Apply The Magic Of Tarot Cards To Your Creative Process

Ever mess around with Tarot cards? They’re those “fortune telling” cards from the ancient world that some believe have mystical powers. The person getting a Tarot card reading asks a personal question, the reader shuffles and then displays the cards on a table in a particular ritualistic pattern. The insights that come out of such a session are often quite profound.

I believe Tarot cards actually work, but not because they are magic.

I believe they work because they force a person to pay attention to disruptive information. Here’s what I mean. In order for new ideas to happen, different information must collide in one’s head. The information you have in your “collective experience” must collide with information “out there,” be that from something you stumble across in your environment or something from someone else’s head. The problem is, people tend to be rhythmic and live rhythmically, going through their day-to-day lives with much of what’s around them going unnoticed. And much of what’s around us is information just begging to collide with our personal information. As a result, I’d venture that millions of new ideas per minute, worldwide, never crystallize because potential new connections are not made. And they’re not made because we’re not paying attention.

The “magic” is in us, not the cards.

Recommended for YouWebcast: Sales and Marketing Alignment: 7 Steps To Implement Effective Sales Enablement

The “magic” of Tarot cards is that they force a person to pay attention to new information in the context of a personal issue (the question the person is asking the Tarot reader to help him or her with). Put another way, the display of Tarot cards on the table in front of someone creates an “arena” for very personal idea-collisions to happen. The brilliance of the Tarot is that each Tarot card is assigned inherent meaning – there’s a guide that comes with every deck that tells you what each card means. And, as each card is revealed and is explained to the person, this new information (the card’s meaning) enters the person’s collective experience, collides with other information already there and, sometimes, incites new ideas about the question asked.

Each card, then, is the equivalent of a life experience, a thought, an inspiration, that, because you are now actively paying attention, can disrupt your normal, rhythmic, otherwise predictable thought processes. The “magic” that people attribute to Tarot cards is really the result of two disparate thoughts colliding in the perceiver’s mind. The  proverbial “Aha!” moment. I think we’d all agree that having “Aha!” moments feel magical.

The world is our Tarot.

We don’t need Tarot cards to get this same effect. To me, life’s experiences are “Tarot cards.” Everything that happens to us, big and small, is information we COULD allow to disrupt our rhythmic line of thinking, thereby creating new thoughts, new insights, new ideas. Try this. Think about a marketing problem you’re working on. Stop on the street next time you’re outside and look around. What catches your eye? A sign? Some trash? An interesting car? Now, bring the thought of that object into your consciousness and see what happens. You might be amazed at what a daily “Tarot moment” like this will do for your creativity.

We’re surrounded by inspirational “Tarot cards.” But they only work if we pay attention.


Author: Will Burns is the founder of Ideasicle, Inc., a virtual marketing ideas company.

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 5

  • Tarot is really a variant of the playing card deck which was created when a 15th century Italian wanted a trump suit in a card game. Tarot cards would not be used for “fortune telling” until the 18th century. The common definition of “Tarot” as “fortune telling” cards is based on cultural ignorance. Contrary to popular myth, Tarot cards do not come from the ancient world nor were they intended for any other purpose than for the play of a trick taking card game. Articles like this one which distort history and culture are damaging to the efforts of game players to educate others about the pastime of Tarot game playing.

  • Jim Wickson, it would be polite to provide proof. Without it, your comment appears speculative and even a bit troll-ish.

    I am not interested in knocking down established customs and beliefs. It would be akin to bucking the Universe.

    However, I am interested in the pastime of Tarot game playing – the goals, rules, established customs, and so forth.


  • The first paragraph of this article makes two implications for which there is no proof, that Tarot is a fortune telling deck from the ancient world when in fact there is no proof that Tarot cards existed before the 15th century and there’s no proof they were used for fortune telling before the 18th century.

    Below are sources for my assertions.

    The Game of Tarot
    by Michael Dummett with the assistance of Sylvia Mann
    Duckworth 1980 ISBN 0 7156 10147

    A History of Games played with the Tarot Pack Volumes One & Two
    By Michael Dummett and John McLeod
    Edwin Mellen Press 2004
    Volume One ISBN 0 7734 6447 6
    Volume Two ISBN 0 7734 6449 2
    Supplement from Maproom Publications 2009 ISBN 978 0 9562370 0 2

    A Wicked Pack of Cards
    By Ronald Decker, Thierry Depaulis & Michael Dummett
    St Martin’s Press 1996 ISBN 0 312 16294 4

    A History of the Occult Tarot 1870-1970
    By Ronald Decker and Michael Dummett
    Duckworth 2002 ISBN 0 7156 3122 5

    The Penguin Book of Card Games
    By David Parlett
    Penguin 2008 ISBN-10: 0141037873 ISBN-13: 978-0141037875

    Some of the above titles are difficult to obtain. For an online resource for Tarot history and games, I would start with the website of the International Playing Card Society and read the article “History of Playing-Cards”

  • The earliest existing mention of a Tarot deck of cards, occurs in the year 1332 when King Alphonse X1 of Leon and Castile, issued a proclamation against their use. Sorry Jim your wrong!

    • I think you need to do more research Tony Peck. There is no documented use of Tarot for any purpose prior to the 15th century.

Add a New Comment

Thank you for adding to the conversation!

Our comments are moderated. Your comment may not appear immediately.