Tarot is a powerful framework for self-examination, to give focus to that which we do not yet know that we already know. The power of Tarot’s symbolism to guide us lies in the fact that it is a deconstructive metalanguage, prompting us to choose words to translate our subconscious notions into something we can work with consciously. Through the perspective of Tarot as a neurolinguistic tool, even the most loyal existentialist or the fiercest atheist, anyone who is open to self-examination, can benefit from this process, even if they could never for a moment take seriously the idea of “fortune telling.” And for those on the other side of the street, preferring to experience something more mystical underlying the mundane, there is also much to be gained by taking ownership of the free will and real choices that present themselves through Tarot. A choice-centered reading does not bestow knowledge of one’s destiny; it is not intended to bring the gift of psychic foresight or divine wisdom. Instead, a choice-centered reading can help provide an intellectual or emotional clarity that empowers one to sync one’s actions with their desires and acknowledge the fundamental role we ourselves play in creating our circumstances (and perceptions of those circumstances).
I learned of Gail Fairfield’s ‘choice-centered’ methodology in Tarot at basically the same time that I discovered Tarot for myself as a teen. It has been a touchstone all my adult life throughout many cycles of self-growth and self-study, alongside mindfulness, CBT, talk therapy, academic and creative research, art, music, etc. and has held up as one of the most rewarding and unifying practices I’ve developed for myself. The basic idea that each of us is navigating through a cyclical path of growth, lessons, triumphs, challenges, and transformation is nothing woo-woo or fantastical, yet the realization of these simple things can feel like nothing short of a miracle when you are mired in life’s daily shit and need a big dose of the wider perspective.