Tarot and the Future: Predicting vs. Forecasting

Throughout the ages, people have been engaging Tarot readers and other folks who practice various divination arts to predict the outcome of an event, relationship or situation. Those of you who do readings know it still goes on to this day.

  • “When will I find a new job?”
  • “When will I finally be able to move out of my current residence?”
  • “Is there someone else coming into my life soon?”
  • “How long will I have to put up with this situation?”

How do you handle these questions? Do you try to predict what will happen or do you try to forecast what is likely to happen?

First, the Future

Let’s talk about the future for a moment and frame the discussion within the perspective of “your” future. This is a very broad topic, so it will be good if we do this.

I always refer to a quote from a famous, old, wise Jedi Master when I think about the future:

Difficult to see. Always in motion, is the future.
(Yoda’s response to Luke Skywalker’s question on whether his friends will die in Cloud City
in “The Empire Strikes Back!”)

Yoda is absolutely correct – the future is always in motion because there are so many things going on at any given time. There are a myriad of events and situations over which you have no control that can affect your future; some can even affect the decisions you make on what you perceive as your immediate future. Also coming into play are your very own reactions to unforeseen, unanticipated or unexpected situations – these, too, will affect future outcomes. Finally, your own free will can (and in many cases will) be the deciding factor on future outcomes.

Predicting what will happen…

Notwithstanding the fluidity of the future, some readers seem to make predictions with reasonable accuracy. Perhaps they are more in tune with the ebbs and flows of time than most of us. I do admire their gifts, though.

It is because of the fluidity and volatility of the future, however, that I personally find it hard to put a stake in the ground and say that something is going to happen precisely (or very approximately) at a given time. Yes, there are techniques you can use to determine hours, days, week, months and seasons with the Tarot (and I’ve used them to some extent myself), but I still wonder how you lock in to a specific timeframe.

I also have a concern about the effect a prediction will have on a given person’s free will. As you know, the Tarot is a tool that provides knowledge, insight and, above all, guidance – nothing in a Tarot reading is written in stone. An individual has the will and prerogative to accept or dismiss any guidance he or she receives from a reading; that individual is ultimately responsible for his or her life. There are some people, though, who feel that a prediction trumps their free will, thereby negating any chances they may have (or perceive to have) of acting upon or responding to the prediction in a manner that affects the stated outcome. As such, the prediction seems to have either an unconscious or conscious effect.

  • Unconscious. Despite any feelings or opinions prior to the prediction, the individual may unconsciously begin acting in a manner that transforms the prediction into nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophesy.
  • Conscious. The individual may believe that the prediction is a matter of fate and that consciously trying to do anything to change the outcome of the prediction is futile.

I don’t do predictive readings, given what I’ve stated so far. I will, however, agree to do a forecast of the future.

Forecasting what is likely to happen…

When I’m asked to look into the future outcome of some situation, I always explain my perspective on the nebulous nature of the future, and then indicate that I will attempt to forecast what is likely to happen based on a point-in-time snapshot of how the situation looks today. I also state that I will convey what factors seem to indicate movement towards a favorable or unfavorable outcome. I wait for a moment, and then explain how I see myself as a weatherman on the local evening news.

The Weatherman and the Tarot Reader

The weather here in the Puget Sound area of Washington State is complex, mainly because of our proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the jet stream, and our topography. I learned some time ago that the military sends their meteorologists here for more advanced weather forecasting training – if you can forecast the weather here with any reasonable accuracy, you can pretty much forecast it anywhere else with relative ease.

Jeff Renner is the Chief Meteorologist for King 5 TV here in Seattle. He’s my most favorite weatherman in the area because he’s usually right on target with his forecasts. Notice I said “forecasts” and not “predictions”. Weathermen never predict, they always forecast. Why? Because the weather can be so unpredictable – just like the future. Here’ an example.

I tune into Jeff on Monday, and he shows satellite photos of the northern Pacific Ocean, describes how the weather patterns are currently moving, and indicates the locations of low- and high-pressure areas. Based on this information, he then provides his forecast of likely temperatures and weather for the next 5-7 days. It looks really good – sunny days for the most part, with temperatures hitting the mid-70s. Note that this is a point-in-time forecast.

Now I tune into Jeff on Wednesday. He goes through the same drill as always, but this time he says there’s been an unexpected change in the jet stream. It’s dropped just enough to bring rain showers from the north into our area. As such, he has to adjust his forecast – we’ll now have a few light showers on Friday and Saturday, with temperatures dropping to about 68-69 degrees. Well, I’d better adjust my plans for the weekend accordingly. This, too, is a point-in-time forecast.

I use the Tarot to forecast the future in the same manner that Jeff uses his satellite photos and reports to forecast the weather. In my mind, the message I receive from a reading regarding a question about a future event is a point-in-time forecast of a likely outcome. Something unforseen, unanticipated or unexpected could come up that would affect the message of a subsequent reading on the same question. Here’s an example.

Lets’ say you come to see me on Monday about a question you have regarding an upcoming interview for a different position at work. The interview is this Friday and you’d like to know what the possible outcome might be. I do the reading and forecast that it is likely to go well and that you’ll probably be the top candidate for the job. You then leave feeling relatively confident that things may indeed go your way.

On Wednesday, you feel slightly antsy about the interview, so you decide to see me for a follow-up reading. So, I throw the cards and see that you might have some competition after all. You ask me why there is a change from Monday’s reading, and I tell you that there seems to be someone else influencing the decision who wasn’t involved before. You can’t figure out who that might be, but, armed with this new information, you go home to make sure you’re absolutely prepared for the interview.

It’s a good thing you came for the follow-up reading, as there was an unexpected transfer of a new assistant manager to your team late Tuesday afternoon. It is she that is now in the interview loop and has her own candidate in mind. Despite the competition, you were able to garner the top candidate spot because you were more prepared than anyone else.

I believe my providing you with a forecast versus a prediction is what made you feel empowered to take steps to have a more favorable interview.

A few last words

I hope the previous example made sense and illustrates why I prefer forecasting. Aside from avoiding trying to put a pin in a moving target, I believe a forecast avoids the pitfalls I mentioned regarding predictions. The bottom line, in my mind, is that a forecast enables the querent to feel empowered to make adjustments and take actions that could help change any adverse or undesirable outcomes that may have been indicated in the forecast. Additionally, you, as the reader, can perform further readings to help the querent identify possible options or actions to take to make those adjustments.

I’d be interested in hearing any thoughts our feedback you may have about predictions and forecasts.

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9 Responses to Tarot and the Future: Predicting vs. Forecasting

  1. Mike says:

    Comment from FaceBook: Mary K. GreerAugust 8, 2010 at 10:34am
    Re: New blog post

    Mike – I really like the idea of forecasting versus prediction. Your explanation and examples are perfect. Good work.

  2. Mike says:

    Comment from FaceBook: Donnaleigh de LaRoseAugust 8, 2010 at 9:09am
    Re: Latest Blog Post

    Great blog, Mike! We just had an episode on this. I tend to think they are both the same thing (violet versus purple). We predict, but we also tell people the future is malleable. I love the word forecasting. And Yoda was very wise! As always, your writing continues to inspire me!

  3. Mike says:

    Comment from FaceBook: Susie JoyceAugust 8, 2010 at 6:48am
    Re: New blog post

    Your post about forecasting and not predicting is explained very well. The comments about the future being a moving target is excellent! I use the metaphor about the weather man and forecasting, also.

  4. Mike says:

    Comment from FaceBook: Susan Conner Pitiger August 7 at 11:49pm
    Very helpful. A different perspective on what a Tarot reader deals with and how the reader can deal with the issues. Thanks!

  5. Mike says:

    Comment from Dax’s Tarot Guild post: August 7, 2010 at 11:35pm
    I love the Yoda quote …something I often do! I’ve thought along the same lines. With the Law of Attraction in mind, are predictive readings setting up a self-fulfilling prophesy? I think it’s a definite possibility.

    See the rest of his comment on the Tarot Guild Site.http://www.tarotguild.com/profiles/blogs/tarot-and-the-future

  6. Hi Mike:
    I especially like this article. You have written about a topic which explains the nuts n bolts of why the majority of us readers provide Readings. I’ve added your blog to the Ask my Cards page called Card Lovers Community directory for others to find. Jozefa Seaqueen

    • Hi Jozefa!

      Thanks so muchfor adding me to your Card Lovers Community directory – I really appreciate it! I hope you’ll continue to visit and that you’ll be pleased with what I have to offer here. I’m getting ready to post some new content here soon. ;?)


  7. Greetings, Mike!

    I very much like your description of forecasting vs. predicting … and I do think there is a difference even if only in how people hear the word. Your points about people giving up their freewill if they hear a prediction are important. Mostly we are trained to give up our power and I see you working to keep the power in the Seekers hands.

    I talk about the future not being fixed (I like the alliteration!) and that change is possible. And perhaps the person who might make changes / shifts is the Seeker herself .., to either limit possible challenges or to enhance the postive possibilites. We can’t control everything – the weather analogy is so true – but we can work toward our dreams and desires. Sounds like you help people to do that!

    Be well,

    • Hi Carolyn:

      Yes, I do believe in keeping the power in the Seeker’s hands, and I try my best to help them do so. Funny – the hard part for some folks to learn is that they *can’t* control everything, regardless of how much they wish they could. :>)

      I’m pleased that you enjoyed the post and took a few moments to share your great comments.

      Cheers and blessings!


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