When I was a youngster, I watched a lot of silly movies on TV (I still do, but for different reasons). One of those movies was something called “Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors” starring the great Peter Cushing. This is one of those anthology movies popular at the time made up of five short stories held together with a wrap around narrative. In this case, five passengers on a train meet Dr. Schreck (whose name means terror). He is a doctor of metaphysics and purports to use the tarot cards (his house of horrors) to reveal the nightmarish situations the passengers are destined to face.

It’s a dumb movie, not very scary, and the ending has nothing to do with the stories presented – so, I’m not sure why this film appealed to me so strongly. It did however, make me want to become a Doctor of Metaphysics (which I now am) and study the Tarot.

Tarot is part of occult teachings and as my readers know I discourage people from taking part in occult activities due to the dangers found there in. The images on Tarot cards can serve as windows or gateways to other worlds.  When untrained people “play” with Tarot, especially if they have any degree of sensitivity or intuition, forces and even personalities from the other worlds can come through the windows and intrude on what is thought of as normal reality. Without adequate training and protection, those intrusions can result in serious psychic harm to the person messing with these powers. Unless you know how to channel the other worldly forces and know how to protect yourself and your associates from the forces, stay away from Tarot and all things occult.

The best training is to learn and PRACTICE effective meditation techniques and immerse yourself in positive, well established, spiritual literature and thoughts.

The proper use of Tarot is to gain access to and develop understanding of your own inner self, your subconscious, your true personality. Your subconscious has a way of gathering and sorting information that is not readily available to your conscious self – which relies heavily on only the five material senses. The subconscious can provide you with the information it collects and can even urge you to act in more positive, beneficial ways. However, it is often difficult for the conscious mind to understand the language used by the subconscious. The tarot symbolism helps to verbalize the information and make it usable.

There are, then, three main uses for the Tarot:

1/  Self-Analysis

Laying the cards out in a specific pattern provides a platform for the subconscious to pick and choose appropriate symbols and combinations of symbols that can be articulated and interpreted by the conscious mind. Readers in the past have provided possible interpretations of the symbols – generic interpretations, we might say – but a skilled reader need not rely on these. The images and the connection between the various cards that appear in the spread are more like mental prompts to get the subconscious involved in analyzing the issues at hand. By drawing the conscious attention to some symbols but not others, the subconscious can guide the reader to the information the inner mind wants to convey.

2/  Analyzing Another

Similar to the first use, in this case the reader helps guide the person being read to an understanding of their deeper problems. This is an effective tool for counseling and therapy because the client doesn’t always know or understand exactly what the issues are that disturb them. They can discuss the symptoms while the root causes of their difficulties are a mystery. The Tarot helps the client’s subconscious mind reveal the deeper concerns that are blocked from conscious awareness. Analyzing another requires the reader to have an empathic connection with the client.

3/  Divination

Divination is NOT fortune telling. You don’t want some external force dictating your decisions. The human connection to Universal Intelligence is through the subconscious. Proper divination allows the person’s own inner mind, with its greater scope of information, to participate in the decision-making process. Before beginning a new project or operation, you want to get as much information about the possible outcomes that you can find. Ideally, if you have training and experience in meditation, you can access the additional, subconscious, information directly and whenever you may need it. Tarot is a tool that gives you quick insights into a situation to help you decide the way to proceed.

Tarot work, if done for yourself or others, should be approached in a respectful, meditative manner. It is not a game or frivolous past time.

I don’t think it was intentional, but in the movie, fortune telling is shown to be ineffective. The ending makes it clear that the fate of the passengers is already determined and none of the situations predicted by Dr. Schreck actually occur. Instead, Dr. Schreck turns out to be an agent of darkness who just uses the tarot cards to agitate and terrorize the other characters prior to leading them to Hell. There’s no reason for this, other than the need to make a low-budget horror film.