Introduction to Tarot by Carole Szerman

The marriage of Jung’s work with the traditional Tarot has been instrumental in the demystification of both the tarot and Jungian psychology.

Jung’s only comment about the tarot was that ”he saw all the Tarot images as descended from the archetypes of transformation: The Tarot images are based on the archetypes.”

This was enough encouragement to create an exploration of the tarot by Jungians; Dr Robert Wang, a Jungian and notable Taroist (1978), describes the Tarot as a system accepted by many respectable sources such as the school of Carl Jung which views the Tarot images as agreeing perfectly with the archetypes of the collective unconscious.

It seems that Jung has made Tarot more popular, or that Tarot has made Jung more popular. Either way, they both needed to be made more accessible and comprehensible to a wider audience, rather than being shrouded in mystery on the one hand, or unavailable because of intellectual remoteness and exclusivity.

The Mythic Tarot

In the last twenty years the traditional Tarot has been connected more with transpersonal psychology. With the integration of Tarot with depth archetypal psychology, we now have a broader theoretical base, which is more inclusive and holistic in its approach.

I am in-gratitude to Dr Liz Greene and Juliet Sharman Burke, for forging a path that balances both the ancient Greek myths, traditional Tarot, and modern depth psychology. Their pioneering work has enabled the Tarot to be used as a practical tool for inner exploration and healing.

Many people over the years have made comments, that they did not feel comfortable with some of the more well known Tarot decks. I had also felt this when I first took an interest in Tarot, but at that time I could not put words to my feelings. Today I would say the uncomfortable feelings that I and many other people had about the decks in question were perhaps, the psyche’s way of knowing on an intuitive level, that the decks and their books, did not contain an all embracing narrative for a holistic healing journey for the Psyche.

I have many decks, which I enjoy, but I keep the Mythic Tarot as my foundation. I consider the mythic as being the most complimentary deck in which to support a therapeutic process. The Mythic Tarot a classically based deck it contains the purest hereditary lineage. From the ancient Greek myths to the first Tarot decks of Renaissance Italy which depicted images of the Greek gods, through to the integration of Jungian archetypal psychology.

Jung’s said that “The heroes and gods of the Greek pantheon were actually symbols par excellence for the archetypes”.

With this new archetypal approach to Tarot, evident in the workings of the Mythic Tarot, we have the backing of the great lords of psychology, the Greek gods.

Carole Szerman

Comments from Belle, a Theatre Critic, who attended the course:

“I already had an interest in transpersonal psychology. As someone who had spent serious money on having Tarot consultations, and having many friends who were in a similar position to me, I was looking for a Tarot course to empower me – I wanted an interactive modality. I had always felt alienated having readings with traditional decks as I felt this lacked a much needed interaction from my end as the client. Because of this, I decided I wanted to learn the Tarot for myself. I realised from doing this course that all women and men go through the same life processes, and that women were particularly susceptible to relationship issues, which I learned was part of a feminine development pattern (I now know they are called archetypal processes-or rites of passage). The openness of our teacher gave us the perfect atmosphere to realise our own individuality in amongst a collective.”

In my research I found that people were much more open to having consultations based on a symbolic system such as Tarot or psychological astrology. People are inclined to put up defensive boundaries (including myself) in the confines of a therapeutic process. After attending the Mythic Triumphs course, I would say it is wiser to learn a divination system for one self, and attempt to be in control of your life and take responsibility for your own destiny. And drop the blame game.

“The course opened my eyes to realities of people like me seeking readings; I learned that there were many thousands of women like me looking for answers to relationship problems.

I was perhaps a little naive to believe that someone could solve my emotional complexities at the turn of a card.

The course is very relationship oriented. This was proved to me in the very structure of the course which put me at the centre, if I can develop an awareness of my true self, then I have an authentic self, with which I can relate to others.

The course mantra was:

'The goals must be the client’s goals, strategies must be the client’s strategies and action plans must be the client’s plans. The helper’s job is to stimulate the client’s imagination and to help him or her in the search for incentives'(Schuler)."

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