Aeclectic Tarot
Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Tarot Forum

Has tarot been made to me more complex than it needs to be?

  > Aeclectic Tarot Forum > Tarot > Talking Tarot


 
shadowdancer's Avatar
shadowdancer  shadowdancer is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 31 Oct 2004
Location: Christchurch NZ
Posts: 4,850
shadowdancer 
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.
JUST. READ. THE. CARD.

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.

So.....

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.
Top   #1
Sar's Avatar
Sar  Sar is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 21 Nov 2006
Location: Norway
Posts: 3,931
Sar 

The way I see it: We need to disguise the art of divination with this psychologal shit, so we do not get accused for evil witchcraft.
Top   #2
loaa boa  loaa boa is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 27 Sep 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 469
loaa boa 

Most of these new twists are create to sell something.

a book
a new deck
a workshop/seminar

people have to make up something new in order to stand apart and sell things
Top   #3
RunningWild  RunningWild is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 22 Mar 2010
Location: Kalamazoo Michigan
Posts: 1,934
RunningWild 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowdancer View Post
Have we over complicated things?
I believe that would depend on the purpose one assigns to use of the cards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowdancer View Post
If so, why?
Ditto the above. Add to that, that there seems to be something on each artist's mind, a personal symbology that the artists wish to convey, hoping that others might see it through their mind's eye.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowdancer View Post
Does this enhance or hinder what we are trying to convey?
Art doesn't resonate equally with each individual that looks at it whether it's a tarot card or a Picasso so I don't see how it could hinder anyone. No one forces a person to purchase a particular deck no matter how much enabling goes on. Symbology, too, differs among cultures even if there are archetypal similarities in their cultural myths and norms. So I would see that as an enhancement, a chance to learn something about another society's view of the world.


Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowdancer View Post
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?
If they weren't interested in the cards for anything but divination, I imagined they'd be immediately overwhelmed by the sheer volume of various decks and books available. They might also (mistakenly) begin to believe that Tarot was way over their heads and never go near it. Or they might simply pass out from all the excitement. It's still a journey no matter how much material is available. The difference might be that they would be discouraged from writing a book for beginners. OR they might race back to their own time and place and be the first to write THE one book to which everyone ultimately refers.
Top   #4
tarotbear's Avatar
tarotbear  tarotbear is offline
One of the original 100 members
 
Join Date: 05 Aug 2001
Location: Under a pile of embroidery floss and perle cottons
Posts: 11,189
tarotbear 
Wink


Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowdancer View Post
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?

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.
I tend to agree with you in theory. Sometimes I read some of the posts on AT and have no clue what anyone is talking about with the 'Esoteric Mystery Behind the Ninefold Essence of the Third Level of the High Priestess' Belly Button Lint.' Hello? What does this have to do with the question the Querent is looking for an answer to? Is all of this vivisection necessary to tell the Querent not to eat the Hawaiian Pizza and stick with the salad?

The best part of tarot is you don't have to have any of this 'knowledge' to pick up a deck of cards and do a competent reading for yourself or someone else. Even those readers who say 'I always check the Numerology, or the Elemental Dignities or the (fill in the blank with whatever you find most interesting), all I can say sometimes is 'blahblahblah.' The Querent doesn't give a rat's ass if he's the Fire of Water! Have we made things a tad bit over-complicated? On a poll I'd be voting 'YES!'
Top   #5
MikeTheAltarboy's Avatar
MikeTheAltarboy  MikeTheAltarboy is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 18 Oct 2005
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 264
MikeTheAltarboy 

Tarot has been "over-complicated" since 18th century France, when it was made the object of speculative Ancient Egyptian Wisdom, rather than a deck of playing cards.
Once that jump had been *made*, however, itís purpose was broadened. For those who are playing cards, it only matters that trump 11 beats trump 10; the pictures are neumonic only. For those who are doing ceremonial astro-kabbalistic magic, the depth is a necessary association.
For those who are telling fortunes, well, they probably require something less than the full magical symbolism, but none-the-less their heritage - especially in English - is *incredibly* coloured by it.
Top   #6
Chiriku's Avatar
Chiriku  Chiriku is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 21 May 2010
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 2,126
Chiriku 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeTheAltarboy View Post
Tarot has been "over-complicated" since 18th century France, when it was made the object of speculative Ancient Egyptian Wisdom, rather than a deck of playing cards.
Once that jump had been *made*, however, itís purpose was broadened. For those who are playing cards, it only matters that trump 11 beats trump 10; the pictures are neumonic only. For those who are doing ceremonial astro-kabbalistic magic, the depth is a necessary association.
For those who are telling fortunes, well, they probably require something less than the full magical symbolism, but none-the-less their heritage - especially in English - is *incredibly* coloured by it.

Agreed.
Top   #7
Grizabella's Avatar
Grizabella  Grizabella is offline
Card Reader/Fortune Teller
 
Join Date: 08 Jul 2004
Location: Tacoma, WA
Posts: 23,358
Grizabella 

Yep---just read the cards. Period. That's what I do. I'm no Tarot scholar and have no desire to be. I just read the cards. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Top   #8
Le Fanu's Avatar
Le Fanu  Le Fanu is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 10 Feb 2008
Location: Somewhere Spooky
Posts: 17,258
Le Fanu 

All professions and lines of work have been complicated. All professions and lines of work are overthought and over analysed. There are endless workshops and training days and reports and symposiums and people trying to convince the world that what they do is not simple at all, trying to add layers, trying to justify their position in the world; it's so complicated that only I can do it.

There is nobody in the world who dare say nowadays, "actually, my job's really easy."

The tarot market is a reflection of this.
Top   #9
shaveling's Avatar
shaveling  shaveling is offline
Resident
 
Join Date: 14 Jan 2005
Location: Michigan, USA
Posts: 789
shaveling 

What happened in the Sixties is what happens now. But there really was a dearth of books on Tarot back then. A dearth of decks, too. So the hippies of yore didn't have as many resources to work with. But still, newbies who wanted a simple "just the facts, ma'am" reading flipped to the back of PKT to read the divinatory meanings, or gave up on that and relied on the LWB and then read Eden Gray when they could. Newbies who wanted to connect the cards with other symbolic and analytical systems read the front, philosophical part of the book, and astrology and I Ching, and Jung. Lots of Jung. And anything else symbolic or occult they could find. Some of those who stuck with reading tarot stuck with their original approach. Some changed around.

So recalling what I do from fifty years ago, I think what would astound a time traveler would be the variety of books and decks available, and online resources and shopping. But I think there have always been Zen sand garden folks and High Baroque cathedral folks in the Tarot world, and expect there always will be.
Top   #10




 


 


Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Tarot Forum
Aeclectic Tarot Forum Links
· Tarot
· Tarot Special Interest
· Beyond Tarot
· Forum Library

Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Angel Decks
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Cat Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· List All Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· Tarot Books
· What's New

Copyright © 1996 - 2019 Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Contact us.