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Chaos and the Psychological Symbolism of the Tarot by Gerald Schueler, Ph.D. © 1997 Abstract.

The Tarot deck contains archetypal symbols that can be related to the analytical psychology of the Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung. The Tarot deck, especially the major arcana or trump cards, can be used effectively in therapy. The client, with the assistance of the therapist, conducts a reading or uses several cards to tell a story and then discusses possible meanings of the symbols in his or her own words. The therapist then relates the symbolic meanings given by the client to the client's problem in much the same manner as in Jungian dream analysis. This therapeutic process can be explained by using a chaos model. Using a chaos model of therapy, a period of psychic instability is deliberately induced by the therapist through stimulation of the imagination via the Tarot symbols. Concentration on the Tarot symbols induces bifurcation points that the therapist then uses to direct change toward desired attractors. This is similar to the wellknown techniques of paradoxical communication, paradoxical intervention, and prescribing the symptom, all of which induce a temporary condition of psychic instability that is required for a bifurcation. Introduction Loye and Eisler (1987) see the roots of modern chaos theory, as it pertains to social science, extending all the way back to the ancient Chinese Book of Changes or I Ching. The I Ching, the oldest oracle still in use today, (Bannister, 1988) was used to make predictions by casting stalks, straws, or sticks. Today, this is usually done by throwing coins (Cleary, 1986). In the West, the oldest oracle still in use today is the Tarot card deck. The Tarot is a deck of cards which can be used for meditation, psychic stimulation, or divination. It also can be used as a psychological tool to look inside the unconscious (Bannister, 1988; Nichols, 1984). The Tarot is medieval man's equivalent of today's highly respected Rorschach and Thematic Apperception tests (Schueler & Schueler, 1994). Wang (1978) describes the Tarot as "a system accepted by many respectable sources such as the school of Carl Jung, which views the Tarot images as agreeing perfectly with the archetypes of the collective unconsciousness" (p. 8). The Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, saw all of the Tarot images as "descended from the archetypes of transformation" (Jung, 1959/1990, p. 38). These archetypes include several of the primary archetypes that are encountered during Jung's individuation process, a process of psychological maturation similar in nature to the aging of the physical body (Jacobi, 1942/1973). These include the shadow, the anima and animus, and the wise old man. The Tarot also contains symbols representing other important archetypes of transformative processes such as the hero, the sacrifice, rebirth, the mother, and the Self. In Jung's analytical psychology, these archetypes comprise the major dynamical components of the unconscious which affect the human psyche in many different ways.

he is said to . p. because of the numerous components and processes with which it is comprised. 1994) the original cards comprised "chapters" in a book known as The Book of Thoth. a trump card titled the Lightening Struck Tower. According to Wanless (1986). It also addresses dynamic systems. 1920) meaning a book or part of a book). (Schueler & Schueler. relationships. matter. is also a dissipative structure. and forces (Schueler & Schueler. and taught that the ego was one of many complexes that exist in the psyche. The suit cards are numbered from 1 (ace) to 10 for each of the four suits. According to legend. By assuming the psyche to be a complex dynamic system. and contain archetypal symbolism. energies. The suit cards represent specific opportunities and lessons (Wanless. a Knight. gives rise to irreversible processes such as the growth of organisms (Nicolis & Prigogine. 1984). A dissipative system. All systems that exhibit disequilibrium and self-organization are dissipative and have a dissipative structure (Briggs & Peat. this card represents transformation. The major arcana is a set of 22 picture cards which are also called the greater arcana. 1987). which he defined as any structure that takes on and dissipates energy as it interacts with its environment. 152). trumps. Every complex system. finances. The minor arcana cards are used to represent people. and especially every living system (living systems are usually referred to as selforganizing systems). atouts (from the Egyptian atennu (Wallis Budge. 1954/1985. Chaos. Strength. Jung (1968) states that "Dreams are the natural reaction of the self-regulating psychic system" ( p. Fifty-six cards of the minor arcana are divided into court and suit cards. These cards are pictorial representations of various cosmic forces such as Death. and so on. but our psyche as well. a Queen. or information from their environments (Prigogine & Stengers. coins. Thoth was the ibis-headed god of wisdom and knowledge of the ancient Egyptians. At the founding of Egypt. Designating the psyche to be a self-regulating system. is well known in the Tarot where it is depicted fully in card 16. Dissipative systems are those which are able to maintain identity only because they are open to flows of energy. 1989). 1989. and a Knave (or Page) for each of the four suits of the deck.Modern chaos theory addresses complex systems. 138). as an archetype. He details many of these archetypal symbols in his Symbols of Transformation (1956). Jung taught that we can become conscious of the unconscious contents in our psyche by examining the symbols that come to us in our dreams. 1992). or disks). or triumphs. Not only is our body a dissipative system. Swords (epees). which are systems with a large number of interrelated parts. The French terminology stems from the famous Marseilles deck which originated in the late fifteenth century (Giles. "The psyche is a self-regulating system that maintains its equilibrium just as the body does" (Jung. Ilya Prigogine won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1977 for his work on dissipative structures. The Tarot has been called the oldest book known to man (Papus. we can look at it through the lens of modern chaos theory. Jung designated the ego as an ego-complex. action. Justice. 124). The Tarot The traditional Tarot is a deck of 78 cards which are divided into two main sections: a major arcana and a minor arcana. The sixteen court cards are comprised of a King. 1986). The remaining forty cards are divided into the four suits called: Pentacles (also known as deniers. 1970). as well as a dissipative system. unlike one that conserves energy. Cups (coupes). unknown centuries ago. and Wands (batons or scepters). p.

1970. but otherwise they are quite consistent. 1944. 1992). which has associations with the Hebrew Kabbalah as well as astrology. 1978. 1). Its symbolism is Egyptian. Eliphas Levi (1896) tried to show that the cards of the major arcana were connected to the Qabalistic Tree of Life. Regardie. the Tarot has "core images" that are part of a "mental structure" that is fairly consistent across the different deck designs. It is also known that Girilamo Gargagli wrote in 1572 about tarochhi cards being used to designate psychological types (Giles. The Tarot later found its way into the Hebrew Kabbalah. many occultists tried to demonstrate a higher use for the cards than divination (Papus. and the true history of the Tarot is largely unknown. Although several colorful theories exist today. 2). the Egyptian empire began to crumble. In short. Greek. 1937). In 1944 his Tarot deck. Wanless (1986) notes that "The strength of tarot is that its symbolism is subject to constant redefinition and evolution" (p. and Eastern. Giles (1994) says that the Thoth deck has "swirling backgrounds and haunting images" which "create a unique impression. As things began to fall apart. and various sciences such as mathematics and engineering. there is no historical evidence to support any of them. During the nineteenth century. Papus.have given man the knowledge of medicine. probably because the 22 cards of the major arcana could be shown to correspond with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. 1989). He did this by using symbols and pictures instead of words. (1986) a well-known expert on the Tarot deck. it is known that a deck of fortune telling cards were mentioned by a Swiss monk in 1377 AD (Giles.. 1944. He left it in 1907 to form his own magical organization. "The Thoth Deck by Aleister Crowley is a classic tarot symbology . 1896). Christian. language. the god Thoth again intervened. Crowley. 1). After several thousands of years. As the empire decayed into ignorance. together with his explanatory book titled The Book of Thoth were published. 191). Whatever the actual origin of the Tarot deck may be. These tablets became known as The Book of Thoth. This idea was further carried out by a secret occult group in England known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Wang. It is more useful than many contemporary decks which represent a particular cultural or philosophical point of view" (p. 1992). Aleister Crowley was initiated as a member of the Golden Dawn in 1898. Levi. he summarized all of the accumulated wisdom of the Egyptian empire onto a series of 22 tablets. . Schueler & Schueler. He also points out the multidimensionality of the deck's symbolism. She points out that while many decks exist. He desired to keep alive the knowledge and wisdom that he had provided his people. with a myriad of minor variations. the tablets found their way into a band of roving people later known as gypsies. illustrated by Frieda Harris. art. the Tarot images can change or evolve over time. and credits the 22 major arcana or trump cards as representing "universal principles of life and 'archetypal' personality types" (p. To save his contribution to mankind. The gypsies copied the symbols of the tablets onto cards which became the major arcana of the Tarot deck (Crowley. those drawn to the deck find it a very powerful reading instrument" (p. 1970. According to Wanless.. This is in agreement with Jung's (1959/1990) concept of the archetypes of the collective unconscious which are consistent across humanity while slowly evolving with the body over time. astrology. The original chapters of The Book of the Dead are said to have been written by Thoth.

and finally. and they are expressed verbally in terms of signs. for example. Jung (1953/1977) treats dream symbolism on two separate levels: the objective level and the subjective level. p. p. and just as you cannot form a theory about those many aspects of the conscious personality. universal dream symbolism is possible of interpretation. Nichols (1984) says that "The pictures on the Tarot Trumps tell a symbolic story. the Tarot Trump cards can be interpreted in the same manner as Jungian dream analysis. perhaps catastrophe. while red is the color of emotion. According to this view. They seldom tell us what we already know.the setting of the dream and the naming of the problem. pp. and try to discover what things mean for the patient" (p. they come to us from a level beyond the reach of consciousness and far removed from our intellectual understanding" (p. 7). A true symbol can never be fully explained. then. the instinctual basis of these symbols are "primitive or archaic thoughtforms" (p. p. 28). 1992. however knowing they make us feel. religion. The color of a symbol is also important. The second level is synthetic. blue is the color of thought. 1992. the lysis--the end solution or. 42). Von Frantz notes that "dreams generally point to our blind spot" (Boa. that a sign is an individual's interpretation of an archetypal symbol. We must take into consideration the patient's personal philosophy. Jung (1954/1985) suggests that we "renounce all preconceived opinions. In dreams. We can say. The first level is analytic. second. 1968. and yellow is the color of the intuition (Jacobi. 1992. "Symbols are the language of dreams. and moral convictions whenever we discuss dream symbolism. With Europeans. Symbols themselves are archetypal. the peripeteia--that would be the ups and downs of the story. He then points out that while personal dream symbolism varies with the dreamer. 15). green is the color of sensation. A Chaotic Systems Model of Therapy . Jung believed that the correlation between colors and functions varies between cultures and even between individuals. 157). To understand a dream. "On the collective level of dreams. When analyzing a dream. Furthermore. Jung differentiated a sign from a symbol. and the key to understanding a dream is knowledge of the symbol" (Boa. 124). the introduction or exposition -. 33-34) Jung (1968) states that "In our dreams we are just as many-sided as in our daily life. On this level. the dream contents are detached from external causes and must be treated in terms of archetypal symbols. 124). she divides the dream content into thirds: We compare the dream to a drama and examine it under three structural headings: first. In these situations.Jungian Dream Analysis Jung (1956/1976) taught that dream images must be understood symbolically. you cannot make a general theory of dreams" (p. (Boa. Like our dreams. while a sign can be fully explained insofar as the conscious ego is concerned. there is practically no difference in human beings. 1942/1973). while there is all the difference on the personal level" (Jung. the unconscious is revealed in symbols. the dream content can be broken up into memory-complexes that refer to external situations.

About 20 to 40 back-and-forth motions constitute one repetition of the technique. Such points and regions are called attractors because they appear to attract a systems's trajectory. 1985. 49) A chaotic systems model is one that uses the findings of modern chaos theory. The chaos theory of sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Each point on this plot represents the state space or specific condition of the system using primary system parameters (the main parameters that describe a system's behavior). for example. Furthermore. The helper's job is to stimulate the client's imagination and to help him or her in the search for incentives. p. The methodology used in EMDR is straightforward and relatively simplistic. In a theraputic environment.Therapy can be defined as "a systematic and intentional attempt. many attractors can be found. describes how small stimuli can evoke massive responses. (p. affect. 44). testing food smells on rabbits has demonstrated that undergoing new experiences can actually change memory of older experiences. These two findings have led to a new understanding of the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment (Flint. Goals must be the client's goals. producing a lessening of the associated pain in many cases. The surrounding region of an attractor is called a basin. received by the olfactory bulb. In a complex system such as the psyche. the memory of a painful traumatic experience causes a unique pattern of neurological activity in the brain. the behavior of a complex system can be shown graphically on a plot called phase space. each point along the y-axis represents the state of the system at a given time. and action plans must be the client's plans. is detected and magnified until it can be interpreted by the brain as a distinct smell (Freeman. 1994). to assist another person to make self-determined improvements in behavior. using a specific cluster of interpersonal skills. some in series with each other. or modifies the pattern. The patient holds his or her attention on a particular trauma or bodily sensation while watching the therapist's fingers moving in a back-and-forth motion. In chaos theory. Using the chaos theory of attractors. while in the relative safety of a therapeutic environment changes. Sometimes several possible trajectories of a system will converge toward a point or region. the pain of a trauma or sensation is often lessened dramatically. Theoretically. strategies must be the client's strategies. and some giving rise to bifurcations (changes in one's world view following periods of indecision). these can be observed by the therapist in terms of their evoked sensory and motor responses. . When a time history is used (when time is plotted along the x-axis). These plots are called trajectories and their shapes can tell us a lot about the behavior of the system. After several repetitions. This finding has been used to explain the functioning of the olfactory system wherein a very small amount of stimuli. 1994). and/or cognitions" (Kottler & Brown. Egan (1975/1990) describes a Helping Model of the therapeutic process which emphasizes action that leads to valued outcomes through a nine-stage process. Watching a moving finger. we can define neurological responses in the brain as attractors which give rise to particular behaviors (Flint. 1991). Such a model can be used to describe the therapeutic process.

this usually results in some kind of corresponding behavioral response. a crocodile. in turn. In this state space. children. but perhaps a deliberate silliness. In turn. the strength of the attractors is proportionally increased. to which a bag is tied. This suggests a happy and carefree attitude that could be dangerous. A dog romps at his side. During the short periods of instability (points of possible bifurcation) due to imaginative stimulation. paradoxical intervention. . the archetypal wanderer. and prescribing the symptom. It shows a young wanderer holding a rose and a walking stick. In this model.g. for example. the fool is shown in a green suit and gold shoes. He holds A Wand in his right hand (power) and a flaming pine cone in his left hand (purity). the client would describe one or more specific behavioral problems to the therapist who. One of the tools that could be used in this process is the symbol. small suggestions by the therapist would help drive the client toward the desired attractors. The card shows a tiger. the uncertainty can be used to perturb the patient's psyche into the basin of the desired attractor. and he is falling. A crystal is between his horns. The task of the therapist would then be to help guide the client from existing attractors to the desired ones through suitable bifurcations. Using the chaos model. Tarot symbols. or phase space of the psyche. for example. Nichols (1984) calls the symbolism of the fool.. This card portrays Jung's archetype of the divine child such as the infant Christ. a small stimulus can generate a massive response resulting in information going out to all regions of the brain. those that enhance survivability or that lead to pleasant or desired situations). and intermediate goals would be agreed upon as basins. These goals would become the desire attractors. However. The Golden Dawn deck shows a naked child holding the reins of a wolf while plucking fruit from a tree. a vulture. would work with the client to form specific goals to work toward and measurable plans to reach those goals. and ivy. This symbolism suggests that the fool is innocence. Tarot Symbolism The primary symbolism within the major arcana is as follows: 1. can be used to stimulate the imagination of the client.In this model. a rainbow. flowers. but rather to allow for win-win outcomes for the client. In the Deck of Thoth. All of these techniques use the paradox to induce periods of psychic instability in the client. and that pure innocence can check animal passions while surviving quite nicely on what nature provides. The Fool. a dove. The popular Waite deck is more complex. This is similar to the well-known therapeutic techniques used in family counseling described by Goldenberg & Goldenberg (1980/1991) of paradoxical communication. The Marseilles deck shows the fool as a court jester holding a baton and standing near a cliff. a butterfly. as the state space of the psyche that exists within a specific environmental situation. the intended outcome of these interventions is not to create periods of uncertainty. When the behavior results in beneficial situations (e. The imagery also suggests the archetypal eternal youth or Peter Pan. in which the brain is destablized enough to evoke the low-level background activity of its neural networks or basins which correspond to previously learned activity that is meaningful in the current situation. walking off a cliff. This symbolism suggests silliness. we can define motivation. grapes.

a wand. Her bow rests in her lap. Also shown are arrows. cup. showing a white eagle. and Thoth. a flag. The imagery suggests Jung's archetype of the mother. He is the ultimate masculine creator and provider. in his right hand. She sits on a lunar throne holding a lotus in her right hand. she is shown naked. 6. elephants. The Thoth deck shows him with a naked golden body. a bird. The card shows a monkey. The Hierophant. a lamb. In the Thoth deck. the former is religious while the latter is civil or social. Like the Emperor. This suggests the masculine side of the psyche or any strong masculine authority. a net (symbolic of the Egyptian goddess. wife of the god Jupiter and a peacock. clothed only in a white Veil of Light. the divine Messenger. and revolving moons. Some decks show this as the Pope or some other religious leader which clearly distinguishes the difference between the Hierophant and the Emperor. Also shown is a five-petalled rose encircled by a snake. a shield with a two-headed eagle. and the four fixed . In the Thoth deck she is shown clothed in a pink blouse. with a Maltese cross. The Empress. and who employs gimmickery. This card represents the intuition and the imagery suggests the archetypes of the unconscious in a general sense and the anima in a specific sense. The imagery of this card suggests Jung's archetype of the father as well as the hero. This is usually the goddess Isis or Artemis. a Zodiac belt. and fruit. a mother pelican with her young. The Marseilles deck shows a parlor magician going through a magic act of some kind with various `tools of the trade' on a table. It also suggests the archetype of the trickster. Most all decks agree that this card is symbolized by a mature man wearing a crown and seated on a throne. with winged feet standing in front of a large caduceus.one who does sleight of hand. Mercury. four crystals. Beneath her is a tapestry with fleurs-de-lys and fishes. 5. Hermes. 3. In the Thoth deck. and pentacle. a camel. a shield. this card is usually shown as a mature man wearing a crown and seated on a throne. He holds a scepter (power) in his left hand and an orb. the huntress. The Marseilles deck shows the goddess Junon (Juno). This suggests the feminine side of the psyche or any strong feminine authority. he sits on a throne with right leg crossed over left. This is the Magician. The Marseilles deck shows the god Jupiter. and a pentacle. In the Thoth deck. Neith). bees. The main color is red. His arms and head form an upright triangle. This card represents nature. The imagery portrays the archetype of the magician as described by Moore and Gillette (1993). Also shown are birds. Behind her is a door. They both show a magician in robes. Nichols (1984) calls the symbolism in this card. The card shows a ram. with his four traditional weapons: a sword. wand. The Waite and Golden Dawn decks are more sophisticated. the archetype of the virgin. smiling. the intuition as opposed to common sense). swords. A priestess is shown standing before him together with a child dancing within a pentagram within a hexagram. In his right hand he hold a style and in his left hand.2. This is the popular view of the magician -. She is the ultimate feminine creator and provider. and bees on his blouse. The Emperor. 4. Most all decks agree that this card is symbolized by a mature woman wearing a crown and seated on a throne. The Juggler or Magus. This card represents the will. he is shown fully clothed sitting on a throne holding a wand with three circles. a long green skirt. The symbols here are lunar and suggest a lunar vision (for example. coins. and seated on a throne. flowers. The High Priestess. a cup. and a gold crown. while his legs form a cross. a papyrus.

Cupid is the symbol of romance. and Lilith. but one that is usually governed more by emotions than by rational thought. and on his armor are ten stars. and balance. Also shown is a spermatozoon in the form of a serpent wand. It also suggests the archetype of the king as described by Moore and Gillette (1990/1991). an eagle. This card represents what Jung called the soul. The Hermit. He wears a cloak the color of Binah. Cupid is shown symbolizing blind love. Also shown is a cup. Binah. a sword. Before him is an Orphic egg with coiled snake. Justice or Adjustment. On his head is a crab. . The scale is held by a goddess who holds an upright sword. The Lovers. Bars are shown in the background. The symbolism represents the law of cause and effect. Most decks agree that the main symbol of this card is a chariot. 7. the goddess of justice. a young and slender woman. a lion. the inner guiding light of conscience illumined by the intuition. 10. Almost all decks agree that the symbolism of the Hermit is an older man in a robe holding a staff in one hand and a lamp in the other. The charioteer wears amber-colored armor and he holds a Holy Grail of amethyst. Nine nails are shown at the top. as well as that of the Hermit. 1984). The lamp is a symbol of the inner light of truth. The Chariot is pulled by four sphinxes (the four Cherubs). 1990/1991). This card represents the conscience. The Marseilles deck shows Cupid about to shoot one of his famous arrows into a young couple.signs of the Zodiac. All decks show a man and woman together. The imagery suggests the archetype of the religious teacher or Christ. or Brothers. The figure shown in the Thoth deck is the feminine complement of the Fool. 9. The Chariot. 1990/1991). The imagery suggests the archetype of the lover (Moore & Gillette. On her forehead is the Uraeus serpent. 8. or Twins. The background is a field of wheat. The imagery suggests the archetypes of justice. The Hermit is shown blessing the couples. The theme here is the wise old sage. fairness. Nichols (1984) says that this card. especially masculinity and femininity. Eve. those natural forces which seek a balance or moderation in all things. This card represents Jung's persona. This card represents the conscience. The theme is powerful deliberate motion toward a fixed goal and thus a victory over space. She is masked (Harlequin) and holds a magic Swords in both hands between her thighs. Usually a charioteer is also shown. anima and animus. This card suggests the union of opposites. He holds a lamp whose center is the sun. an Orphic egg with snake. The main symbol for this card is a balance or scale used for measuring weight. The card symbolism suggests the spiritual impulse which sooner or later will drive man to seek his true nature. The scarlet wheels are fiery creative energy. She is poised on her toes and crowned with the feathers of Maat. She is wrapped in a Cloak of Mystery. Before her is a large two-pan balance. In the Thoth deck the canopy of the Chariot is the blue of the feminine Sephirah. In the Thoth deck he is shown in the shape of the Hebrew letter Yod. and the general theme is love. The imagery suggests the archetype of the warrior (Moore & Gillette. The pillars are the four pillars of the universe. This card represents withdraw and meditation. and Cerberus the three-headed dog. represent Jung's archetype of the wise old man. The Thoth deck shows the union of male/Leo/fire with female/Scorpio/water represented by a king and queen as well as a white child and a black child. The imagery of this card suggests Jung's archetype of the wise old man (Nichols.

Temperance or Art. Some cards also show a man. The Hanged Man is just that. His arms are outstretched to form an equilateral triangle. a transformation. 13. the Great Mother of Fertility. He wears the Crown of Osiris. Hermanubis (mercury). but those needed to turn such experiences to your advantage in some way. The theme is the process of death. while others show a woman. The imagery of this card portrays the archetypes of sacrifice and initiation. It also suggests the archetype of the dying gods such as Christ. The imagery of this card not only imply the skill or ability that is required to 'get through' unwanted experiences. Her left hand pours white gluten from a cup while her right hand holds a lance/torch dripping . a lily. In the Thoth deck stars line the top of the card through which lightning strikes into a mass of blue and violet plumes. The Wheel of Fortune. This card is usually depicted by an angel who is pouring water from one vase into another. and the card represents the law of cyclic manifestation. In the background are the bloodless images of all of the saints. Shown is a snake. This card represents death and sudden change. The Thoth deck shows a naked young woman riding on the back of a seven-headed lion. which is an ending or completion of something that we have known. The main symbol of this card is a wheel. 14. Death also implies change of some kind. The Hanged Man. an Egyptian after-death state. a man hanging upside down from a wooden scaffold of some kind. The sweep of his scythe creates bubbles which contain the seeds of new life. usually for the purpose of helping others. The imagery suggests the archetypes of goodness and endurance. 12. In the center is a wheel with 10 spokes.11. The water is the "water of life" and its being poured suggests that a necessary change of some kind is taking place. the Egyptian god of the dead and is shown in the waters of Amenti. Most cards show the man with his left leg bent to form a cross with his legs. The Thoth deck shows death as a dancing skeleton bearing a scythe. a scorpion. Along the top are shown ten serpents. This card represents courage and inner strength. On the wheel are a sworded sphinx (sulphur). who is controlling the lion in some way. or inner resolve that is directed toward a goal. This card represents evolution and the imagery suggests the archetypes of fate and destiny. He is suspended from an Egyptian ankh (symbol of life) and a serpent is wrapped around his left foot. The Thoth deck shows a naked man hanging upside down with his right leg crossed over his left to form a cross. The original symbols of this card were probably meant to portray the doctrine of reincarnation." is a traditional symbol for strength. and an onion. as well as other cyclic processes. The background is green air over green water shot with white rays from Kether. She is overcome with ecstasy. Strength or Lust. She hoLds the reins in her left hand and the Holy Grail in her right hand. The wheel is a symbol for cycles. The lion. The Thoth deck shows Diana the Huntress. as the "king of beasts. She wears a golden crown with a silver band and is shown split into two halves. Sometimes the skeleton is shown holding a sickle to suggest that death levels all living beings. The wheel is the Eye of Shiva. Beneath the man sleeps a coils snake. This card symbolizes death by a human skeleton. Most decks use the symbol of the lion in this card. The cross is the traditional symbol for sacrifice. and Typhon (salt). The theme here is controlled strength. usually in the form of a cross. The theme here is the deliberate undergoing of a selfless sacrifice. The imagery suggests Jung's archetype of rebirth. A green Disk is at each of his five extremities. and the Many-Breasted. a fish. Death. 15.

itself a symbol of a spiritual environment. 16. The Waite deck is much more refined. although the Marseilles deck shows her partially clothed. At the bottom of the card is the destruction of the old by lightning and fire. Abrasax. and she pours water from a gold cup onto her head. showing the stereotyped version of a devilish black magician. At the top is the Eye of Horus/Shiva.blood. The main symbol here is a devil. The card suggests bad luck of all kinds. Before him is a staff topped with a winged Horus. She is shown returning individual water into a collective pool. The Thoth deck shows the destruction of a tower by fire. the card represents the Fall of Man. Also shown are a dove with olive branch. The Moon. The globes and tree together form a large phallus. Broken figures fall from the tower. This card represents catastrophe. crayfish. The Lightening Struck Tower. 18. Her left hand is held low. The Thoth deck shows a goat with large spiral horns and a third eye in his forehead who is the god Pan Pangenetor. The imagery of this card suggests the archetype of chaos. including sexual energy in the Freudian sense. and the lion-headed Gnostic god. Most cards show two towers with a stream running between them to illustrate the idea of relationships. into mortality. The imagery suggests Jung's archetype of the star. The goddess is usually shown naked. 19. lobster. A scorpion. A stone tower is shown being struck by a bolt of lightening with two people falling from the destruction. The alchemical symbols of blood and gluten mix in a cauldron. The imagery of this card suggests the wrongness of an overinflated ego. The theme here is the astral world of the . The Devil. the spiritual part of the psyche. The theme is Black Magic and the card represents slavery or confinement. Below him are two globes each containing dancing human figures. This card portrays the archetype of the union of opposites as defined in Jung's Mysterium Coniunctionis (1963/1989). One or more stars is shown over the head of a goddess who is pouring water from two vases into a pool. The main symbol here is a star. Behind her is a celestial globe on which is a seven-pointed Star of Venus. The main symbol here is the moon. One or two dogs or jackals are often shown to suggest the idea of the subconscious and the underworld. She is Isis. but especially destruction and ruination. thus indicating that nothing in life is ever lost. At her feet are a white lion and a red eagle. the goddess of nature. This imagery here also represents bondage. In the bottom right corner are the jaws of a fire-breathing dragon. The Thoth deck shows the naked Egyptian goddess Nut. because the lightening bolt is a symbol of an "act of God" that forces man to fall from his protective tower. Almost all decks agree on the basic theme of this card. the All-Begetter. middle-age Christian concept of Satan complete with horns and a forked tail. This card represents hope and promise. or scarab. Behind him is the trunk of a tree. In at least one sense. and the cards of all decks amplify the lunar theme with various symbols usually associated with the moon. Most cards also show a naked man and woman chained to a block. 1992) Jung taught that the star symbolizes that part of the personality that survives death. 17. and the waters are the Waters of Life. and suggests the archetype of the libido or psychic energy. is often included to represent the forces of regeneration. The theme here is one of hope. The Star. According to von Franz (Boa. In the left-hand corner is a seven-pointed Star of Babalon. Her right hand is held high. and she pours the immortal liquor of life from a silver cup onto the junction of land and water. The Marseilles deck shows a stereotyped.

Summary The Tarot deck contains archetypal symbols that can be related to Jung's analytical psychology. 21. The main symbol of this card is the sun which is almost always shown with extending rays. the lion. The child-god Harpocrates stands beneath her in outline. The Marseilles deck shows a young couple together under a sun. and man. This card represents the instincts. The imagery of this card suggests the archetypes of wholeness. but a wall prevents them from the summit. The imagery of this card suggests the archetypes of growth. 1992). The Waite deck shows people standing in coffin-like boxes which suggest that an after-death judgement is implied. The Thoth deck shows a Gateway of Resurrection. A naked woman stands within a circular wreath. is suggested here. The Golden Dawn card shows people chest-deep in water implying a renewal or regeneration. The bottom of the card shows the beetle-headed Khepera pushing the sun upward through the waters. The imagery of this card suggests the archetypes of evaluation. Use of the Tarot in therapy can be effective by having the client conduct a reading under the guidance of the therapist. The heralding of a trumpet call. the universe is symbolized by a naked dancing maiden at the center of the card. In the Thoth deck. the star goddess. and abundance as well as Jung's archetype of the sun. 22. and Horus is shown sitting on a throne. Her symbolism as the mother of the universe is clearly suggested in the Golden Dawn deck where the wreath is a ring of twelve globes which are obviously the twelve constellations of the Zodiac. A winged globe is shown below him. At the path's end are nine drops of impure blood each in the shape of the Hebrew letter Yod. At the feet of each child is a rose and cross. as an act of divine judgement. and perfection. According to von Franz. Judgement. In each corner is one of the four Kerubim. the moon is an archetypal symbol for the anima (Boa. Two winged children dance together on the mound. and sometimes with a face to suggest solar intelligence.Kabbalists. is the symbol for life and the forces of conscious creativity. the realm of illusions and dreams. or tell a story based on the imagery of . this woman is the fourth animal. Her right foot stands on the head of a snake. Her hands manipulate a spiral active/passive force. In the Thoth deck. The card suggests a wheel of light within a yoni (a Hindu feminine symbol). around the top of the card is the body of the goddess Nut. The Thoth deck shows a green mound beneath a flaming 12-rayed yellow sun. Above stands dual Anubis-gods who guard the path that is a stream of serum tinged with blood. The last card of the major arcana includes the symbolism of the four animals of the Apocalypse and of the vision of Ezekiel. 20. These are the bull. Around the card are the signs of the Zodiac. success. About the maiden is an ellipse of 72 circles. the eagle. In the lower center is the House of Matter. The Universe. At the bottom of the card is the Hebrew letter Shin containing three human figures. The Sun. In the Marseilles deck. and completion. The sun. Most decks represent Judgement with an angel blowing a horn above a group of people. reward. The Waite deck shows a naked child riding a horse under a sun. but in most decks she stands apart as a central figure. The imagery suggests the archetypes of dreams and the irrational as well as Jung's archetype of the moon. They stand before black towers at the threshold of life and death. The Golden Dawn deck shows two naked children holding hands under a sun. as the generator of light and heat. synthesis.

York Beach. pp. Bannister. (1992/1994). MA: Samuel Wiser.G. (1942/1973). (1988). & Goldenberg. New York: Scientific American Library. mystery. pp. (1994). I. Egan. Giles. The Tarot: History. (1984). J. The skilled helper: A systematic approach to effective helping. F. The physiology of perception. A. Downloaded from CompuServe. Goldenberg. Boston: Shambala. 234). R. a "drawing up from the depths" (Jung. Boston: Shambala.J. The Book of Thoth: A Short Essay on the Tarot of the Egyptians. 1 (2). The way of the dream: Conversations on Jungian dream interpretation with Marie-Louise von Franz. The Second Law. New Haven. (1986). In this way. The Tarot symbols are so rich that one or more are likely to produce archetypal stimulation in the client's psyche. H. Nichols (1984) suggests that the sensory nature of the imagery can be improved by coloring the pictures. R. T. (Trans). (1980/1991). (1944/1985). 119-130. Cleary. The therapeutic process can also be improved by using a chaos model approach in which periods of psychic instability are deliberately induced through stimulation of the imagination via the Tarot symbols. CA: Brooks/Cole. Flint. 1956/1976. P. concentration on Tarot symbols can induce psychic bifurcation points that the therapist can then use to direct behavioral changes toward mutually agreed upon attractors. Then the therapist encourages the client to discuss possible meanings of the symbols in his or her own words. References Atkins. C. To do this. The psychology of C. 78-85. Jung: An introduction with illustrations. W. Family therapy: An overview. W. Pacific Grove. (Trans).A. and lore. Untitled essay on Tarot used in Jungian psychotherapy. Psychoscience. New York: Paragon House. (264). (1994). Boa. A chaos model of the brain applied to EMDR. for example) and crayons or colored pencils. . the therapist would provide colorless images of the cards (a Xerox copy. Such previously unconscious contents can take the form of either attractors or repellors. 3rd ed. CA: Brooks/Cole. Freeman. G. CN: Yale University Press. The therapist can then relate the symbolic meanings to the client's problem in much the same manner as in Jungian dream analysis. Manheim. The client could then color in the pictures as they tell their story. The Taoist I Ching. (1975/1990). (1991). p. Small stimuli by the therapist at such points can cause large changes in later behavior. Crowley. Pacific Grove.several trump cards drawn at random. G. Jacobi. Scientific American.

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