“The first and foremost essential service of a mythology is this one, of opening the mind and heart to the utter wonder of being.” — Joseph Campbell
The Tarot is a deck of cards with symbols on them. I expect over the ages there have been hundreds or thousands of different Tarot decks produced. No one really knows where the Tarot originated. It is associated with gypsies, an old English abbreviation of Egyptian.
Playing cards, generally, are thought to have originated in China and Korea, some think India. Some date the cards to 600 AD, others earlier. No one knows where or when the symbols on the cards originated. The first appearance of Tarot cards in the West was in Europe in the 14th century. Christianity reigned supreme, but paganism was still alive and well. There were many heretical Christian sects back then, today loosely grouped under Gnostic. In Greek the word means someone who knows, a wise person, an initiate – and, some believe wizard or witch.
The cards are used as an oracle, much in the same way as the I-Ching in the East. The Tarot is based on symbols – a universal language where our inner and outer worlds can communicate. Carl Jung said: “the psychological mechanism for transforming energy is the symbol.” When you work with the Tarot deck you will find the symbols themselves evoke memories, associations, inspiration, clarification and validation for your current issues, goals and choices.
The Tarot is a symbolic map of consciousness expressed in symbols. The 78 symbols represent archetypes of inner and outer human experiences. Working with the Tarot can help you get in tune with your intuition and can be used for personal growth and development. You begin a dialog with the unseen. In my personal case, a dialog that has been on-going for many years. Sounds crazy, but it’s not. Just like astrology, it’s very real.
If you choose to give working with the Tarot a try, remember to use the symbols as keys or creative ideas that can help to unlock connections or associations which will enable you to penetrate deeper into the mystery of life. A simple way to use the Tarot is as an oracle. If you are confused or would like guidance, sincerely ask that you be given helpful information by the card you choose from the deck. You might be surprised how right on the information may be.
As I said earlier, there are lots of Tarot decks for sale these days. The one I have used for many, many years is Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot. This deck contains cross-cultural Egyptian, Grecian, Eastern, Medieval and Christian symbolism. It also incorporates numerology, astrology, alchemy and the Cabala. Each card was painted by Lady Frieda Harris under the direction of Aleister Crowley. The project spanned five years, between 1938 and 1943. I love the symbols and art of this deck. Although, I didn’t enjoy the book written by Aleister Crowley to go with it. The book I use for interpretation is Tarot, The Handbook by Angeles Arrien.
Consider opening your mind to the unknown and to your own innate intuition.