By Rupali Patil
When we are at the crossroads, the wisdom of the tarot shows the way and brings back the reins of destiny in our hands.
Tarot just happened to me. Many years ago, friends holidaying abroad gifted me a deck of tarot cards, as they knew my interest in unusual things. In those days, Tarot was unheard of in India. Very few people knew what the cards even looked like. I knew very little about tarot. I had some vague idea of what tarot meant, but nothing more, and yet I felt drawn towards the cards. I guess there was nothing strange about that. The pictures, symbols, and colours would fascinate anyone who saw them for the first time, and I was no exception. They came at a time when I had completed my postgraduation and had nothing much to do.
My desire to know more about the cards made me write to my relatives abroad, and they sent me a lot of material on tarot – workbooks, interpretations, meditation exercises, philosophical meanings, and esoteric resolutions of tarot card reading. What started as a curiosity became a passion, and I read everything I could find on the subject.
It was fascinating that the cards could form a bridge between the conscious and the subconscious mind, and convey messages which could guide and help mankind in living a better and more meaningful life. Interestingly, the images of the card could register on the subconscious and create external circumstances to match it and could be used for counseling, meditation, and healing. It was a powerful divination tool and used numerology, kabala, color association and therapy, mythology, alchemy, religious theories and beliefs, ancient spiritual knowledge, magic, medieval tantra, and other psychic tools to convey certain ideas. The symbols were drawn from all these different sources and they represented the journey of a soul through life. In their different combinations and permutations, the cards depicted every human experience, situation, attitude, and feeling that one encountered in life. One could use tarot to gain esoteric wisdom and prophetic powers. These were strange ideas and I was keen to experience the truth myself before accepting it.
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My search led me to various alleys, many books, and exercises – until finally, I felt I was ready to experiment with the cards in the areas of divination and guidance. I did about three to four spreads for myself asking questions pertaining to different areas of my life. Whatever question I asked, I came up with the same card – the card of ill health. I was perplexed. Irritated and finally convinced that the cards were not in any way connecting to my questions, I put away the cards and thought that I had come to the end of the journey. I was in perfect health and there was absolutely no reason for that card.
You can imagine my shock when within a month I found myself in the ICU of Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai! We lived in Jabalpur, and I had to be brought to Mumbai under medical supervision. I was almost unconscious and nearly died. A low-grade fever, which went completely undetected, developed into a major illness, miliary tuberculosis.
For eight days, I lived in the twilight zone of delirium and high fever. It was touch and go, but slowly the fever came under control. The first thoughts that came to me when I recovered, were, how did the cards know? What were they trying to tell me? What would have been the result had I taken the warning of the cards seriously, and had got myself fully checked? Would I have avoided this suffering and ill health?
The experience affected me greatly and I started looking at tarot with new eyes. Still, I had to understand the way it worked; I had to find my own vocabulary to express its essence. I had experienced something unusual, but I had to know more about it.
I started doing tarot readings and noting down the cards that appeared. I also noted down the guidance offered and went back to it later to see how it had worked. The tarot came up with rare insights, startling perceptions, and simple solutions to problems posed to it.
I started doing tarot readings for friends and people who came through friends and slowly the word spread. Somehow, the newspapers came to know and did a story on me. I was flooded with requests for tarot readings.
The logbook that I kept helped a lot in my research. I entered each reading that I gave the seekers and requested them to get back and tell me how it worked. Almost 70-75 percent of the people followed up with the information that the tarot had worked for them.
There was a retired high court judge from Dehradun, who had come to Mumbai for a hernia operation. He was very well connected, as his son and daughter-in-law were both IAS officers here. He had access to the best doctors. His family wanted him to get the operation done immediately, as it was a simple operation, and not to wait for the heart specialist to be with him at the time of the operation. He wanted advice on the cards regarding this. His spread showed some complications and I advised him not to have the operation without the presence of his heart specialist. I could sense that his son was not very pleased with this but did not say anything. About a month later, I came home to find flowers, fruit, and boxes of mithai waiting for me. The retired judge sat there in my living room with tears in his eyes and folded hands saying that I had saved his life. It had so happened that the anesthetist gave a slight overdose and the old man’s heart stopped. The instant treatment by the heart specialist saved his life.
There are several such examples, which demonstrate that tarot worked in a startling way.
There were also instances when the tarot did not work. If someone lied or tried to hide something, the cards that appeared were disconnected, or if someone wanted to test the tarot, and tried to trip the oracle by asking false questions, the cards did not reveal anything. I recall a couple of instances. There was this woman asking about her extra-marital affair but pretending that her lover was her cousin, and the woman asking about her illegitimate child. The cards that came up had no pattern, no sense, and no story to tell. They were random cards, which had no meaning. Finally, they confessed and the cards changed dramatically after that.
I have discovered that tarot works best when you approach the cards objectively, with respect and an open mind, which neither believes nor disbelieves. All you need to have is a sincere desire to know.
Every human being is born with an outline of his life, a broad framework called destiny. Within this framework, a lot of change is possible. Human beings have free will. We can choose our actions. Our actions beget reactions, and a chain of actions is set up, propelling life in a particular direction. Tarot helps us to make the right choices, and act correctly. When we are at the crossroads, the wisdom of the tarot shows the way and brings back the reins of destiny in our hands.
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