Monday, October 17, 2011

Controversial Cards

By Judy Jennings

© Copyright 2011

Death.  The Devil.  A lightening-struck Tower.  These are images with the ability to strum a chord of anxiety in a person, but let’s look a little closer.  Psychologically these cards express states of mind that we humans share universally.  All of us have grieved, we’ve all felt the longing for freedom, and every person has had an illuminating flash of insight at one point or another.  Without these cards, the Tarot would have no real grip on the human condition and a reading would be reduced to the metaphysical equivalent of “Have a nice day!”.

Another card that tends to push buttons is the Hanged One.  The ideals expressed in the image of a person hanging upside down on a cross are acceptance, tolerance and a willingness to give oneself up to a larger cause.  However, many people feel an instinctive fear of loss of control when they see this card.  
Imagine that the Tarot is a metaphysical amplifier.  When you consult the cards they will magnify and reflect whatever is already in your mind, and that includes both the conscious and the subconscious minds.  If your fear of loss of control is strong, you may have to work to get past that in order to understand the more positive aspects that are being shown to you.  Look to the surrounding cards for perspective.  None of these forces act in isolation in our lives, nor do they in a reading.  The ability to see the patterns of how surrounding cards relate to each other is every bit as important as knowing the meanings of the cards themselves.                                                                                                                          
There are those who say there are no negative cards among the four suits, and I’d agree.  I much prefer the term “neurotic”.  There are fourteen cards in the minor arcana that indicate the possibility of some kind of mental distress.  “Possibility” is a key concept here.  All of the cards in the Tarot have the possibility of three types of expression in a reading:  Integration, disintegration and equilibrium.  These are a few examples of the many nuances that make it possible for 78 cards to tell countless human stories, each original and specific to the moment.
Try meditating on the Death card for the release of fear.

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