In the past, people did not stumble upon the Tarot while watching late-night infomercials. They could not buy a Tarot deck in a bookstore or check out books about Tarot from the library. If you wanted to learn, you had to find someone who was willing to teach you, and they would only instruct you if they felt you were ready. But now, the middleman is gone. Anyone can walk into a book store and walk out with all the tools they need, without ever realizing the consequences. What consequences can learning the Tarot have? There are several, and though the good ones outweigh the bad, the good ones can lead to the bad ones if the student is unprepared.
When you first start working with the Tarot, you look at things differently. Situations which frightened you before may not bother you any longer, and recurring problems in your life may disappear. Tarot lets you see how events are connected, and that bad things in life happen because you need to learn from them. But with this insight can come a hefty price. Sometimes we look at the world through rose-colored glasses, seeing only what we want to see. The Tarot will not tolerate this. When you decide to use the Tarot, you are pledging to get rid of anything that you no longer need. If you are not ready for that, you're not ready for Tarot.
The Tarot is a wonderful tool for improving your self-esteem and personal power, as we've seen. But Tarot is not for the narcissist, because it will reveal faults for the purpose of allowing you to correct them. If you can't acknowledge the fact that you're not perfect, you cannot be ready to work with the Tarot. Also, Tarot dwells in the realm of the spiritual, and the more you work with it, the stronger your connection to that realm becomes. This can be detrimental if you have an aversion to organized religion. If you believe that religion is an opiate for the masses, you will probably not find comfort in a Tarot deck - despite the 5th Principle and perhaps even because of it.
I am assuming that most of the people reading this text will have already made this choice, and decided that the Tarot is for them. To them I say, congratulations! But why, if I make such an assumption, do I even address this issue? Because unless you keep your decks hidden in a closet and never tell anyone what you do and who you are, sooner or later someone will ask you to teach them. When that time comes, you will have to know whether they are ready to make the same choice you had to make. And it's true that some people are just not ready to learn, for one of the reasons above, or others.
Despite what anyone says, it is untrue that everyone who works with the Tarot emerges a happier person. Some people pick up a deck on a whim, not knowing what a potent spiritual tool it is, and end up injuring themselves psychologically. Others begin studying Tarot only to find themselves cut off from their family and friends. The path of the Tarot reader is not for everyone, and if you have any doubts, it may be better to turn away than to start walking, because there is no way back. But if you know that this is a path you wish to travel, throw your knapsack over your shoulder, take that first step into the abyss, and have faith that you will learn to fly.Copyright 2000 James Rioux