In Chapter 1 of my book, The Poe Consequence, a mysterious psychic calling herself Madame Sibilia, gives a tarot card reading to Warren Palmer, a man seeking knowledge about a job opportunity he covets. What Palmer hears instead is a reading that portends a menacing and destructive future; one that produces consequences of death and dominance over two Los Angeles gangs.
Is tarot card reading real? Can someone who wears flowing robes foretell the future just by looking at the cards, or is tarot reading simply an elaborate scam to entice you to spend your money? Let’s try to look at things from a neutral point of view and learn more about both sides.
The people who think it’s real
While there is certainly room for error, tarot readers argue that the cards can actually describe specific details of a person’s life. Although there are books that guide you through the meanings of each one, it takes practice to be able to deduce the infinite interpretations that spring from the cards. A good reader can see patterns that a neophyte can’t.
Believers state that tarot card readings can tell you the possibilities of any given situation. Of course, none of it is set in stone, and it’s only showing you a fork in the road to decide which path to take.
The people who don’t think it’s real
On the flip side of the debate, disbelievers feel that tarot card reading is nothing more than a scam cooked up by con artists to take money from us. They state that these alleged fortune tellers are simply “cold reading” people to make their victims believe that they are psychics. Basically, cold readers can pick up a great deal of information by simply analyzing a person (facial expression, body language, age, clothing etc.). Afterwards, they will get the person to talk more about his/her situation and manipulate the reading to make it sound convincing.
Skeptics also claim that readers use certain dubious methods like the “you have a curse” line to make people with personal or emotional issues crack and pay readers money to “heal” or help them. Of course, readers also charge large sums of money for the “healing” that they offer.
The Middle Ground
Perhaps most of us reside in this category, conceding that we don’t know for sure, but acknowledging that either we or people we know have heard about or experienced seemingly unexplainable stories about individuals who seem to possess certain abilities that leave us confused over puzzling yet apparent realities.
What’s your take on this?