This is the million-dollar question: can tarot predict the future?
The short answer is yes, BUT.
The future is not set in stone
Every day we make a thousand choices. Some are small, such as how we’d like to drink our coffee. Some are momentous, huge, gargantuan choices that can and will shape the direction our life will take going forward.
Usually, those big choices are easy to spot. Getting married, accepting a new job, moving to a new city… when the opportunity arises, we can tell “hey, this is going to be big!”.
Fun fact: small choices matter too.
Funnier fact: we make big choices all the time without realizing it.
We choose to stay in our job. We choose to stay in our home. We choose to work for our relationship to suceed. We choose to take the efficient commute every day over the scenery route. We choose to keep up this or that hobby. We choose and choose without giving it much thought, because we form habits.
Nothing wrong with habits. They are efficient, and the right habit can be very healthy and help you reach your goals and fulfill your dreams. However, we are free to change our habits at any time, and that’s always a choice.
But if the future depends on our choices and we can change it all the time, what use is fortune telling?
How can Tarot predict the future?
Most of us drink our coffee (or tea, or poison of choice) the same way every morning. There’s no great mystery behind it: that’s how we like it. We may like or dislike our habits, but the fact remains they’ve become habits for a reason: we keep doing the same thing.
Tarot, when used to predict the future, takes a snapshot of our current situation and our usual choices. Then, depending on the spread we used and the question we asked, it can tell us:
- The outcome if we keep making the same choices we usually do
- The outcome if we follow the advice laid out in other cards
- The outcome depending on the choice we make, if the spread was set up that way
(As an important note: Tarot can be used for purposes other than to predict the future, depending on the spread we use, but this article refers to predictive readings)
If the outcome lines up with our wishes and goals, all’s fine: we just have to heed the warnings, follow the advice, and go on in our usual way.
What happens when we don’t like the outcome?
The cards have been used to predict the future, but also to learn how to shape it. This is the big BUT I mentioned when we started to discuss the card’s abilities to predict the future. We can choose to change our actions, our mindset, our plans… We can even wait until we’re better prepared to give our goal another shot. In this case, a type of in-depth tarot reading can offer insight into what we should change, or what might happen depending on what we change.
What about fate then?
Sometimes, the pillar of tarot prediction is fate. If something is meant to be, it’ll be. Things will happen as they will, and there’s that. This fortune-telling approach puts “something else” in charge of your life… and it’s not wrong, but I don’t believe it to be right either.
Fate, the way I understand it, is an opportunity.
Think of the proverbial train at the station. It’s there for us, we have the tickets, everyone around us tells us to jump on board…
But guess who has to make the choice and climb on that train?
Sometimes we’ll want to take the ride. Sometimes we’ll want to pass. Sometimes we’ll be so distracted talking to a fellow traveler we won’t even notice when it departs.
There will always be a train for us to catch. If not this same one, with this destination, a different one. That’s what life is about. We just have to choose which trains to take… and Tarot can help out here, because it’ll provide us with the schedule and destination so we can decide.
So can Tarot predict the future or not?
Do weather reports work?
When used to predict the future in the short term, the tarot is incredibly accurate because the number of choices we are likely to make to alter that prediction is limited. As we look further into the future, more and more variables apply, and the prediction becomes the potential, and then the possibility.
The same thing happens with the weather: tomorrow, an expert can tell you the exact time it’ll rain. Next week is going to be accurate. The seasonal report is a bit vague though, and the year-long forecast looks only at a few key base numbers. This is because the number of variables makes the models too complex, opening up a world of possibilities–and in tarot readings, those variables are your choices.
Ultimately, it is very much possible to predict the future accurately, but Tarot is a tool to empower us to choose our own path: understanding ourselves and grasping the import of the choices we make puts us in charge of where we’re going in life.
Would you like to read more about fortune-telling and predicting the future through the tarot? Author and tarot reader Benebell Wen has an eye-opening article on the subject. You can check it out here.