The tarot boom comes as no surprise to Sarah Potter, an author and psychic medium to all of those in-the-know. “Tarot helps us to make sense of things,” Ms. Potter describes, when discussing an uptick in client readings during heightened levels of pandemic anxiety. “I’m finding that more people began tapping into these alternative modalities for a feeling of calm. Whenever things are uncertain, there’s a tendency to look for a more magical source for a way out.”
But what was once seen as new age, occult, and a product of 1970’s hippie culture, is now getting to be as mainstream as daily astrology. In January, Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of Christian Dior, kicked off Spring 2021 haute couture season with magical collection called Le Chateau du Tarot. The collection was filled with visuals derived from the Major Arcana: The High Priestess, The Hanged Man, Temperance, The Lovers, and The Fool.
This convergence between the subconscious – oftentimes mystical – and mainstream fashion is a happy transition for Ms. Potter. “People get more comfortable with something the more that they see it,” she explains.
While the origins of tarot are somewhat hazy, most researchers approximate the date of origin to the late 14th or early 15th century. The oldest surviving cards, the Visconti-Sforza deck, were created for Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan, circa 1450. The most recognizable images of today come from the Rider-Waite tarot deck. Illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith under the instruction of A.E. Waite, a mystic and academic, the deck was originally published in 1909.
The 78 spiritual cards depict images and motifs from layers of the subconscious. For Sarah Potter, tarot is a window into what’s happening in her clients’ lives. “Tarot will help us navigate through the storm. If we can see the map and coordinates, we have the ability to plan accordingly.” Oftentimes, emotion clouds an individual’s judgement. The mystical playing cards shine a light onto uncertainty.
Ms. Potter’s gift has been honed from an early age. After receiving her first tarot deck at age 12, she began studying the meanings of the 78 magical cards and how they related to her life and feelings. Growing up, she was encouraged to discuss her dreams and their subconscious symbolism with her mother and grandmother — two people that also embraced the family’s generational psychic abilities. A daily practice and decades of learning and understanding the art and meaning of tarot has helped Ms. Potter grow her own life and business into the empire she has created today. Dozens of clients testify to the life-changing mental health benefits and accuracy of Ms. Potter’s readings.
But while one hour-long tarot reading may help to navigate a turbulent situation, a deeper relationship with tarot is ongoing and, oftentimes, a lifetime dedication to introspection. After all, Ms. Potter says, “Self-discovery is a very long road.”