Aug 3, 2010

Jung And The Tarot

Tarot cards are not supernatural, all-powerful oracles or guided by sentient or malevolent entities. The cards are simply are a tool and like any other tool, they can be very

useful and perform the job for which they were created. When we look at the cards layed out in front of us, the symbols upon them act on our subconscious minds, bringing forth buried thoughts, feelings and intuitions.

Carl Jung referred to this subconcious information as the "Collective Unconscious." Psychologically speaking, the collective unconscious is a reservoir of human experiences embedded deep in the psyche.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) believed the symbolism contained within the Tarot could be extremely useful to followers of analytical psychology. By using a selection of the cards to create a story, the symbols can be related to the problem being discussed. Jung was originally a student of Freud, but moved away from Freud's psycho-analytical approach to develop a rich system of symbols entirely his own.

Jung believed that the "collective unconsciousness" is the foundation of what the ancients called 'the sympathy of all things'". For Jung, the human psyche lived in three separate parts: the conscious, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. The archetypes (powerful universal figures and symbols) live in the personal and collective unconscious, shaping our perceptions and experiences and appear over and over again in myths, legends and stories.

Jung's Archetypes in psychological terms, can be broadly described as a model of a type of person or behaviour that can be used in an interpretive manner. Jung identified five main archetypes, these were:

The Persona: The face we present to the world
The Shadow: The part of us unacknowledged but that exists nonetheless
The Self: The essence of the psyche, what enables the individual
The Anima: The female image in the male psyche
The Animus: The male image in the female psyche

With the Tarot, we can recognize the archetypes in images and the resulting emotions. In earlier work, Jung linked the archetypes to heredity and considered them as instinctual. Yet wherever he looked across cultures, he found the same archetypes and thus came to conceptualize them as fundamental forces that somehow exist beyond us. They have existed in ancient myths as elemental spirits and Jung sought to link with this deep and old experience.

These powerful archetypes work together to create a pattern or a message that allows the questioner to understand and sort out their difficulties. Like many other oracles, their powerful symbols can also demonstrate to the reader the feelings or ideas that are lurking just below the surface of their conscious mind. The symbolism of the Tarot can be a gentler way to bring the questioner in touch with feelings they may be refusing to acknowledge.

Studying the image and meaning of these archetypes can be therapeutic for the Tarot reader or questioner and help them understand all the powerful symbols present in their lives. For those who are unhappy with who they are, working with archetypes can help them to realize the strength of their current archetype and also how everyone is made up from multiple symbols. We all have the ability to be a Warrior, Magician or Mother- archetypes evolve as we do.

1 comment:

Desert Rose Tarot said...

Great blog post! I've always been a fan of Jung. I think his five main archetypes could be made into a very interesting tarot spread. :)