As a second-generation psychic and tarot reader, one would assume my spiritual journey must've been easy and full of acceptance. When in reality, talking about my journey, cultivating community work, and actively focusing on eliminating the misconceptions plaguing taboo spiritual subjects in Latinx culture has been far from easy. In fact, it's been full of resistance on all ends.
Internalized religious social constructs are something I still have to actively identify and work through to this day, in addition to combating external false perceptions about my community. When we first dive into exploring our curiosity around tarot, it can feel foreign and scary. There are so many misconceptions surrounding tarot-card readings and it can be a really confusing space to navigate when we first enter this realm. I'm here to tell you that your curiosity is valid. I'm also here to encourage you to release any shame attached to wanting to incorporate tarot or other taboo subjects into your personal practice. Like you, many millennials and Latinxs are stepping away from traditional religion and accepting tarot as their own.
As we create our personal spiritual practices, we start to learn that healing modalities such as tarot can feel more organic to us than the suffocating religions such as Catholicism. Many Latinxs grow up being advised against connecting with anything beyond colonized religion. In many instances, steering clear of tarot has become a common narrative driven by Abrahamic religious-based reasons told to us by our parents. It's time we finally destigmatize the misconceptions surrounding this largely mislabeled tool.
How You Can Use Tarot Cards
When used appropriately, tarot can be a resource as we continue ascending beyond indoctrinated oppressive cultural beliefs.
In my professional practice as a tarot reader, I use tarot to assist others with identifying shadow work that needs to be healed. We utilize tarot to contact high-vibrational beings that can guide us on the path toward our highest good. Oftentimes, you'll find practitioners correlate with this intent instead of feeding into the widely circulated myth that all tarot readers contact evil spirits or use tarot for manipulation. To be clear, tarot is not a religion. The 78-card deck is a divination tool that has been misunderstood as disreputable and stigmatized within Latinx communities for years. It's viewed as witchcraft, which is why so many of us grew up automatically shutting it down because of the fear driven by our religiously structured culture. Tarot allows us to explore our curiosity and personal power. Understanding our personal power is something that has been demonized, revoked, and tarnished in order to continue steering oppression into internalized self-hatred and acceptance of mediocracy as people of color.
The Origins of Tarot-Card Reading
The origins of tarot are muddy. Inconsistent oral histories of its birth are up for intellectual debate. However, the two most common historical derivatives lead back to the Egyptians and the Italians for its roots. Essentially, tarot began as playing cards and expanded into a divination modality (a spiritual method to seek knowledge).
Its European roots expanded into Latinx cultures by way of Spanish colonialism. Divination isn't something taboo to our Indigenous ancestors. From planetary divination to obsidian mirror scrying and using corn kernels to connect with higher powers, divination methods were revered before Spanish colonialism.
However, behind closed doors and in dark corners, Latinxs confided in the daring who have kept divination alive culturally. Individuals such as brujx, curanderx, and shamans all have had to practice their esoteric ritual work in secret. As a means of safety and survival from religiously colonial-washed patriarchal evangelists.
Somewhere along the way, tarot was kept alive in the homes of these radical spiritualists for its healing, storytelling, and introspective consulteras (consults).
Tarot Is Being Reclaimed
Tarot has become a staple of Latinx brujería culture within and outside of the United States. Yes, brujas have a negative stereotype that comes with being associated with tarot. However, that narrative is being reworked by modern-day witches.
Latinx millennials are reclaiming this taboo as a form of healing. What is tarot exactly? Not so much about predicting the future and more about understanding how you're influencing the situations around you. Tarot allows individuals to confront conscious and unconscious behaviors of self-sabotage and explore their higher awareness.
The Myths Surrounding Tarot
One of the biggest myths surrounding tarot is that you will automatically open up an evil portal accessing only dark spirits. This is false. One has to call in spirits in general to connect with them. Tarot is a vessel to access energy and entities. If you consciously call in spirits to your liking (good or bad, up to you), then you welcome their presence to communicate through tarot.
Another myth is that you'll instantly have spirits attach to you and not leave you alone. You have free will, and unless you grant a spirit permission to attach to you, then you don't have to worry about this happening to you.
When working with a tarot practitioner, you'll also want to make sure they're ethical and aren't perpetuating harm through tarot. An equally disturbing myth is that all tarot readers are evil or have some sort of power over others. Not true. Yes, there are unethical readers just like there are charlatans in any field or community. You'll want to learn to identify red flags when possibly working with an unethical tarot reader, which include but aren't limited to: a reader using fear to encourage you into a reading or services and constantly making you feel powerless without their help.
Ultimately, tarot is helpful and eye-opening for those who want to better understand themselves. Unfortunately, self-help tools and self-love methods are something we lack in Latinx culture. Anything that is spiritually liberating outside of colonized religion, like tarot, self-help, and self-love, is condemned because it encourages others to think independently and revolt against the status quo we've been conditioned to conform to.
Your fear of tarot is not your fault. It is not your fear to carry. Tarot can be helpful in making everyday decisions for yourself and for those you love. Begin restructuring the perception about tarot by understanding it isn't dangerous. It isn't a one-fixes-all tool meant to magically change your life. It also won't open up portals to destroy your life either. Tarot is a vehicle that requires responsibility. Tarot assists us with connecting with our unhealed versions of self on a deeper level. Working with the tarot allows us to grasp a better sense of who we are and who we can become.
It's time we reclaim these lost teachings and allow ourselves to venture into new areas of personal expansion.