In the XX century, tarot card interpretation took a new turn thanks to the interest of the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.
Carl Jung (1875-1961), a Freud's pupil, in his practice as psychoanalyst, noticed that often the psychic state of his patients had a symbolical resonance in the outside world.
"It is sometimes difficult to avoid the impression that there is a sort of foreknowledge of the coming series of events", Jung states in his writings.
He elaborated the principle of synchronicity to explain meaningful coincidences.
Synchronicity is defined as the observation of various events that, although apparently unrelated, occur together in a meaningful way.
Jung, changed the history of tarot cards when he started researching ancient divination tools as the tarot, the Chinese I Ching and astrology.
These traditional instruments, taking a picture of the moment, allow us to take in intuitively the gist of the situation we are living.
He believed that the choice of a tarot card was guided by the need to express an unconscious urge that had to be manifested in the exterior world in that precise moment.
The apparently random choice of a card in a given moment becomes the inevitable expression of the spacetime continuum.
Jung found that tarot cards images derive from the universal archetypes.
The Jungian archetypes are common to all humanity and on them each individual builds his own psychological characteristics based on his unique life experiences.
Jung used a beautiful image to explain the universal archetypes.
The conscious mind is the visible part of an island, the unconscious of the individual is the submerged part of the island and the collective unconscious, common to all humans, is the ocean all around.
In any given spread the tarot cards images that represent the fundamental archetypes, combine to form a meaningful pattern in which we can project our situation.
The tarot card interpretation helps unconscious knowledge to surface and reflects the underlying fears and desires that are ignored by the rational mind.
In our culture, verbal knowledge overrules the immediate communication of an image but, with tarot cards, we allow our rational minds to sit back and let our non verbal, instinctive knowledge get the lead to gain an intuitive understanding of reality.
There is no doubt that we project our unconscious feelings and passions on the objects around us and there is a message in every symbol and a meaning behind every image of the tarot.
At the same time the cards open our eyes on the patterns of human behavior and offer us answers and solutions that we already unconsciously know but we hesitate to bring to a conscious level.
The tarot cards images work like a catalyst on our minds and can provide alternative ways of understanding our reality.
The process is similar to the Rorschach test where a subject is presented with a series of ambiguous, inkblot images and asked what he or she sees in the images.
The responses are then used by a trained psychologist to study the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of the subject.
The tarot cards images work like the pictures of the Rorschach test on which we can project the inner workings of our minds.
This way, a tarot spread can be used to clarify a decision making process, analyze problems, better relate to our world and ultimately stimulate our intuition and gain a better self-understanding.
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