Tarot and Magick
The tarot cards are commonly used for divination of the past, present
and future. The cards are pulled randomly during divination, with the
synchronicity of the moment determining the outcome through
interpretation of the "random" results.
The tarot is also a tool unique tool for meditation on the many
archetypes present within. Most every action and reaction mankind is
possible of is present in the major and minor arcana. Contemplation of
these archetypes reveals the inward movements of the self and soul. The
placement of the cards for meditation can be done deliberately or they
may be cast randomly to receive the messages of the divine.
Another application of the tarot cards is used with less frequency
than the first two. The tarot can be used as a tool for working magick.
What is magick? How is tarot used? How does it work? What can be
expected? All of these questions will be answered in this paper.
The Way of Magic
The term "magic", whatever the spelling, has been used in
many practical and fanciful ways. It is seeped in ritual and mystery.
The many ways that magic is described clouds the basic definition of the
Magic is the act and outcome of intent and focus.
With this definition one can both perform magic and say that magic
happens. Act and outcome are easily understood. The crux of magic, what
makes it really work or not work, is the intent and the focus applied.
As an exploration of intent and focus letís work with an analogy of
dropping a ball. The act is the releasing of the ball and the outcome is
the ball falling downward. This sounds very simple. However, there are
many variables. These include the initial velocity of the ball, the
initial trajectory, the physical qualities of the ball, and the media
that the ball is falling through. These can be broken down into even
smaller designations. Assuming that air is the media that the ball is
falling through, the temperature of the air and the wind speed can
affect the ball dropping depending on the weight, initial speed, and
composition of the ball. Gravity (or lack of it) will determine the
speed and direction of the fall. So, in this analogy, weíve seen the
simple dropping of a ball become very complicated. This is the nature of
intent and focus in the workings of magic.
While the precise working of magic is illustrated to be difficult to
calculate, the general nature is very easy. Another statement can be
Every act and thought done with intent is magic.
With this statement Iíve created a reality that every purposely
performed action, those actions done with intent and focus, is magic.
The creation of the previous sentence was an action of magic because I
considered my words and put them down. Some thing was created, and that
sentence was the creation. The ripples from your reading the sentence
and considering its meaning is also a magical result. This has broad
ramifications. Most every thought and action becomes a form of magic,
and magic is removed from the occult and fantastic as it is placed into
Consider another analogy. A person calls your name and motions you to
come to where they are. You do so. Is this magic? Yes. They performed
magic on you. How is this different from summoning an earth elemental?
Summoning an element is an action of calling them to where you are.
Their name is called. When done properly they arrive. The keyword here
The Workings of Magic
We will continue the analogy of calling a person. If a person is not
in a room with us, and we call their name, will they come? Perhaps not.
If they are out of the range of our voice they will not hear us and
cannot respond. What if we shout or use a megaphone? We would be heard
across a larger area. What if they were in a different town? We could
use a telephone and they could come. The use of the telephone requires
we know their number and requires that they be available to receive the
call. There is the possibility that the person is deaf and cannot hear
us even if they are in the same room, or they may be capable of hearing
and choose to ignore directions.
Considering the potential difficulties in calling a person to come to
your side, what of the summoning of an elemental? First they must be a
"realí entity. They must be available, and we just have the means
to communicate to them. Lastly, they must have the desire to come when
the command to arrive is given.
What do the calling over of a friend and the summoning of an
elemental have in common? The person creating the magic has:
Awareness of their surroundings Ė who/what is there and where
The knowledge of how to communicate
The understanding of how to combine the awareness and knowledge
A relationship with person/elemental that will facilitate a
These four building blocks are just as necessary while operating a
microwave, driving a car, operating a VCR, or drawing down the Moon. The
harmonious or effective combination will make things happen. The
improper combination will result in nothing happening, or worst, an
Lets work with the analogy of the microwave. Putting a metal dish in
a microwave, the incorrect awareness of the surroundings, can be very
dangerous. The microwave must be programmed for the appropriate amount
of time; this is the knowledge part. Lastly, the person working the
microwave must bring together the awareness (proper dish, food) and
knowledge (correct amount of time) to properly heat a dish. What about
the relationship? If the person cooks beets and they donít like beets,
than their properly executed magical act still has an unwelcome outcome.
The Outcome of Magic
Magic, both mundane and esoteric, typically has an outcome. The
exertion of energies without an outcome it is not possible. Every action
has a reaction. It is not possible to work magic and not have a result.
The reaction may not be readily visible in the same moment and place,
but it is there. The outcomes of magic ripple through the physical,
energetic, and spiritual planes. All of these are not visible to use. We
have a hard enough time seeing what is really happening in the physical
plane. The less visible planes of energy and spirit can hide a
battleship to unseeing eyes.
The theory of karma comes into play here. If karma is the reaction of
the universe to our actions, than every act of magic not only has a
result, it also has a karmic reaction. What is karma? Karma comes from
the root kri, "to do". The principal is based on the idea that
actions determine your destiny. One becomes good by good action and bad
by bad action. Each karma, or action, generates a vibration that
continues to vibrate in the mind. These vibrations are subconscious
impressions. Like attracts like. Love attracts loving acts; malice
attracts malice. The attraction and reaction is non-judgmental, and does
not involve the operation of morality or a single divine judgement.
So magic results in both the outcome desired (hopefully) with a dash
of karma thrown in. The outcome is visible, and the karma is much less
visible. An example of this is throwing a rock into a pond. You see the
splash and the ripples on the surface. In murky water you donít see
what is happening under the water. Dynamite thrown into the water makes
a big splash. Later the dead fish float to the surface, killed by the
shock waves underwater. The initial splash is the outcome and the dead
fish are the karma. The effects of karma may linger long after the
outcome of the magic is felt. Indeed, the original act of magic may be
long forgotten while the subtle workings of karma are still affecting
us. An example of this is that fishing may be very poor for years to
come after we dynamite the local fishing hole.
Magic has results both seen and unseen. The results will affect the
person working the magic, the object the magic is directed toward, and
all things around the magical working. Everything is connected whether
the bond is seen or unseen. While the seen effects of magic are a
concern, the unseen should be considered also. In the microwave analogy,
it is nice to produce a dish we like (not beets!), but it is equally
important not to use a microwave with faulty wiring, and thus burn down
the building at some point in the future as the wiring is damaged by
each use of the microwave. Because the wires are hidden behind the wall,
we donít know if the day of destruction will be immediate or sometime
in the distant future.
Given the ramifications of our actions, do we choose not to perform
magic? Is this possible? No. Unless we are a vegetable, we do perform
acts of intent. Indeed, the act of becoming a vegetable so we will not
perform magic would be an act of magic, and it would have rippling
ramifications that would make mute our personal future nonaction.
The Ethics of Magic
Magic will be performed. What can we do? The answer is to perform our
acts of magic in an ethical fashion. Volumes of books have been written
about ethics, and each group has their own interpretation of what is
proper ethics. I would suggest two approaches. The first would be to
consider the Golden Rule : Do unto others as you would have them do unto
you. This rule appeals to the selfish ego side of our human natures. It
puts in check many of the destructive tendencies of the ego. It is a
simple rule, one that is driven more out of survival than compassion.
The ego tells us to behave ethically from the fear of itself being hurt.
This is not a bad thing. Indeed, it is one of the most basic survival
tools we humans have.
The second approach is more compassionate and more difficult. It asks
us to put aside our selfish egos and instead see things from a divine
and spiritual point of view. This is simultaneously very difficult and
very easy. We all have sparks of divine god in us. We are capable of
knowing what the right action is. However, this voice may be very quiet
compared to the ego. The right action may not be compatible with the
correct action called for by the ego. This is applicable for what would
be considered good and bad actions. It is compassionate to know when to
be good and when to be bad. Sometimes, with divine oversight, we are
asked to do things that are viewed as bad. How is the challenge of
compassionate divine oversight accomplished? Listen to the divine spark
through intuition. Put the ego aside and ask "what is the correct
path?" The answer may surprise you.
A principle that is difficult for the ego to learn is when not to do
"good". Healing is an act of magic. Healing is not always
appropriate. Sometimes people are suffering for a reason. A healing that
is done at the wrong time will be harmful to the energetic or spiritual
growth of the person even while their body recovers. The immediate
outcome of a healed body is not important compared to the harm done by
the arresting or restarting of a spiritual journey prompted by the
suffering. Experienced healers learn to listen to their intuition or
their guides on when to heal and when not to heal. The ego would say,
"I would like to be healed if it were me." The divine self
says, "it is not time."
Which is more important? Is it the need to survive or the need to act
through a divine plan at the apparent detriment of survival? This is an
age-old question, but as we are spiritual beings having a human
experience instead of human beings having a spiritual experience, the
answer is clear. When we are in harmony with the divine, survival is a
harmonious part of the divine plan.
The use of magic clearly asks for much responsibility. Living is
magic, and living asks for the same responsibility. One cannot say
"this is mundane living and this is an act of magic." The two
are inseparable. Their togetherness gives us power. Every action and
thought has tremendous potential of power behind it, and tremendous
responsibility to the ethics of all things.
The Tools of Magic
The fluid execution of magic results from the combination of
awareness, knowledge, understanding, and a relationship with the
universe. These are all necessary for gaining the outcome we desire.
These guide us in choosing the time, place, tools, and actions that we
perform our magic in and through.
All things have a time and place. Actions are easier in a particular
time and place. When we move ourselves far away from that time and
place, things just donít turn out that way. Most plants grow well with
water, sunshine and good soil. This is a generalization. There are some
plants that require, and indeed thrive, on very little water. Some
plants need lots of sun and some need lots of shade. Plants have
different soil requirements. Some plants need to be planted in the
Spring and some need to be planted in the Fall. A gardener learns what
each plant needs, and through the application of this knowledge, they
grow healthy plants. The same is true with any act of magic. The person
performing the magic must know:
This presents magic as being very mechanistic. This is not the case.
There are variables of chaos and hands of incomprehensible divinity in
all actions. A person cannot understand or anticipate all of the
variables of the material, energetic and spiritual. Magic is instead
only part mechanistic. The other part operates on faith. A good analogy
is the throwing of a dart. While all variables can be taken into account
and factored into the throwing action, at some point you must let go of
the dart. Technique, faith, and a bit of fate come together as the dart
moves toward the board. Perfection is not achieved by iron fisted
control. It is achieved by careful preparation and then letting go with
trust. Adjustments can be made in preparation and lessons may be learned
from past experiences. The true master of magic, and indeed life, learns
that the trick is not in doing something right, but in not doing it at
all. The rightness will follow. In this Eastern word twist, the action
is still performed, but it is done in that place where the divine is in
control while ego merely observes. There is not a duality of incorrect
and correct. Instead there is a transcendent place of what is through
the reason that it is the only thing that can be.
Enter the Tarot
This is a paper about the tarot isnít it? Let us see where it drops
in. The tarot is a tool for focusing intent. The focus of intent results
in magic. Each card has a vibration programmed by either the user or by
some universal archetype. The vibration is a factor in both the direct
outcome and the karmic repercussions. The mixing of cards and other
tools such as candles, stones, oils, etc., create a mix of vibrations
are sympathetic to the outcome of the magic. Positive energies produce
positive results. Negative energies produce negative results. The
results are weighed on a universal scale, with the quite hidden and
subtle hand of Spirit determining the relative affects.
Magic, and the life from it derives, is very powerful. The visible
effects may be manifest powerfully or with little force. The invisible
effects are also there, and it could be said that the less visible the
visible, the more powerful the invisible.
Work your tarot magic with ethical responsibility. Do so with
understanding. May the divine powers bless your workings and may you
receive the results you wish.