Benebell, a gifted lawyer and certified Tarot Master (!), challenged me a few months ago to write a post on the intersecting point between tarot and [my] personal metaphysical understanding of our world… in 400 words. So here is my response.
As I am at the beginning of my tarot journey, it is still difficult to articulate how tarot fits within my view of the Universe, which its in itself a proto-cosmology. By expanding my knowledge, I find some ideas that resonate, and others that don’t make sense, and I expect that eventually my proto-cosmology will become a coherent piece of thought. With 400 words to spare today, I will just limit myself to some snippets, largely coming from others, but building upon my own preliminary thinking.
This thinking is based on considering the Tarot as a way of connecting through the universe and the self. As I briefly mentioned in a previous post, I think Tarot a useful way for connecting with the universe. A literary analogy of how I see the way divination (and Tarot) in the context of connecting with the universe is found in the reading of the “Alethiometer” a divination tool in the Dark Materials Trilogy, by Phillip Pullman:
The alethiometer is a tool used to divine the truth about almost anything. Usually it takes years of study to understand, but Lyra [the protagonist] can read hers’ (one of only a few in the world) almost instantly, as by grace. But Lyra does not control the alethiometer; rather, she must put herself in communication with what seems to be a higher power”. hisdarkmaterials.org
(Worth noting that although I an using the word “divination”, I do not see Tarot as uniquely as a divination tool. I certainly do not use it as such. But that goes to another post.)
“Divination” is related largely to psychic powers. I don’t claim I am psychic at all, and curiously enough, I approached Tarot as something I could learn and apply my logic to – I am more aware of the technique and underlying principles and traditional interpretations for a particular card. However, when performing my readings I am learning how to move beyond the “book meaning” and find novel correspondences for the cards.
This, is definitely something fully rationalised or used at will. As Lyra needed to put herself in communication with the Alethiometer, I often find that I need a particular state of mind to do my readings, connect with myself, and my intuition to make any sense of the cards in the context of the question, or the querent. Alas, I still find moments when this is not at all possible!
To close, I recently started reading this old, but fantastic book, “Discovering your self through the tarot” by Rose Gwain. Using as framework Jungian theories, Gwain explains that
It is useful to approach the Tarot from the viewpoint that one is working with a living energy system that is operating with ancient deeply ingrained patterns, but changing slowly over time; an energy system that hods the entire wisdom of the human race deep within its being; and an energy system that can carry guidance from the divine sources beyond THE FOOL and through the archetypal paths of the Major Arcana and the Court Cards[…].
The Tarot cards help bring consciousness, an understanding of things that were in the unconscious (our “shadow” side). By connecting with the wider wisdom we are able to shed light on ourselves and those looking for answers in the cards.