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Intro to the Tarot – Unveiling the Mystery

Of the many tools rooted in occult tradition, the tarot is one surrounded by a some of the most mystery, scrutiny, and misconceptions. Religious and scientific groups alike condemn the cards as devilish and illogical. The tarot is not a tool for telling the future, although it can sometimes give us insights into future happenings because of the cyclical nature of time. It is important to note that, in its simplest form, the tarot is a collection of symbols that can be interpreted on both a personal and collective level.

Setting aside all preconceived ideas and opinions, let us explore how the tarot works as a tool for expanding our insight.

Communication with the Unconscious Mind

The unconscious mind lies outside of everyday experience, but has a profound effect on every aspect of life. To those who have studied it, the unconscious mind can hold repressed memories, feelings, and desires, but can also serve as an intuitive guide. Largely popularized by psychologist Carl Jung, we have developed several ways of communicating with this deeper part of ourselves. Psychotherapy, dream interpretation, meditation, and the tarot all give us access to the unconscious parts of ourselves, not accessible with the normal, logical mind.

It is natural for humans to project unconscious material onto objects in the environment. We always see reality through the “filter” of our own minds. This tenancy to project our inner state is why therapists have used tools such as the famous Rorschach inkblot test, and it is also what makes tarot cards so valuable. Their symbolism and imagery are a means of tapping into the unconscious mind.

Universal Symbols

These images and symbols on the tarot cards capture universal human needs and experiences. For this reason, people tend to react with similar emotions to specific cards. Over centuries, the tarot has evolved into a collection of archetypes representing basic patterns of human thought and emotion.

The power of the tarot comes from this combination of the personal and the universal. You can see each card in your own way, but, at the same time, you are supported by understandings that others have found meaningful. The tarot is a mirror that reflects back to you the hidden aspects of your own unique awareness.

Challenging Randomness

Although choosing cards from a deck seems random, using the tarot suggests that these cards contain a specific message. To our logical mind, there appears to be no reason why any one card is more likely to be chosen than another. This is where we must consider the relationship between our consciousness and the perceived external environment.

No tarot reading is solely the product of mechanical forces. It is the result of a long series of conscious actions. We decide to study the tarot, buy a deck and learn how to use it. We shuffle and cut the cards in a certain way at a certain point. Finally, we use our perceptions to interpret the cards.

At every step, we are actively involved. We can’t explain just how our consciousness is involved. We know our card choices aren’t deliberate, so we call them random. In fact, could there be a deeper mechanism at work, one connected to the power of our unconscious? Could our inner states be tied to outer events in a way that we don’t yet fully understand? I hold this possibility out to you.¬†Perhaps there is meaning and purpose in every event, great or small, but we don’t always recognize it.


Tarot cards are perhaps best thought of as a collection of historically significant symbolism that speaks to us on a level beyond our normal understanding. Our sincere conscious desire to uncover deeper truths in our lives allows for our unconscious mind to project itself through the cards in a way we can interpret and understand. Asking the tarot for answers is similar to looking within yourself for answers. Your higher self, inner guide, or your soul can offer insight that seems to be “beyond the mind”, and can be thought of as communicating with God. There are countless ways to go about this, and tarot cards are but one tool. Simply by using a deck, you signal to your Inner Guide that you are open to its wisdom. This act of faith allows you to become aware of the guidance that is really always there for you.

Want to know more? is a great resource with tons more info on the tarot.

One Comment

  1. I always thought of Tarot readings as random. This certainly opens up an entirely new insight for me to pursue. Using the cards as a means to explore my unconscious mind will be interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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