The Tarot and the Gatekeepers
Updated: Aug 13
Wherever I seem to be on social media lately, I keep being confronted with the Gatekeepers, or more accurately: the grumps, the grouches, and the judgementals. Stop telling the newcomers that what they are doing is wrong because it isn't the way that you do it.
Stop telling them that they're using the wrong terms for themselves because you personally don't like that term. (a group of people calling themselves baby witches doesn't affect you.)
Just because you had to learn everything the hard way; just because you had to lurk in the shadows and pretend to be different than you were doesn't mean that they should have to.
The Tarot is a tradition stretching back hundreds of years. It isn't the property of any one specific group of people. Anyone can learn to read the Tarot. Anyone can enjoy the process.
MUST YOU BE GIFTED YOUR FIRST DECK?
Absolutely not. In fact, I think spending some time looking at the imagery of different decks online: on Instagram or TikTok or YouTube can actually help you find a deck that really speaks to you.
I do advise choosing a deck with all the cards being fully illustrated simply because it can make the learning process so much easier. What you see on the card is often what the card means.
DON'T YOU HAVE TO BE A 3RD DEGREE PRIESTESS OR A READER OF THE 12TH REALM TO BE A REAL TAROT READER?
You can teach yourself the Tarot. Buy a book (my first book was by Eden Grey). Watch some Youtube videos. Explore some Tarot sites. (The Daily Tarot Girl and the Biddy Tarot are some of my favorite sites).
Take your time. There is more than one way to interpret the way the cards work. Some people equate the Major Arcana with the Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism. Some believe that the Major Arcana tells the story of the Fool gaining wisdom on their journey of self discovery (that's my favorite).
There is no right way.
DO I HAVE TO SAGE MY DECK? NOT LET OTHER PEOPLE HANDLE IT? KEEP IT IN A BAG OF SILK AND THEN HIDE IT AWAY IN A BOX UNDER MY PILLOW?
You can absolutely do any and all of those things but you don't have to do any of them. Everyone has their preferences. There is no special way that it must be done. Do it the way that feels right to you.
CAN I LET OTHER PEOPLE TOUCH MY CARDS OR WILL THAT CORRUPT THEM?
At the beginning of my journey, I spent a lot of time not letting other people handle my cards but I've really loosened up about that. You can absolutely forbid people to handle your deck if that is what feels right to you. Don't let anyone tell you that there is a right way or a wrong way to treat your deck.
Just as I like to shuffle my cards three times and cut them three times for a reading doesn't mean that it has to be done that way. It's just the method that I've picked up over the years.
TAROT READING IS A GIFT YOU ARE BORN WITH - LIKE BEING A HEREDITARY WITCH
Again, with the no. Absolutely anyone can benefit from learning to read the Tarot. No inborn skills are required. You don't have to be the seventh daughter of the seventh son to learn the Tarot cards. Absolutely anyone can learn.
TIKTOK AND YOUTUBE ARE RUINING TAROT READING FOR EVERYONE
No they aren't.
There is a lot to be said for Tarot readings on TikTok and YouTube.
Wherever you go as someone who reads the Tarot or just loves the Tarot, you are going to come up against a lot of hate and a lot of prejudice. The same is true for anyone who moves in non-traditional circles. Spirituality and all things mystical are stigmatized and hated.
Being a Tarot reader in hostile spaces helps to normalize the practice. My cards and I are not of the Devil. You don't need to be afraid of us. You don't need to throw stones at us as we walk down the street.
In many ways TikTok is the perfect introduction to the Tarot. You can keep the readings short and easily digestible. Seeing a reading helps to demystify some of that prejudice.
We're introducing something to a wider audience; something that is often misconstrued and misunderstood with a minimal of gatekeeping and drama.
The readings are inevitably a little generalized but if you are into synchronicity, (as I am), I think the Universe tries to communicate with us in a variety of ways. It can be through dreams. It can be through seeing something familiar in an unexpected place or time. And, yes. I think seeing the right card at the right time or place can also make an important impact. It can help reinforce that suspicion in the back of our heads that we just haven't been able to articulate or see clearly.
Specific readings for specific people are always going to be a better, more intensive experience but dismissing TikTok and other social media platforms is doing a generalized dismissal of another useful tool in the arsenal of those who feel called to read the Tarot.
GO FORTH AND LOVE THE TAROT
We need to stop it with the gatekeeping. Anyone and everyone is welcome here.
We should be more open and accepting of everyone that is drawn to the Tarot. There are as many different ways to read and interpret as there are decks and venues in which to read.
Just because it isn't the way you do it or isn't the way you were taught to do it, doesn't mean it is wrong. Encourage the newcomers to the practice.
Share your point of view, absolutely, but don't insist that it must be done that way. Just let them enjoy the cards and the windows the Tarot can open for them.
The Tarot continues to grow and expand into new venues. Social media doesn't have to be a bad thing. Change doesn't have to be feared or condemned.
Let the Tarot evolve just as our community evolves. Let us love without fear and without judgment. We're on the same side. Welcome them in. Don't try to fence them out.