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Fortune Telling vs. Divination

Tarot reading has been long associated with fortune telling, where the reader (after you cross her palm with silver) will progress to tell you in some detail what the future holds. Most clients visit a tarot reader for precisely this purpose.

But it’s not as simple as that. If the future were already laid out like a carpet, just waiting to be lived, there’d be very little point in any of it. After all, we’d just be like trains running down a set of predetermined train tracks with no free will to change any of it.

There are all sorts of things wrong with that notion both philosophically and morally. For example, what do you do if you don’t like the future that’s set out by the teller? That makes it a bit tricky. You either ignore them (waste of time and money), get fearful, depressed or resigned (very disempowering) or sit around waiting for it NOT to come true – again rather pointless.

But even if you DO like what they’re saying (and most fortune tellers do at least try to be a bit upbeat), you’ve still got the issue of wondering if it will come true and when, and will it all come true, or just bits of it, and what happens if you change your mind about wanting to marry a tall dark handsome stranger, and would prefer a few years travelling on your own, yet you’ve been told he (or she) is on their way. What do you do then? 

Fortunately most clients are able to hold two rather contradictory points of view at the same time. Kind of like ‘I believe it until I don’t until I do’ managing to get value and benefit from a reading despite the contradictions.

There is no doubt that a good reader can tell you things they couldn’t possibly know by ordinary means, and can predict things that subsequently do come true, and it’s these nuggets that impress us and that we share with our friends. This is the wonder of tarot reading. But the danger is that these become the ‘be all and end all’ of a reading and it becomes about waiting for the reader to score ‘hits’. This is really a waste of the power of tarot to create a connection with our souls (and subconscious minds) and  bring inner wisdom into conscious awareness.

So, just take a few moments to think about this one. While the inner child may want to be told the answers and be reassured that it’s all laid out in front of them and they don’t need to be responsible, do you as an adult REALLY want that? Really, really? Don’t you want at least a little bit of freedom to consciously create your own future?



Approaching a tarot reading as a sacred act of divination provides a very different opportunity. As the name suggests it’s about aligning with ‘the Divine’ – in whatever form works for you.  It means connecting with the bigger, wiser part of you that’s not being dictated to by the ego. The part that draws knowledge and wisdom from a wider perspective – the soul. Our souls are our link to the Divine, guiding us through many lifetimes and are closer to us than our breath. Speaking through our hearts, the soul’s job is to make sure we grow and develop into fully conscious beings, actively experiencing connection with the Divine and ultimately joining with it.

So what is ‘the future’? Perhaps there is no future ‘out there’, just what we create in this moment. And if we’re not consciously creating in this moment, then we tend to get more of what we’ve already got – based on ‘hard wired’ subconscious patterns.  Starting in childhood, we develop these patterns as a reaction to perceived threats and they rapidly become automatic, kicking in without any conscious awareness. In this way the past keeps repeating itself and in a very real sense the past becomes the future. These patterns keep running until we make the conscious effort to identify and release them. These are the patterns keep us stuck with limiting beliefs, making the same mistakes over and over and ultimately stuck in fear of the future – which is perhaps the true motivation for wanting our ‘fortunes’ told – if we know what’s coming we can be ready for it – right?

Divination is a sacred act of aligning ourselves with the Divine. This involves taking responsibility for our subconscious patterns and creating our best future, in partnership with our soul that can see the big picture and can guide us to our best and highest self – if we choose to listen to its promptings.  What we decide to do with that knowledge is entirely a matter of free will, but one thing is sure, we get to be an active creator of our own future. It may not turn out exactly as we planned, but miracles along the way are almost certainly guaranteed.