• marchenrisandoz

Tarot and intuition: how does it work?

Updated: Jul 4

The Tarot is not an automatic distributor of intuition. If it were enough to draw a few cards, these cards would have a well-defined meaning. By combining the purposes of the different cards, one would open a window of intuition. But, no, it is much more complex and much richer than that.

A Tarot reading is the meeting at a precise moment between two dimensions: the individual dimension and the collective dimension. There is a dialogue that opens between these two dimensions. In this dialogue, you find access to your intuition.

The individual dimension is the state I find myself in when doing my card reading: I look at the cards that I have drawn, and it sparks things off in me. Details strike me. Emotions come to me. I make projections according to my culture, my inner state at the moment, my representations, my sensitivity, my knowledge of the Tarot. At times I will be more vulnerable. At other times I will be more introspective, or the bearer of a project, etc. Therefore, I will not see any Arcane with the same eyes as someone else who draws it simultaneously. I will even see it differently myself at another time. Likewise, any combination of cards will take on different meanings depending on where I am and the question I asked.

The collective dimension is the cards' content: they carry a pictorial message that has been developed collectively. The origin of the cards has been lost in the dawn of time. Their portrayal evolved and transformed into a game as we know it today. The Complete Tarot Deck is a collective creation that has its roots in the common unconscious of humanity. In this, it joins the great sacred texts, such as the Bible. The great sacred texts are also the fruit of a collective work of composition and recomposition over the centuries until they are fixed in a text. In addition, the Tarot is not made of texts. It is made of images. Thus, it transmits a more complex message, which gives way to multiple senses, which does not share knowledge, but awakens something in the viewer. And finally, there are the different traditions of card interpretation, which feeds this collective dimension: how such Arcane has been read and interpreted in various ways by various Tarot readers over the centuries.

When I read the Tarot, it is a meeting between these two dimensions: I begin to create a dialogue between these two dimensions. I am there with my question, with my inner state of the moment, with my projections, expectations, fears. I project all of this material on the cards. And at the same time, I invite the cards to speak to me. I let myself be touched and inspired by the general motif and the details of the drawing. I listen to the resonances that this arouses. I look at the meanings proposed by the traditions of interpretation to which I am attached. I think about the symbolism of numbers. I research on the internet, draw on my memories of readings and previous experiences with Tarot. In this dialogue, little by little, more or less unrestricted access to my intuition is born and grows. The Tarot, in this encounter, becomes a mirror held out to me to know myself better and better understand what is happening around me.

But intuition does not come as a guaranteed certainty. On the contrary, it can deceive us. Therefore, for intuition to be more refined and reliable, the collective and the individual must go through a work of purification.

At the individual level, it is necessary to do an inner work that I call sacred introspection: I must learn to look within myself, to reconcile myself with the parts of me that I am afraid of, of which I am ashamed, that I have driven back into the shadows. I have to confront my repressions and my defense mechanisms, my wounds and weaknesses, strengths, and brilliance that I dare not welcome. It is therapeutic work. It is shadow work. Without this work, I will project my repressions, wounds, and self-blindness on my interpretations. My partial and distorted intuition will be a deceptive reflection.

At the collective level, too, work is needed to purify the collective heritage, areas of superstitious fear and shadow, messages of fatalism and resignation, toxic elements of all kinds. This same work must happen with any spiritual tradition: a confrontation of toxic spirituality and alchemically transmuting that toxicity into wisdom and healing. I talk about this process in detail in my first book 'Toxic Jesus,' and it applies in the same way to the Tarot that I applied to my Christian heritage in this book.

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