For centuries, the Tarot has been used as a Fortune Telling device, a means of perhaps glimpsing what is to come in the future. I see the cards and their images in a bit of a different light. To me, they hold the same kind of, or similar, energy as Mythology.
Joseph Campbell, one of the leading Mythologists of this past century, said that Mythology is compelling because it holds within it, the story of the development of the human psyche. He went even further by saying that it resonates within the individual because it contains bits and pieces of each individual’s life experience, in other words his/her story. We relate and identify with the characters in the story because they are personally familiar.
I feel the same way about the Tarot and its images. Therefore, find it an excellent source for self-exploration. Its classic imagery resonates with my own experience and by exploring the images and their meanings, I explore my own story: how it unfolds, why certain things happen as they do, and possible directions for further decisions, choices, and plans. I am not looking to be told what is going to happen, so much as how best to put myself into whatever might be occuring.
Over the years, I have collected several different decks of Tarot. Some were given to me as gifts, others simply appeared in my path and were available to me, and others I purchased because I found them appealing or interesting. Ideas change, get altered over time, amended or added onto. I think that is made no more clearer than when seeking a Tarot deck. There are hundreds of different types, some in different shapes. Each one, although based in the centuries old images, has a slightly different flavor or sense to it.
I like that variety because it gives me more possibilities to explore and thus, more choices. Each author has a bit of a different slant, therefore definition on what the image means and might represent. The more interpretations available, the wider the range of choices for my own definiton. And remember, I am very big on personal interpretation.
This blog begins with two such images from different decks. The first one is the classic image of The Fool. A young man, setting out on a journey, an adventure. At his feet is a small dog yapping at him to look down and watch where he is going because he is about to step off of a precipice.
The Old Path image takes a bit of a different angle. Here The Fool is in the background, going on his journey, yet still unaware of what is happening in the foreground, where an infant is about to motivate itself into a burning fire and a woman (presumably mother), rushes in alarm to stop that from happening.
Yet, both cards speak to the same exact experience. That of new beginnings, new experiences, and the role that ignorance or unknowingness might play in that endeavor. They also speak to many other issues, such as innocense, ignorance, idealism, and how the past can limit our forward progress, and the fear, as well as sheer excitement of heading off to explore new and unknown territory.
I believe they are meant to help us question not only the present moment, but also to help us understand our past actions, perhaps giving us a clearer opportunity to correct past trajectory and enhance the decision making process awaiting us. If we take the time to study the images, our thoughts will start to connect them to our own experience. They might also bring up questions concerning how best to proceed with whatever is at hand.
I chose The Fool card because Spring is definitely on its way. And Spring is an invitation to new beginnings, fresh starts, new growth, as well as new and freer movement. All of which should entail at least a few moments of thoughtful reflection about what all of that means to us on a personal level. I think the cards and their images are a great way to do just that.
I don’t know your story, and you don’t know mine. Yet we both have been in the place, the experience, that is pictured on the above cards. We can and do relate to the image and the feelings that arise at seeing it. Maybe that is a wishful sigh, or a fearful dread, or something somewhere between those two possibilities. Whatever the response, it might be a good idea to dwell for a few minutes on how we responded in the past to similar situations in our own lives, or to explore how we might respond in the present moment given our present circumstances.
The only person we can ever truly get to know is ourself. Thus, the more we know, the better our chances of living a fuller, healthier existence. And the more we know, the more apt we are to make choices that are satisfying to and for our own person because we have given ourselves a wider range of connections with which to use in making those choices. That, in turn, means we are enhancing our intuitive faculties, giving our logical skills a broader base with which to work from.
Spring means many things. This year, for me, it means changes, life-altering changes, both major and minor. I intend to sit down with these images and allow myself to explore not only my past expereinces, but the present ones, and especially the roil of emotions they bring to the surface. Being in the position of The Fool is one thing, acting like one is an altogether different proposition. I want what is best for me and the only one who can obtain that is me.
I might come back here and share some of that with you, the questions I found and asked, the images that came from the past and what they mean to me, and the reasoning for some of the choices I am facing. And perhaps, an exploration of all those pesky emotions. I can only hope you will take a few minutes to do something similar.