The Unconscious knows… and you can too!

I recently taught as part of a whole day Tarot Symposium in Toronto with 4 other presenters. It was a lot of fun all around. From left to right are Monica Bodirsky, Bev Haskins, Marilyn Shannon, James Wells and Me. As always learning and sharing gets me fired up and brings new ideas to the surface.


Using the unconscious in Tarot Card Reading.

At the end of the day we did an exercise, lead by Marilyn at Kingston Psychic, where we created a court card of ourselves. Not choosing one of the standard ones and recreating it, but creating a new card as if we were going to add one to the deck. The thing that struck me about this exercise was that in the limited time we had my conscious brain did not really enter into the process. It was rush-rush to get it done without a worry about the artistry, or really even a plan for what the finished product should look like.

When it comes to communicating with the unconscious we have to put aside the idea of there being a correct answer. What we are looking for is information plain and simple. The unconscious speaks more through dreams and symbols so we should take the info as a coded message and break it down, rather than take it literally. The image of myself as a card that I created is not telling me something in plain English, but it is speaking plainly in the language of symbols.

Now I often work on getting people to access their unconscious in readings and when teaching but it can be very hard. When I ask a person to say the first thing that comes to mind, it can generate the opposite effect. They hunker down, and start digging for this hidden intuitive feeling. In reacting slowly they almost always move past their intuition and get bogged down in thoughts, emotions or trying to get it ‘right’. Unless they have already developed the knack for it you almost have to trick them.

The biggest reason to try and drawn from the client’s unconscious is that the language it provides is often more readily reabsorbed later on. Put simply the metaphors it provides can drive the narrative of the reading. If they speak of monsters, war, shadows, darkness, animals, angels, ghosts or whatever else it creates a backdrop for the story of the reading – an epic battle against the monster of addiction, or living in a war zone for a bad relationship. We can use these symbols to give context to the guidance the reading provides.

I always prep the person by saying the following things:

• Just say the first thing that comes to mind.
• It’s not about being right it is an exploration.
• Trust it will help me help you, even if it does not make sense right away.

For the purpose of this article lets focus on asking them “Who does this card remind you of?” Then try applying the following techniques:

• Ask questions quickly and move along if there is no answer
• Accept I don’t know
• Come back to the question later
• Ask them to stand up and walk around
• Rush their answer. Prompt, cajole, and prod them with comments and words.
• Ask them a list of people as fast as you can.
• Make a joke and then come back to it.

Use your judgment in doing this process as some people can get shut down. As the reader you have to be flexible and fast on your feet.

In the next posts we will get into some of the benefits of this approach, what kind of questions to ask, and some examples of it in action.

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