Throughout history people have told fortunes with all manner of things: scattered bones, the remnants of tea leaves in a cup, tossed coins, watching birds across the sky, anything. It has only been since the eighteenth century that Tarot has been used to divine intellectual and spiritual pathways. Yet all of these methods stem from the same innate curiosity to know what is going to happen in advance. The practitioners of these rituals possess an understanding that all things have a relationship to one other. As Rachel Pollack states in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, “everything is connected, everything has meaning and nothing occurs at random.”
In the 1930s, the investigations of ‘meaningful coincidence’ by Carl Jung and Wolfgang Pauli led to their creating a new word: synchronicity. Pollack says:
Events are synchronous when no observable cause connects them and yet a meaning exists between them. For instance, if we need to consult a certain rare book, and without any knowledge of this need someone comes to our house carrying a copy of this book, we call this conjunction synchronous.
People often use the word ‘synchronicity’ as a charm against the philosophic difficulties of events, which have no apparent cause. When something seemingly impossible happens we say, ‘It’s synchronicity’ and escape the assault on common sense. Jung and Pauli, of course, saw the term as something more than that. They were trying to suggest that an ‘acausal principle’ could connect events as surely as the causal ones of natural law. In other words, if we bring bits of information together in a random way, free from the causal connections of conscious direction, then the acausal synchronicity will bring them together in a meaningful way. This is, of course, what happens in divination…the synchronous principle can only take over if we first remove the causal one. In other words–any method of producing random patterns–shuffling cards, throwing coins–is necessary to give the principle a chance to work.
The presence of God (or the gods if you prefer) actively rules the universe. In order to communicate with God we can either go into a trance and communicate with the Divine in the manner of the master shamans or we can let the gods speak in code through dice, bird patterns or cards. Why do these random patterns represent “God’s speech”? Pollack answers:
Because they are random, because they do offend rational common sense; they bypass the ordinary moment-by-moment way in which people experience life. Like dreams they step outside the normal logic-bound language of conscious humanity. And by stepping outside it, they transcend it.
Going further with this train of thought we understand that God is present in all things. The gods are speaking to us all of the time. Our limited faculties do not always register this and this limitation can be seen as helpful. For if God is all powerful, then God’s speech may overpower us. Therefore, esoteric training can help us rediscover our connectedness to everything around us, including our personal understanding of God or the gods. Proper instruction does not only remove the etheric layer between us and the spiritual world, it helps us make correct use of the electricity of God’s speech. To go beyond our limited perceptions, we have to throw off the blinders and create synchronicity.
The information we need to activate our higher selves already exists in the randomness of the universe. We need a bridge to carry us to conscious awareness. Tarot is that bridge.