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Ways to Use the Tarot
The striking images of the Tarot often appear mysterious, beckoning us to draw closer and learn of their secrets. While some choose to use the Tarot for predictive purposes, the metaphorical symbols can do so much more. In fact, many who work with Tarot do not use the cards for prediction at all! Here are but a few ways to enjoy and utilize the Tarot:
Problem Solving and Self-Development – Tarot cards provide an excellent springboard for identifying, analyzing, and working through challenging situations. Draw a card and have an imaginary conversation with it. What advice might it give you if it could "speak"? Alternatively, look through a deck and pick a card that represents how you're feeling now; then, pick another representing how you'd like to feel. How might you get from here to there? You can also use Tarot for brainstorming and planning. (Mark McElroy has written several excellent books using the cards for this purpose; What's in the Cards for You? is my favorite.) Tarot allows us to "freeze" different aspects of a situation, promoting objectivity, awareness, clarity and empowered choice.
Creativity – Are you a writer, artist or musician? The cards can inspire ideas, plots, themes and direction. For example, draw a card and write a song or create a painting based on how the image makes you feel. Or, write a short story based on three cards drawn at random: Card 1 represents one person, Card 2 represents another person, and Card 3 represents the nature of the conflict or situation involving them both. Alternatively, draw several cards and tell a story based on what you see.
Dream Interpretation – The rich symbolism of the Tarot can provide helpful clues to the meaning of dreams. You could choose a Tarot card for each of the elements contained within a dream, or draw several cards to specifically address the theme and its relevant message.
Meditation and Visualization – If your spiritual path uses rituals or altars, you can use one or more Tarot cards as a sacred tool for meditation, contemplation, and intention. For example, if you're feeling vulnerable, you could meditate on the Strength card. If you feel pulled in a hundred directions and long for time alone, you could cultivate an atmosphere of spiritual retreat and social withdrawal by meditating on the Hermit.
Education and Intellectual Stimulation – The Tarot can be as simple or as complex as you'd like it to be, depending on your preferences. When reading the cards you can simply "say what you see" as author Wilma Carroll encourages, or you can explore esoteric Tarot symbolism, numerology, astrology, Qabalah, western magickal traditions (such as the Order of the Golden Dawn) and much more.
Divination and Psychic Development – Asking questions of the Tarot and using spreads (card layouts) can help you tap into the collective unconscious, develop symbolic sight and stretch your intuitive potential. Testing the Tarot — and yourself — increases trust in innate abilities, creates personal meaning and demonstrates the power of co-creating reality.
Communication – If you'd like to bridge a communication gap between yourself and a child, partner, relative or friend, using the Tarot can help. Whomever you'd like to understand better, invite her to join you for lunch, tea or coffee in a private place. Ask her if she'd play a "getting to know" you game, handing her a deck of fully animated Tarot cards (that is, a Minor Arcana that shows people or figures doing something). Instruct her to go through the deck, choosing cards that reflect how she feels and what she thinks right now. Then, you do the same. Talk about the cards you chose. To "bridge" any conflicts, misunderstandings or challenges, go through the deck again and both of you choose a card (or cards) that best reflect how you may better connect with one another.CHAPTER 2
How Does Divination Work?
Humans have practiced divination for thousands of years. The word divination shares the same root as the word divine, so most people have assumed that the information received through divination comes from a divine source — God, Goddess, Great Spirit, etc. Divination was often used by human oracles — shamans, prophets and religious leaders who were trained to discern and interpret omens, symbols, and messages. In many respects, the diviner served as a bridge between the Divine and everyday folks.
For some civilizations, though, divination was a normal part of living for all people. In the early Christian tradition, some people were said to have the "gift of prophecy" and delivered messages from God. However, adherents of this religion believed there were two sources for "supernatural" information: God and the devil. Therefore, it was possible for some individuals to manifest "counterfeit" psychic gifts that were demonic in nature. In fact, fortunetelling was often forbidden in the Judeo-Christian belief system, despite the fact that there are numerous accounts of divination performed by "heroes of the faith".
There are several theories about how divination works, but the foundation for all of the following theories is a belief in an ordered Universe — and that there is no such thing as accidents or coincidences:
Divine Source – This is rather straightforward: it is belief that information received through divination comes straight from a Divine Source — a spiritual Intelligence. Those who believe in an evil counterpart to the Divine, such as a devil or demons, believe that information can come from that source, as well.
Synchronicity – Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) coined the term synchronicity to explain that coinciding events have meaning. A student of symbol and myth, as well as the divination method of Tarot, Jung believed that nothing was random, and everything happens for a reason. When consulting a divinatory tool, the individual will receive a message pertinent to his or her concerns and questions.
Collective Unconscious – Jung also believed in a collective unconscious, which is a vast database where information about every person, object and event is stored. This collective unconscious could be accessed through archetypal recognition, hypnosis, dreaming and divination.
Higher Self – Some believe that the subconscious exerts an energetic force that affects divination tools. Our "Higher Self" or "spirit" already knows the information that is sought, as well as what's best for us. By using divination, we tap into this "Higher Self", bypassing the conscious, rational mind.
Macrocosm/Microcosm – Ancient civilizations believed that everything was connected through patterns of energy and universal laws. Divination was seen as a microcosm that reflected larger patterns of energy — the macrocosm. Modern man often assumed that these beliefs and practices were mere primitive superstitions. However, with the advent of scientific discoveries such as the theory of relativity, chaos theory, quantum physics and so on, many are realizing that science is now confirming these ancient metaphysical beliefs and practices.
Intuition – Believed to be a part of the brain, intuition is a "sixth sense" whereby information is directly perceived by means outside of the five senses. That is, a "knowing" not based on rational understanding or the "facts". Many believe that human intuition is in a state of evolution, especially as civilizations become more complex. We no longer need the daily "flight or fight" survival instinct that our ancestors once did, but rather, a "higher" form of knowing and understanding outside the realm of ego. Psychologist Benjamin Libert analyzed EEG results of subjects, nothing the precise moment when each decided to act prior to a simple behavior (like moving their fingers). Interestingly, Libert discovered that the brain responds a few milliseconds before the decision to act, and termed this "readiness potential". Some call this a "readiness wave", likened to a signal emitted from the frontal cortex of the brain into the surrounding area of the thinker. These signals relate to thought and experience, before the actual occurrence of those thoughts or experiences.
Psychic Gifts – Whether manifested through the human body (DNA/natural ability) or as a "supernatural" gift (bestowed by a divine source), some believe that certain individuals are born psychic and others are not.
Akashic Record – With divination methods such as clairvoyance, dream interpretation, and channeling, there is a belief in a cosmic library where every conversation and event on the earth plane is recorded in "life books". When an individual is attuned to the Holy Spirit, universal consciousness, and the "other side", he or she is able to read these books, known as the Akashic Record. Information from these books travel on light waves and are received by the diviner. Some believe that the Akashic Record is the same thing as Jung's collective unconscious.
So what happens when a Tarot reading or prediction often comes to pass? I believe that, in most cases, the diviner is reading the present energy surrounding a situation or person. Because most people are resistant to change, living their lives in the well-worn grooves of familiarity and habit, that which is discerned in the present comes to pass in the future. It's easier to determine outcomes than one might think: examining an individual's past and present is often a good determinant of where they're headed simply because of inertia. If the driver of a car never turns the steering wheel, she'll continue along the same direction that she's been traveling.
Thus, if you want to know where someone is heading, simply look at where they've been.
However, those who decide to exercise their free will with conscious choice can change the direction of their life. Your past does not equal your future, even if that's the case for most people. Thus, messages received through divination are not set in stone but, rather, are fluid in nature.
It is my belief that everyone can access their intuitive abilities, and use divination to understand their past, present and future. When we practice divination with the intent of seeking guidance for self-growth and understanding, we exercise our 6th chakra, also known as the Brow Chakra or the Third Eye.CHAPTER 3
Anatomy of a Tarot Deck
A Tarot deck consists of 78 cards: 16 Court Cards, 40 Minor Arcana Cards and 22 Major Arcana Cards. I like to think of them as Who, What/How and Why.
Who (Court Cards]) – An actor in life's drama. A role being played, an approach to a situation, a significant person involved in the circumstance at hand or a character in a story or the seeker consulting the cards.
What and How ([Minor Arcana Cards) – The stage of life's drama. How everything plays out: work, relationships, thoughts, passions, conversations, career, hobbies, challenges, triumphs, disappointments, fears, learning, faith, self-esteem, decisions, beliefs, feelings, planning, celebrating, mourning, eating, drinking, spending, saving, loving, competing. This is the stuff of everyday life — and the plot points of a novel.
Why (Major Arcana Cards) – The reasons behind all the action — usually embodied by impersonal, universal archetypes, "acts of God" (or Fate or "shit happens"). These are forces outside the direct control of the Who or an invisible "script" that supplies motivation (for example, familial or cultural patterns that are passed on from generation to generation via genetics, tradition or behavior). Some believe this is also the realm of past life influence, as well as the collective unconscious. Thus, it's a repository for all templates available to humans that not only causes what happens on life's stage, but also remains available to be called on when needed or wanted.
Where the hell's the Where?, you may be wondering.
Well, you can try to determine "where" in a reading, if you want, or for inventing a locale in a fictional story. For example, The Magician could suggest a magic shop, a magic show or a town/county/street with "Magic" or "Wizard" in the name. Or, for the abstract minded, you could theorize that The Magician card might refer to Copperfield Street, Houdini Lane, Merlin Way — or the locale of David Blaine's latest street spectacle.
Using the Minor Arcana suits only, you can also attempt to discern the Where of a situation. (See the section below on the Minor Arcana. Possible Where locales are listed at the end of each suit.)
Don't get bogged down by my Who, What/How and Why model, though (or sidetracked with my Where addendum). It's merely one way to see the function and form of Tarot. If it doesn't make sense to you or work for you, then just discard it in favor of what does.
Major Arcana – Now, the Major Arcana Tarot cards are some of the most recognizable. The Fool, The Lovers, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, Death and The Moon cards are among the Major Arcana. The Majors are the most identifiable because they are "larger than life" — those archetypal patterns that permeate every era, country and culture. These repeated themes and patterns manifest via literature, film, oral traditions and songs. Archetypal motifs also find representation through public scandal, notorious figures and pop culture phenomena. The war-mongering Emperor, the reclusive Hermit, the scales of Justice (or injustice), the drug-pushing Devil, the shit-hitting-the-fan Tower, the messianic Hanged Man — these are the foundation of our memories, shared experiences and, indeed, civilization itself.
Minor Arcana – The Minor Arcana cards parallel Ace through Ten (1–10) in a regular playing card deck. However, most Tarot decks rename the Minor Arcana suits thusly: Hearts become Cups, Clubs become Wands, Diamonds become Coins and Spades become Swords. These four suits mirror the four elements of Water, Fire, Earth and Air.
CUPS cards — associated with the element of WATER — usually govern the realm of love, aesthetics, values and moods. Its energy is feminine/receptive. Sometimes, this suit is named Emoting, Chalices or Vessels. It is considered feminine/passive in nature, especially since its symbol usually connects with a receptacle for liquids. Colors often used in CUPS cards are deep blues, aqua and, in some cases, gold (in terms of the metal, reflective qualities and implication of preciousness). CUPS connects with relationships, intuition, feelings, empathy, dreams, the unconscious/subconscious, psychic phenomena, romance, intimacy, joy, forgiveness, healing, succor and matters of the heart. Its energy is of a slower nature — steeping, stewing. In ancient Tarot de Marseilles style decks, the CUPS suit was associated with the clergy. Symbolized by: Wave; Droplet. Chakra 4 (Heart): Love; Forgiveness; Compassion. Astrological Signs: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Magical Creature: Undine. Where: Islands; Coastal Areas; Beaches; Marshes; Swamps; Marinas; Coffee Shops; Lakes; Rivers; Pools; Churches; Boats; Hospice Centers; Oceans; Canals; Liquor Store; Bars; Chapels; Monasteries; Cruise Ship; Fountains; Water Parks; Ponds; Yachts; Amusement Parks.
WANDS cards — often associated with the element of FIRE — usually correlate to ambition, self-propulsion, passion, enthusiasm and vocation. Its energy is masculine/active. Sometimes, this suit is named Energy, Staffs, Rods or Batons, with the phallic shape connecting to masculine/active energy. Colors often used in WANDS cards are red and orange, sometimes bright yellow. WANDS connects with action, energy, enthusiasm, courage, gumption, career (as opposed to actual job), and many issues related to the "self" (as in, "self-starter", "self-esteem", "self-propelled", "self-possessed", etc.). Its energy is of a faster nature — sudden, sometimes explosive. In ancient Tarot de Marseilles style decks, the WANDS suit was associated with the peasant class. Symbolized by: Flame; Fire. Chakra 3 (Solar Plexus): Personal power; Self-esteem. Astrological Signs: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Magical Creature: Salamander. Where: Deserts; Arid Land; Savannas; Saunas; Southern States/Countries; Weapons and Ammo Store; Firehouses; Sandboxes; Gas Stations; Oil Rigs; Volcanoes; Fireworks Vendors; Trains; Bomb Shelters; Furnaces; Chimney Sweep Shops; Gun Shows; Crematoriums; Candle Stores; Military Bases; War-Torn Areas; Steel Mills; Nuclear Reactors; Hadron Collider; Kilns.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Naked Tarot"
Copyright © 2017 Janet Boyer.
Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Note from the Author 10
Ways to Use the Tarot 11
How Does Divination Work? 14
Anatomy of a Tarot Deck 18
Methods for Reading the Tarot 29
BIT Tarot Method 29
7 Clue Method 31
Telling Time with Tarot 34
Choosing a Deck 41
About the Correspondences 45
Time to Strip Down 50
Court Cards 51
Minor Arcana 137
Major Arcana 327
The Fool 328
The Magician 332
High Priestess 337
The Empress 343
The Emperor 348
The Hierophant 353
The Lovers 358
The Chariot 363
The Hermit 374
Wheel of Fortune 378
Hanged Man 390
The Devil 405
The Tower 412
The Star 415
The Sun 426
The World 437
Six Sample Readings 441