Tarot for Self Discovery

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738701707
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2002
  • Series: Special Topics in Tarot Series
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Read an Excerpt


What is Tarot For?
Self Discovery

According to the best current historical assessment, Tarot was invented in northern Italy in the early 1400s as a card game. From those very mundane beginnings, Tarot has come to be used in a wide variety of ways by a wide variety of persons-for meditation; as inspiration for song, poetry, and film; for divination; for role-playing games; and, in some places, still, as a card game. My favorite way to use Tarot is as a tool for self-discovery.

Anything can be used for self-discovery: raindrops falling against a window, shadows falling on a wall, daydreams, animal messengers, spirit guides, synchronicity, fortune cookies, journaling, and more. Tarot is particularly useful for self-discovery because its seventy-eight cards portray many universal symbols and archetypes that work well with our subconscious minds.

I like to think of Tarot cards as a bridge connecting the conscious mind to the subconscious mind. Our subconscious minds have much to tell us, but they cannot speak directly to our conscious minds. Instead, they use dreams, hunches, and feelings. Tarot cards work very well to help us listen to and understand our subconscious. The subconscious mind does not communicate in complete sentences. Instead it uses pictures, images, fragments, representations, substitutions, and transferred references. Tarot cards can be extremely useful in helping us to decipher the messages from our subconscious since, the pictures on the cards speak in the language of the subconscious-the language of symbols and pictures and imagination.

What Is Self Discovery?

It is all very well and good to say that Tarot cards are excellent tools for self-discovery, but what exactly do I mean by self-discovery? Many people have a feeling that self-discovery is about warm, fuzzy feelings of self-love, self-acceptance, and healthy self-esteem. This is definitely one part of self-discovery. However, it is not the whole picture. Often, our conscious minds will suppress self-knowledge because it is painful or negative. For instance, I was talking to a friend, saying, "Remember when you got your hand caught in the car door?" Becky replied, "I sure do. You're the one who shut the door on my hand!" I had remembered that she had gotten hurt, but I had forgotten that I was the one who was the instrument of her pain. After she reminded me, I was able to play back the experience in my mind, and I realized that I had indeed shut a car door on my friend's hand, but that I had suppressed the part of the incident that was personally painful. After dealing with the pain and guilt that I felt, I was able to have a more accurate memory.

Often, we are unable to deal with a flaw or weakness in our personality, and wewill either suppress or deny that knowledge. If we are to move on and grow, it is necessary to see our faults and flaws and to recognize them honestly. This can be extremely painful, extremely difficult, and many of us will need or want some help to deal with some of these issues-a friend, a counselor, or a therapist.

Some of us have a tendency to deny our flaws and faults and to attribute all of our failures to fate or to others. Others of us have a tendency to blame ourselves for everything-the failures not only in our own lives but in the lives of those around us. Some of us flipflop between both of these tendencies, sometimes falling to one side, sometimes to the other. Neither tendency is healthy; both are extremes are to be avoided. The truth is in the middle.

For me, self-discovery is about discovering the truth in the middle and about learning to live life in balance. Sometimes self-discovery is painful, showing me my flaws, weaknesses, and mistakes. Sometimes self-discovery is full of joy and thanksgiving, showing me blessings and gifts and strengths that I had ignored or believed nonexistent.

Did I really throw sand in a boy's face when I was six? Yes, I did. Can I apologize to him? No, I do not remember his name or know where to find him. Do I feel guilty over this action from my childhood? Yes. There are countless incidents from my past that have often wracked me with guilt and pain and sorrow. Can I learn to accept this guilt, release it, and move on to areas of my life where I can make a positive difference? Yes. Indeed, not only can I, but I must, if I am to grow.

You can see that to me, self-discovery is closely linked to growth. If I merely take self knowledge and do nothing, then I run the danger of falling into negativity or egotism. I find that it is also important to balance the type of self-knowledge that I'm working on. If I'm tending toward depression and low self-esteem, then I work on ego-boosting self-knowledge. If I am feeling strong and positive about myself, then I'm in a good place to deal with some of my faults and flaws.

Some metaphysical teachers suggest to their students that they keep a journal where they write their positive qualities on one side of the journal and their negative qualities on the other side. The goal is to keep both sides in balance. Some of us tend to dwell on the positive, others on the negative. Both are necessary, for truth resides in the middle.

Self-knowledge is frequently contradictory. My journal frequently reveals this by expressing on one side, "I am lazy," and on another side, "I am hard-working." Both are true. Sometimes I am lazy, and sometimes I am hard-working. Like Emerson, I contradict myself gladly.

Self-discovery is difficult. It often takes great work, great effort. It takes time. It takes energy. It often takes brutal honesty, whether this is in acknowledging our talents or in admitting our faults, in giving validity to our hopes and dreams, and in giving voice to our unspoken fears.

Here again, balance is the...

About the Author:

About the Author

Nina Lee Braden, a Tarot reader and astrologer, is a certified tarot instructor with the Tarot Certification Board, and a member of the American Tarot Association. She is the webmaster of the award-winning website, Moonstruck (at http://www.ninalee.com), which features original articles on Tarot, astrology, soulmates, alternative health, and other topics. She is also on the editorial board of the ATA Tarot Journal, speaks on Tarot, astrology, and soulmates at many regional conferences, and has presented Tarot for Self Disovery at an ATA conference in 1999. She has also taught Tarot at the Southeastern Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute and at Womongathering.

Nina Lee is a former English teacher, with a master's degree in that subject. In addition to being a Tarot reader and astrologer, she is a freelance copy editor. She is a lifelong resident of Tennessee.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword xi
1 What Is Tarot for Self-Discovery? 1
What Is Self-Discovery? 2
The Exercises 5
Working the Exercises 9
A Note on Study 13
2 Easy Tarot for Self-Discovery Exercises 15
Who Am I? 15
Tell Me a Story 16
Picture This 17
Whose Life Is It Anyway? 18
Happy Feet 20
Gotta Dance 21
Love Break 22
Stages of Life 24
I Started a Joke 25
My Tarot Neighborhood 27
Synchronicity 29
3 Intermediate Tarot for Self-Discovery Exercises 33
I'm the Top 33
Jump-Start 36
Sliding 38
Watching Over Me 40
Tarot Pentacles Mandala 42
Little Me 44
Chakra Dance 45
My Champion 46
Miracle 48
Nightmare 49
Life Purpose 50
I Gotta Be Me 54
Let My Sun Shine 58
My Lunar Consciousness 60
Transition 62
A Spirituality of My Own 64
Lessons from Misfortune 66
Tower Survivor 68
Visiting the World of If 71
Lost in the Wasteland 72
Unnamed Exercise (Grief) 74
Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely 77
Healing Sun 79
Time/Space Experiment 81
What Tarot Is to Me 84
4 Exercises for Special Occasions and Situations 87
My Mother, My Self 87
My Father's Eyes 88
Just You and Me 90
Dream Lover 92
Difficult Relationships 93
Wedding 95
Healing Hands 96
Healing Heart: An Exercise for Emotional Wounds 98
Distant Prayers 100
Prosperity and Abundance 102
Bone Weary/Soul Weary 103
Driving My Car 104
It's a Holiday 105
Goin' Home 106
Maybe Later: An Exercise About Procrastination 108
Farewell 110
5 Self-Discovery Exercise Examples 113
Who Am I? Example 114
Tell Me a Story Example 115
Life's Purpose Example 119
A Spirituality of My Own Example 120
Lost in the Wasteland Example 122
Wedding Example 124
Bone Weary/Soul Weary Example 126
Prosperity and Abundance Example 128
Bone Weary/Soul Weary Example 126
Maybe Later Example 131
6 Writing Your Own Self-Discovery Exercises 137
Appendix A Introduction to Chakras 139
Appendix B Crash Course in Astrology 143
Appendix C The Golden Dawn 149
Bibliography 151
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2002

    Tarot as a tool for self-development

    With more than 50 original tarot exercises to choose from, Tarot for Self Discovery offers a veritable tool kit of innovative activities for gaining greater understanding of your true self. In this book, author and teacher Nina Lee Braden shares her incomparable knowledge of the Tarot, and successfully conveys her enthusiasm for her subject in every page. Written with wisdom and sensitivity, Tarot for Self Discovery is not a book that you will just read and put on a shelf. This is a book that you will come back to again and again. If you are interested in learning how to use the symbolism of the cards as a means of tuning into you inner self, I'm sure you will love this book as much as I do. Highly recommended.

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