By Candice Carty-Williams (Excerpt from "But Why Is Tarot Having Such A Revival?")
The obvious answer is that everything seems to have gone to sh*t a bit lately,’ says Jennifer Cownie, one half of the literary tarot cabaret and consultancy Litwitchure, which she runs with best friend Fiona Lensvelt.
‘Our lives tend to look completely different to those of our mothers and grandmothers. There isn’t a blueprint for What Women Are Supposed To Do anymore – if anything, there are loads of conflicting narratives about who we’re meant to be and how we’re supposed to live our lives: be professionally successful! Find your passion! But buy a home! Don’t forget to have a baby so you don’t wither and die alone! Be beautiful but, like, for you! Be self-fulfilled! Live the single life! But make sure you find love!
I imagine I’ll be met by a Hogwarts extra, a couple of owls and a black cat
Jayne Wallace – of Selfridges-based Psychic Sisters, specialising in tarot, astrology, clairvoyance and crystals – agrees: ‘I think people seem a bit lost in what they want, what they need.’ She has worked with the likes of Jimmy Choo, Kurt Geiger and Christian Dior; at one event with Dior, for the event-goers, ‘It was about what makes you feel good. Say you’re wearing a black suit to an interview, we’d say wear red underwear underneath, because it brings you strength and power.’
A tarot reading, while providing no certainty, definitely helps to break down the stress of romance/job/house/children into manageable segments; a welcome remedy to the ball of failure that’s constantly thrown at us.
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Selina Thompson – a 28-year-old artist and performer, who had her first tarot reading around the same time as mine – says, for her, the experience was more therapeutic than inquisitive.
‘It’s a way of demystifying your own intuition, and a meditation tool,’ she adds.
‘You ask a question, look at really evocative images, and spend time contemplating your response to them – that response is where all the information is. I liked being able to dedicate that time to thinking about my inner life with someone else who wasn’t a therapist.’
There’s also the fact that the mystical element provides an appealing foil to our world of smartphones and algorithms.
As analytic psychotherapist and long-time tarot reader J Burke puts it:
‘We live in a tech-based world that’s low on magic, mystery and story. Humans have always looked to explain life’s vagaries and as a way of finding life’s meaning, and “science” hasn’t satisfactorily answered this yearning.’
It seems that we’ve reached back to a practice of the past in order to look to the future. One that seems a lot clearer, thanks to the resurgence and the rebranding of tarot that has a place in high fashion, art, books and the lives of so many of us searching for answers that the political and personal mess of a universe isn’t giving us fast enough.