Bring it on – the journey, the experiences, and the empowerment – bring it on! Bring what on? Bring the Tarot on! Bring on the archetypes! Bring on the Minors! Bring on the Court Cards! Bring them all on! Understand that the Tarot works in many ways – through the use of spreads, meditation, visualization, ritual, journaling, story telling – the ways in which Tarot works are endless! The key is to reach out, pick up a deck (or several decks) and use it!
Once we understand the basic structure of the Tarot, we can put these magical energies to work. How do we do this? Step by step!
- Determine the issue or part of your life that you want to work on.
- Draw one or more cards (consciously or at random) to represent the energy being worked on.
- Draw one or more cards (consciously or at random) that represent energy that you can draw on to resolve the issue being worked on.
- Decide how you are going to do the work: through the use of one or more spreads, through meditation, through visualization, through ritual, through journaling, through storytelling – or through a different method that you determine works for you.
- Set aside the time to do the work.
Note: Conscious drawing of cards means that the cards are face up, and you choose the ones that you are drawn to. Random drawing means that you shuffle the cards well, the pick them at random, face down.
I have listed a few notes on each of the Major Arcana cards so that you can see where they might fit into issues that either you or your client are facing. You should make your own notes on all 78 cards. No one ever said that the energy that we draw on to resolve an issue HAS to be an archetype. It can be one of the worker bees of the Minor Arcana, or one of the personalities from the Court Cards. I keep the Fool in the deck as an energy to draw on. Yes, he is the personality that is taking this journey, but he also carries an energy of openness that can be crucial to resolution of issues at times. Please don’t count him out!
The Fool: With the Fool we see a desire to “become”, to develop an individual personality. Here is where we get the impetus for personal growth. Remember, the Fool can also be seen as a Trickster. The Fool has no fear.
The Magician: It is with the Magician that we learn to direct our will and communicate our energy. He also carries the formula for the essence of creation.
The High Priestess: The High Priestess represents our need to look inward, our sense of inner resourcefulness. Her energy is receptive and meditative. She carries within her ancient wisdom.
The Empress: The Empress is the Mother archetype in the deck, the representative of feminine energy. She is the nurturer, the one who helps us access our creative nature. The Empress represents unconditional love.
The Emperor: The Emperor is the Father archetype in the deck, the representative of masculine energy. He brings order out of chaos. He teaches us to be objective, and use our power efficiently. He personifies authority.
The Hierophant: The Hierophant represents religious energy and form. Through him we are given the religious rules to base our life on. He is the earthly connection to the spiritual realm, and acts as a spiritual teacher. The principle here is one of learning and teaching.
The Lovers: The Lovers represents duality, and the making of choice that brings together opposites. It is here that we learn about fully entering into relationship, and about loyalty and commitment.
The Chariot: The Chariot represents the energy of facing our issues/obstacles, and making informed choices, that energy that lies behind the development of our ego, or identity. It is about change and movement.
Justice: Justice asks us to look at life objectively, and to accept some of life’s restrictions. We are evaluating our experiences to date. Here we learn alignment and balance.
The Hermit: The Hermit represents the individual looking internally for both universal and personal truths. He is a Seeker of wisdom, who then goes out to share that wisdom with the world. The energy here is one of contemplation and introspection.
Wheel of Fortune: Here we are asked to pay attention to the cycles in our life, to the passage of time, and how past actions created our present reality. Here we have the opportunity to learn our lessons so that we do not repeat them.
Strength: Strength asks us to look at the unconscious conflicts we are facing. Here we learn to control our impulsive, primal, animal nature.
The Hanged Man: The Hanged Man asks us to stop and do an overview of our life. It is a retreat into ourselves to integrate our lessons. He is the connection, or channel, between our personality and our Higher Self. Here we see the principle of surrender.
Death: Death is where we literally detach from and release that which is no longer serving us well. It is a form of transformation, sometimes emotional or psychological in nature. The drive to do this is an inner drive.
Temperance: Temperance brings with it a sense of calm and security – the “calm after the storm” effect. It is healing energy that can be either gentle or a “tempering”, or trial by fire. Here we see the harmonizing of opposites.
The Devil: The Devil brings an attachment to material things and the material world. It is us creating our own bonds – which, since we created them, we can remove. The Devil also brings the instinct of self-preservation. The Devil is a projection of our shadow side.
The Tower: The Tower is truly an “all hell breaking loose” archetype! It is the sudden thunderbolt that cracks life wide open. Life is turned upside down in an instant, with extreme transformation and rebirth ensuing. The Tower is all about change and awakening.
The Star: The Star brings with it a time of renewal and hope. Here each individual has the courage to be who they are. The Star is creative light and transformation. Our dreams gain power here.
The Moon: The Moon is about our unconscious self, our connection to feminine wisdom and dreamtime, with a flip side of illusion. The Moon brings us the dark night of the soul.
The Sun: The Sun talks about acceptance of self. The individual learns acceptance, flexibility and love of life. We are being asked to look at life through the eyes of a child, to see it in its simplest form.
Judgment: Judgment represents the link between our conscious and unconscious selves. There is also a deep connection with the earth and all that lives on it. Here we are asked to critically analyze our lives.
The World: The World represents the completion of the individual, the completion of their journey of individuation.
Here is an example of how I might work with the Tarot. Let’s say that my issue is understanding where I am on my path. I consciously draw the Hierophant to represent this issue. I draw the King of Pentacles and the Fool to represent energy that I can draw on for resolution.
I see that my path is one of spiritual significance to me. I need to follow my intuition, and perhaps release things that are no longer serving me well (even though they may not actually be holding me back). I love that I have the solid, down-to-earth energy of this king to hold me steady. To balance this I bring in the Fool, who carries a sense of lightness and willingness to take chances with him. In the end, I am grounded, centered and moving forward with intent and purpose. My method of using these cards will be to take them into meditation.
What is your issue? Which Tarot card(s) represent it? Which Tarot card(s) represent energy that you can draw on for resolution?
- Gad, Irene. “Tarot and Individuation”. Nicolas-Hays, Inc. 2004
- Gilbert, Toni. “Messages From The Archetypes”. White Cloud Press. 2004.
- Gwain, Rose. “Discovering Your Self Through The Tarot”. Destiny Books. 1994.
- Hamaker-Sondag, Karen. “Tarot As A Way Of Life”. Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1997.
- Skinner, Megan. “Essence of the Tarot”. New Page Books. 2004.
Images from the “Navigators of the Mystic Sea”, © U.S. Games Systems, Inc. 1997
© June 2011 Bonnie Cehovet
This is Bonnie's last regular monthly post. She will be turning her attention to her upcoming book. We know her voice will be missed but wish her all the best in her future. She's one of those unsung Tarot talents who really should be watched and followed for the amazing amounts of Tarot knowledge she shares. You can visit her at http://www.bonniecehovet.com