How to predict the future

Tarot cards from the Hanson-Roberts deck.We’ve come to the time when pundits and prognosticators try to make their predictions for the coming year. Will it be a good year or a bad one? Who will win the upcoming elections? Which celebrities will rise and which ones will fall? Who will win the Super Bowl? These would-be prophets run through all sorts of charts, computer models, and paragraphs of explanations to come up with their forecasts.

I’m not good at making predictions. I certainly couldn’t have predicted all of the unexpected and wonderful things that happened to me this year. I have found one method of predicting the future that is useful, or at least as useful as the other methods available: tarot. Yes, tarot cards can predict the future, but not in the way you expect.

I dabbled in tarot as part of my New Age phase in the 1980s. I had just moved to Orange County and started living on my own. My life was filled with uncertainty. At the time, crystals, subliminal self-hypnosis tapes, and tarot cards seemed as good a way as any to make sense of the changes I was going through. So, I bought a copy of Mary K. Greer’s Tarot for Your Self and a Hanson-Roberts tarot deck.

Each card in a tarot deck represents a different aspect of your personality or a possible situation you are in. The symbolism provides a specific description of what the card means. Even the colors in the card have meaning. You can look up a card’s definition in a book, or you can study the symbols and determine what that card means to you. I chose the latter.

When I look at a card like the Eight of Swords, I ask, “Why is that woman tied up? Did someone do that to her, or did she put herself in that bind? Why are those swords blocking her way? Why is she blindfolded? What is that castle in the background? Is that a place she is trying to escape? If so, what is she escaping from and why?” I can then ask what the symbolism means to me. “What is the change I’m trying to make, and why can’t I make it? What is holding me back? What am I not seeing? How do I free myself so I can move forward?”

For me, tarot wasn’t about fortune telling, but about asking questions. When you ask questions, you gain understanding. When you gain understanding, you can find solutions for the problems facing you. When you find solutions, you shape your own fortune.

Tarot can be a good metaphor for life. Each of us is dealt a hand, and the cards may not be to our liking. Some of the hands we’re dealt can be awful or unfair. But if we study the cards — examine them carefully and figure out their meaning to us — we can learn to play even the worst hand to our advantage. The cards are not our fate, but tools to help us build our own destiny.

I don’t do tarot anymore, but I find its approach to life helpful. We can’t control our circumstances or the situations that come up in our lives. We can change our attitude and decide how we’re going deal with our challenges. You can predict the future when you realize that you’re the one who creates it.