Carl Jung: The Mystic Who Discovered Our Inner Tarot Deck

Pick up any book about Tarot cards and randomly thumb through it. You are almost certainly to find in the majority of them several references to Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology. It is his work that framed the concepts of the collective unconscious and the theories of archetypal imagery and synchronicity that serve as the vital underpinnings of Tarot readings and practice. In fact, Jung’s breakthrough precepts actually legitimizes the study of Tarot and its ability to connect with our inner-selves.

On the other hand, you would be surprisingly hard pressed to find any references to Tarot cards whatsoever anywhere in the voluminous writings of Jung. How can this make sense in light of the great influence and association the learned Jung has with Tarot cards? Is it a mere coincidence? Or does the answer to that question reside in Jung’s explanation of synchronicity “as a meaningful coincidence?”

And amazingly one he did not recognize? Let’s step back and begin to put this puzzle together.

Carl Jung was a member of the seminal triumvirate of the founding fathers of the science of modern psychology. They were Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Wilhelm Reich. Freud is the most well known of the three, followed by Jung and then Reich.*

The supernatural and parapsychology was no stranger to Jung. He personally underwent a near-death experience, had clairvoyant dreams, incidents of precognition, encountered various hauntings with actual manifestations and poltergeist activity. He conducted experiments in telepathy and had a spirit guide known as Philemon, who flew out of the sky one day and landed at Jung’s side. Jung gave him the nickname of the “Old Wise Man” and they often conversed as they walked together in Jung’s garden. Jung claimed he had a second soul, one that allowed him to access the occult realm. Many of his beliefs were derived from The Tibetan Book of the Dead which he consulted though out his professional life. He used the I-Ching to help diagnose patient’s maladies and suggest treatment methods. He investigated the arcane arts of Alchemy and Astrology as well.

Jung’s grandmother was a “ghost seer” and his mother when a child protected her father, who was a curate from ghosts while he wrote his sermons. The subject of Jung’s dissertation was a 15 year old medium with exceptional abilities. The medium was his cousin. Probably one of the more startling claims Jung made was that he talked and preached to the dead. This claim is supported by his privately published Septem Sermones ad Mortuos (Seven Sermons to the Dead) which was produced via automatic writing. Some reviewers consider this text to be an example of Jung’s best written pieces. His final book was about Flying Saucers. He originally thought that this sighting were projections from our inner psyches. However upon awaking from a particular vivid dream that involved UFOs, he recounted his guess and instead stated “that we were actually projections from the Flying Saucers.”

As you can gather from the above, Carl Jung had profound inner and outer visions that both guided him to, and tormented him with the truth of all things. Yet it all reveals an incredibly open-minded individual that marched to some very different drummers.

Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung and Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method

CARL JUNG AND THE TAROT

Returning to Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious will help us understand his association with the cards. He thought of the collective unconscious as the “soul of the world” and it is in that “soul” that our shared symbolism of the archetypes dwell.

He also postulated that an event in a person’s life can trigger an internal mechanism that allows access to the collective unconscious. Once this process begins an archetypical configuration takes place. He called this “being” that formed during this configuration a “psychoid.” It was part real in the sense that it was manifesting itself and taking on a form and it was also part psychic due to it’s origin in the depths of the unconscious mind. Which Jung described as “the deposit of all human experiences back to the beginning of time. It is the source of the instincts, since archetypes are merely the forms that our instincts have assumed.” At this point the conscious mind can now recognize this primordial archetype, and understand the message it is trying to convey through its symbolic form. After this triggering episode has subsided, the “psychoid” melts back into the regions of the netherworld.

These “psychoids” are somewhat like the Tulpas that are reportedly created by Tibetan monks** through shear will power. These are also temporary beings that are brought to actual physical life for a short time, perform the tasks that they are created to complete and afterward return to nothingness. It is easy to see the wide influence that The Tibetan Book of the Dead had on Jung.

DOES TAROT CARD IMAGERY DEPICT “PSYCHOIDS”?

Perhaps the only way we can answer that is if we look at Jung’s definition of archetypical characters. Jung felt they were a “universal disposition of the human mind with which the mind organizes its content.

Below are Jung’s archetypes and what Tarot cards I feel best reflect the character of each archetype as described by Jung. I will only use the Major Arcana*** for this exercise.

A. The Animus and Anima – together they form a syzygy which is Greek for “a divine pair”.
The anima is the female in man and the animus is the male in the woman.

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TAROT CARD: VI – The Lovers

Card meaning: Two people coming together, a partnership, union, reunion, two elements uniting or events coinciding.

B. Old Wise Man – Ancestors, conservative teachings, a spiritual guide. Jung called Philemon the “Old Wide Man.”

TAROT CARDS: IV – The Emperor, V – the Hierophant, IX – The Hermit

Card meanings: All three of these cards jhave the same thematic to various degrees. They are authorities, they adhering to a conservative doctrines, they have great knowledge gained over time and freely shared or set down by decree.

C. The Self – Not the ego, but “a totality of a heavenly kind, a glorified man, an Adam.”

TAROT CARD: The Fool

Card meaning: The totally free spirit, the universal optimist, the trickster, what we all are at certain times in our lives, the promise of all good things to come. The Tarot deck is also called the Fool’s journey because the Fool travels through the deck either leading the way or bringing up the rear. It is one of the most potent cards to appear in a spread.

D. Self-Expression – Creativity, gestures, ritual

TAROT CARD: I – The Magician

Card meaning: Making things happen, conjuring, taking charge of everything in your life, creating something out of nothing, being the center of attention, an Alchemist.

E. The Persona – The face we turn towards the world, meaning, transformation and order

TAROT CARDS: II – The High Priestess, VII – The Chariot, VII – Strength

Card meanings: For the Priestess, one of serenity and introspection, calmness and inner control.

intuitively knowing the outcome of all matters. To be the Charioteer is to be in complete control of everything, change forward, getting places, overcoming obstacles to get where you need to be.

F. Orientation – The four directions of the compass, crossroads, appointments

TAROT CARDS: X – The Wheel of Fortune, XI – The Hanged Man, XXI – The World

Card meanings: We are all always traveling up and down on the Wheel of Fortune. As for the Hanged Man, we often find ourselves in a place where everything is upside down and we don’t know what to do and what direction to take so we remain suspended and inactive. While all this is going on, the World keeps on turning regardless of what we do or not do.

G. Change and Evolution

TAROT CARDS: XI – Justice, XIII – Death, XIV – Temperance, XX – Judgment

Card meanings: Justice reconciles all things in life. Death is change, either and end or a new beginning is signified here. Temperance calls for a new way of living in moderation and measure behavior. Judgement. final decisions must be made and from those decisions a new way of doing things will emerge.

H. Success – accomplishment, good fortune

TAROT CARDS: III – The Empress,

Card meaning: The card of birth and fertility, indication that a situation will turn out successfully,

good fortune ahead.

I. Love and Immortality

TAROT CARDS: XVII – The Star, XVIII – The Moon, XIX – The Sun

Card meanings: What love song doesn’t include the Sun the Moon and the Stars in it? If you “listen” to these three cards you can “hear” the song of the celestial spheres. In the Star card hope always springs eternal. The Moon our nearest neighbor in space and one that constantly meddles with our ocean tides. And then the Sun, which is the source of life and the constant promise of a new day everyday. 

J. The Shadow – the dark aspect of the personality, an evil that needs to be cast out or assimilated

TAROT CARDS: XV – The Devil, XVI – The Tower

Card meanings: The Devil, the dark angel, obsession, trouble, temptation, your choice to choose either good or evil. The Tower is the card of liberation. Perhaps you have pent up behaviors or beliefs that are doing you harm? A destructive lighting bolt hurled from the heavens suddenly casts you from your high tower to the ground below to start again.

IN CONCLUSION

As stated earlier, Carl Jung did not specifically write about Tarot cards. Yet uncanningly the symbolism of the archetype and the theory of the collective unconscious which he created, mirror the symbolism and practice of Tarot cards exactly, although on different but parallel tracks.

If we accept the notion that these “psychoid” archetypes reside in all of our minds, then each one can be identified by applying Tarot card symbolism to them. In essence we are indeed carrying around a Tarot card set in each one of us. The value of this proposition is that by using Tarot cards regularly and committing the cards to memory you will quite possibly be able to unlock the wealth of your unconscious mind in a controlled manner, thereby leading to a greater understanding of the workings of your inner-self and a way of cultivating your intuitive powers.

This recognition of both your outer-reality and inner-thoughts serves to unite both important aspects of being. Overcoming such fragmentation can go a long way in the healing process to become an individual.

Written by Bernie O’Connor

A Goddess to Spark the Creative Flow

Illustration: Cat Finnie

Tap into Saraswati’s energy to learn, create, and evolve

Imagine this: You wake up eagerly before your alarm goes off, anticipating the day ahead. You’re ready to embark on a new project, and you have so many ideas that you want to explore, you barely know where to start. Once you’ve walked the dog or ushered the kids off to school, you settle in and begin your work. Before you know it, it’s 3 p.m., and you realize you were so engrossed in what you were doing that you forgot to eat lunch. You’ve hardly gone to the bathroom! You were in the flow.

The creative force that fueled you is the goddess Saraswati’s Shakti energy. If that doesn’t sound like your typical day, it might be time to connect with the goddess.

The story of Saraswati

Saraswati is the goddess of learning, speech, and creativity. In Hindu mythology, she was brought to life by Lord Brahma, the god of creation. Brahma had decided to create a world from all of the cosmic chaos, but didn’t know where to begin. To help with this effort, he called forth goddess Saraswati by touching the tip of his tongue. She provided him with the feminine energy, Shakti, and the wisdom he needed to create an organized world.

Saraswati was very beautiful, with big brown eyes and long, lustrous hair. She played music on her veena, a lute-like instrument, and traveled by swan (which is a pretty creative way to get around if you ask me). Saraswati became Brahma’s consort and wife. Enraptured by her beauty, Brahma grew multiple faces so he could look at and admire Saraswati from all different angles. This really annoyed the goddess. Like many marriages, Saraswati and Brahma were not in it for the long haul. Their relationship did not last, as she was more interested in her personal projects and quiet contemplation than in her wifely duties.

The name Saraswati means “to flow.” In earlier Hinduism, some considered Saraswati a river goddess. The actual Saraswati River was very important in the Vedic religion, representing a pathway to the heavens, and Saraswati embodied that river. Later, people more often associated her with knowledge, speech, and creativity. However, the concept of “flow” is still very relevant to Saraswati energy. Whether you desire to have your speech flow purposefully or to be in a state of flow while at work, you can call on Saraswati. Followers of Saraswati petition the goddess to spark a creative idea, help understand a new or complex concept, and speak eloquently.

Sarasvati, Nepal
Sarasvati, Nepal

How Saraswati manifests in modern society

People who have a lot of Saraswati energy are more interested in following their passions and creative callings than in accumulating material possessions or money. These people have an idea, and it’s important for them to bring it to life, no matter what. While they don’t do it for the money, they do like to be recognized for their contributions and creativity.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert is a modern-day example of a Saraswati-inspired woman. In fact, I would consider her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear a manifesto for anyone who wants to walk hand in hand with Saraswati. In the book, Gilbert says, “Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”

The goddess doesn’t want you to play it safe. Saraswati wants you to learn, create, and evolve

It’s important to note that Saraswati creates for the benefit of herself. She doesn’t create to get rich quick or become an influencer, she creates because she has something inside her that needs to be brought to life. Just as society benefits from any talented artist, other people benefit from Saraswati’s creations. She does it because her soul is calling her to do it. It’s her dharma, her life’s purpose.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a modern-day positive psychologist and author of Flow, believes that happiness and fulfillment are a result of “a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play, and work.” You achieve flow when you’re doing something that you really enjoy. Like Saraswati, when someone is creating for themselves and for their higher purpose, they are in the flow. I find it amazing and synchronistic that the meaning of Saraswati’s name — flow — is also the term Csikszentmihalyi uses to represent a state of immersion in a creative pursuit. It makes me believe that all roads lead to one version of the truth. In this case, that manifests as connecting with divinity by engaging in work that lights you up.

How Saraswati showed up for me

I’ve traditionally considered myself a creative, as I was a designer and entrepreneurial spirit. I created and launched several business endeavors, including a pet grocery and self-serve dog wash. Though the business didn’t last, I was always proud of the accomplishment and bringing the idea to life. Sometime in my thirties, I traded my desire to create for stability, money, and benefits. In some ways this was expected, as I was raising two children and was the breadwinner of the family. While the job was great based on that criteria, it wasn’t fueling my creative spark the way previous work had.

saraswati, india
Sarasvati, India

Working at a corporate job with back-to-back meetings and a structured methodology was uninspiring. I was going through the motions and doing a good enough job, but with a lack of any real excitement or curiosity. In meetings, I would say all the right things as if I was reading from a script, but there was no heart behind my words. Inspiration had run dry. Looking back at Gilbert’s quote, I was not doing something that brought me to life. I was not speaking my truth or bringing new ideas forward. I was there for the money. I was not in the flow.

It reminds me of a quote from Fight Club: “We work at jobs we hate to buy shit we don’t need.” In my case, a truer word has never been spoken.

After attending the 17th scrum ceremony of the week (that might be a slight exaggeration, but it sure seemed like 17), I felt a presence. It was like Saraswati was sitting next to me in the corporate conference room with fluorescent lighting. She was glaring at me through her long eyelashes, arms folded against her chest. She was wearing a business casual outfit (that she was not happy about, by the way) and basically said, “Either you leave, or I leave.” With that ultimatum in place, I decided to resign.

Though it was scary, it felt like the right thing to do. The first day I woke up without a full-time job in over twenty years, I felt a little unmoored, a little queasy. I was reminded of the expression that ships are safe in the harbor, but ships weren’t built to stay in the harbor. It was time to set my own course and choose work that was meaningful and inspiring to me.

We can’t ask for Saraswati’s inspiration and then ignore it once we receive it. Elizabeth Gilbert explains in Big Magic that an idea is not our own. If we don’t devote the time and energy needed to bring an idea to life, it will move on to someone else. I’m thrilled to now have the time to pursue ideas that have been percolating. They’d been kept on the back burner, since I hadn’t had the time to explore and develop them. It’s tough to predict what the future holds, but at least I won’t look back in 20 years wondering why I didn’t take the time to labor my own creations.

We are most creative and in the flow when we’re not thinking about what needs to be done, but rather doing it without judgment or attachment.

Saraswati reminds us to pursue the things that make our souls light up. That’s why we’re here. It’s not about the huge 401(k) or the McMansion. It’s about learning what excites us and how we can use that to add value to the world. The goddess doesn’t want you to play it safe. Saraswati wants you to learn, create, and evolve. That is our dharma.

A ritual to activate your Saraswati energy

Rituals can help you to connect with the goddess and activate her Shakti energy. To get started, make sure your meditation area is clear and free of clutter. The goddess who flows needs space to create. Make your environment comfortable for Saraswati to stay and inspire. Light a candle or burn some incense, like frankincense, bergamot, or jasmine, to invoke creativity. If you have an altar, make some offerings to Saraswati. It could be an artifact of the project that you are embarking on, or maybe it’s your favorite book or piece of music.

Take a comfortable seat on the floor or on a meditation cushion. Before you begin your meditation, petition Saraswati for help. Where would you like her help? Do you need help initiating a new project? Or maybe you’ve begun a project but don’t know how to complete it. Or perhaps you need inspiration for a new idea. Ask the goddess for help, being as specific as possible.

Next, start an awareness of breath meditation. This meditation’s focus is on observing the breath. Breathe normally, and when your mind starts to wander, which it will, simply bring your focus back to the breath. Observe your mind’s activities non-judgmentally and keep returning to the breath. This will help you develop concentration and give you a sense of your current state of mind. Do this for 5–10 minutes.

After your meditation is complete, get to work. Whether it’s planning your next project or wrapping one up, begin. Try to remove your ego or thoughts about the project and let Saraswati’s Shakti energy lead the way. We are most creative and in the flow when we’re not thinking so much about what needs to be done, but rather doing it without judgment or attachment.

I wish you creativity, passion, and wisdom on your journey.

Written by Lisa Marie via Medium.com

Chakras: Taking Care of Your Personal Energy Centers

As a student of the spiritual and non-physical reality, the seven chakras was one of the first systems I was introduced. However, some 15 years later, I have only now been able to truly understand how this invisible energy system actually works.

One of the meditations I have found the most successful is a chakra meditation in which you place your left hand on your root chakra, take 3 breathes in and out, then place your right hand on the next chakra, repeating and alternating hands. I do this while in the shower or if I am lucky to have 5 or 10 minutes, I’ll listen to this Solfeggio Frequencies track.

Enjoy this information from Deborah King.

As the daily news continues giving us reasons to be nervous and worried, anxious and afraid, angry and confused, how are you doing in this struggle between fear and love? We know what fear looks like, and we know we have to rise above life-destroying fear and seek life-affirming love. Each of us has the power to choose and use the unlimited energy of love available from our Divine Source. Take a look within. Is your connection to your loving Source clear and open? Is the energy of your love at the ready, flowing and powering your mind, body, and spirit? For the challenges we face, taking good care of your personal energy centers, your chakras, can help you fight fear.

Your Chakra Power

As invisible but vital energy centers, your chakras are designed to move energy between your personal field and the universal field. Your wellbeing depends on the energy you bring in, and your life of joy, fulfillment, and service depends on the energy you give out. Love can’t reign when fear is blocking the channels. When clear and balanced, your chakras are the means by which you replenish your energy and maintain your health. Without the healthy flow of energy through your chakras, you might feel empty, depressed, and powerless. Each chakra represents an aspect of higher consciousness that is essential to your life. As a system, the seven basic chakras integrate your mind, body, and spirit; and each has a physical, emotional, creative, and spiritual component.

Your Chakra Gifts

Each of your chakra centers is important because each one allows you to call forth different skills and strengths and bring them into the world. Keeping your chakras clear and balanced allows you to access your highest gifts and talents—those powerful energies that are your contribution to the world! Here are some of the ways your chakras affect your life:

First Chakra – This foundational chakra located at the base of your spine keeps you grounded and rooted, firm and secure in the world. However, fear of destructive events like those we are experiencing in our world today combined with personal fears about safety, security, and stability can disrupt or distort the free flow of energy in the first chakra. Taking a walk in the beauty of nature, actually touching the earth with your bare feet, can bring you back to the foundation of your being, make you feel present and safe, and strengthen your first chakra.

Second Chakra – Located about half way between the base of your spine and your navel, the second or sexual chakra is the center of your emotions and desires, and your interactions with other people. In the work of moving away from fear and toward love, a balanced second chakra is vital to helping you enjoy healthy intimate relationships and overcome feelings of guilt and shame that may interfere. Bathing in the ocean or a bath of sea salt and baking soda strengthens your second chakra as it restores you to the purity of your true nature.

Third Chakra – Located at the solar plexus and the center of your body’s metabolic fire, the third chakra is the seat of personal power. This primary power center is the source of will, purpose, and action—that which “moves” you in the world. If managing your energy in a healthy way to reach your goals and fulfill your purpose is a challenge, you may need to devote some loving attention to your third chakra. Physical activities such as gardening, sports, T’ai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates can awaken and recharge this energy center, especially if performed outside in the early morning sun.

Fourth Chakra – The fourth or heart chakra is the bridge between the three lower chakras that connect you to the earth and the three upper chakras that connect you to the Infinite. When the heart center is in balance, you are content, caring, compassionate and forgiving. Heart chakra balance gives you the courage to give and receive love even when fear and anger threaten to close you down. How precious is an open and compassionate heart in today’s world! One of the best ways to boost your heart chakra is by giving and receiving love with a pet. Animals are great role models for the unconditional love that heals us.

Fifth Chakra – When fifth or throat chakra energy is free-flowing and balanced, you are free to speak your truth. You are empowered to express who you are, what you feel, and what you believe. Speaking for your beliefs and your truth is essential for you to express the love that can overcome fear in the world today. Writing down your feelings with total honesty can help clear and charge your fifth chakra. Take time to use your “voice” to write, sing, read aloud, and communicate your true feelings.

Sixth Chakra – The sixth chakra or “third eye,” located between the eyebrows, is the source of intuition. When balanced, this chakra helps you keep an open-mind and have faith in your inner guidance. It supports your sense of the interconnection of all humanity and helps you seek the truth in any situation. When this chakra is out of balance, you may feel out of touch with your intuition and struggle with fear-based negative thinking and narrow-mindedness. Daily meditation helps you awaken this chakra and lets you increase your inner wisdom and your ability to “see” clearly.

Seventh Chakra – The seventh energy center or “crown chakra” is located at the top of the head. This is your connection with spirit, your higher power, and the universe. Opening outward and upward, this chakra draws light energy in from above and fills you with an experience of transcendence. Meditation, prayer, and communion with nature are powerful tools for boosting the seventh chakra. Keeping this connection free-flowing, balanced, and clear is your key to bringing all-powerful love into our world.

Working to take care of your chakra energy centers is simply making sure that you have access to all the powers, the gifts, the talents, the energy and the light that is you. Get ready to share your gifts, to move forward in love, to inspire and encourage others, and to live a life of love and joy.