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Fate vs Free Will
This is a very important and sometimes controversial topic. Kim Huggens shares some of her wisdom in Tarot 101:
The issue of fate vs. free will is one that every Tarot reader must face in the course of their development. Your view on the matter dictates your reasons for reading and your approach to delivering a reading.
Do we act freely from our conscious decisions? Are we influenced by something else—other people, our genetics, our upbringing, God? And to what extent do these influences affect us? Some people believes that a destiny or fate has been planned for us or given to us at birth, or that it develops as we go through life. These people may believe that some force dictates how we get to our destiny as well as they destiny itself, while others may believe that we choose how we reach the pre-planned fate. There are those who don’t believe in fate or destiny at all, but hold that meaning is given to our lives through our interpretation and interaction with the world: we create our own destinies through our choices. Some people believe a mixture of these things, for instance the philosopher Voltaire, who said:
Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her. But once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.
Personally I feel that in order to read Tarot it is useful to believe that choice and free will exist to some extent: this allows our readings to go beyond foretelling fixed futures that cannot be changed and therefore gives Tarot a purpose. It allows us to gain insight into our likely path so that we may change it if we wish. However, it is also important to see and accept that our past has an effect on our present, in various ways and to various extents depending on the action or situation. Effects always have causes. Similarly, our present choices and actions will affect our futures, and thus the future is always in motion.