tarot for you

Does the future change just by knowing the outcome of a tarot reading?


What a great question!

Tarot Elements Friend, Jennifer Mitchell recently asked this question on our Facebook Page. I thought this deserved some real discussion and with Jennifer’s permission, brought the debate over to the blog.

This is what Jennifer asked:

Does knowing the outcome of a Tarot reading change the outcome of the subject of the reading? Generally, does knowing the future unavoidably change it?

Ok, maybe I should elucidate a bit… Until you get a Tarot reading you don’t necessarily know what the outcome of a situation is, that’s why you ask the cards afterall. But then the reading shows you an effect to your cause.

Knowledge chan…ges people, and so does knowing the outcome to something change your attitude, behaviour, motivation to that situation (whether consciously or sub/unconsciously) enough for you to change the outcome of that situation, intentionally or unintentionally?

Quantum Phsyics and the Tarot

Now while I’m no physicist, I have read about cause and effect, parallel universes, moving through time etc. I recently listened to Quantum Healer, David Hamilton on a Past Lives radio show that discussed quantum physics and explored not just changing futures, but changing the past too, which, in effect, also changed the future again. Confusing? Of course it is – but it’s also mind bogglingly interesting.

So how does it all work? Well, as I said, I’m no pysicist, but my understanding from that show, is that as we are headed in a direction, and we make decisions to go in a different one, we have altered the course of our future. Because we have altered the course of our future from a certain past, we have also changed that past. Rather like rewriting history, which could be good, or bad. There are also mutliple or parallel universes to consider. It’s thought that there’s an infinite number though what’s not clear is how many we may be interacting with and how closely.

This also makes me wonder how many times I’ve been convinced I’ve said or heard something only to find out I was wrong when I was absolutely certain I was right. Also with events and actions, I’ve been convinced they were on a certain date, or location only to be proved wrong. I’ve always put it down to my memory not being very good but what if there’s nothing wrong with my memory at all and I’m just very sensitive to the changes in the fabric of time and therefore multiple universes interweaving leaving their imprints in me?

So, back to Jennifer’s question

Can you change the future just by finding out about it? As I understand her question, it wasn’t about changing it through choice and action, but rather by just knowing about it. At any one time we have a myriad of possibilities before us, directions, paths, answers. Is the future so free and flexible that just by knowing about one of those likely outcomes means that we have literally turned our rudder and are steering toward that future unwittingly? Is this the power of quantum physics or the mind, or both? Is this the secret to magick and the Law of Attraction?

What do you think? Can you change the future just by being aware of it? Can you change the past just by changing your course in the present? Does it bring the reliability of our memories into question? Or are we simply ‘skipping into other universes’ with the same imprint as the one we just found out about? Has Jennifer discovered the secret of magick and the Law of Attraction? And the biggie – is anything really real??

Catherine

Jennifer Mitchell is the organiser of the London Tarot Study Group, a Professional Tarot Reader and Tarot blogger and regular contributor the Tarot Elements Page discussions.

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Comments

  1. Unless you believe that the future is set in stone — is unchangeable, and is determined by nothing more than fate — then it should be able to be manipulated. By big or small steps, by inches or by miles, but yes, it should be affected by conscious decision. By choice.

    Alternate past, and affecting it? Now, that’s an interesting concept. I’ll have to think about that one. But yes, I believe that awareness of which direction a potential path will take, will affect the decision to take whichever path you take.

    Talk about circular thinking! :)

    • It makes me think of the William Hutchinson quote:

      “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”

      If you read the article that Craig posted below, it talks about having observed or investigated a possible future, you have collapsed one possible past too – rather like reducing options. If we translate that to here, then once a commitment has been made and providence moves, pasts are collapsing to move to one future out of many. Just the decision, or even before that, the observation of a future, collapses others, removing them. So it seems that in accordance with biocentrism, the answer to Jennifer’s question is a yes – you can change the future just by knowing about it! Fascinating stuff.

  2. Great question! I recently read a physics article about how the past actually isn’t set in stone. But “as you investigate, you collapse more and more reality. According to biocentrism, space and time are relative to the individual observer – we each carry them around like turtles with shells.” My understanding is that when we investigate either the past or the future, we “collapse” one outcome out of many suspended possibilities. If that’s true, then yes—a Tarot reading would indeed change the future. Here’s the article I quoted from:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-lanza/does-the-past-exist-yet-e_b_683103.html

    • Craig – that was an amazing article – and rather serendipitous in how all of this knowledge came together, it seems ;)

      It’s rather complicated, though written extremely well and clearly. And I have to say – makes me wonder now how (in)effective, or how brilliant a Past, Present & Future Spread really could be – if we have a better understanding of biocentrism, quantum physics and relativity.

      I rather suspect I will be spending the next few hours contemplating these things and collapsing a few past options instead of restfully sleeping!

  3. I believe that the future we have is all based on the choices that we make. Therefore I think you can absolutely change what is going to happen if you want.

    If you have been given a message in the cards that something negative may happen to you if you stay on the path you are on, then you can consider it a message to allow you to make the choice to change it.

    Things are presented to us all the time, it is whether we choose to take up those opportunities or let them go that determines what happens to us.

    I do believe that there are also situations that were maybe not pre-destined but that may have been something that you were supposed to experience in this life whether it happens to you tomorrow or five years in the future.

    Great subject! Quantum Physics and Quantum Mechanics does make things more interesting!

    • I do believe that there are also situations that were maybe not pre-destined but that may have been something that you were supposed to experience in this life whether it happens to you tomorrow or five years in the future.

      There’s a large part of me that agrees with that Ethony* – it would explain how we sometimes inexplicably find ourselves ‘back here’ again – perhaps we never did what we were supposed to do the first time around? Some call those life lessons, I like your idea that it’s just something you were supposed to experience, kinda takes the shackles of morality away from it and frees it to just be an experience.

  4. Teresa Michelsen
    3 September, 2010 - 3:10 am

    I agree with the quantum physics comments above – observing anything in physics changes it from a state with several or many possibilities to a single state. Nothing can be observed with out changing it – however you observe it.

    On another note though, my basic answer would be – I hope so! I’ve never believed in futures that were set, so any “future” card in a tarot reading has to be taken with a grain of salt. It’s like predicting the weather – sometimes that future is more set than others, depending on the circumstances. But there are always changes that may happen, alternative paths that can be taken, and if nothing else, an altered emotional or intellectual approach to the situation that changes how you experience it – hopefully for the better, as I believe that is the one and only real point of any tarot reading concerning the future – to give the querant tools to better understand their path and shape it in the best possible direction.

    • I agree with the quantum physics comments above – observing anything in physics changes it from a state with several or many possibilities to a single state. Nothing can be observed with out changing it – however you observe it.

      I find the whole thought about observing something that then reduces to a single state fascinating. What we are doing is defining something, naming it, labeling it – are we also by the same token, cementing it? If nothing is set in stone before we observe it, are we not leading our now observed or defined thing, or outcome to a definite position and making it become stone? It makes the debate about the past not being fixed either carry a little more weight, potentially – though I don’t want to fix my ideas on that just yet ;)

  5. I think that a tarot reading can enhance the strength of the law of attraction. Though I think a healthy amount of personal responsibility has to be at play. While I would like to say that I’m such a grand Tarot reader that X amount of my readings are declared scarily accurate, I think it’s the choices my clients make after the fact which determine the accuracy of a reading. I can tell them where things are headed based on what I see in the cards and what I can infer about their past based on the cards turned, but ultimately choice lies within the hands of a client. When reading for others, I tend to word things as “this is what you can expect to happen if you continue to do (fill in the blank), so if you want something else to happen you might want to consider doing (fill in the blank).” It’s important to reiterate to people that they shape the quality of their life through choice, action and attitude.

    I once told someone they would hear about a job on the 10th, and they would hear about this job from a woman. That person then stepped up their job seeking efforts, began networking within their circle of friends, a buddy’s girlfriend referred him to her place of employment, he then heard from a lady in HR on the 10th of the month about coming in for an interview. Would they have still heard about a job on the 10th? Probably. It’s more likely that the information they gained from the reading was enough to light a fire under their rear and kick-started their job hunting efforts. The repetition of the mantra “I’ll hear about a job on the 10th” wouldn’t have been sufficient without the actions taken by my client.

  6. Well, I’m not very up on quantum physics, but I think when you have information about your future ,whether it is good or bad, that subconsciously you either work towards it, if it is good, or try to change it if it’s bad. Really I think this illustrates free will again. Because armed with the knowledge whether it is conscious or not ,you are the one to decide which way it goes.

    Now does the future alter the past? Hmm.. well, I tend to believe it is what we do in the past that creates our tomorrow. I think the future can only alter the past as in you changing how you react, or act now and that then becomes your changed past ,as you move into your future.

    • Just another thought on this;
      “is that as we are headed in a direction, and we make decisions to go in a different one, we have altered the course of our future. Because we have altered the course of our future from a certain past, we have also changed that past.”

      By using this concept you change your future, and the premiss that you have changed your past, my mean that you have not actually changed what has happened before but that you are not repeating what has happened before, therefore you change your past – just another way of saying what I said up there^^ :)

  7. I do not feel that a readng lets us “know” the future. The future is not set in stone – the Seeker, and all others involved in a specific issue, have free will and make choices that affect others involved. What a Tarot reading does is show the Seeker what will be there were they to take no action. Once they are aware of this, yes, they make choose totake actin that will change the outcome of the issue. The Seeker needs to retain the power of t heir life within themselves.

  8. Hello Everyone!

    “Does the future change just by knowing the outcome of a tarot reading?”

    Every single action creates a reaction, that creates a reaction etc etc. Just by drawing and observing the cards is an action that will create a reaction that creates…..you get the picture. So yes, of course it does.

    The subconscious (High Priestess) would take the outcome as a suggestion and would make deductions from it with or without the reader/seeker realising it. Or to put it another way, the reason and judgement of the seeker/reader would be subconsciously affected by the suggested outcome creating a new action, that causes a reaction…..

    x

    • Every single action creates a reaction, that creates a reaction etc etc. Just by drawing and observing the cards is an action that will create a reaction that creates…..you get the picture. So yes, of course it does.

      It brings to mind the Law of Attraction, focussed intention, mind over matter – all of those systems and thoughts are relevant because after the initial action of finding out about a future, if we were do to no other physical action – has the future now changed simply through our awareness of the ‘new future’? Are those systems at play when the new future has been discovered, and at what point does the power of the mind (over matter), or thoughts become an action, or non-action? Is there really a distinction between the two?

      • Sorry didn’t see the reply link before :S

        I said “The subconscious (High Priestess) would take the outcome as a suggestion and would make deductions from it with or without the reader/seeker realising it. Or to put it another way, the reason and judgement of the seeker/reader would be subconsciously affected by the suggested outcome creating a new action, that causes a reaction…..”

        This would mean that the awareness of the outcome has triggered events in the mind that will influence of future actions of the person. And every person takes action with every move and thought they make.

        I answered your question “has the future now changed simply through our awareness of the ‘new future’?” in my post below at 1.41pm and 1.55pm. Sorry for any confusion.

        I am greatly aware of the meaning of the quote “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant from your perspective and my own :)

  9. Some additional thoughts.

    The High Priestess as subconscious also represents memory and the substance that permeates the universe (her blue robe can be seen flowing through the major arcana). The subconscious, when making deductions makes mind images or maps (Empress) and these images are used to shape the substance of the universe, or to us the material world. The only thing that the High Priestess responds to is direction from the self-conscious (Magician). So whatever we think consciously acts upon the subconscious which goes about shaping the substance in the best way it thinks possible. Whatever input we give subconscious, including suggested Tarot outcomes, will be used to shape our actions and our world.

    Time is a definition that man uses to set his world in order, and which enables him to refer to a sequence of events. Energy moves in continuous movement in a single direction, it’s forms are ever changing, ever improving but yet it’s essence does not change. What we had referred to in the past will have assumed a new form in the present.

    To quote Rumi, “No mirror ever became iron again; No bread ever became wheat; No ripened grape ever became sour fruit. Mature yourself and be secure from a change for the worse. Become the light.”

    x

  10. The original question by Jennifer was “Can you change the future just by knowing the outcome in a tarot reading?”

    The question for me, raises the question of awareness. Without action other than discovering a future, can we change the future through that discovery or awareness?

    While it’s important to discuss responsibility, free-will, actions and choices, Jennifer’s quest for an answer really sits before those things – they come after awareness.

    Jennifer is seeking awareness just by asking the question. Once she has the answer, does it change anything? Does it affect the future, or as we have explored, the past too?

    Can non-action really result in changes? Can awareness alone result in changes? By disccovering a future that may have been there all along, and yet undiscovered by the querent, have we then set a course for that future simply by becoming aware of it, without doing anything else to make it a reality?

  11. Does awareness of a predicted outcome change our future? and “Can non-action really result in changes?”……..

    No, because the actions of others change the course of our lives.

    But we could say that the outcome we are aware of took into account the actions of others and so nothing needs to be done…….

    But that outcome only took into account all possible influences at that moment in time.

    But then we could say that the outcome took into account all influences from the present moment unto infinity and so we need do nothing at all.

    But what would be the point of the universe coming into existence if NOT to exhaust it’s possibilities? An outcome that takes in to account all possible influences is to assume that the universe has already realised its potential and if the universe has already realised it’s potential then we would not exist at all!

    x

  12. Awareness is knowledge. Knowledge does nothing unless put into action. The world is action, in a perpetual state of motion. Nobody does nothing.

    Free will means that we have the will to do anything that we want. But if we don’t will for SOMETHING to happen, if we (apparently) do nothing, if we do not take action then the will of others dictate the course of our lives. It’s the law.

    Tarot should be used to help us answer serious questions not predict the future. Because in the end we should be working out the best way to achieve our aim (will) and then putting that way into action. This will achieves the outcome we desire, not awareness of a Tarot prediction.

    x

    • You raise some interesting ideas. I especially like the idea of perpetual motion and the impossibility of doing nothing, as well as the idea of a Willed act. However, my understanding of life conflicts somewhat with some other points you have raised. It seems to me that you’re referencing the magickal path and excluding the mystical path. As I said before, I agree with the many of the ideas outlined by the magickal path (perpetual motion; constant change; willed acts and the fact that all acts are willed acts – including breathing). But I also entertained the other path; the mystical path. This path is concerned with Awareness and does not prioritise action.

      In many ways, this post reflects my fascination with the mystical path – the awareness of the ALL and the devaluing of ambition, action and willed changes.

      The Magickal and Mystical paths are just two different routes to the same place. The destination is the same but the journey is different. Perhaps choosing a mystical outlook is a magickal act (but then again, what act isn’t?). Regardless, this question was inspired by non-doing, by non-willing and by non-action. It was a question to the universe – does the awareness that a Tarot reading bring change the future and the past?

      You mentioned earlier that you equate Knowledge with awareness, and that knoweldge is useless unless used to act. I again find myself disagreeing with this change of reasoning. For my part, awareness is not something that I can easily and explicitly link with knowledge, nor can easily or explicitly relate knowledge to being useless unless acted upon. Perhaps this all comes down to what people see the purpose of the universe as being. For my part, I’m not entirely convinced that there is an explicit purpose that is moving us all in a better and linear direction. I lean more towards the beauty of chance … but as I said in this article, I’m no physicist – and don’t have any real strong views on the subject – just that I question the reasoning you’ve put forward.

      I also disagree with your statement concerning predictive reading. Part of the problem that many people have is not having aims in life; but rather, desires. A good tarot reading highlights the futility of constant effort on a desire that will fail to satisfy. The Tarot’s ability to highlight this rests in its predictive powers, not in its more “serious” applications.

      I want to thank you for a really interesting set of comments. They have certainly got me thinking, as I’m sure many other people are as well, about the implications of the Will. However, as I said earlier, my concern was for the implications of Awareness.

  13. Jennifer Mitchell
    3 September, 2010 - 8:49 pm

    Wow! What an amazing set of responses!

    Dea Animi’s analogy of the conscious (Magician) feeding the subconscious (High Priestess) which changes our response to the World (Empress) is absolutely spot-on what my *initial* thoughts were when formulating this question… Using Tarot to answer a Tarot question, I like it! (:

    Is what we suggest to our subconscious the catalyst for change, whether we are aware that we have changed or not? Is it this suggestion, and the actions we take as a result of it, the reason that “potential outcomes” in readings change? Or is it precisely what Catherine suggests in the first instance, that it is the physics “observer effect” (that by interacting with something, even if it is simply to observe it, this changes what it is) that “changes the future?”

    Collectively you have all brought up another question for me. Considering the issue of “action/non-action” (whether this is a choice to act/not act such as in Rachel C’s post and Teresa’s philosophy, or an unconscious action/non-action as debated above), and free-will and all these lovely things we tell our querents they have…

    The discussion makes me realise that if there are these parallel universes and potential alternative directions that depend on you, your environment, others’ choices, what this boils down to is, who has the final say to the outcome of the situation you’re having a reading for?

    There’s no way a Tarot reading can show you ALL these influences (can you imagine if it did?!), so what is it that indicates “yes, this is your free-will/choice to get this outcome” in a reading? And if so much depends on all these changing threads of reality and potential, are there indeed instances when the events of the past all conspire to give us the impression of “fate” and inevitability even if these don’t actually exist (imagine drops of rain in a funnel, eventually they all get channelled into one stream)? Are these the “lessons” that Ethony* speaks of?

    • The discussion makes me realise that if there are these parallel universes and potential alternative directions that depend on you, your environment, others’ choices, what this boils down to is, who has the final say to the outcome of the situation you’re having a reading for?

      If we put aside for a moment the thought that there is a someone having the final say as to our outcomes, perhaps the final outcome isn’t as final as we might be thinking – not according to the biocentrism that Craig talked about earlier on…. perhaps there never really is a final outcome. Our perceptions of events differ between us. History is written by the victor, but isn’t remembered in exactly the same way by everyone who was involved. I’m beginning to believe that the past is indeed as fluid and unfixed as the future. As we grow older, we begin to remember the past with more sentiment, things that were once crucial are forgotten – does that mean we have changed the past? Or is our perception the real key to the flexibility of our own time and space?

      You certainly asked a fine question Jennifer, I feel people will be talking about this question for a very long time :)

  14. I used to do readings in bars. :) Of course. :D And one night, I gave a man a reading and said that he shouldn’t buy the first boat he looked at, but the second, because the first was a lemon.

    I gave about 20 readings throughout the night and the man came back! He said, “OK, psychic- same quesiton.”

    Cath – every card was the same except the future and final outcome. Because he wasn’t buying the first boat anymore.

    Freaked me the hell out. :D

  15. Wonderful discussion! Odd that my best friend and I discussed something similar the other day.

    “Can you change the future just by knowing the outcome in a tarot reading?” To me this is almost like a trick question. :) Just knowing? no I don’t think that would change the future. BUT, how many of us can know the outcome of something and not change our actions and movements. Just knowing would definitely cause a chain reaction that would not necessarily change but alter the future.

    I don’t believe that the future is set in stone. I do, however, believe that we have a life plan. We may not follow through on it, but it’s there. I believe that it is quite possible we go through reincarnations to discover new lessons. On our journey, we tend to walk down similar paths and this is why we feel we have experienced something before when we know we haven’t not in this lifetime anyway.

    Understand, this is only my theory.

    Changing the past? Now that is interesting. I guess if there are more than one lifetime happening at once, this could ring true. But what would be the point of following the same path on multiple realms? Would we not choice different paths to explore life’s journey in different ways?

  16. Melissa,

    Very interesting. I’ve often wondered about the past, present, and future spread. I believe it could show your progress as you move along. Mine doesn’t seem to move very fast, lol. Guess I just keep walking along, singing the same old song. Course that might be okay. lol.

  17. I absolutely believe that just by looking at it, the future is changed. It may be changed in such small and teeny tiny ways as to be imperceptible, but changed it is. There is bound to be something different that you do based on the knowledge you have – even if it’s in approaching a day in a different way than your usual pattern would indicate. And this can have such a large effect as to change the outcome. It’s like if someone looking for a job chilled out after finding out they would get one – and then didn’t get it because they didn’t apply for it.

    This is the primary reason I like to focus my reading on how to make things happen instead of what is going to happen.

  18. Wow, this is interesting stuff!

    I also believe that the Tarot does not show us “the future” set in stone but rather the possible outcome and the influences that are hindering or helping on the way to it.

    Lori, whose website http://www.tarotforlifeguidance.co.uk is listed under your “cool blog” section describes it like this:

    “””A Tarot reading is for advice and guidance and speaks of energies and trends rather than definites. It can show us the signposts on our highway of life and can help to guide us in the right direction giving us the choice of which path to take.

    Your future is not fixed or fated, it changes with your experiences and your choices in life. A Tarot reading can assist you in making these choices.

    A Tarot reading can allow us to explore alternatives we may not have originally considered because we are so deeply entrenched that we cannot see the wood for the trees. It can enable us to make a possible plan of action to achieve the desired result. The Tarot can help us take decisions and make sense of our past, present and possible future.””””

    I think that the future can be changed by a Tarot reading in that it opens our or a querent’s mind … but the same thing can also be said about reading a book or talking to a person with an interesting opinion, I guess. Hell, even reading this post and commenting on it may have changed my future! :o)

  19. What a great conversation!
    Changing the past? Maybe its because the view or lesson is observed from a different perspective…via man time or other.
    Can a Tarot reading changing the outcome? Of course it can…anything is possible:)
    How many times does a seeker find a reader(including self)when life is uncomplicated? So…Tarot ~windows of (self/situation)awareness open. Options and potential change start blowing around and sometimes solutions can be found.
    I heard this said(from who?) and I like it alot. “You can’t unknow…what you know.” If you like it keep it… or don’t.
    :)”to plant a seed is to believe in miracles” :)

  20. If we believe that thoughts can create and Quantum P. shows us that is true, then yes. The mere laying of a card is an action that can create. Any of our senses create.

    Yes, it can also change the past. I know this because I “accidentally” changed a past life while working on someone. When the action changed, the energy shifted. She gave a great sigh and said what did you do????.

    What did I do? I thought, “Hmmm, I wonder if I could..” by the time that thought was in my head, the action changed between those two people changed and everything shifted changing her history.

    So past or future, I “know” it can be changed.

    • No.
      The answer is no, the future does not change knowing the outcome of a tarot card reading. At least, not more than flipping a coin every time you have to make a decision.
      Tarot cards are just pictures on pieces of paper, it doesn’t do anything the world will benefit from.

  21. Thank you Austriana for quoting from my website – pleased to know that someone actually does read it :-)
    Yes, I certainly think the future can be changed by knowing the outcome of a Tarot reading but then everything we do can change out future. Every minute we are making decisions and choices that have the potential to change our future. Everyone and everything we come into contact with can change our lives to a greater or lesser degree.
    Catherine said (above) “history isn’t remembered in exactly the same way by everyone who was involved” – how true this is, so what is the truth? Is the truth different for everyone? I think it is and I think Cath is right about our pasts being as fluid and unfixed as the future – at least our perception of the past is. And I find that so fascinating – how we all see things so differently.

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