So, I’m watching Penn & Teller’s show on the new age…

You see, when I did Tarot readings, I told anyone who wanted one, the cards aren’t magic, they’re pretty much parts of a story that’s roughly applicable to anyone. So what the reading is doing is basically working as a kick start to getting to see your situation from another angle, to give a twist to your imagination.

And still folks thought the cards were talking just about them. Whatever, I never told you that.

If I did any more, I’d say they were a tool for cold reading, which is pretty much the same as what I said above. It’s by no means useless, if it kicks folks out of self pitying “I can’t deal with this” attitudes.

It’s like John diamond said about most new age cures: the value is in having someone talk to you about your problems in a non-judgemental way. It’s not quite the placebo effect, you’re actually doing someone a favour by talking to them and listening to them. But it’s damn close.

Am I the only one who ever did this? FlimFlam free tarot readings?

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3 thoughts on “So, I’m watching Penn & Teller’s show on the new age…

  1. My wife does tarot readings and is an all round new age/wicca/pagan devotee. She’s been to classes, conferences and readings. She’s even seriously considering it as a career, perhaps integrated with her actual career as a careers’ officer. Not that she has ever used tarot for her current employer. Not only would that probably be called unprofessional but it was also get her in heaps of bother with all the god botherers she works with. So anyway. Being not just a sceptic, but one with a genuine interest in the mechanics of belief, I’ve talked to her a lot about tarot and she seems to consider it in the same way you do – a non-judgemental support for starting a conversation. However it seems that regardless of how one approaches doing a reading, 99.9% of people seem to think it will predict the future. Many of the people on her recent course, possibly most, also saw it as a way of prediciting the future and many seemed to be there because they wanted a boyfriend.

    1. Now, this to me is fascinating: what do they teach at the courses? Do they have that whole rationalist thing going on, how do they handle it, are they cold reading training grounds…? And can we start a “rationalists for cold reading therapies” movement.

      1. I’m not sure exactly what they teach. The prospectus is pretty light but I could ask Paula. It was very cheap, about £6 for a lesson, but very good value according to Paula. From what I recall, they didn’t seek to impose any particular rationalisation of readings. You can view the prospectus in this pdf document from Lewisham Council but it doesn’t say much: ——————– Part 1 This introductory course will take us on a magical journey of the Tarot deck. We shall discover and reflect upon the meaning of each card of the Major and Minor Arcana. You will also be introduced to a variety of different spreads and techniques and be able to practice reading on a weekly basis. Part 2 For learners who already have a basic knowledge of the meanings of each Tarot card, this ten week course will be very experiential and practical. Students will be able to practice in-depth readings together with reflection and discussion upon different spreads on a weekly basis. The course will also introduce the student to the history, philosophy and spirituality behind the Tarot. ——————– Paula did find it very useful but she didn’t really seem to share the same expectations as most of the other students. I don’t think there was any great philosophical debate. It was more the search for hope rather than any self-aware or rational process.

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