Updated: Aug 4, 2019
Just a couple of quick things to note before we dive into this:
1. I mean no offense to anyone who does believe in astrology, tarot, and the occult. I’m not saying there’s no chance that these things could be real, just that I approach them with a healthy dose of skepticism. No matter your beliefs and approach, I think we can all agree that any tool that helps someone embrace and improve their life is a positive thing.
2. If you’re a firm believer in all things science and rolled your eyes when I said “horoscope,” maybe this article isn’t for you. Feel free to skip it—or give it a chance. It might open your eyes to a new perspective that you’ve never seen before. If you like journaling, meditation, self-care, and self-reflection, you’ll likely get something positive out of this post.
Horoscopes have always been something that lived on the outskirts of my awareness. I saw them in those teen magazines that I used to read in 2007, and they’re pretty much impossible to avoid in 2019, as they seem to be growing more and more popular by the day.
I’ve never put much (or any) stock in what they have to offer. Believers in astrology are probably nodding along right now, thinking, “that’s because you can’t base things solely on your star sign!” and everyone else is thinking, “yeah, some random writer for a publication knows nothing about what’s going on in my life, and the stars don’t determine my life!”
Either way, I mostly ignored horoscopes. I also knew very little about tarot until fairly recently, when I saw YouTuber Kalyn Nicholson and one of my friends trying it out. What piqued my curiosity most was really the art on the cards. There are some stunning tarot decks out there.
It felt like tarot and astrology were becoming unavoidable. So many people were talking about them everywhere I looked, and though I didn’t believe in them, there’s something undeniably interesting and fun about the whole thing.
Though I had initially scoffed it all off as something of a joke, I’ve slowly come around and realized that there is value to tarot and astrology, even for someone who doesn’t think these things can really tell what’s going on in my life. Over the last few months, I’ve slowly been incorporating tarot readings and horoscope checking into my daily self-care rituals.
What I mean when I say “I don’t believe in them.”
I believe that any relevance and connection that any of this may have to my own, or anyone else’s life, is purely coincidence. I am cautiously open to the idea that there could be some sort of energy behind it all, but I have never seen evidence of it, and I remain pretty skeptical.
As a big proponent of the scientific method, tarot and astrology do not hold up. In my experience, they’re typically written in broad statements that can be interpreted in many ways, and our own biases and desire to twist things to fit our lives makes us feel that they’re accurate.
If this hasn’t been your experience and you feel these things improve your life because of the power that they hold, I respect that. But when I say I don’t believe in them, I mean that I have seen no evidence that the alignment and positions of planets impact our lives in any substantial way, and that the cards I pull are totally random and any correlation with real events is just chance.
How I Incorporate Astrology and Tarot Into My Life
Before we dive into why I bother with any of this, I want to give you an idea of how it fits into my life. The blog post about my morning routine might give you a little more background, but basically, mornings are me-time.
I love to wake up before the world and start my day with self-care and some activities that I deeply enjoy before I dive into the chaos of the day. This sets a positive and healthy tone for my day and assures that the things I value most get taken care of, even when I have a busy day.
Lately, my mornings have started with a chapter or two of reading. This gets me out of bed and helps to wake my brain up. I don’t want to dive into anything too ambitious right away because my brain will rebel, and reading is an easy way to start the day.
After that, it’s time to check in with myself. I do this primarily through journaling and meditation. I journal every day. Sometimes it’s only half a page, sometimes it’s several pages. I just write however much I feel I need to write. I follow this up with a meditation session that typically lasts about ten minutes.
Somewhere in here is where I often check my horoscope or pull tarot cards, if I’m feeling it. This isn’t something I do every day. I probably do it three or four times a week, based on how I’m feeling and how much time I have.
This incorporates well with journaling and meditation. It gives me something to write about if I couldn’t think of any ideas on my own. It allows me to consider my actions for the day ahead, and think about my life and my current situation from a new perspective.
For me, tarot and astrology are primarily tools for self-reflection. I firmly believe that self-reflection is underrated and all too rare in this day and age. If you’re aiming to improve your life (and who isn’t?) one of the best things you can do is reflect on your current situation, thoughts, actions, reactions, goals, and ambitions.
As the wiki of /r/tarot says, “Everyone reads the cards differently. Some people go by the meanings set out by a deck's creator; some people read intuitively, by the impressions they get from a card or spread; many people do a mix of both. Some only read for themselves, some only read for others. Some people incorporate astrology, kabbalah, or other spiritual traditions into their practice. Some people perform tarot as a religious rite. Others are entirely non-religious/non-spiritual and use tarot as a tool for meditation, mindfulness or inspiration.”
I fall firmly into this last category. And if you know me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The vast majority of the time, those little problems that we face on a day-to-day basis aren’t all that difficult to find solutions to when we take a few moments to explore them honestly. The perspectives offered by horoscopes and tarot cards present new ways of seeing an old situation, often sparking new solutions.
Self-reflection is inherently a bit limited because you’re the one trying to analyze yourself. You come to the table with biases and blind spots, which then make it difficult to see the things that you’re looking for.
I do tarot readings for the same reason that I ask my boyfriend questions about myself to see if my assessments are accurate—I want to expand past my own ideas and beliefs about myself. I want new inspiration, new approaches to problems, and an outside perspective that I may not have seen before.
Horoscopes, especially, often give me words that I didn’t know I needed for things that I hadn’t realized or known. I will often find myself reading a horoscope and having a moment of, “wow. That really resonated. This put how I’m feeling into words.”
(The astrology believers are probably thinking, “See! They’re accurate!” and to that, I’d like to point out that I just as often think, “Uhhh… no. That makes no sense.”)
Horoscopes often talk about how you’re feeling or what you’re facing, and how you may react to that. They try to describe your personality, actions, and reactions to the situations that you face. Often, you may react to things in your life or hold on to them too tightly without realizing you’re doing it. Reading statements about my thoughts and actions allows me to assess them for accuracy and adjust my course if I don’t like the answer.
Tarot pushes me outside of my usual box. Our thoughts often remain inside one box. We think the way we think, we see our actions from an insider’s perspective, and we may never consider the way that they look to other people or other ways that they could be interpreted.
Tarot readings pull in new ideas and perspectives. They push you to create connections between the cards that were pulled and the events in your life, and in looking for those perspectives, you’ll often find new ways of viewing your life. You may realize that others are not seeing things the way you see them—for better or worse. Many of the cards pull in ideas outside of your normal realm of reflection, sparking new, broader connections.
Horoscopes are often reassuring. Most horoscopes are written in positive ways, or at least include a little bit of hope, reassurance, and guidance at the end, even if much of the message was negative. After all, we are more likely to believe things like this when they’re written favorably.
Because of this, I often find my horoscope is reassuring. Adult life is scary. I don’t know what I’m doing (though neither does anyone else) and reading that everything will be okay if I stay focused and work hard makes me feel a little better about my day. Rather than freaking out about the big picture, it reminds me to stay present and engaged in the moment at hand, enjoy the process, and know that I’ll be okay.
It’s a little confidence booster at the beginning of my day that can help set a positive tone for the rest of my day.
That said, there are sometimes negative or scary horoscopes and tarot readings. I take these in stride. I’ll assess whether they really do apply to my life and if there’s anything I can do to turn things in a better direction. Most of the time, to be honest, I feel that these don’t accurately reflect my life and I just dismiss them.
In general, I have no issue dismissing the parts of my horoscope or reading that just don’t make sense.
It’s fun. Let’s be real: reading your horoscope is fun. Tarot readings are fun, especially if you like the cool art on the cards. The whole thing is fun and intriguing. I initially got into all of this, not because I was looking for a new tool for self-reflection, but because it’s fun.
It’s fun to read about myself, it’s fun to think about my life and my future in new ways, it’s fun to look back at past predictions and see if they were right. It’s fun to see what the cards want to tell me about my life and try to turn their meanings into something that fits me.
My morning routine is about taking care of myself and doing things that I enjoy, and I enjoy tarot and reading my horoscope. They fit right in with my morning ritual of reading, journaling, and meditation. I enjoy exploring and expanding my mind in the first hours of my day, and these are perfect for that. I genuinely enjoy the process, and whether I’m getting anything valuable out of it or not, enjoying the process is a good enough reason to take this time for myself.
What I Use
In case you’re curious about where I’m getting my horoscope, I’ve been using both the Co—Star app and The Pattern app. I use the Labyrinthos app for tarot readings, although I would really like to get myself a real tarot deck and take my phone out of the equation. Using my phone makes it feel less authentic and sometimes I get sucked into Instagram when I’m supposed to be focused on myself, so if anyone has any deck recommendations, let me know. :)
In the end, it’s fun. I don’t know much about tarot and astrology, I don’t take it too seriously, and I don’t believe in any of it, but it helps me reflect on my life, my thoughts, and my feelings, and use that reflection to make better decisions. Those things alone make it a worthwhile use of my time. But know that you’ll never catch me blaming my actions or my bad days on Mercury retrograde or Cancer szn.