Yahoo! News, by Paige Smith: “People who get what they truly want in life know how to walk away when something is good, but not good enough,” tweeted Jessica Dore, a licensed social worker and tarot practitioner.
The message accompanied an image of the “eight of cups” tarot card, which depicts a cloaked figure walking away from eight golden cups. The tweet racked up over 14,000 likes. And there are dozens of others just like it.
“I really needed this message today,” one user replied. “Thank you.”
“Needed this … I’m scared!!” another wrote. “But I know I need to reach for more.”
Spiritual practices like tarot and astrology have been around for ages, but are now becoming more prominent in wellness culture. Thanks to Twitter, trendy horoscope apps like Co-Star, and a wealth of information online, it’s easier than ever to research tarot, read your horoscope, and examine your birth chart.
“Often when people are stressed out or experiencing something negative, they want to better understand the ‘why’ behind it,” said Sari Chait, a clinical psychologist and the owner of Behavioral Health and Wellness Center in Newport, Massachusetts, adding that astrology and tarot readings can provide “the framework for doing that, even if it is not empirically based.”
It’s also no surprise that practices like tarot and astrology are increasingly coupled with mental health advice. Therapeutic guidance (sometimes from actual therapists) has a bigger platform thanks to social media, which has arguably made talking about and understanding mental health more possible for the general population.
Plus, many people can’t afford professional help or need a supplement to therapy, so they turn to the internet and social media for advice on dealing with daily stress, Dore said.
Both astrology and tarot are archetypal and use similar language to describe past, present and future situations and emotions, Dore said, but they’re different practices.
“Astrology is an ancient system that uses the movement of the planets through different signs of the zodiac to help reveal how our lives may unfold,” said Katie Sweetman, a consulting astrologer and the founder of Empowering Astrology.
In astrology, there are 12 zodiac signs and 10 planets. The simplest and most popular component of astrology—found everywhere from print magazines to the New York Post—is a horoscope, which is a short forecast or reading based on your zodiac sign. Birth charts are more complex and claim to reveal information about your personality and tendencies based on where the planets were positioned when you were born.
Tarot, on the other hand, is more visual. “It’s a deck of 78 cards with images that show different archetypes and symbols and situations,” Dore said. A few examples include “death,” “the sun,” and “the magician.”
“These images represent the vast array of things we encounter in the human experience,” she said.
Most people initially gravitate toward tarot and astrology because they’re fun, but the two practices may also put some on a path toward greater self-awareness.
“While it’s important to work with a skilled professional such as a therapist for deeper or more acute matters, astrology can be used as a personal development tool to help us understand our blocks and where we can self-sabotage,” Sweetman said.
By learning about your personality traits and how you tend to interact with the world, you may learn to recognize not just your strengths, but also your negative thinking or behavioral patterns. Another benefit of reading something like a horoscope is that it can remind people that their negative feelings and experiences are temporary, Chait added.
“This is similar to several therapeutic approaches where the emphasis is on how to understand what you are feeling or experiencing in the context of today and trying to see how things may be different in the future, including how you can contribute to making that change,” she said.
Dore uses tarot in a similar way, pulling cards for her clients to help prompt conversations about how they’re feeling and what they’re dealing with in their lives.
“Many of us are oriented toward the external, looking toward the outside world to tell us what to do,” Dore said. “It’s not necessarily intuitive for people to look inside for answers.”
Pulling tarot cards, however, gives people an opportunity to check in with themselves and explore their thoughts and feelings, she said. This type of self-reflection is often the first step toward improving your mental health.
“At the most basic level, if everyone was more in tune with themselves—their needs, wants, boundaries, strengths and weaknesses—we’d be better partners, co-workers, and communicators, not to mention more effective in our work and our interpersonal relationships,” Dore said.
“Satan beguiles men now as he beguiled Eve in Eden by flattery, by kindling a desire to obtain forbidden knowledge, by exciting ambition for self-exaltation. It was cherishing these evils that caused his fall, and through them he aims to compass the ruin of men. ‘Ye shall be as gods,’ he declares, ‘knowing good and evil.’ Genesis 3:5. Spiritualism teaches ‘that man is the creature of progression; that it is his destiny from his birth to progress, even to eternity, toward the Godhead.’ And again: ‘Each mind will judge itself and not another.’ ‘The judgment will be right, because it is the judgment of self…. The throne is within you.’ Said a spiritualistic teacher, as the ‘spiritual consciousness’ awoke within him: ‘My fellow men, all were unfallen demigods.’” The Great Controversy, page 554.