I’ve read in a few pagan 101 books that Tarot cards and other divination methods work by tapping into one’s subconscious mind. This actually makes a great deal of sense to me, though I honestly don’t think it’s the whole answer. To me, Tarot is a create-your-own Rorscharch blot test.
Have you ever taken a Rorscharch test? They’re not used much anymore. They’re basically big colored inkblots on cards, and you (the patient) have to interpret them. The “results” are totally subjective, which is why they’ve fallen out of favor. I tended to see animals: bugs, birds, a fox’s face. “Normal” people, I learned, usually saw human faces and figures. My therapist confessed to me that he had patients who saw terrifying things.
Tarot too is almost entirely subjective. Yet, like the ink blots of the Rorscharch test, it can still tell us about ourselves. I love animals, which is no doubt why I saw critters and creepy-crawlies of all sorts in those shapes. Realizing this has made my Tarot skills stronger. I no longer try to use rigid layouts, instead building my spreads intuitively and organically, card by card. They tend to spread outward from a central point.
Like an inkblot…