The Tarot is very much like a compass, in that it can point you to your destination and give some insight into what's around you. But if you're expecting the GPS on your phone to be able to tell you where you're going before you get in the car, then yes, I suppose if the Tarot could predict the future it would be like that. But it can't.
This means, there is no such thing as a prediction in Tarot. You will never hear me say the words "Tarot predicts this," because it does not predict anything; we forecast and we prognosticate — we divine information — we do not predict anything.
Tarot divination is the process of throwing the cards and receiving insight into a very broad general situation, like: Is my relationship with this person good for both of us? Am I about to make a mistake that will change my life forever? Do I need to go to court? We don't get very specific here because there's too much subjectivity in the future, and if we attempted to tell your fortune by saying something like: "Next week you will meet someone who becomes your long term partner," then that prediction could just as well come true but be completely unhelpful (if you're currently married or otherwise taken) or it could be exactly what you wanted to happen but it could turn out to be a disaster.
There are many things the Tarot can't do. It cannot make decisions for you, nor can it see your future with perfect clarity, and certainly it will never tell you anything that contradicts your free will — this is where we draw the line and say "no, we will not do that" because the mystery and magic of Tarot is in allowing you to explore that which you would do or should do anyway. It's a great way to help your intuition along so you can make those choices from a place of higher guidance rather than from fear or superstition. And, as I have said many times before, the Tarot is very much like a compass, but it doesn't tell you where to go; it reminds you that, ultimately, you are the one who makes your own decisions in life.
You can use the Tarot to help you explore your future, but ultimately it's up to you to make the choices that are right for you. When we get specific in divination, be it Tarot or coffee grounds or runes, then this is where things can go wrong . The universe will give us what we need and not always what we want — we've all heard the phrase, and that is why we use divination and not prayer to ask for guidance. What if what the Tarot shows you isn't pretty? What if you don't like what you see?
Does this mean it's time to curse your cards and throw them in the fire (or give them to Goodwill) and start living under the assumption that "everything will always be ok?" Or does it mean you should press on, focus on your growth, and make sure you really do like who you become over the next few years? Well that's up to you. But the later is quite beneficial.
Tarot cannot tell us what is going to happen; it can only give us information about things that are happening or that may happen based on the spreads we lay and what we see when we cast them.
It's difficult to explain why the Tarot is not a prediction tool — it just is, and we know this because we can look back on our own readings and verify that what we got was never 100% accurate because life isn't like that. It's constantly changing and evolving and even if you do make a decision (that turns out to be the wrong one) you can still move forward and make something better of it.
This is why we sometimes tell people to keep their readings close at hand — keep your journal next to your computer or on your bedside table, and when you get a reading, write about what the cards looked like lying in the spread and how you felt about them as you turned them over and set them down on the table. Did they look like a helpful direction? Would it be the right time to make this move, or should we wait another six months before we even think about approaching that subject?
Over time and with practice, you will begin to see how your spreads form shapes and patterns — like your fingerprint, each will be different and unique because it's coming from you. This is the insight that you are being given but it also means that no two readings are ever truly alike or even remotely similar because there is no way to be 100% accurate when dealing with so many unknown variables.
Tarot can't predict the future, but if you pay close attention, it can give you a glimpse of where you've been and help you navigate your way to a better future.