Do they work? Is it some occult stuff or simple bullshit?
The history of this cards is very mysterious, their birth is disputed between France and Italy during the Reinassence period: they originally were created as a simple card game, in fact the minor arcana are the common napoletan cards; but the major arcana are very different, their appearence is much more elaborate and profound, you can sense that they were made with a psychological and spiritual intent behind. Beginning with The Fool, the 0 card, and ending with The World, the 22th card, it seems like a spiritual path, one of evolution and deepening into one’s own mind, heart and spirit.
A Visual Language
They’re like mirror for our souls, like a waking dream the cards incarnate our deepest fears and desires, letting us confront ourselves with them to overcome our blockages and evolve as human beings. It is a visual language, thought to strike directly our unconscious, which thinks in images: every card is like an ideogram that represents an archetype, an energy or an ideal; they’re not very different from the ancient greek gods, each one with their strenghts and weaknesses, but still an eternal source of inspiration for people. The Fool is the intoxicated and wild Bacchus, the boy of The Chariot is the refined and beautiful Apollo, the young blonde girl of The Star is the stunning Aphrodite: every card represents an idea that is beyond time.
Yes, everything’s cool, but how can I read them? Well, it’s easy but not too much. A classical spread it’s with three cards, like the three fundamental notes that create a musical chord: every card interacts with the others, they can look at each other in the eyes like two true lovers or they can turn back and look in the opposite direction; you have to pay attention to the relationship between the cards, like if they were real people interacting in a room. You’ll need intuition, creativity, rationality and some theory and experience. If you wish to learn the basics of this art I recommend you “The Way Of Tarot” by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marianne Costa, it is a roughly 400 pages book and it’s written very well, clear and sound. I hope I’ve elicited your interest in this strange but poetic art, I want to end this story with a phrase by Jodorosky, the first person that introduced me to The Tarot of Marseille:
“The Tarot is first and foremost a powerful instrument of self-knowledge and a representation of the structure of the soul”.
Alejandro Jodorowsky, The Way of Tarot.