When I first poked my fingers into the tarot cards, I took a psychological approach. For all the worldly wisdom of my 20s, the cards showed me what I stubbornly denied or ever thought to consider. It seemed all the boring cards kept popping out of the deck. Particularly the Hierophant.
I think it was the Biddy Tarot Podcast that suggested asking yourself, before turning over the cards: What is it you want the cards to tell you? This blinked my selective seeing into high beam and made me see where I was painting a pretty picture instead of looking with my eyes.
Walking alongside the Hierophant for the most part, I met astrologers and witches, who unknowingly showed me how self conscious and self limiting, my intellectual approach to the imagination was.
I did have a fear of being perceived as airy-fairy and not taken seriously. All the while, I believed any form of narrow-mindedness was/is as bad as any other. Even the most mainstream stereotype has its own quirks, uniqueness and specific charm. At it’s worst though: The mainstream projects scathing judgements, destructive criticism and expectations that can be belittling and condescending.
However, I was quite happy to continue with the Tarot through the psychological lens – not wanting to be dogmatic about the woo-woo. But as synchronicities echoed one another, there was a point where I asked myself, do I want to be a psychologist or an artist?
Not that they’re mutually exclusive. For me it was a blunt way to point my finger at my intention. I drew to psychology and philosophy for its expansive exploration of the mind and our perception of reality. But why stop at the mind?
In witchcraft, the Imaginative Realm can become tangible – energy to manipulate or draw from. Sympathetic magick uses symbols and gestures of intent – similar to an artist expressing their inspiration with an intention to evoke something in the audience. The Tarot itself can also be used in this more active, spellcasting approach. And, it can do both. Bridging between reading the tarot cards to choosing and curating the self transformation you intend to manifest.
I like to think of the subconscious like a body of water in the basement of one’s mind. The Tarot cards like the surface of that water, projecting up what’s going on in those depths – the triggers, blocks and motivations. Skimming this surface, our conscious mind can reflect upon this information. Processing the data. Even analysing how we’re processing this, if it’s self limiting and one-dimensional or encouraging and curious.
In itself, this self reflection and shadow work is transformative. Knowing yourself brings an awareness to not just who you are, but how and why you act or “do you”. Sometimes by defining a thing, you decide what it is and what it isn’t. We are full of contradictions, which I think is part of the chaos in creativity. This also lends to the water metaphor, a continual flux of knowing and exploring oneself.
But rather then float around this nebulous and infinite shape shifting… The Tarot can be used in spell casting to cast out intentionally the archetypes and energies you want to rhyme with, encourage and emulate. Casting these cards out onto your subconscious basement sink-hole, to plant these intention-seeds directly into that unseen/unknowable part of yourself.
The card creeping hand in this drawing implies what I’ve been getting at here. With her witch-fingertips on, the looming gesture is anticipating the dive into the psyche’s pond in the basement. The moment before turning over the cards, as you hand hovers… mentally you shift and open your consciousness to the projections from the pool’s depths. Scratching the surface with the intention and fearlessness of a witch. A person unafraid to own their own power completely – the flaws and the pleasantries, the contradictions and intentions.
What do you expect to find in the depths of your psyche?