I took an intriguing on-line class learning more about Tarot. (A link to Susannah Conway’s course called 78 Mirrors here) I’m definitely a beginner in Tarot, and so my AHA’s from this course are all in the beginner’s area. For example, I was surprised to learn that there are 3 main “systems” of Tarot, and the first Tarot deck I purchased was not the system the class focused on.
- Rider Waite Smith (RWS) Tarot was created in 1910, has many clones (multiple artist’s interpretation of the original RWS cards), and is the Tarot system the class was based on. The RWS cards have scenes created to illustrate the cards “meaning” or energy (hence many artist’s illustrative interpretations). RWS tarot is considered to be good for a more intuitive reading.
- Thoth was created in the 1940’s. Its cards have different names & meanings with some overlap to RWS. It is highly layered with mythology, astrology, and numerology (i.e. complex). It’s also the first deck I ever purchased and, not surprisingly, I always had to use the guidebook to help interpret a reading.
- Marseille was created in the 1800’s and is considered the original Tarot deck with basis in numerology and the elements. The cards are pictorial rather than meaning-intuitive (ex. a picture of 5 cups).
I didn’t even realize my decks were different systems. Yes, decks (plural) because I have 3. The instruction for the Tarot class recommended having 3 different decks in hand. I know now that I have a RWS deck, a RWS clone deck (the one I tend to use most often now), and a Thoth deck. After the class, I have 2 other RWS clone decks on my wish-for list; the graphics I saw of them in the class were very compelling.
There is a system embedded in the Tarot which I really enjoyed learning about. I adore structure! What was even more intriguing is my retirement life vision statement aligns to the Tarot structure in the traditional RWS system. I had linked my original vision life statement of “Active, Connected, Creative, Contemplative” to Body, Heart, Spirit, Mind a couple of years ago.
Then last year, I noticed the link to the elements and incorporated that into my visualization of my vision statement. Active Body (Earth), Connected Heart (Water), Creative Spirit (Fire) and Contemplative Mind (Air)
And now, yes, a link to the Tarot suits!
Active Body –> Earth –> Pentacles (Coins) –> Physicality & Resources
Connected Heart –> Water–> Cups –> Emotions & Connection/Relationships
Creative Spirit–> Fire –> Wands –> Passion & Projects
Contemplative Mind –> Air –> Swords–> Thinking
I’m definitely going to incorporate this new linkage in my vision statement (my synthesis brain is loving this). And will be interested to see what it implies in my own card readings going forward.
My favorite quotes from 2 Tarot cards I really connected with in the class are:
- “Be the queen of your thoughts, not a slave to them” from the Queen of Swords discussion. The Queen of Swords is associated with the INTJ Myers Briggs personality type and with overthinking.
- “Tend the garden of your life” from the Queen of Pentacles discussion. The Queen of Pentacles in associated with the ISTJ Myers Briggs and with self-care.
I’ve bounced between those 2 Myers Briggs types my whole life! It was fascinating to feel connected to the cards when they were presented in the class and then to find out the personality link as well.
I’m excited to use my new learning around Tarot in some upcoming readings. I do intuitive reads at significant moments in time – either earthly (Equinox, Solstice, New Year) or personal (anniversary of something, birthday). My Spring Equinox reading was fascinating. I pulled both the Queen of Pentacles (!) and the Nine of Swords – which is another “overthinking” card. How appropriate is that at this moment of my life when I’ve been overthinking all that needs to happen and rethinking all that has happened? The cards reflected my reality!
Do you dabble in Tarot? What’s your favorite deck?
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5 thoughts on “Tarot Exploration and Overthinking”
I didn’t know there were different systems of Tarot cards. I had a deck at one time, but never learned much about what any of it meant. I just thought the cards were pretty so I’d lay them out and discern my own message from them. I like this statement: “Be the queen of your thoughts, not a slave to them.” That’s empowering and freeing.
Discerning your own message is actually fine! The RWS system is supposed to be more intuitive in card messaging and the class I took clearly taught you to first ask “what do the cards say to me” before looking into any guidebook for insight. Getting a better understanding of suits, court cards, & numbers I think helps in the intuitive interpretation. And yes, you do need to think your tarot deck is “pretty” – that was another of the teachings in the class. 🙂
Hi Pat – I don’t do Tarot at all – it really conflicts with my Christian belief system, but I’m glad you found it so helpful. I guess we all have different was of processing our thoughts and emotions – and it’s interesting to me that you, who I find to be very “logical” – (much like myself) find something that is so ‘vague’ (maybe a poor word choice?) so helpful in this area. The human mind is so fascinating.
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> I don’t do Tarot at all – it really conflicts with my Christian belief system
In what way would this conflict with Christian beliefs? There’s a lot of Christian symbolism in Tarot, as well as imagery and symbolism that predates Christianity. Tarot is essentially an encapsulation of the human condition in the card archetypes. The “fools journey” – represented by the Major Arcana, is simply the journey of life we all go through – of all religions. Is it the use for divination that you object to, or the cards and their imagery?
It’s also not especially “vague”, as it is a logical and highly-structured system, although there are multiple potential interpretations if the cards are used for divination (which is by no means a requirement).
Recommended resource: Tarot for Christians by Archbishop Wynn Wagner. Good book.
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Leanne, What I learned is that Tarot is not at all vague – there’s a clear structured system embedded in it. And using it for self-reflection, as this class promoted, is no different than using a journal prompt or a daily inspirational reading. Having cards pulled that relate to my emotions is just quantum physics in action. Not sure why my logical brain is in question!
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