June 13, 2011

Jung and Tarot

We all know that the tarot is a tool which is used to connect to the universe to solve our unanswered questions and to predict past, present and future events in the seeker's life. Another important use of the tarot is in the field of psychology and Jungian psychoanalysis.

Carl Jung
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist, an affluent thinker and founder of Analytical Psychology. He was the first modern psychologist to state that the human psyche is by nature religious and explored it in depth. He was interested in dream analysis, philosophy, literature and the arts. He was the disciple of Freud but he did not fully agree with his theories and concepts. Freud stated that an individual's problems stemmed from his repressed emotions and desires, the personal consciousness. Jung invented a new term, the collective unconsciousness which is an experience of a community or mankind as a whole. The tarot represents the collective consciousness of mankind and is an archetypal journey of the Fool.

Tarot is the Fool's journey
The Fool begins his journey from point zero till he reaches the World card No. 22. On the way he encounters many trials and tribulations. He realizes his inner intuition, his outer talents, uses them in the world, falls in love, learns many lessons, meets with a fall, rises up again, attains self realization and is finally fulfilled in the end. In the Tarot we have 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards. Some examples of archetypes in the Major Arcana are the Magician, The Fool, The Hierophant, The Hermit, etc. Even in the Minor Arcana, the suits of pentacles,swords, cups and wands represent the four aspects of sensing, thinking, feeling and intuiting according to Jungian psychology.

 The Tarot is one of the oldest cards historically known. They are a part of the collective unconscious i.e. it contains a common history for all of us, as its rich symbols and meanings ring true for all of us. The Fool's journey is in fact every individual's journey of life. This is represented by the archetypes mentioned in the Tarot cards. The power of archetypal, symbolic systems like the Tarot is as important as the universal symbols appearing in myths, fairy tales and dreams and is an important part of Jung's concept of the collective unconscious.

Tarot cards can be used by psychologists to heal patients suffering from mental disorders. They are a great tool for therapy as every card tells a story. When a patient views a card, it relates to his own experience and deep and regressed  memories can be remembered like a forgotten dream. Under the guidance of a therapist, this method can be used which is similar to Jungian dream analysis. The Tarot symbols are so rich that they produce an archetypal stimulation in the patient's psyche.

The occultist, Dr. Arthur Edward Waite expressed the following Jungian view of the Tarot:
"The Tarot embodies symbolical presentations of universal ideas, behind which lie all the implicits of the human mind, and it is in this sense that they contain secret doctrine, which is the realization by the few of truths embedded in the consciousness of all."


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