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What is supposed to be the power behind tarot cards that makes them work?

Just take the question at face value.


  1. They are tools, anchors, to tap into the spiritual realm and recieve the information. When pulling the cards, you get a gut reaction to when you should stop shuffling and how many you should pull. There really isn’t any power in the cards themselves, except for the energy that you and your guides…and other Divine beings put into them. The cards don’t decide which one’s are going to pop up, although it seems that way sometimes.

  2. The power that makes them work? It’s the Power of Suggestion. All it takes is some vague predictions and someone ready and willing to believe anything the medium says, and the Power of Suggestion is more than enough to fill in the gaps.

  3. Tarot cards fall into a category of tool called an oracle. Other examples of oracles include commonly-held things like I Ching, runes, and other divination media, as well as prayer and transcendental meditation. These things open our minds to possibilities we aren’t normally considering, and so they act in a capacity that many believe predicts the future.
    But in the cultures that these things come from, they are nothing more than things to think about–ways of perceiving things we already know, but just don’t think about commonly. Tools like tarot were not historically used to tell the future, but instead to remind us of the true nature of reality, and to give us some ideas about the choices we’ve made.
    The idea of these things telling the future is not really historically valid, with claims that tarot being able to tell the future appearing after 1800. Before then, it was simply “telling someone’s fortune” which was a way of saying that they could see if someone was lucky or not in their current endeavors. It should be noted that most games of chance were also considered ways of “telling one’s fortune” and thus a random number generator should have just as much accuracy as any method of divination.
    Personal preferences aside, most fortune-telling does appear to be fairly accurate if one considers that what is said is guidance and not actually prediction. Guiding a horse is grabbing the reins on the front and pulling; predicting a horse is knowing that it’s going to move when you pull on the reins. Thus, proper fortune-telling tools involve a degree of randomness and combine with luck, and may actually be provable within some fields of quantum physics (where a degree of validity has already been established).
    For more on this, see John Walker’s web site at Fourmi Labs. John Walker, the founder of Autodesk (a software company) gives a good basis for understanding this idea in the link below.

  4. Vagueness. “the death card, that is good, it means change” Why wouldn’t it mean death? If it means change, why not have a change card? And the whole upside down right side up thing? The cards mean whatever you want them to mean.

  5. Well, face value can mean different things.
    If you believe in divination, then, honestly, you’ll get a different answer from every reader. I don’t think that the idea is very coherent, so I can’t give you a sensible answer to this one.
    If you by work, you mean generate belief, well, that can be cold reading and/or self delusion – along with some attractive myth building assisted by the popular media. I do NOT mean to imply that all readers are frauds – many really do believe in their abilities as readers, they are NOT dishonest or even bad people. In fact, whatever our differences, I’ve found that I like rather a lot of them.
    If by work, you mean work in terms of their use in card games, well, that power would be some of the best rules ever devised! If you didn’t know it, these were created for card games – games that are still played throughout continental Europe. Some of us would say that they are the best card games in the world. Really.

  6. Supposed Power? None.
    The ‘power’ is within the person reading the cards. The card images are just there to spark the intuition and create a bridge between the Anima Mundi and the human psyche.

  7. I think Red Haron and Lillith gave you some good answers.
    From a psychological point of view the cards are engineered to reflect the mental intrigues of a person. It doesn’t matter what card you draw, in some way, even just metaphorically, it can relate to the questionaire. Tarot cards can be a great way to not only explore one’s future aspirations, but one’s own mind.
    A metaphysical/philosophical answer is that humans are composed of energy and divination tools like tarot cards are tools that read that energy and the cards one draws is a reflection of that. But how one interprets the cards can vary from one to another.
    One person said why not have a change card instead of death card? First it has to do with the origin of the cards – they reflect the culture they came from. That and death has symbolic meaning that goes deeper than just change alone. Thats because the symbolism behind the cards is the driving force behind them. Symbols open to interpretation. If how you view them is nothing more than a gimmick, then thats all they will be. But if you embrace them as means to understand your life – they can be pretty useful. They won’t reveal the winning numbers of any lotteries though.

  8. Hello
    There is no power within the cards themselves, they work via the subconscious mind, which also leads to the higher mind.


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