Sunsets, Ethics and Tarot

“Just because you know about Copernicus’ discoveries doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the sunset” – Susana Martínez-Conde

If you get the chance, I’d recommend listening to the StarTalk Radio podcast with guests Penn & Teller

The first half of the podcast said what I want to say as well as I have in years of blogging. What they say about magic, insert “Tarot” and you pretty much have what Modern Oracle is all about. It is a mutually agreed-upon, pleasant dance on the line between art and reason, beauty and logic, real and unreal, science and magic. Tarot, like mentalism and stage magic, might have a history of fraudulence and trickery, but there IS a way to do it with with beauty, artistry, ethics and all intellectual honesty.

Penn & Teller  make it clear that what they do isn’t because of special magic powers. I tell you up front there are no predictions. They tell you how their tricks are done. I tell you how my readings work. Does that ruin the fun of their show? Does that make a reading useless? No. Knowing how a magic trick is done or knowing that predicting the future is ludicrous, we can still appreciate the experience of a magic trick or gain insight from a Tarot reading.

A heart and a brain co-habitate within the same human body. Logic, skepticism, questioning, love, wonder and awe all co-habitate within the same human consciousness.

Would you use a hammer to drink water? Would you use a wine glass to hammer a nail? Science can stent an occluded artery, but it can’t heal a broken heart. The conflict between science and spirituality only comes about when we ask them do what is outside of their essence and nature to do.

My favorite thing is when the two circles overlap. Think of the poetic beauty in astrophysics, or a snowflake under a magnifying glass. Think of the science and skill used to put on a good magic show. Think of the problem-solving and psychology behind a good tarot reading. Science and intellectual honesty enhances art and beauty. Beauty and art is comprised of science and reason.

In my opinion, the best of humanity is that place where both disciplines overlap. Science and skepticism to the extreme that it completely shuts out magic, beauty and emotion is as dogmatic and biased as any religion. By the same token, denying science cuts life in half, diluting it to a shadow of what it could be.

Tarot is derided and dismissed as “pseudoscience” or bunk. That’s unfair. Some people believe in the magic of Tarot so blindly they insist it can predict future despite rational evidence to the contrary. That’s unfair too. You can’t see a rainbow with an x-ray machine and you can’t see x-rays with your eyes. Science vs “pseudoscience” is an arbitrary distinction, it’s own brand of nonsense. It’s all about finding the right tool for the right job. Asking Tarot to produce tangible evidence or concrete predictions is like asking a hammer to carry water…it just doesn’t do that. Asking science to help you understand your relationship problems is like driving a nail with a wine glass. It just isn’t going to work.

Science is logic and reason that can make our lives better and help our spirit soar. Tarot is art and beauty and emotion – within reason. Sometimes the right answer really is “all of the above”. I think it’s a safe guess that even Copernicus himself enjoyed the beauty of sunset.



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