Tarot, Speech of the Soul

Discussions of the arcane symbols of Tarot and other decks
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Symbols appear on each and every tarot card - visual signs that convey meaning. Some of them are highly individual and personal, others time-honored and traditional. Some are easy to understand, others difficult and multivalent. In this forum, we want to study symbols from different decks, traditions and cultures together using books, websites, lwbs and our own intuition.
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Barleywine
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Tarot, Speech of the Soul

Post by Barleywine » 13 Feb 2018, 20:10

I've been working with a friend to develop a psychological reading approach that adapts the ideas of John Beebe to tarot. (Ideally, it will be published in The Cartomancer later this year.) During our conversations, she happened to mention the writing of James Hillman, which I haven't read since my undergraduate days. I went to Wikipedia to look at the synopsis on Hillman and found some fascinating stuff that seems directly applicable to the study and practice of tarot. Hillman's work with "Archetypal Psychology" has been an attempt to restore psyche to what he believes to be "its proper place" in psychology. He sees the soul at work in imagination, fantasy, myth and metaphor, all of which I bring to bear in reading the cards. Although he was talking about dream analysis and not specifically about tarot, the key ideas I took away from it are:

Tarot is an excellent example of Hillman's "speech of the soul."

Working with tarot images by "giving them attention and shaping and forming them until they are as clear as possible" strikes me as exactly what Hillman is talking about with "soul making."

The idea of "placing us inside images rather than placing images inside us" (which he ascribes to dreams but I see as equally applicable to working insightfully with the tarot) is one of the goals of using intuition (as well as imagination, inspiration and ingenuity) to psychically enter the cards and interact with the meaning ("soul") in the images.

Here is a Wiki excerpt that elaborates on those points. Now I have to dig up some of his books.

" A great portion of Hillman’s thought attempts to attend to the speech of the soul as it is revealed via images and fantasies. It seeks to explore images rather than explain them. Within this is the idea that by re-working images, that is giving them attention and shaping and forming them until they are clear as possible, then a therapeutic process which Hillman calls "soul making" takes place. Hillman equates the psyche with the soul and seeks to set out a psychology based without shame in art and culture. The goal is to draw soul into the world via the creative acts of the individual. The potential for soulmaking is revealed by psychic images to which a person is drawn and apprehends in a meaningful way. Indeed, the act of being drawn to and looking deeper at the images presented creates meaning – that is, soul. Hillman suggests that dreams show us as we are; diverse, taking very different roles, experiencing fragments of meaning that are always on the tip of consciousness. They also place us inside images, rather than placing images inside us."

That sounds like creative use of tarot in a rather large nutshell.

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Seedcake
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Re: Tarot, Speech of the Soul

Post by Seedcake » 21 Feb 2018, 05:00

It sounds amazing. Hillman was Jungian and then changed to develop his own theories. His works are great reads and I still have few to catch up. Even when I dwell into pragmatic psychotherapy techniques in my job, I'm so into postpsychoanalytic view. It's great food food for thought.

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Barleywine
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Re: Tarot, Speech of the Soul

Post by Barleywine » 21 Feb 2018, 08:48

Thanks for the encouragement! If Arwen decides to publish it in The Cartomancer, I will post which issue it will appear in. If she opts out, I will offer it to the editor at the American Tarot Association, and if all else fails I will post it on my blog.

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Hedera
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Re: Tarot, Speech of the Soul

Post by Hedera » 20 Apr 2018, 17:38

I hope you can keep us updated, it sounds really interesting!

I had never heard of Hillman, but he sounds right up my alley - off to look him up.

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