Tarot As a Problem Solving Tool

Archetypal Symbolism Accesses the Subconscious Mind

As a Behavioral Science Specialist, I believe that tarot is an excellent tool for problem-solving. There are many excellent books that explain the origins of tarot as well as the meanings of the cards and many different layouts and spreads that can be used. That is not my purpose in this article. Here I would like to explain how a Christian (like myself) or anyone else for that matter, can use tarot in a simple layout, or no layout at all, to access the subconscious mind and arrive at solutions to everyday problems.

The method I use originates with the ideas of psychologist, Carl Jung, who set forth the theory of archetypal symbolism. In short, there are in existence, symbols that are meaningful to all humans everywhere. These symbols are so powerful that they directly and effortlessly access the subconscious mind. Using them as meditative tools can help a person access the power, knowledge and wisdom of the subconscious mind.

It is my own theory that the soul, each person’s direct line to God, resides in the subconscious mind. For me, tarot is just one of many ways to access that power, energy and information. The other ways include prayer, meditation, time in nature, exercise, and many others. I do not believe God is picky about how we communicate, as long as we communicate.

The Classic Rider Waite Deck Uses Lots of Christian Imagery

Title: Classic Rider Waite Deck  Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ Photographer: sportswear: everystockphoto.com
Title: Classic Rider Waite Deck Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ Photographer: sportswear: everystockphoto.com

There Are Cards to Dovetail With Every Interest

A well designed deck of tarot cards contains depictions of every possible scenario that could occur in a person’s life. From the innocence of infancy, through the ebullience of youth, the struggles of adulthood, the attained wisdom of middle age, and the peace of old age, all can be found in the illustrations of a well-designed deck. The main topics of life are illustrated: Spirituality and emotions, intellect, work and creativity, and money and earthly matters. These pictures and the symbolism incorporated in each one are easy for any person to relate to. If you are put off by the classic Rider Waite tarot (shown above) as many are, there are decks designed to appeal to any taste. There are even decks that illustrate the life of Jesus and stories from the Old and New Testament.

Illustrations and Symbolism Encourage Thought

To use tarot as a meditative and problem solving tool, here is what I do. I choose the deck that appeals to me - I have many. I shuffle the cards with my question in mind and lay them out in four piles. I turn over the top card of each pile. The first card gives the tone and general intent of the consultation. The second card indicates my thoughts at the moment. The third card indicates things that I should keep in mind as I consider the question. The fourth card indicates possible outcomes.

It is important to note, that it doesn’t really matter what cards are drawn, and you don’t have to do it in this order. The true purpose of the cards, when used this way, is simply to act as springboards for my own thought processes and to act as a tool to gain access to the strength of the subconscious mind, where the answer to the question is likely to be waiting fully formed. Each card has a story associated with it, and it is helpful to tell the stories of the cards as a starting point, but it is amazing how quickly the mind begins working and paints it’s own pictures and quickly arrives at it’s own conclusions.

Universal Stories Encourage Personal Solutions

When I use this process for others, I do not ask them what their question is. I just lay out the cards and then tell them the basic, bare bones story that is being presented by the cards. Because the stories told by the cards are universal, the person is sure to relate in some way and will quickly “correct” me or agree or say something like “Well, I hadn’t thought of that, but that’s a different way to look at it.” Before you know it, we are brainstorming and arriving at a solution to the person’s question.

In this way, the cards act as a way for a person to open up and access thoughts they didn’t know they had. I am always careful to tell the stories of the cards in positive and empowering ways that leave the person feeling ready to move forward in a positive way.

Positive Presentation Empowers & Encourages

For example, one young woman asked me to help her sort out her feelings around going to college. She was afraid she would not be able to withstand the pressure because she had experienced problems with drug and alcohol addiction in the past. I don’t remember exactly what her cards were. I do remember the Three of Cups which depicts three women dancing in celebration with wine cups turning up in the second position (her thoughts at the moment). This is the kind of serendipitous event that I believe indicates God is present and eager to use this tool to communicate.

The result of this consultation was that the young woman gained a sense that, even though alcohol and drugs had been a problem in the past, it was a problem that was indeed in the past. She was well aware of it. She possessed all the strength and faith she needed to move forward now, redirect her energies, and do her best.

The Cards Provide a Springboard for Communication

When I finished this consultation, her little brother shyly asked me to help him with a problem he was having controlling his temper at school. A very gentle consultation with a very light-hearted deck helped him to see that he is a sensitive and intelligent young man who may see things differently than others. However, fortunately for him, he had all the tools he needed to be able to recognize that he was about to be upset and to remove himself from the situation, take some deep breaths and look at it from a different perspective (as represented by a card called The Hanged Man - a positive depiction of a young man engaged in a practice of discipline and meditation).

In this situation, the cards provided a very fortunate opportunity for this young man to ask for help when he might not have asked for it at all or known that help was available for this kind of problem. The cards can be a very good “conversation piece” for working with young people, not unlike play therapy that uses dolls, toys and so on for acting out situations and arriving at solutions. The pictures and symbolism encourage creativity and positive problem-solving.

What Would Jesus Do?

Used in this way, there is nothing “occult” about tarot cards. It is important to remember that cards are just cards. They are pieces of cardboard with pictures printed on them. Any power they have is imbued by the user. No object is inherently good or bad. Any object can be used for negative or positive purposes - including the cross!

What would Jesus do? I am a Christian with a very strong and personal faith based both in my own experiences and in some formal study. I believe that, used in this way, Jesus would be very supportive of tarot. With His love of parables and story-telling and helping people to see how His universal stories relate to their day-to-day lives, this method would have fit right in to His ministry on earth. I personally believe that Jesus is open-minded enough to want to reach people in any way they will be reached. Tarot was not invented when Jesus walked the earth. If it had been, tarot might now be widely seen as a positive alternate way of problem-solving, worshipping, praying, and meditating!

And that is how I see it!

Copyright:SuzanneBennett:May 26, 2009

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Comments 18 comments

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Many many years ago I purchased a deck of tarot cards - I cannot tell you anything about them except that they were easy for me to understand. So I did research, and studied them and practiced - and invited a friend over to do her cards. The cards were so on point - things about her that I did not know. But then...she came back with friends...then invited me to her house for a meal...and had a house full of friends waiting for me - it became overwhelming but everyone else was so happy with the readings.

I was also very much into astrology because I found I could guess people's signs (we really aren't that different or complex) and then the I ching - and Chinese lunar astrology. And there is numerology. We could learn a lot from the ancients if we allowed ourselves to be receptive.

I enjoyed reading this hub. Many many thanks!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks, BK! I "read" for myself. For other people I do "consultations. I make that distinction because I don't claim to be able to predict the future or contact spirits or anything like that. I just help people access their own deepest thoughts and their own spirit. I will say, when I "read" for myself, I often feel that information is being imparted. As you say, it is a matter of being receptive! :)


angela 7 years ago

thanks for the reading which was informative and gave useful adivce, it was certainly food for thought and i recommend others to engage in this process with you.

Thank you for your time Suzanne. x


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

My pleasure! :)


Shannon Matteson profile image

Shannon Matteson 6 years ago from Florida

You and I seem to have come to similar conclusions on a few of the points you mention concerning the Tarot. I just this morning approved the publication of my book, Secrets of the Tarot, through CreateSpace and Amazon, and I have a lot of theory in it about the how and why it works. While I primarily use Tarot for prediction, and that's what my book teaches you how to do with the cards, you and I seem to agree on how and where the information comes from in large part.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks for the info! :)


Sue Real profile image

Sue Real 6 years ago from So close to Canada, I can smell the bacon.

Great article;

I am a professional Tarot Reader and Astrologer and I teach these subjects as well. I agree with what you say about Tarot being a tool to solve problems.

Sometimes I just use one card to answer a question for myself.

I find that with clients I must use the cards because they are for them, not for me. I am a Jungian and I beleive that the symbols in the deck are to stimulate the unconscious of the client and cause an awakening.

Technically speaking, I can answer the questions without the cards. My teacher Ralph Weston told me that some clients don't trust it when you don't have something tangible for them to look at. Also, sometimes the reader can get info about people from our guides,that really has nothing to do with the question.

For example, if it is a phone reading and you tell them what color shirt they are wearing, it is not important but it is something to help the skeptical to pay attention. He called it the "hook" for the nonbelievers.

I just wonder why some of the predictions I've made took so long to come true but they did. With one client I had told them they needed to live in on the East Coast in a town with the letter M. Well, nine years later she finally moved to Marblehead, Mass. Not because of what I said but fate just brought here to that place. I have numerous examples but I would like to hear about your experience of this with your clients. Timing is such a tricky thing.

Someone came to me on a Sunday and said they were to be married on Wed. I told them it would not even last 4 months and that she should reconsider the matter. Well, she got married on Wed and he left by Thursday. I was correct but not really accurate. I also don't believe that I do the reading that it is the guides speaking.

All the best, a fellow Hubber, Sue Real


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you, Sue. I don't predict the future. I just help the client sort out their own thoughts using the symbolism on the cards as a springboard. Cheers! :)


PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 5 years ago

I never had anyone give me a real tarot card reading yet I really want to have one especially at times when I feel so lost and tired. It seems as if I could get inspired from what the tarot card reader would tell me...


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

That's true. It's a good way to refocus and see your problem or puzzle from a different point of view! :)


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia

I have used tarot cards many times for both my personal use or to do reading for friends and have found them to be a fantastic aid in sorting through confusion,

this was a great read as having been raised in the church I eventually stopped using them believing them to be occultic, perhaps I will re-look into it :)


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! Glad to be of help! :)


Yoda Speaks profile image

Yoda Speaks 5 years ago from UNKNOWN

"I believe that, used in this way, Jesus would be very supportive of tarot." ..."It is important to remember that cards are just cards." say you?

Nothing to do with Christianity, what you say you believe Jesus would do has - Jesus has made it very clear, to live by the Word of God, we are, not what we imagine, do and the Word of God specifically denounces things such as tarot cards no matter how you think you are using them, he would. And full of ads to use them for other things than "Just cards", your hub is . .

"The Bible strongly condemns spiritism, mediums, the occult, and psychics (Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:10-13). Horoscopes, tarot cards, astrology, fortune tellers, palm readings, and séances fall into this category as well. These practices are based on the concept that there are gods, spirits, or deceased loved ones that can give advice and guidance. These “gods” or “spirits” are demons (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). The Bible gives us no reason to believe that deceased loved ones can contact us. If they were believers, they are in heaven enjoying the most wonderful place imaginable in fellowship with a loving God. If they were not believers, they are in hell, suffering the un-ending torment for rejecting God’s love and rebelling against Him."

You say, a Christian, you are, hmm? "With some formal study, hmm"? Studying, I wonder what you were - try opening the Bible. Then for forgiveness ask God for leading to sedition his children down a path. Hmmmmmm.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

Well, Yoda, it's unfortunate that you feel that way. As I said, I do not use tarot cards for "spiritism", "the occult" or to divine the future. I use them as tools for focus. My HUB is not full of ads for "other uses" of them. The items I suggest are all books that I am familiar with and that I have specifically chosen as being non-occult and not for the purpose of divination.

Cards are objects. If you are opposed to the use of specific objects, you should definitely avoid using them.

I do not believe that God is so small-minded as to as to pass judgment on objects. God knows what is in our hearts.


Yoda Speaks profile image

Yoda Speaks 5 years ago from UNKNOWN

Really? so what this promoting Psychics call you?

Ask 1 Free

Psychic Question. Seen on FOX TV. Get Instant Honest Answer Free.

www.SpiritNow.com

More such ads on your hub appear sometimes or changed them have you. hmmm The dark side I sense!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

That's Google AdSense. I have no control over what they place on the page. Perhaps after you've been a HUBBER for more than a few minutes, you'll understand how the various ad programs work. Hubbers have control over the Amazon ads. Nothing else.


pan1974 profile image

pan1974 4 years ago from Columbus,Ga

Interesting read.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! :)

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