Whose Tarot? by Cynthia Giles

This presentation was theoretical and participatory in nature. The question "Whose Tarot?" was posed to elicit thoughts on the various interest groups who claim the Tarot as their own in modern times. Giles postulated that there are five major groupings:

Metaphysical - interested in Tarot as a metaphysical tool.

Creative - interested in Tarot for its artistic or aesthetic value

Psychological - interested in Tarot as a tool for self discovery and/or counseling

Historical - interested in the historical development of the Tarot.

Communal - interested in Tarot as a tool for Divination

These are arbitrary divisions. Very few people fall into only one group, most overlap into several. Some groups tended to attract men (metaphysical and historical), while others appealed more to women (communal and psychological), though again, no hard and fast rules applied here. There are men who use Tarot for divination and there are women who are only interested in the historical Tarot. These ideas were thrown out for discussion, not as gospel.

The discussion moved to "open" vs "closed" systems. Examples given were:

"Me or my mentor has the one correct way or one true Tarot" - Closed

"Research Tarot" - 1/2 way open

"Possible Tarot" - Completely open

The fact that we are also limited by our own knowledge was discussed. The example of the heart was given. No one understood that the heart was a pump until the pump was discovered. At that point it could be recognized as a pump. Prior to that time there was no frame of reference in which to place the concept of heart as pump. We are also limited because the more knowledge we have about a particular thing, the less open we are to new knowledge about it.

Audience participation was a major portion of this presentation and it is impossible for me to cover all of the fascinating ideas that were brought up and discussed. This was certainly one of the more thought provoking presentations I attended.


Copyright 1997 Michele Jackson