Tarot in Therapy

The tarot can be a magical therapeutic tool. It can help you to understand yourself better and it’s a great way to communicate with your unconscious mind.

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It’s believed that our unconscious mind is in charge for about 90% of the time – yes 90%. Hard to believe isn’t it? Even though we feel as if we’re consciously aware for most of our waking day, in fact we hardly ever are. It’s all an illusion and it’s actually our unconscious minds that are running the show. For a large proportion of the time we’re either ruminating about the past, planning (or worrying about) the future , or we’re just daydreaming idly and functioning on auto-pilot. Have you ever driven somewhere only to realise with horror you can’t recall a single detail of the journey? Who was driving the car? Your unconscious mind was.

This is good in a way of course, because having these automatic ‘programmes’ running in the background means we don’t have to be concerned with all the daily trivia that takes up so much of our time. For example, we don’t have to concentrate on what we’re doing when we’re brushing our teeth or tying our shoelaces – our unconscious mind can take care of all that routine stuff on our behalf.

It only becomes a problem when this automatic ‘programming’ leads us to react or behave in ways we don’t want to. We can find ourselves repeating unhelpful behaviours again and again, even though consciously we realise that what we’re doing is unhelpful at best and seemingly insane at worst. For example a phobia that causes someone to crash their car when a spider appears dangling in front of them when they’re driving or a person who continues to smoke when they’ve been told to give up for health reasons.

Well it’s not really ‘you’ behaving in this way. It’s those unconscious programmes that continually run in in the background, somewhere outside of your awareness. The original purpose of these programmes would have been positive (keeping you safe for example) but they’re no longer relevant and now you find they have a negative impact on your life.

So if we’re running on automatic for so much of the time, wouldn’t it be good to have an effective way of changing those unhelpful programmes and letting your unconscious mind know the way you want it to behave and what you wish to achieve?

Well, this is why the Tarot can be of enormous help.

You see the unconscious mind works symbolically (in fact it’s virtually impossible to think of any abstract concept without the use of symbols and/or metaphoric language – which is symbolic in itself).

So the Tarot with all it’s symbolism is the perfect aid when we wish to find out what’s happening on an unconscious level. It works both ways too. We can also use the Tarot to communicate about the things we would like our unconscious mind to help us with.

You may already know that a Tarot pack is actually made up of two sets of cards, the Major and the Minor Arcana (Arcana means mystery or secret).

The old tarot card. The FoolThe Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, the first one of which is the Fool card. The Fool represents each one of us as we navigate our way through life. It also represents the innocence and naiveté with which we start our journey and could be called our inner child. The Fools journey through the Major Arcana could also be likened to a spiritual progression and is a story of alchemy.

The other 21 cards represent the stages we go through during our journey and the major lessons we need to learn in order for us to grow as a person or for the soul to move closer to enlightenment.

The Minor Arcana consists of 40 suit cards and 16 court cards. The suit cards represent day-to-day earthly and practical matters, including the many struggles and successes that impact us during our lives.

The court cards are the ‘people’ cards and either represent people who are in your life or aspects of your own character.

When we work with the Tarot, the cards are always open to your own individual interpretation. We can be playful and light-hearted with them or we can be more serious and introspective depending on the outcome we wish to achieve. Your unconscious mind will always take whatever meaning is appropriate at the time and this can lead to a deeper understanding of your situation.

The Tarot is a particularly helpful aid for personal myth work and can also be easily  incorporated into any therapy session in many ways.

There are many different packs to choose from and some of the artwork is stunning. I have a variety of packs available so you can choose to work with the ones that resonate with you the most. If you’re interested please contact me and we’ll chat.