Graphic designer and artist Bill Wolf, whose interest in tarot illustration dates to his art-school days at Cooper Union in New York, has his own theories about the tarot’s beginning. Wolf, who doesn’t use cards for divination, believes that originally, “the meaning of the imagery was parallel to the mechanics of the play of the game. The random draw of the cards created a new, unique narrative each and every time the game was played, and the decisions players made influenced the unfolding of that narrative.” Imagine a choose-your-own-adventure style card game.
The British medium William Roy earned over £50,000 from his séance sitters. He confessed to fraud in 1958 revealing the microphone and trick-apparatus that he had used. The automatic writings of the Irish medium Geraldine Cummins were analyzed by psychical researchers in the 1960s and they revealed that she worked as a cataloguer at the National Library of Ireland and took information from various books that would appear in her automatic writings about ancient history.
Like common playing cards, the tarot has four suits (which vary by region: French suits in Northern Europe, Latin suits in Southern Europe, and German suits in Central Europe). Each suit has 14 cards, ten pip cards numbering from one (or Ace) to ten and four face cards (King, Queen, Knight, and Jack/Knave). In addition, the tarot has a separate 21-card trump suit and a single card known as the Fool. Depending on the game, the Fool may act as the top trump or may be played to avoid following suit. These tarot cards, without occult symbology, are still used throughout much of Europe to play card games.
Oracle decks like the Lenormand tend to rely on more direct visual language than traditional tarot cards. “The tarot can often speak in broad, timeless, universal statements about our place in the world,” says Wolf. “The imagery of fortune-telling decks is more illustrational and less archetypal. The images are generally more specific, simpler, and less universal, keeping the conversation more straightforward.”
Many spiritual works exhort us to form the “human”; that is, to become the best version of ourselves. To form the spiritual side of us is to draw us deeper into communion with Our Lord. The intellectual aspect is important; we have to know what we believe. It is not opposed to the spiritual side; why would God have given humans such a remarkable intellect if He didn’t intend for us to use it? Lastly, I’d change “pastoral” to “vocational” for those of us among the laity. Vocational books on being a parent, spouse, father, mother, etc. have been coming up more and more.
Future - Finally, there is the future card. The future is wrought with mystery and unknowns, and this card offers a magic view of what’s next in the journey. It can reveal where you are headed or could be headed if you do not make important changes. Looking into the future card, see what strengths you continue to develop, what you master, and what falls to the wayside as you pursue more meaningful endeavors. You might also be able to see where you will live, who you will fall in love with, or what kind of good fortune comes your way.