I recently wrote a book about the Tarot, Tarot and the Twelve Powers: A Journey for the Heart and Soul. I want to explain how I relate to Tarot cards.
Most people associate Tarot cards with fortune tellers and esoteric arts. Authors of books about the Tarot too often want to tell the reader what the cards mean. I have a different understanding of the Tarot. I don’t believe the cards hold any inherent meaning or that they can predict your future. Rather, I see Tarot images as akin to dream images; we can engage with in a similar manner.
Tarot images serve as projection holders for our thoughts, beliefs, memories, feelings, and experiences. In other words, we project our inner world onto the images. By engaging with them, we unlock the door to our own subconscious mind and discover the wisdom hidden there.
We may awake in the morning carrying a dream fragment into the day or even perhaps a long story of events played out in visual memory from our dream. We naturally begin to make associations between the dream images or story and our waking experience: memories, thoughts, feelings, events. If we follow the thread of connections between the dream world and waking world we may come to a sudden insight or what is sometimes called an “ah-ha” experience. We recognize some truth that was not available to us before. This is because dreams are avenues for communicating with our subconscious mind where personal wisdom, understanding, and awareness may be hiding.
Tarot images, like dream images are in a sense, projection holders. We project onto them our memories, feelings and beliefs. This process allows us, through the workings of the subconscious mind, to come to greater personal and spiritual insight. What is projected onto the card is personal and unique to the viewer.
This is why, just as only the dreamer can know the meaning of the dream, only the person pouring his or her associations onto the Tarot images can know what the images mean. And because what one projects onto a card will be different over the course of time, so too the meaning of the card will change. Clearly the images do not hold any inherent meaning.