The Tarot – a great tool for self-knowledge, clarity & direction

The Tarot is a deck of cards with imagery and symbols that we can use to unlock the door to greater self-knowledge. Learning how it can help bring clarity to any situation at any moment makes it one of the best tools I know to help us find our way in life. Combine that with deep counselling and many layers are peeled back as we traverse back and forth along your timeline to understand the why, what, where, when, which, and how of your life thus far.

clarity leads to direction in our lives

Say, you are the querent and have a question for the cards and you hope to find the answers from the session. The Reader shuffles and cut the deck several times and you choose your cards. As the session progresses, the conversation you have with your Reader and which cards are laid out in the spread will help bring insight into your situation and help you come to the answers you seek. I can’t stress this enough. You will find the answers coming from within you. The Reader can only relay to you what her intuition sees in the cards and you relate that to your situation. As she does that, the a-ha moments will emerge which are totally yours. It’s the same in counselling. We help our clients to arrive at insights and a-ha moments that they own. And then you need to act upon your insights to resolve the issues.

A key that unlocks doors

In that sense, a Tarot reading is like a key that unlocks the doors that lead to higher wisdom. If not the Tarot, it could have been hypnosis, psychotherapy, counseling and meditation. All these are keys you use to access the veiled. However, as long as you do not act to improve your situation, the same issues will persist and the same messages will show up again and again if you continue to seek a reading rather than work on your problems. Which leads me back to the 6Cs. It’s what you do after the divination that will make a difference. It’s about the action plan that you need to draw up with SMART goals identified and given a timeline to pursue them. It’s about the self-enquiry you need to undertake to change habits and beliefs that aren’t helping you anymore. It’s about facing yourself in the mirror of truth. Only in this way will you see improvement.

The cards are rich in symbolism

The symbols on the cards are a language of the psyche. These are ancient symbols shared by many cultures across time. Jung describes them as symbolic representations of archetypes meaning figures that are commonly shared by humanity and they reside in the Collective Unconscious of humanity. For e.g. the female form with a full body is often depicted as the mother figure or goddess as can be seen in archaelogical finds of urns and vessels, the king as the ultimate male authority, the sun a symbol of growth, and grain a symbol of fecundity.

Odin hanging from tree

Or, take this German myth where the god Wotan aka Odin hung from the Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life, and after nine days obtained wisdom into the runes thus starting a way to document ancient wisdom and knowledge. The Hanged Man in the Tarot speaks of the same message. Life would feel topsy turvy as you go through a transformation or intense innerwork to prepare you for new knowledge or a different way of life. It’s the same with all the other cards in the deck. Each and every one of them has a symbolic meaning that can be traced back to a myth or symbol dating back into history. These myths are shared across humanity in the collective unconscious. You can read more about this in Jung’s map of the soul.

The Hanged Man card

All esoteric teachings that have come down to us tell of the same thing. There is something larger than ourselves that governs our lives which many of us can access if we knew how to use the tools available to us. The symbols and imagery in all these tools help unlock the doors for us to gain entry to soul knowledge. It’s the same for the I Ching, Numerology, Vastu, Runes, or Chinese Geomancy.

The Tarot reading is a message – not a magic formula

There is no fixed formula apart from the archetypal meaning to what each card represents. The same card can mean slightly different things on a different day when read in context of the present moment. Because it is the energies of the present moment that chose the cards. Suppose one of the cards drawn is the Emperor card which symbolises male authority and also organised, mainstream religious authority. Drawing this card could mean several other things – one, a male figure who might render help, or two, a need to apply more focused effort, represented by the male and creative energy, to your endeavours. So which is which? By asking you the right questions, you come to realise that you have to take charge through applying the active male, dynamic or ‘yang’ energy. Should the card be reversed, it then becomes ‘Yin’ and would instead mean to retreat, think, ponder, and nurture. ‘Yin’ could also present you with the choice of either to follow the known but submit to its rules, or take the path less trodden, which is uncertain but which frees you from dogma and doctrine. So again, it’s back to context – what’s happening in your life right now. Tell me your story.

Your story + the reading = self-knowledge = clarity = direction

By now I hope you can see how a reading helps shed light but only in context to the client’s present situation. It is a situation that was brought to fruition through the energies of life and these same energies will continue to ‘control’ the person unless changes are made. These are also the same energies that will pull the appropriate cards onto the table for that particular client in that particular moment. The way the right cards always show up is the reason why these cards have enriched my work in counseling. These cards act as the symbols and metaphors for what is truly happening in my clients’ lives but which is not often brought to consciousness. It is because the cards do not hold a formulaic answer that is the real beauty. Often, a client has only to look at the symbols on a card and in that split second achieve an epiphany that has eluded them. The cards always tell the hidden story.

Related reading: My mission – empower you to live your soul path.

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