Tarot 101. + Consciousness & Intuition Bonus Material

I bet you all thought I spent Halloween, undoubtedly my favorite holiday of the year (it’s not) reveling in witch-ness and the opportunity to show off my magic sticks and rocks and stuff.

Yeah I didn’t. I actually passed the night working with an exceptionally experienced psychotherapist and mystic to learn about tarot, and ... life.

Ellen Goldberg M.A. “I have been a long-time (40+ years) student of both Eastern and Western spiritual philosophies, including Buddhism, the Tao, Kabalah, the Western Hermetic Tradition, Spiritual Alchemy, Mindfulness Meditation, Nature and the mystic sciences of Palmistry, and Astrology, the Tarot.” (Check her link for the extensive bio. Highly recommended; she’s amazing.)

Here’re the night’s highlights, and what gold:

On Consciousness. Intuition and Trance:

  • The words “man” and “mind” derive from the same Sanskrit root, which is “to think”.
  • Regarding consciousness, we still don’t know how thought arises. And, it is three-fold: subconscious; self conscious; and super conscious. The Lovers card represents this triad. The man (self) looks to the woman (sub) who looks to the sky/angel/spirit (super). Interpreted, this card suggests that the only way to reach the super conscious is via the subconscious.

“We must surely go the way of the waters, which always tend downward.” – Jung

  • Water represents the subconscious, and intuition, like muscles, can be strengthened with use. The word intuition means “inner tutor”.
  • Everything is the same, differentiated at it’s most elemental only by vibrations.

The Tarot shows us, pictorially, the path to self-actualization. Images are the primary language of the subconscious The archetypes are those of the collective consciousness, or memory deposits that we are born with.

  • Fascinating note: studies have found that animals, at birth, know friend+foe, safety+danger, before being taught. Suggesting that memories, or archetypes, are imprinted in DNA.
    • “… permanent memories are stored in altered genes. … our DNA creates ‘memory molecules,’ new novel proteins, from a unique blueprint that could be formed by neurons rearranging their DNA in response to each new experience.”
    • Trance (which we did that evening) is natural. And, the subconscious is protective. Even if in a trance, it will know how deep you can go, and if you need to wake up.
      • Note: Trance is another way to describe meditation or hypnosis. We love hypnosis. Especially via Daniel Ryan.

“Magic is the art of changing of consciousness at will.” – Starhawk (author, peace, environmentalist, global justice activist, Pagan and Witch)

  • The mind, “it is as difficult to control as the wind.” - Krishna
    • As a kid, I used to think that I could control the wind …

The Tarot:

  • In the Tarot, there are 22 Major Arcana, or trump cards. They begin with The Fool (0), which is the spirit and can weave itself between any card of the deck – it is the non-number. Following is The Magician (masculine, self-consciousness) and then The High Priestess (feminine, sub consciousness).
  • In order for the divine to manifest, it divided into light and dark, positive and negative, masculine and feminine.

The Fool: The “no thing”. The spirit – neither masculine nor feminine.

The Magician: Hermes. As above so below.

The High Priestess: Intuition and the direct route to the divine. Isis. The moon. She sits atop salt and between the pillars of negation and affirmation. She is the source of all water, which is the subconscious.

  • Throughout the deck, only variations of these three archetypes occur.
  • Tarot cards are a relatively new oracle system. The first deck was created during The Renaissance, whereas I Ching, rune cards, palmistry and astrology date back to at least 1,000 years BC.
  • In her opinion, they are just another means by which humanity reaches and receives diving intelligence (/ collective consciousness, god, truth – call it as suits you).
    • And, you need only one or two such experiences to last a lifetime.
    • (If you’re still reading at this point, I’m in pursuit of mine. It will be via Ayahuasca.)
    • For beginners, or just in general, an excellent question for the Tarot is “What do you think I need to know?” I posed a similar one for my very first draw from my new deck, and received The Fool. Considering it’s the very first card in the deck (yes, I shuffled), I read it as a perfect introduction.


Following the learning, I did a reading, and spent some time in trance. This is long and modern attention spans are short so I’ll write up the reading separately.

Thoughts, questions, tarot experiences or otherwise? I’ll study up so I can give proper readings to any willing parties.