The Feminine Journey to Magical Tarot Readership
For more than half my life, I've been passionately seeking
the answer to the question, "Why is it that 95% of Tarot
readers, teachers and clients are women? What is it about
the Tarot reading process that speaks so eloquently to women?
What do they expect to find, and does the Tarot satisfy their
I've asked at least two hundred people that question, both
men and women. The answer I'm given is typically a variation
of, "It's because women are intuitive and feeling-based.
They are more non-rational, non-linear, and don’t mind
seeking direction from unconventional sources of knowing.
Women are just more open-minded to these things than men."
But no one can explain why! I want to know what is in the
feminine psyche that is so brilliantly ignited when it comes
into tune with the Tarot.
In this article, I'll share a small slice of my discoveries,
and hopefully stimulate an interest in you, the reader, to
join me in this rich exploration of the feminine way of knowing.
Certainly Tarot reading isn't the only field that is dominated
by women. Psychotherapy, nursing, and childcare remain also
high on the list for career choices for women. What all these
fields share in common is a focus on the relational. Women
need to relate.
Leading the field in feminine developmental theory, Carol
Gilligan in her '80's book titled, In a Different Voice, broke
psycho/social, theoretical ground when her research revealed
that women don't follow the same developmental path
to maturity, as men. Up until her research was published,
it was touted as fact, that the male path to maturity was
THE path. Women, it was asserted, suffered their whole lives,
in a mire of perpetual childishness. Sadly, women were forced
to live their lives as immature males. Women, it was noted,
got snagged at certain stages of development related to achieving
objectivity, which justified why women weren't permitted
to the hallow halls of Justice. For example, women were not
permitted to be judges in our court systems based upon this
singular, sexist assessment of women’s psychology. Women
were too "emotional, sympathetic, and biologically determined"
to be objective in matters where "truth, objectivity,
and logic" must rule.
Unfortunately, this is not all behind us. Just observe women's
discouragingly unequal representation in parliament, Supreme
Court justice, and the executive board room. Evidence suggests
that this sexist opinion remains deeply rooted in the collective
psyche, and the esteemed halls of academia, and rulership.
Women say to me, "I don't care! As long as my family
is happy and healthy, that's all that matters to me. I don't
want to be like men. I like being a woman!"
Indeed, it cannot be argued that women must relate, and a
woman's path to enlightenment (returning to developmental
theory) must be centred on relating.
That's why women come to a Tarot reader, why they study,
shuffle and lay out this intriguing deck of card images. Tarot
reading is fundamentally a relational experience for women.
The Tarot's sacred teachings guides initiates through a challenging
gauntlet of inner work, intuition, and mindful randomness.
The Tarot speaks the universal language of images, in a non-linear
pattern comprised of sacred cards. The Tarot is a sacred text
presented not in a bound book, with in a prescribed, inherently
designed structure, but rather in a set of 78 picture cards
that fall randomly into a unique pattern every time it is
The image of the cronelike, eccentric fortune-teller planted
at her reading table, surrounded by mystical objects, carefully
laying out these mysterious, colourful cards on the table
before her is a universally, fascinating enigma. This image
crosses all cultures the world over, and has for millenniums.
Rulers, royalty and military elites have been seeking the
counsel of fortune-tellers, readers and diviners since the
beginning of time. And ordinary women have too.
Yet this highly valued, ferociously sought after fortune-teller,
is also denigrated, ridiculed, and marginalized by established
social institutions. In fact, in 2005, fortune-telling remains
on the criminal code books in Canada! What is it about that
fortune-telling Crone, which ignites such passion, attraction
and repulsion at the same time? What does her station constellate
in our collective psyche?
Suspiciously, fearfully, she is suspected of knowing just
too darn much. Apparently with great aplomb, she traverses
the mystery of birth, death and rebirth. She intuits magically,
the fortunes of individuals, and collective humanity, and
blithely bestows her wisdom at the humble table that also
sets out food for her family. She is the manifestation of
an archetype that resonates deeply in the collective unconscious
The fortune-teller is a resonating symbol of the sacred feminine;
where the waters of intuition are the guide, where life and
death are meted out with an objectivity that is terrifying,
and where chaotic random rules. There is no order, planning,
and predictable, statistical outcomes in this realm! It is
In speaking at a Tarot convention this summer, I declared
that the time is nigh for Tarotists to reclaim this denigrated
title, fortune-teller. It is now incumbent upon us to bring
her out of the darkness, the secretive, and the hidden. The
fortune-teller is the psyche-healer before psychotherapy was
even a word, who listened to the suffering, fears, and deceit
of thousands, in the distant past to the distant future, for
as long as humanity manifests on this planet. She will tell
of our patterns, secrets and passions and give us a glimpse
into a future. A future explicitly designed, in a conjoined
character-making dance we have engaged with destiny and fate.
The fortune-telling Crone is the magi women consult when
they need an objective guide, that one who simply "reads
the cards". "What’s in the cards", asks
the woman of the fortune-teller. She waits, expectantly, breathlessly,
intuitively for what she knows is the objective, non-judgemental,