I sort of wanted to share my experience with tarot with a wider group of people, and I'm also hoping that by writing this post I'll understand more of why I feel the need to do that.
So, background. I'm a 24 year old male, just finished a Master's degree, taking a bit of time to just breathe before I go into the big bad world of work. I had always been intrigued by the 'unknown' - tarot, ghosts, astrology, all that stuff - but more from an academic perspective than any kind of true belief. I found them interesting in the way that mythology is interesting, if that makes any sense at all. This was until perhaps seven or eight months ago. A lot of drama was going down in my main friendship group (especially with two people who I'll call Evelyn and Todd, to cover up their real names - long story short, they had a romantic relationship frought with problems, and they refused to speak to each other about them, only spoke about their problems with me, and then blamed me when they didn't take my advice and their problems continued), and I was having numerous personal problems alongside, so I was particularly stressed. A few of my friends in a different friendship group in university practice tarot, and one, who I'll call Lomas, offered to give me a reading. I went into it thinking 'of course this is utter bollocks, but we'll see where it goes'.
The reading was dead on. Despite me at the beginning trying to hide the fact that I was holding a lot of resentment towards Evelyn (although my problems with Todd were incredibly well documented), Lomas picked up on it and delved in. I initially tried to say that I hadn't been thinking of her, but the longer it went on the more Lomas was like 'look, c'mon now'. He went on to infer from the cards where he believes Evelyn and Todd's relationship may be progressing, again with almost clinical accuracy. Obviously, people's relationships shift, so the predictions of 'this may be happening in the long-term' haven't really played out that way - but the short-term predictions were solid. I had another reading a few days later, and after the second reading I realised something. I still wasn't holding any firm belief that the cards held any significant divine power, but what I was feeling was that the act of tarot reading was helping me think about my issues in ways that I otherwise would not have. I almost found it therapeutic, because it channeled my brain into a specific kind of thinking, and actually led me to think of outcomes. For example, I'd find myself thinking 'okay, if this played out as it's being said, how do I feel? What do I do then?' which is not something I'm generally good at as a rule. I got read again in September, by the same friend, as I was feeling overwhelmed by the world and everything in it, and the cards seemed to be on my side - everything that was coming up was basically saying 'it's a tough time but the future is bright for you', and it genuinely did calm me down, even if for a few hours.
Fast forward to the present day, and I've bought myself a deck. I've done maybe three practice reads on myself, and I'm still learning what all the cards mean. I still don't find myself firmly believing they have any kind of power (despite the numerous correct things they've 'predicted' in my experience with my friend), but I find them so useful on a self-care, therapeutic, or almost meditative level. Does anybody else feel this way? Is this how it started for some people? I think I kind of want to know if this route into tarot is 'normal', or more unorthodox, if that makes any sense.