Tarot Mechanism?

Alright, so I have a bit of a theoretical question that I need to address before I commit myself to learning tarot. That question is, what is the exact mechanism by which tarot works?

From a mundane perspective, tarot involves shuffling a deck of tarot cards and laying out a spread. However, once the cards are shuffled, they objectively exist in the deck in a particular order. If the order in which they’re laid allows for divination, then I can think of only a few basic ways that could happen:

  1. Spirits alter the order in which the cards are shuffled such that they are no longer random
  2. The subconscious mind directs the interpretation of random card spreads using base psychic ability
  3. In the case of spreads done by selecting cards from a fanned deck rather than cards on top, the subconscious mind directs card selection using base psychic ability

Are any of these correct? Some insight would be great!


I’d always assumed it worked more like the Schrodinger’s cat experiment, through quantum superposition. You shuffle the deck, but until you SEE the cards in your spread, the possibilities remain theoretical.

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I tend to lean toward the spirit side. Whatever being or magical body (my own astral form, my “HGA”, my higher self, my spirit guide, whatever entity happens to be standing by the door at the time that I knock, etc) arranges the cards (or at least the top 3 cards) in whatever way it needs to be. Before I do a spread ill intentionally open that “portal” and ask for help from whoever it is that does the helping, then I shuffle and do it. To me each card, while having many meanings, still has a limited number of interpretations. So in my experience it works, regardless of how it works, based on the relevance and accuracy of the readings I’ve done, even on myself.