A question was posted on the Tarot Professionals Facebook group. A question that resulted in some heated debate (to say the least). It is amazing how a simple and innocent question can divide the camp. The question, Is Kabbalah something you have to learn to be good at tarot?
The question is a valid and important one. Whenever we learn something new we always want to learn it the “right way”, by learning the essentials. For a newcomer to tarot, it is important to know we ask, what do I have to learn be good at this? Tt is tricky, this is an art after all. Kabbalah is one of those things that one can learn to help them. This questioner is asking if Kabbalah required is need to be “good at tarot”. Can you be good without Kabbalah? Some commenters had gone off the deep end.
It is fair to say that most people who commented and were on the side of no, kabbalah is not needed to be good at tarot. I agree, I was one of those commenters who felt that kabbalah is not required to be a good reader. However, I do find that a basic understanding of kabbalah, the tree of life and the minors can help you grasp the cards better, in a different way. I don’t think a full in-depth study is mandatory, because of the complexity, it is optional if you do choose it.
Most people who opted out of kabbalah left it at that really, saying it is preference/optional. The other side, those in favor of kabbalah were more aggressive in their assertion. Of those few, it appeared almost dogmatic, that kabbalah is essential to fully understand tarot. Anything less is fortune telling cartomancy, as if that was an insult. This mentality is a problem and is on the same level as religious fundamentalists who for example, may insist on literal biblical interpretations vs metaphorical.
To be good at tarot does not require years of esoteric study. Esoteric study is not for everyone and the general public may not really be looking for esoteric readings. Does esoteric study help, I think it helps to broaden your horizons of course. But there are readers who never touch kabbalah or the esoteric and give amazing readings.
To be good at tarot, you should work with your cards and learn to speak their language through practice and study. What and how you study is up to you, but do not let someone push you into thinking that something is required and if you do not learn XYZ then you are a rubbish reader. Don’t be burned a heretic for tarot dogma.