Tarot cards offer the reader a chance to glimpse into the future in an unusual personal ritual. However, the stereotype of a gypsy divining the future is not where Tarot begins or ends. It is merely one aspect to a complex and diverse world.

Tarot cards are rich in symbols. The many colorful decks available today are themed with various images, from the classic Rider Waite deck to the colorful oracle type decks such as the Faerie Oracle. The most popular cards share a common theme. They inspire the reader’s imagination. This really is where the value of tarot lies. Most decks echo the rich symbolism of the Rider Waite deck, being variations of that theme. These decks inevitably reflect the values and times which they grew from – a Victorian England. Many images in the Rider Waite deck refer to a medieval European view of the world, as interpretted by the Victorian authors of the deck. Some more modern decks offer themes which may be more relevent to the reader, dependant on their own cultural standpoint.

For some people the attraction to the tarot lies in the seductive allure of divining the future. For others it is less complex simply the collecting of beautifully crafted tarot decks. Perhaps most widespread of all is the quest to better understand ourselves. The cards allow a reader a means to self examine that few other avenues offer. By studying a spread of cards and seeing what they may mean, the reader may see an alternative view of his or her life but more importantly they may see an alternative view of themselves. Such self examination is never a bad thing.

In doing a reading one can ask “what is my role in this issue?” or “how can I best resolve xxx?” Such questions are rarely bad questions to ask. The resulting answers give insight which may be far more valuable than mere divination.

By opening the window of our imagination, through the use of images and symbols, we are able to take an alternative view of our present, our past, and also our future. The cards encourage this. It should be no surprise that the psychologist Carl Jung found tarot cards to be a valuable resource. Once we are able to reach into our imagination and unlock some of the subconscious influences we have, the way we perceive our reality can shift radically.

A typical reading may provide such an alternative view. This can happen in much the same way as one might go to a friend and explain a situation, looking for good advice about what to do next. Equally, one can listen to that advice or discard it. Either way, we make our own decisions. We live our own lives. The cards can help us see alternatives and give us new perspectives, but ultimately we are masters of our own destiny.