestions have been made that certification has positive consequences. I personally not only totally disagree, but have only grave concerns should such develop and become either more generally accepted or, worse, expected.
As I have now mentioned in numerous other threads, I am in favour of any process
that increases general background knowledge and practise of Tarot. It is not any course, any mentoring, nor any discussions that are at issue. It is, rather, two other aspects that are at times placed into the mix: a 'certification' (or 'official endorsement') of a reader, and a 'code' of ethics (ethical considerations are vital, in my personal view, but cannot properly be 'codified').
I state the above as background information about my own views, as I do not in the least expect others to peruse the quite longish posts I may have made in various other threads on the matter (and, of course, in the context of those threads).
Let's have a look at the Tarot Certification Board of America
. It is not the only USA based organisation offering such certification, nor the only North American (there are also Canadian ones), nor the only one in the whole of America (which for the world generally, implies the numerous countries finding their location in both the North and the South American continents).
The TCBA currently has seven 'levels' of certification, each of which (except for the first) assumes that one has already mastered the level before.
To be clear as well, the third level does not appear to require
that one has paid the previous two levels of certification, only that one demonstrates 'mastery' of those levels (this is a little ambiguous, but am assuming the best-case scenario).
The first three levels are (in their nomanclature):
- Certified Apprentice Tarot Reader (CATR);
- Certified Tarot Reader (CTR); &
- Certified Professional Tarot Reader (CPTR)
Now, I wonder what could be meant by:
'Knows the meanings of the 78 tarot cards in the upright position' (required for CATR); &
'Knows the meanings and uses of reversed cards or can explain an alternate system that contains equivalent information' (required for CTR).
In a reading
situation, the most basic level of 'meaning' is a description of the image as it appears. Surely, unless blind, the person can do this easily.
What could be implied by passing such a 'test'? Unless of course a particular
and imposed view of Tarot is propounded as the 'correct' one.
There is also, for those two 'levels', an assumption that an increase in the number of cards used is somehow indicative of greater reading skill. In my personal experience, this may in fact be quite incorrect. A reader who enters the divinatory 'space' may narrate a whole hour's reading (as an example) using only a single card.
A reader who only ever uses up to three cards in their reading is nonetheless presumed to somehow be, by the TCBA, inferior to those who use greater number of cards in a spread.
In fact, from their own description, a successful professional tarot reader such as the one I have just described would never be able to gain that board's certificate.
If we continue to turn our attention to this third 'level' of certification (which may cost the applicant up to US$150 if they decide to do the previous two steps one at a time), there is now a further presumption that there are 'impossible questions'.
I suppose there are. For example: 'Has the TCBA stopped not
charging for its certificates?'
It seems that really, the 'criteria' that the person 'is able to rephrase improper or impossible questions' means no more than being able to rephrase questions in ways in which s/he accepts in their particular usage of Tarot... or is that, rather, in ways that the TCBA
accepts as 'proper and reasonable'?
Also, their next to last criteria is of real concern ('knows how to teach others how to read tarot cards'), as I presume that this has to incorporate, as presented earlier, 'the meanings of the 78 tarot cards in the upright position', which clearly would already have to be those acceptable to the TCBA - even though we are talking about readers
, not about historical generation or iconographic analysis.
We now enter the other 'levels', each of which requires that one is already certified in a previous level by the TCBA (and has hence also contributed to its certification process).
Right at the very next level, we find things totally extraneous to Tarot. To become a 'Certified Tarot Consultant (CTC)', the person, in addition to being already CPTR (Cf above), has to be able to 'attribute the seventy-eight tarot cards to another esoteric or occult paradigm and justify their particular attributions details'.
Why would a Tarot
consultant have to be able to do this!?!?!?
Just because the Golden Dawn and some other organisations, some authors, and various other people do so does not make such either necessary nor even desirable for Tarot per se
- let alone for a reader!
Having undertaken all this, the person, after a certain period of being a 'CTC', may become a 'Certified Tarot Master (CTM)'.
Here, again, are huge assumptions. Either this or my concept of 'mastership' and theirs just don't meet.
Why would having a review of seven tarot decks be a necessary qualification (and that only in 'approved' publications)? After all, and as an example, I have only ever reviewed fewer - and tend to (with one exception so far) review Marseille-based Tarot.
I personally doubt that either Kris Hadar, Jean-Claude Flornoy, Philipe Camoin or a host of other people who in their own right may be called 'Tarot Masters' have reviewed, for the sake of reviewing, the range of decks generated by Tarot.
Likewise for book reviews and writing articles on using Tarot.
In many cases, a single post within these very Forums by someone with a particular insight may be of more worth then simply what is advocated - and certainly having such publications shows that the person is adept at reviewing in written form decks and books in a way desired by the 'approved publications', rather than any Tarot 'mastery'.
As for the next one, this seems simply a framework by which to generate and ensure that the TCBA continues to generate income. After all, if one wants to be called a 'Grand Master' under TCBA certification, then they first have to be a 'Certified Tarot Instructor (CTI)', which has, as part of its requirement, that:
Taught students who qualify to become certified for a total of twenty-five certification levels
25 times US$50 is, for each
'CTI' under the TCBA, US$12 550, and for each Certified Tarot Grand Master, at least US$12 600.
Of course, by then, the person would want
to see increased influence of the TCBA, as it would only aggrandise their own standing.
None of the above, as far as I am concerned, lends argument for the certification of Tarot readers. Quite the contrary.