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shadowdancer  shadowdancer is offline
Join Date: 31 Oct 2004
Location: Christchurch NZ
Posts: 4,850
Has tarot been made to me more complex than it needs to be?

I have been wondering this for a while, but it was piqued by a recent posting on another thread where I mentioned the contra-card system I occasionally use.

I was taught/began my tarot journey in 1986. The guy who taught me was a chirpy Londoner, and he gave the basics. Nothing elaborate. No systems. No symbolic depth. His readings were straight forward. He said what he thought the card meant. No peeling back of layers, psychological analysis, no astrological or numerology associations.

I am sure readers prior to this did pretty much the same? There did not seem to be a dearth of books on the subject around the time I started.
Yet in 17 years or so, the market has exploded. Thousands and thousands of decks now to choose from. Books on every aspect and subject you can think of within this wonderful world of tarot.
Systems abound. Systems within systems. Heck knows how many ways to interpret a card or selection of cards in relation to each other.


Have we over complicated things? If so, why? Does this enhance or hinder what we are trying to convey? If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, shouldn't we just call call it a duck? Instead of giving in to the urge to elaborate as much as possible, thus losing site of the real nuts and bolts?

If we had a reader from the 1960's looking in for a brief while, what would they be thinking as they take in the whole sway of publications now dedicated to different ways of reading tarot?

Anyways enough ponderings from me. This really did come to mind when I listened to a podcast some time ago. The main guest was a person who was pretty down to earth. They were discussing a deck they had involvement with. The presenter then took two cards for further discussion as to how they could be read. Heck, the presenter certainly lost me at 'hello'. They tried to really go deep, psychoanalyse etc, and the end result was far from what the guest had really intended. Was the presenter trying to be clever? I don't think so. I think they had fallen into the trap of going down the analysis road and the result was a tangled mess, far from what was needed.

My take? I think we have perhaps gone just a little too far. The next round of authors will try to find a different angle, a different method, a different way. After all the field is already saturated with books so there will be pressure to be different and new. And so the world of tarot becomes a little bit more elaborate and complex.
Yet most of the time, I should be calling out the duck in the room.
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