Yikes! Tarot Burnout

Dear Reader,

I have a terrible confession to make. I hadn’t wanted to admit this to myself, let alone to the Internet, but here we are. The confession is this: I’m starting to get bored of Tarot.

I’ve been reading Tarot for about 12 years now. I first started reading because I was thoroughly enamored of Jane Seymour’s character Solitaire in the (deeply racist) James Bond movie Live and Let Die. There was something beautiful and mysterious about the Tarot, about this pack of cards that promised to hold the secrets of the past and future. When I got my first deck, I had a sense of wonder that I can’t quite describe. Tarot sang to my soul. I loved it from the instant I started it, and I will love it until the day I die.

But lately. But lately.

I find myself not turning to the cards terribly often. Reading Tarot sometimes feels more like a chore than like a joy, and I almost never read for myself anymore.* I still believe, as I long have, that Tarot is the single most sophisticated, complex, expressive system of divination I’ve ever encountered. It holds a prized place in my heart, and it always will, especially considering the devotional work that I used to do with the Major Arcana. (I’m no longer active with that devotional practice, as I’ve shifted into Wicca and Slavic polytheism.) I still use Tarot for meditation, reflection, and magic. I still spend a great deal of time reading and thinking about the Golden Dawn, which constructed a magical system where everything was connected to everything else and Tarot was at the center of it all. But lately, I just find myself unenthusiastic about doing divination with Tarot.

I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s just burnout; I’ve been reading Tarot for over a decade now, and everyone needs to take a break from things sometimes. I crave variety, which is why I’ve branched out and dabbled in a host of other divinatory systems, including geomancy and astragalomancy. I’ve never found any of those other systems quite as enriching as Tarot, but there’s a part of me that just needs to be doing something different from time to time.

These days, when I turn up a Tarot spread, my initial reaction is overwhelmingly one of boredom. I look at the cards and I can see the relevant themes, I can draw the connections, I can weave the narrative… But it’s not engaging me. It’s not filling me with wonder, and often it seems like more effort than it’s worth. And that really troubles me; after all, I don’t do this as a career, I do it because I love it. And if I’m not getting fulfillment out of it right now, then what’s the point?

Does this divination system spark joy?

What does that mean for this site? Well, for starters, let me be emphatic about one thing: The blog is not going away. I love this blog, I’ve put a hell of a lot of work into it, and I have no intention of letting it fall by the wayside. I have a couple of deck reviews planned for this summer, both of which are beautiful decks that I’m excited to share. I’ll probably also do a return to the more ritualized forms of Tarot reading. You know, the elaborate multi-stage spreads favored by the likes of Papus or the Golden Dawn. I like ritual because it makes divination feel more special, like it’s been earned somehow. I may blog a bit about my work with those, although Benebell Wen has already done a great deal of extraordinary work in that vein with her Sightsee the Tarot series on Youtube.

I may also diversify content on this blog, as I’ve already done a bit of in the past. I’ll keep posting and do my best to stick to the monthly schedule (at minimum), but there may be a healthy mix of posts about other divinatory methods, religion, magic, and the occult/esoterica more broadly. Starting in November,** I intend to take a formal one-year hiatus from using Tarot for divination. I’ll likely commit myself to a single other system as my primary method of divination for that year, although I haven’t yet figured out what.*** Regardless of what I settle on, I’ll likely be blogging about it, at least a little bit. And who knows? There will likely be some Tarot posting thrown into the mix, because even if I’m getting tired of divining with Tarot, that doesn’t mean I want to be done with thinking about it altogether.

So we shall see. There’s much to come on the blog, I’m sure, but at the moment I don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like. In the meantime, be patient with me. I’m figuring it all out.

With much love,

*There are a variety of reasons for this. Part of it is simply that reading Tarot for oneself is hard; it requires a level of objectivity and honesty that I’m not always able to maintain, despite my best intentions. Part of it is also that I have friends who are talented diviners, so if I need I reading I’ll go to one of them.

**Samhain is always a good time for this sort of thing.

***This afternoon I read a suggestion that a roulette wheel can be used for a modernized form of alectryomancy, and I’m madly infatuated with that concept. I’m from Nevada; roulette is of my people.

10 thoughts on “Yikes! Tarot Burnout

  1. There is nothing wrong with taking a hiatus from tarot. Lord knows I have from time to time, but eventually, I come back to it because, like you, I feel it’s the best divination system I know. The I Ching comes in a very close second. I’m currently taking a break from the RWS and Toth tarots to work with the CBD Tarot de Marseille and this has sparked a renewed interest in learning the basics once again.

    I certainly look forward to your posts, and enjoy reading about your practice. I’d encourage you to expand the scope of the blog/site and include your interests in polytheism, geomancy, and other spiritual practices. I think you have lots to share, and I would certainly enjoy learning from you. Don’t despair about Tarot. It”ll be there waiting for you when you’re ready.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Create. The time is not for you to take what you have learned and create your own system. Whether it be an expression of an existing system, or the birth of something new.
    The time now is left to choose – no more reading. You must write. You must do.


    1. Typos can be confusing. The fifth word is supposed to say NOW, not “not”. Stupid t inserting itself where it should not be. Much like another lower case t on top of a hill, between 2 others… and all of society cast their eyes to it and bow and pray and cry and praise it.
      Last line, emphasise the single point I took too many words to say: take all that you’ve got, and synthesize it into the creation your own symbolic system.


  3. Life is like a river with its ebbs and flows, enjoy the journey wherever it takes you. Really glad your not taking down the website. You have some real gems here and I haven’t read everything yet! Looking forward to anything you care to share….


  4. The tarot is it’s own “craft”! As we harness different energies from/through the tarot, astrology, witchcraft, occult, etc.. it IS a lot of a vested interest that can be taxing. I took almost 10 yrs. away from the tarot to focus on production assisting work, and my creativity. I’m grateful that my connection to the tarot has become stronger than ever since reconnecting to it. Give yourself the time you need. There are many paths to discover through life’s journey. Enjoy the exploration! 🌙✨

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Heya I’ve popped over to your blog a few times this past year. I’ve been on and off the last few years, being really obsessed for 3 months or so and then burning out and dropping it completely. This past year and a fourth or so I have been 100% on and I’m surprised it’s lasted this long. Probably because I’ve bought a new deck per month. But I’m finally burning out and burning out hard hahaha. I’m probably going to work only with the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot and drop the rest for a few months. Doing new things will help enrich my eventual return anyway. Plus I wanna focus on learning and doing magick and craft and actually creating things (maybe my own personal deck even, though that wouldnt be helping with my trying to take a break haha) and learning new things like Qi Gong and being more holistic about things.

    So anyway I appreciate someone else saying this too! Thanks hehe


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