Tarot and the Future: Predicting vs. Forecasting
Throughout the ages, people have been engaging Tarot readers and other folks who practice various divination arts to predict the outcome of an event, relationship or situation. Those of you who do readings know it still goes on to this day.
“When will I find a new job?”
“When will I finally be able to move out of my current residence?”
“Is there someone else coming into my life soon?”
“How long will I have to put up with this situation?”
How do you handle these questions? Do you try to predict what will happen or do you try to forecast what is likely to happen?
First, the Future
Let’s talk about the future for a moment and frame the discussion within the perspective of “your” future. This is a very broad topic, so it will be good if we do this.
I always refer to a quote from a famous, old, wise Jedi Master when I think about the future:
"Difficult to see. Always in motion, is the future."
(Yoda’s response to Luke Skywalker’s question on whether his friends will die in Cloud City in “The Empire Strikes Back!”)
Yoda is absolutely correct – the future is always in motion because there are so many things going on at any given time. There are a myriad of events and situations over which you have no control that can affect your future; some can even affect the decisions you make on what you perceive as your immediate future. Also coming into play are your very own reactions to unforeseen, unanticipated or unexpected situations – these, too, will affect future outcomes. Finally, your own free will can (and in many cases will) be the deciding factor on future outcomes.
Predicting what will happen…
Notwithstanding the fluidity of the future, some readers seem to make predictions with reasonable accuracy. Perhaps they are more in tune with the ebbs and flows of time and space than most of us. I do admire their gifts, though.
It is because of the fluidity and volatility of the future, however, that I personally find it hard to put a stake in the ground and say that something is going to happen precisely (or very approximately) at a given time. Yes, there are techniques you can use to determine hours, days, week, months and seasons with the Tarot (and I’ve used them to some extent myself), but I still wonder how you lock in to a specific timeframe.
I also have a concern about the effect a prediction will have on a given person’s free will. As you know, the Tarot is a tool that provides knowledge, insight and, above all, guidance – nothing in a Tarot reading is written in stone. An individual has the will and prerogative to accept or dismiss any guidance he or she receives from a reading; that individual is ultimately responsible for his or her life. There are some people, though, who feel that a prediction trumps their free will, thereby negating any chances they may have (or perceive to have) of acting upon or responding to the prediction in a manner that affects the stated outcome. As such, the prediction seems to have either an unconscious or conscious effect.
Unconscious. Despite any feelings or opinions prior to the prediction, the individual may unconsciously begin acting in a manner that transforms the prediction into nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Conscious. The individual may believe that the prediction is a matter of fate and that consciously trying to do anything to change the outcome of the prediction is futile.
I don’t do predictive readings, given what I’ve stated so far. I will, however, agree to do a forecast of the future.
Forecasting what is likely to happen…
When I’m asked to look into the future outcome of some situation, I always explain my perspective on the nebulous nature of the future, and then indicate that I will attempt to forecast what is likely to happen based on a point-in-time snapshot of how the situation looks today. I also state that I will convey what factors seem to indicate movement towards a favorable or unfavorable outcome. I wait for a moment, and then explain how I see myself as a weatherman on the local evening news.
The Weatherman and the Tarot Reader
The weather here in Southern California can be quite variable, more than what I would have imagined when I first moved here. Lows and highs move in and out, the Santa Ana winds can cause havoc (especially during fire season), and the rain can be, well, reliably unpredictable.
Vera Jimenez is the Meteorologist for KTLA 5 TV here in Los Angeles. She's my most favorite weatherman (I’m using the common title for someone in this position) in the area because she’s usually right on target with her forecasts. Notice I said “forecasts” and not “predictions”. Meteorologists never predict, they always forecast. Why? Because the weather can be so unpredictable – just like the future. Here’ an example.
I tune into Vera on Monday, and she shows satellite photos of Southern California, describes how the weather patterns are currently moving, and indicates the locations of Low- and High-pressure areas. Based on this information, she then provides her forecast of likely temperatures and weather for the next 5-7 days. It looks really good – sunny days for the most part, with temperatures hitting the upper-80s. Note that this is a point-in-time forecast.
Now I tune into Vera on Wednesday. She goes through the same drill as always, but this time she says there’s been an unexpected change in the jet stream. It’s dropped down from the Pacific Northwest just enough to bring in a large Low from the north into our area. As such, she has to adjust her forecast – we’ll now have a marine layer coming in on Friday and Saturday, with temperatures dropping to the low 70s. Well, I’d better adjust my plans for the weekend accordingly. This, too, is a point-in-time forecast.
I use the Tarot to forecast the future in the same manner that Vera uses her satellite photos and reports to forecast the weather. In my mind, the message I receive from a reading regarding a question about a future event is point-in-time forecast of a likely outcome. Something unforeseen, unanticipated or unexpected could come up that would affect the message of a subsequent reading on the same question. Here’s an example.
Lets’ say you come to see me on Monday about a question you have regarding an upcoming interview for a different position at work. The interview is this Friday and you’d like to know what the possible outcome might be. I do the reading and forecast that it is likely to go well and that you’ll probably be the top candidate for the job. You then leave feeling relatively confident that things may indeed go your way.
On Wednesday, you feel slightly antsy about the interview, so you decide to see me for a follow-up reading. So, I throw the cards and see that you might have some competition after all. You ask me why there is a change from Monday’s reading, and I tell you that there seems to be someone else influencing the decision who wasn’t involved before. You can’t figure out who that might be, but, armed with this new information, you go home to make sure you’re absolutely prepared for the interview.
It’s a good thing you came for the follow-up reading, as there was an unexpected transfer of a new assistant manager to your team late Tuesday afternoon. It is she that is now in the interview loop and has her own candidate in mind. Despite the competition, you were able to garner the top candidate spot because you were more prepared than anyone else.
I believe my providing you with a forecast versus a prediction is what made you feel empowered to take steps to have a more favorable interview.
A few last words
I hope the previous example made sense and illustrates why I prefer forecasting. Aside from avoiding trying to put a pin in a moving target, I believe a forecast avoids the pitfalls I mentioned regarding predictions. The bottom line, in my mind, is that a forecast enables the client to feel empowered to make adjustments and take actions that could help change any adverse or undesirable outcomes that may have been indicated in the forecast. Additionally, you, as the reader, can perform further readings to help the client identify possible options or actions to take to make those adjustments.