I know a large number of tarot readers who don’t read on the topic of health, and for good reason, as they are not doctors. I myself only read tarot for the spiritual and emotional support of a health situation and I am ever-convinced of the importance of this especially as I continue to learn about health and the nature of healing.
We live in a culture where doctors consider the mind and body to be entirely separate, therefore opting to treat the body only and not the person holistically. If you see a traditional doctor in the US and they ask about your relationships or any stress or difficult times you may be going through, you’re in the minority.
Often instead, doctors only see illness as an attack on the body. I have come to see illness as a message from the body, even if it stems from a virus or bacteria that isn’t native to the body.
Our bodies speak to us especially when we aren’t paying attention. I’ve learned this the hard way through experience, having developed an autoimmune health condition myself. I very much believe that I developed this condition largely in part because I wasn’t saying no to situations and relationships that were hurting me emotionally and psychologically. Finally, my body said no. When I experience a flare up, I have noticed that it is typically in relation to a social situation in which I am not being treated well.
I have learned since how to stand up for myself and how to value myself. I have learned to honor my wellbeing and I have learned proper boundaries between myself and others. It is still a work in progress for me, but learning these skills have contributed immensely to an overall better quality of life and quality of health for myself.
I recently read a book called When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection by Dr. Gabor Maté. I heard him speak at a local gala for Recovery last year and became intrigued to read his published works. In every chapter of this book I saw myself in the patients he described. It was an emotional read, despite being heady, and the correlations are common sense to me. Our physical wellbeing isn’t separate from our emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Just as we don’t exist on this planet unaffected by the environment, wellbeing is a whole-person reality.
I found this book to be edifying as well because this medical doctor confirmed what I knew to be true intuitively. It’s insane to me that, despite the evidence, much of medical research totally ignores the stress factor in the development of disease.
“It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.” -Hippocrates
As I continued to read this book I was struck by new ways that tarot speaks to healing in relation to the words of different physicians. In fact, I was delighted to see synchronistic patterns that related to my favored deck (Joie De Vivre Tarot). As I read, different cards sprang to mind.
“What happens to our bodies is a matter of flow- there is input and there is output, and we can’t control every aspect of it. We need to understand that flow, know there are things you can influence and things that you can’t. It’s not a battle, it’s a push-pull phenomenon of finding balance and harmony, of kneading the conflicting forces into one dough.” -Dr. Gelmon, MD
“One cannot be autonomous as long as one is driven by relationship dynamics, by guilt or attachment needs, by hunger for success, by fear of the boss or fear of boredom. The reason is simple: autonomy is impossible as long as one is driven by anything. Like a leaf blown by the wind, the driven person is controlled by forces more powerful than he is. His autonomous will is not engaged, even if he believes that he has “chosen” his stressed lifestyle and even if he enjoys his activities. The choices he makes are attached to invisible strings. He is still unable to say no, even if it’s only to his own drivenness. When he finally wakes up, he shakes his head, Pinocchio-like, and says, ‘How foolish I was when I was a puppet.'” -Dr. Gabor Maté
These quotes are just a few examples of the correlation between health and tarot. Overall, there is a message in this book about the relatedness of good boundaries and healthfulness which the tarot absolutely speaks on.
I feel even more comfortable reading for the emotional and spiritual aspects of health and healing after having read this book. This kind of reading is a form of support that so many people don’t have, but need.
One last thing I want to touch on, and I very much recommend this book, is something Dr. Maté wrote about the power of negative thinking:
“For many people, guilt is is a signal that they have chosen to do something for themselves. I advise most people with serious medical conditions that there is probably something out of balance if they do not feel guilty. They are still putting their own needs, emotions, interests last. The power of negative thinking could permit people to welcome their guilt rather than shun it. ‘I feel guilty? Wonderful. Hallelujah! It means I must have done something right and acted on my own behalf for a change.'”
(That’s Strength, my friend. Make friends with that guilt).
“If you face a choice between guilt and resentment, choose the guilt every time.”
Choosing guilt is about learning to say yes to you, which is what the Empress is all about. She knows how to care for herself and fill her desires first. 💜
So what do you think? Have you read this book? What has been your experiences with the health system of western medicine? Have you ever had a tarot reading done in relation to your wellbeing? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
(Featured Tarot deck is Joie De Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy, US Games).