Before I talk about tarot as a Jungian Neo-Pagan practice, I want to take a time out and share some of my favorite tarot decks with you.
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There are just some combinations you should never do. Like inviting Aunt Tessie's ex-best friend and new husband who just happens to be Uncle Jack formerly of Jack and Tessie. Or pajamas with hiking boots. Or like bringing the wrong Tarot decks to a public event. Yep, I think there are some things that would be flat-out wrong to bring. Consider the social pitfalls of housewives and zombies and brides for instance.
I like to have choices. With close to 300 decks, I have a lot of choices when gathering things up to work an event. Recently I was packing up to work a bridal shower. I had to figure out which decks to take....
Okay, well, maybe it is not particularly high-tech to some of you, but for an old crone like me who seems to have an aversion to modern electronics, it seems that way. I don't pay for my apps, I hardly know how to use my smartphone, but this is something that I discovered awhile ago, and now would not be without.
Yes, I still like the feel of the cards and yes, I still adore my Tarot of the Cloisters deck, but with the Galaxy Tarot app on my phone, if I have my phone, I have my Tarot. What's more, I can do readings, and email the screenshot right to my client. I can share specific cards, I can add my own notes, I can refer to the different aspects of the symbolism or different correlations; in short, there's not a lot I can't do with this....
Before I discuss tarot as a form of Jungian Pagan practice, I want, in this post, to give a little background about how I approach tarot.
Tarot, for anyone who does not know, is a deck of cards that derives from a mid-15th century card game called Triumphs, which is the origin of various modern trump card games like Euchre, Bridge, and Hearts. The tarot card deck resembles the common 52 playing cards used today, with important differences. There are four suits: Swords, Batons (or Wands), Cups, and Coins (or Pentacles). In addition to the King and Queen face cards, there is a Knight (which became the Jack) and a Page. These constitute the court cards, which are also called the Minor Arcana. In addition, there are 22 trump cards, also called the Major Arcana, with names like the Fool, the Lovers, Death, and the Hanged Man, numbered 0 to 21. All of the cards have evocative imagery on them, which accounts for their continued appeal. The cards are now primarily used for divination, or fortune telling, rather than as a card game. The deck exists in many versions. The most well known historical deck is the Tarot de Marseilles and the most well known occult deck is the Rider-Waite Tarot, but there are literally thousands of variations....
Not to date myself, but I remember when we didn't have answering machines. Now I let almost everything go to voice mail. Before though, I had to stop and decide if I wanted to answer the phone. I can see some of you scratching your heads...what on earth does an answering machine or lack thereof have to do with Tarot? Well, sometimes I do that with my Tarot readings too. I just let my inner answering machine take over.
There are cards in the tarot that, for me, have instant meanings. Those are the ones that are so embedded in my brain that they seem automatic. But that may not be the best answer for my querent. They may require a bit more than a rote Tarot reading. So sometimes I like to turn my brain upside down so I can't do the auto-answer. I yank myself out of that Tarot rut I can sometimes get into when I'm doing endless readings.
It's not fair to my client. They don't know I had three people before them asking similar questions. They aren't to blame for my reaction. But I cannot drop into automatic mode. I have to prevent my inner answering machine from picking up.
Here are just two ways to kick yourself out of the "that always means" rote reading technique. I'd love to hear your own if you have some as well.
1. Odd Fellows
By using a deck I'm not familiar with, I have to back up and take another look. I've been loving two self-published decks lately that really force me to let go of the automatic and search out the intuitive answer.
From the Wild Unknown Tarot, this Six of Swords is not your typical dude rowing a boat. Nor is the image of Scathach as the Six of Air from the Dark Goddess one I can immediately see the "moving from troubled times to calmer places" meaning I have tattooed into my brain.
I have to stop. I have to become more present in my Tarot reading.
When I put the two with the Rider Smith Waite (Radiant) Six of Swords, I see color similarities immediately. In a way, my desire to let go of the old meanings for the new is represented by the meaning of this card.
2. Same Old, Same Old
This post was previously published as part of the 2014 Ostara Tarot Blog Hop.
Our topic this time is creativity and what springs forth. Well, that’s my loose interpretation of our Blog Wrangler’s theme. Joanne Sprott charged all of the Tarot Blog hoppers to discuss creativity.
--Stephanie Arwen Lynch-Poe
“When you lose touch with your inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.”
— Eckhart Tolle
I read this quote a few years ago. It stuck with me. I wanted to use Tarot to explore how to regain that state of being in touch with my inner stillness. I see it as a breach of faith with myself when I lose this quiet place in my spirit.