Tarot and Meditation

Pat Westerby asked me if I would write on the subject of using the Tarot as a focal point in meditation. Some of you may remember the review written in August about the Parallel Worlds Tarot by Astrid Amadori. The three articles received high viewing figures and as there is interest: I will fulfil Pat’s wish.



Tarot and Meditation

Essential Information:

Carl Jung, one of the founders of analytical psychology. There are hundreds of words referencing C.J. Jung’s associations with the Tarot. Although there is no mention of the tarot in any of his essays, it’s easy to find links between the concepts that he conceived in the imagery of the tarot. Jung’s contribution to the understanding of the psyche is that of the archetypal images and the collective unconscious. 

If the tarot is viewed as a comprehensive symbolic system: we can quickly discover the four archetypes or facets of Jung’s thoughts on the working of the mind: my inference is that a keen observer can associate images and symbols on each card with aspects of Jung’s four archetypes. 

The Four Archetypes:

Male and Female aspects of every human, the whole or complete self.
Persona – The mask we show to all beings.
The Shadow – Aspects of ourselves we hide or repress.
The Self – Individualism.

Jung suggested that as children we are complete as humans: and as we grow this freedom of expression is broken down by the bias, dogma, frustration and closed-mindedness of adults. Those who explore ways of becoming ‘complete’ are following the quest to become creative and understanding the potential of ‘The Self’. This is, of course, a lifelong endeavour of self-study. The foundation of this is five questions: why, who, what, where and when and these questions become the answer to the question ‘HOW’.

J.E. Cirlot’s Dictionary of Symbols has extensive reference to the twenty-one cards of the Major Arcanum. His extensive research gives a creative and open-minded thinker the seeds to discovering answers to the five primary questions: why, who, what, where and when. If we accept that the cards are ‘seeds or symbols’ of ideas and not fully grown and thriving trees of wisdom and knowledge, then the cards become perfect for the meditational purpose.

The is no mystery to the symbolism of the tarot. The knowledge becomes difficult if the student chooses to follow the ideas of another. This is because every card has unique meanings to every human. Yes, there are a few great documents which provide ‘the seeds’ of the symbolism. There are none which can decipher another humans ‘Self’.

Are the cards able to define the future?

It is interesting to discover the profound realisations found in meditations on the seventy-eight cards. If the ‘seed’ idea is considered, then, we will discover how or why many people believe they can be used to ‘define’ (not the word divination) the aspects of the future. If the randomness of selecting three cards is considered carefully, we realise that the process is forcing us to consider an aspect of ‘The Quest to find The Self’.

Once one begins to examine and consider the imagery, it seems to stay within the mind. This is no surprise because the brain loves association, a song never is forgotten, the association of certain tastes and fragrances. I owned a Pamela Coleman Smith deck (I consider her the architect of the RWS deck) at twelve years of age. After two years of reviewing the cards, my memories of them stayed with me for a lifetime. Once studied, the associations within one’s psyche (soul – spirit – mind) cannot be erased. 

The result is not as random as we may, or are lead to believe. Allow me to demonstrate the idea that three cards can be used for meditation. As you read the interpretation, consider if there is a significance or relevance to your own life.

Three cards are selected:

The Tower – Queens of Coins – Seven of Cups

There is no interest in considering each cards associative meaning. Of course, it is inevitable forty-seven years of symbolic influence cannot be dismissed. However, the cards are viewed as a meditation of connections. In the meditation, the psyche is allowed to rise into conscious awareness.

Here is the meditation:

“Is there an excess of inner and outer conflicts? Pride and discipline work together. Do not forget the requirement is to take pride in whatever is part of one’s objectives and have the discipline to see all ideas conclude. There is a need to break down the walls of dogma, as change and new beginnings always meet with resistance. One should have no resistance to nurturing the material aspects of ‘The Quest’. Indeed, to be as a mother and desire to see those who are loved succeed and prosper is an essential part of ‘The Quest’. It becomes apparent the focus must be on one’s endeavours. Take care that attention is not being drawn away from one’s objective. There is a suggestion that emotions need to be assessed and the potentials of discipline and pride in one’s endeavours will readjust a tendency to allow emotions to dominate clear-mindedness.”

It should be apparent there is no ‘dark’ or ‘sinister’ inference from the assessment of the three cards. The association of the relationship between the cards: and ones personal interpretation of the seventy-eight symbolic aspects of the psyche is well defined. It is entirely possible some of you who read this interpretation will have empathy with the sentiments of the meditation. This, of course, is how and why those with a solid understanding of the arcana can interpret them to the benefit of other people searching for answers to ‘The Quest’.

For some, there will be a realisation that the tarot is, in fact, an unwritten book which works as well or better than any ‘self-help’ indoctrination.  

A separate benefit of this method of meditation is the mind is given a moments respite from the external world’s influence. As one considers the implication of the interpretation, it is soon realised how influential even a short meditation such as this can benefit every aspect of ‘The Quest’.

I hope you have enjoyed this short return to The Tarot – See You Soon.

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