Ask any holy person, any spiritual devotee, any psychic medium/intuitive and they will tell you the same thing - our spirit guides are always near. The Divine surrounds us as a constant, both internal and external. This source wishes to aid us in our awakening and is trying to communicate with us all the time. We are embodied as humans in the physical/material plane; this is our privilege. It’s how our souls are able to live out their karmic destiny and fulfill their purpose. However, we all know how easy it is to feel as though our clarity is obscured and our path unclear.
Our spirit guides exist in the cosmic/etheric realm and strive to communicate with us in a variety of ways. Even if you are resistant to the idea of spirit guides or the notion that there is a higher consciousness within us, chances are you’ve experienced (even if only once or twice) your own form of connection with this power, a time when you just intuitively knew what to do, or felt peaceful in the midst of a chaotic situation. Perhaps in a moment of extreme confusion you asked for a sign or a directive. Perhaps, while experiencing intense joy, you found yourself spontaneously giving thanks (to what? To who?) These instincts to reach out, to be in conversation with something greater, to give thanks, to ask for help - exist because the connection to spirit is real, even if in your day-to-day you operate more from a place of science and data (sidebar for a topic all its own: spirit and science are not mutually exclusive!)
For those interested in cultivating an occasional or a constant connection with spirit, tarot provides a grounding ritual and a shared language with those guides who surround us and offer illumination. I view tarot as a form of functional, solutions-based prayer. Usually when we reach out to spirit it’s in the interest of getting a question answered or lobbying for a particular outcome - I hope I get that job opportunity! How will I be able to manage my day-to-day life in the face of this unexpected financial crisis? Where will the money come from? I hope I will be prosperous! How can I mend my relationship with my estranged family member? Why do I struggle so much with XY and Z and how can I change it?
When we pray we may receive answers immediately or we may be asked to practice patience while we stare into the void of mystery and simply trust. However, when we bring our questions or even just our current state of mind to the tarot deck as an inquiry for more clarity or affirmation, we receive tangible messages from the divine right away. When we approach with reverence and openness, tarot becomes the medium for messages to be passed directly from ether into matter. As in all other areas of our lives, interpretation, perception, and discernment are important. It’s easy to get swept up in the drama of certain cards (Death! All the swords! The hanged man!) And yes - just as in real life, the cards reflect the full spectrum of our human experience - darkness and light and every shade in between. It's important to view each message through the lens of solution. Our guides exist to help us, not harm. They want nothing more for us than expansion and an upward rising trajectory. Trusting that the messages we receive are meant to assist us as we move forward on our path is essential for an effective relationship with tarot and with spirit.
A certain measure of channeling and psychic openness is useful and necessary if you are reading for yourself. If you are receiving a reading from someone else, it’s most helpful if you have a baseline measure of trust in the clarity of that person’s intuition. If someone is preaching doom and gloom and you leave a reading feeling anxious or defeated, and most likely something has been lost in translation. Even if you pull the home run spread of the darkest cards in the deck, there’s a message of lightness there - a healing antidote, a way for you to BE in order to move through the darkness in a way that is skillful and peaceful. This is our honor and our challenge - the only true constant is change. Your cards will always change along with the shifting consciousness you bring to your prayers and your readings. One day is full of darkness, the next full of light, and all is still well. This is how we live our lives. This is what the tarot reflects back to us, and this is how we learn to find solid ground through sacred conversation with the Divine sources that surround us and want nothing more for us than victory. Trust us, say our guides. Trust us. It is always perfect, and it will always change, and the conversation that serves our forward motion can be constant if we wish it to be so.
Marla Cinilia is a heart-based E-RYT 500 and a perpetual student of yoga, spirituality and mysticism. She teaches and loves in New Hampshire and Maine.