Serious of articles on Carl Gustav Jung’s theories as they relate to the Tarot

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Jung and The Tarot – Part V – ANIMA AND ANIMUS

Anima Animus

Anima Animus Shrine by Lauren Raine

Anima and Animus defined by Car Jung

In Carl Jung’s school of analytical psychology, there are two primary human archetypes of the unconscious mind.  The anima and animus are described by Jung as elements of the collective unconscious. Anima is the archetype of a feminine inner personality in a man.  Likewise, animus is a masculine equivalent expressed by a woman.

The anima is one of the most significant autonomous complexes of all. It is due, in large part to the fact that a male’s sensitivity is often repressed.  Therefore, Jung believed the anima manifests itself by appearing in dreams. It also influences a man’s interaction with a woman and his attitude toward her. (In reverse for women).

Anima development stages

Like with his other archetypes, Jung believed there are four different and distinct stages of development of each: anima and animus. Basically, the development is the progress of a male opening up to emotionality and sensitivity.  In that way, when he reaches the final (spiritual) state, he creates a new conscious paradigm that includes intuitive process, creativity and imagination and psychic sensitivity toward himself and others that he may not have previously displayed.

  1. EVE

Eve is the first primordial woman.  The anima stage of Eve is the emergence of a woman only as an object of man’s desire.

  1. HELEN

Helen is referring to the Helen of Troy.  She is capable of worldly success and self-reliance.  She is intelligent and insightful. This second stage of the anima development shows a clear division between external talents (i.e. success in business) with lacking internal qualities (i.e. virtue, faith or imagination).

  1. MARY

Referring to the Christian Mary, mother of Jesus, this level of anima seems to possess virtue by the man perceiving her (even if that virtue is esoteric and/or dogmatic).  That quality is elevated to such an extent that activities deemed unvirtuous (whether conscious or otherwise) cannot apply to her.

  1. SOPHIA

Sophia in this case refers to the Greek word for ‘wisdom.’ The development is now complete and it allows the woman to be seen and related to as an individual who possesses both negative and positive qualities.

Animus development stages

There are four parallel developments of animus as well.

  1. MAN OF MERE PHYSICAL POWER (TARZAN)

This is your basic, first, primordial human. He is an athletic champion, a muscle man whose sole drive is that power

  1. MAN OF ACTION OR ROMANCE (THE TROUBADOUR)

In this next stage, the animus has a capacity for planned action – he is a poet and /or hero.

  1. MAN AS TEACHER (CLERGYMAN, ORATOR)

At this stage of the animus development, the animus becomes the word, often appearing as a professor or a clergyman, or, perhaps, a great political orator.

  1. MAN AS SPIRITUAL GUIDE

In this final stage, the animus is the incarnation of meaning.  Jung pointed out that in this development, this aspect of the animus appears as Hermes, messenger of the gods.  Like Sophia, this is the highest level of mediation between the unconscious and conscious mind.

The Fool’s Journey

In the Tarot, the development of anima and/or animus, closely follows the Fool’s Journey.  It appears in its various stages – at times as unification – at times as struggles between the opposites.

For example, the Lovers is the very epitome of the meeting of Anima and Animus in its early stages. As Eve and ‘Tarzan.’ It is a stage where sexual identification begins to take shape and form. It is the basic physical desire to explore the opposite sex. It is also a basic, carnal desire to couple.

Then you have two clear representations of the final development stages in the Hermit and the High Priestess.  We often define these cards as possessing ‘hidden wisdom.’  Yet it takes a truly enlightened person to understand that true wisdom is only hidden within your own psyche – your unconscious.

Similarly, in the Chariot, we have the clear need to unite the Anima and Animus as Helen and Man of Action. It is this original understanding that only with the union of the two will the direction become clear and the path be revealed.

Likewise, the we unite these two in the mental (personal unconscious) plane in the form of the Justice Card. This is a unification of Mary and Man as a Teacher. It is an understanding of virtue and the balance of right and wrong that the two possess. Therefore, their unification brings a balance of law and order into the world.

Anima and Animus of the Tarot

Once again, we can see how much richer a Tarot reading becomes when we apply Jungian theories of human psyche and development.  Not only can we, as readers, present our clients with a 360-degree picture of their current situation, but present them with meaningful choices and clear paths forward.  It is only when we understand where, in the process of spiritual and mental development the querent resides that we can map out a clear direction to their life’s destiny and help them understand how to get there.

 

*”Anima and Animus Shrine” – artwork by Lauren Raine, 2003

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Jung and The Tarot – Part IV – ARCHETYPES

Archetypes

History of Archetypes

Carl Jung did not invent the theory of Archetypes.  That acclaim goes back to Plato. Plato theorized that non-physical, but substantial forms (or ideas) were imprinted in the soul before it was born into the world. (See Plato’s Theory of Ideas). To Plato, these ideas or archetypes were collective – that is they embodied fundamental characteristics, rather than specific individualities.

Carl Jung advanced and refined Plato’s concept of psychological archetypes. In Jungian psychology, archetypes are highly developed elements of collective unconscious. They are inherited potentials, which are actualized when they enter consciousness as images or manifest in behavior or interaction with the outside world. (see The Handbook of Jungian Psychology: Theory, Practice and Applications 1st Edition by Renos K. Papadopoulos).

Types of Archetypes

Archetypes be divided into two categories. The first, “STEREOTYPES”, refer to one type of personality or behavior being observed many times and routinely applied (this tends to happen with teenagers and young people), and the second, “EPITOMES”, refer to the exemplification of a personality or behavior.

By applying archetypes to the cards of the Major Arcana (the first 22 cards of the Tarot pack), Jung believed they could aid in finding solutions to the situation being discussed. The tarot are images that are present in different stages of existence on temporal, corporeal, actual and spiritual planes.  Some images combine all these characteristics.  Others focus on one or two in particular. Combined, the images (and their combinations) reveal to us a depiction of life itself, as a number of vignettes or scenes throughout time.

Understanding the archetypes, not only enables us to dig deep into the Tarot cards’ meanings, but allows us to ascertain at which life stage the situation is taking place.

Archetypes in the Major Arcana

Let me explain.  First, and foremost, each of the 22 major Archana cards represent a different archetype.  For example, a Fool is an archetype of a child – carefree, enthusiastic, and, somewhat careless. On the other hand, we have an archetype of a Father in the figure of the Emperor – he is supportive, protective, yet stern and authoritative.  The Mother archetype, in the form of the Empress is nurturing, caring, warm and fostering. Likewise, each of the remaining cards is embodied as one of the archetypes defined by Jung.  (You can read more about each archetype in Sallie Nichols’ “Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey.”)

Understanding the archetypes of the spread, along with their behavioral patterns and motivational drivers, allows us to dig deeper into a situation and its potential outcome.

There is more to the Tarot archetypes, however, than just their individual meaning. When we view all 22-cards in a Tableaux spread (see illustration below), we recognize the spiritual developmental stage of the querent and the situation.

The Major Arcana is an illustration of the Fool’s Journey.  It is a spiritual development journey from taking a leap of faith to conquering the world.

In his development, the fool progresses through three different stages:

  • The Development Stage – which is on a Practical Plane (Conscious State)
  • Then The Earthly Existence – the Mental Plane (Personal Unconscious)
  • And finally, through to the Spiritual Struggle – or the Spiritual Plane (Collective Unconscious)

The Tableaux

When reading the Major Arcana cards, it is very helpful to understand the three stages and the cards that represent them.

Tableaux

 

Take a look at the tableaux above. When you spread out the Major Arcana Cards into three rows, each representing one stage of the Fool’s Journey, you can see the cards that correspond to each stage of the Fool’s development.

Additionally, the vertical juxtaposition of the cards in their columns shed further light on the stages of development – from practical to spiritual and enlightened.

For example, take a look at row one.  What you will see are the very early stages of one’s development. There, one begins to comprehend concepts of authority, knowledge and power. On the second row, our hero, the Fool, deals with worldly matters. He is learning right from wrong and experiencing levels of deeper understanding of life and its continuous changes and transformations. Finally, on row three, the spiritual plane, the Fool begins to realize the powers within himself. He conquers his demons, struggles with inevitable chaos and learns the path to enlightenment.

Using the Tableaux

Similarly, these stages are connected on different levels through the columns.  For example, if you look at the cards on column 2, you will find that the Fool starts by seeking knowledge (High Priestess in row 1). But that’s only to discover that it rests within him (The Hermit in Row 2). He finds that the only way to move forward toward spiritual enlightenment is to have all his believes shattered (The Tower, in row 3) in order to be reborn as his Higher Self.

Or, let’s take a look at column 5.  There, the fool learns the power of worldly wisdom from the Hierophant in Row 1. He starts to contemplate his own powers and wisdom (The Hanged Man, in Row 2). Finally, he finds that the joy comes from knowing himself as the Sun in Row 3.

This deep understanding of the archetypes and their developmental stages, will not only enrich a Tarot reading. It will also provide a deeper insight into the energy surrounding the situation, which we cannot perceive through our consciousness alone.

 

 

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Jung and The Tarot – Part III – THE FOUR EGO FUNCTIONS

Four Functions

The Four Ego Functions

Jung classified people by the way they  perceived and interpreted reality and the two ways they respond to it.  ego functions

Jung categorized people as introverted and extroverted types. However, more importantly from the point of view of the Tarot, further divided them according to four functions of the mind. Those are: thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition.

  • Sensation (meaning sense perception) tells us that something exists
  • thinking tells you what it is;
  • feeling tells you whether it is agreeable or not;
  • and intuition tells you whence it comes and where it is going

These four are actually two diametrically opposed pairs – and Jung arranged them into a sort of compass.

 

Four Ego Functions

The Contrast of the Opposites

Jung often wrote about the dichotomy of Light and Dark, Conscious and Unconscious. So – likewise the four functions are presented as a kind of a fixed dial, with the top (conscious) part being light and the bottom (underdeveloped, unconscious) part, being dark.  The faculty which is most conscious (in the case above, Intuition) is the dominant one, or Principle function, the other one (in this case, Intuition) is the secondary faculty, or Auxiliary function and the one opposite to that (Sensation) is a second Auxiliary function.  The level of consciousness and development of each facility decreases with each number. Thus, while the Principal Function is fully conscious and dominant, with the second two being slightly suppressed and unconscious, the forth (in this case Sensation) is totally suppressed and unconscious.

So what of it?

Therefore, if a person has the Thinking function – an analytical way of looking at the world – highly developed, the Feeling function – the empathetic, warm-hearted way of looking at things – will be correspondingly underdeveloped.  In fact, it will be suppressed.  The same goes for Sensation and Intuition.  Sensation is orientation ‘outward’ to physical reality, Intuition is ‘inward’ – into a psychic reality.

Types

Because we tend to choose the easy route and avoid what doesn’t feel natural, most of us greatly develop and improve our Principle functions and ignore our suppressed functions. As a result, our suppressed function becomes less and less conscious and developed. With age, we start being ‘typed’ according to our superior function and we, as well as others, will label ourselves introverted or extraverted as we understand ourselves, and, what’s worse, become comfortable with these labels.

In his words:

Jung however, believed that “For complete orientation all four functions should contribute equally: thinking should facilitate cognition and judgment, feeling should tell us how and to what extent a thing is important or unimportant for us, sensation should convey concrete reality to us through seeing, hearing, tasting, etc., and intuition should enable us to divine the hidden possibilities in the background, since these too belong to the complete picture of a given situation.”Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 6) (Bollingen Series XX)

The Four Functions and the Minor Arcana

Jung’s four functions can help enrich our understanding of the Minor Arcana.  Conversely the cards can assist in psychological exploration.

This is what the Four Ego Functions look like in the Tarot

  • Intuition is an ego that is subjective, it is internal reality. It corresponds to the Suit of Wands
  • Its opposite is Sensation, which is objective, external reality. Sensation corresponds to the Suit of Pentacles
  • Thinking is a reasoning ego, which represents intellect and detachment. It corresponds to the Suit of Swords, whose opposite is
  • The opposite of thinking is Feeling – an emotional, empathetic ego, that corresponds to the Suit of Cups

 

Understanding the major elements and characteristics of the suits is the first step to an intuitive and accurate Tarot Reading.

Not only can understand the basic psychic make-up of the situation based on the suits, which, in turn correspond with the four functions, but we can understand the general conditioning of the situation and where, in the realm of the querent’s consciousness it resides.

For example, let’s say that the suit of cups dominates the spread. The implication there is that the situation is driven or manipulated by feelings and emotions.  On the other hand, when there is a large presence of swords, we can deduce that the querent is led by his brain only – not listening to the gut and ignoring intuition.  Tarot readings become more meaningful when we apply the understanding of Jung’s Four Ego functions, and a lot more 3-dimensional.

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Jung and The Tarot – Part II – SYNCHRONICITY

Synchronicity

 

What is Synchronicity

Jung coined the term ‘synchronicity’ to describe simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no apparent casual connection.

In his book “Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle,” Jung wrote:

…it is impossible, with our present resources, to explain ESP, or the fact of meaningful coincidence, as a phenomenon of energy. This makes an end of the causal explanation as well, for “effect” cannot be understood as anything except a phenomenon of energy. Therefore, it cannot be a question of cause and effect, but of a falling together in time, a kind of simultaneity. Because of this quality of simultaneity, I have picked on the term “synchronicity” to designate a hypothetical factor equal in rank to causality as a principle of explanation.

Synchronicity was a principle, which, Jung felt, gave conclusive evidence for his concepts of archetypes and the collective unconscious.  It described a governing dynamic which underlies the whole of human experience and history – social, emotional, psychological and spiritual.

Meaningful Coincidences

Most important is the fact that Jung considered synchronicities to be “acausal”.  That means that synchronicities have no cause-and-effect relationship.  For example: you think about your sister and at that moment she calls.  Or as you are thinking about your high-school friend, you see his photo in the newspaper. Jung considered these meaningful coincidences. Here we need to understand the concept of ‘meaning’.  Let’s say you hear the word ‘bright.’ You might think of the sun, or a bright-sunny day.  Or, perhaps, you think of someone who is very smart. Whatever the case is, the word itself is just a collection of sounds.  It is your understanding of it that give it meaning.

We might wish to divide the concept of synchronicity into three parts:

  1. Coincidence – two or more events that may seem to be related, but in reality, are not
  2. Acausality – Even when events appear to be related, one does not cause the other
  3. Meaning – our minds give sense to something (be it symbol, word or sound)

Tools of Divination

Jung suggested that synchronicity could be responsible for the way that divination tools (like the I Ching or the Tarot) might work. To Jung there was a connection between physical objects (i.e. Tarot Cards) and the images one sees in one’s mind. Because synchronistic events usually entail physical objects, they provide an explanation for the Tarot readings. The problems arise with the fact that synchronistic events are almost impossible to study as their occurrence is random and unpredictable. Therefore, can we say that synchronicity can be harnessed and used by the tarot reader in a conscious, directed manner?

Jung conducted a number of experiments involving ESP and astrology.  He had made observations that the results of such experiments largely depended on the state of mind of their subjects.  For example: if a subject were a skeptic or just uninterested, he or she scored worse than the ones that were enthusiastic about the project. Therefore, it was logical to conclude that to make use of synchronistic approach, one has to be of a receptive frame of mind. This is also suggestive of the fact that Tarot readers need to direct their thoughts along the appropriate paths to get meaningful results.  Think about this: if we’re all part of the collective unconscious, unless we focus on one particular individual and his issue(s), the result can be just about anything – and having nothing to do with the person for whom the cards are being read.

 

Synchronicity and The Tarot

I usually tell my clients that it doesn’t matter how they shuffle the cards; it doesn’t matter from where in the deck the cards will come from – the ‘right’ cards will come out anyway.  That’s because as a Tarot reader, it is my job to concentrate on the energies surrounding the client’s concern.  It is also my job to give meaning to the symbols and the pictures as they relate to my client. So as long I concentrate my energy and intent in the right direction, synchronicity takes over. Then the picture emerges from the Tarot that illuminates the energy and dynamics at work surrounding a particular situation.

 

So, in conclusion, we may even say that the Tarot is the very epitome of synchronicity:

  1. Coincidence – the cards that come out
  2. Acausality – the scenarios that emerges from the cards
  3. Meaning – the reader’s interpretation of the spread
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Jung and The Tarot – Part I – Carl Gustav Jung

Jung and the Tarot

Who was Carl Jung

Carl Gustav Jung (b. 1875 – d. 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. His work has been influential not only in psychiatry but also in anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy and mysticism.

Unfortunately, today, not too many people have heard of Jung – while most are quite familiar with Freud. Yet it was Jung, who coined many terms used not only in psychology, but in every-day life: introvert, extravert, synchronicity, anima, persona, archetype, individuation and more.

Early on in his career, Jung was an admirer of Freud and the two men even collaborated, as Freud, likewise, was quite fond of Jung’s work. However, by 1913, their relationship soured as Jung found some of Freud’s conclusions incomplete and somewhat negative and unrealistic.

Freud believed that everything in our lives goes back to a primal sexual urge, and is shaped by our relationship with our parents. He insisted that the human unconscious is a repository of repressed emotions and desires. Jung, however, downgraded the importance of sexuality and childhood conflicts in our reaction to daily life for the sake of individual psyche and quest for wholeness.

Jung’s system of Analytical Psychology

Jung operated on the premise of what he called ‘self-regulating’ psyche, which is composed of tensions between opposing attitudes of the ego and the unconscious. According to Jung, a neurosis is a significant unresolved tension between these contending attitudes.

Jung took great care to define the unconscious of a person as comprised of both, a personal unconscious (proceeding from the experiences of the individual) and a collective unconscious (issuing from the inherited structure of the brain, and common to humanity). This is important to esoteric study in that it goes some way towards explaining the power of archetypal, symbolic systems like the Tarot. Indeed, the concept of archetypes – potent universal symbols appearing in myths, fairytales and dreams – is a significant part of Jung’s concept of the unconscious.

Jung and The Tarot

Jung was familiar with the Tarot (although not, necessarily their history).  He referred to the cards in a number of letters and lectures. He believed that divination systems, like the Tarot or the I Ching, descended from the archetypes of transformation. Therefore, they were useful in providing that layer of unconscious that we cannot grasp with our human minds. Jung believed that the pictures and symbols of the cards, through the synchronicity of their appearance and position serve as a link. They are a connection, with the collective unconscious we could not, otherwise, attain.

Jung maintained that the archetypes presented in the Tarot, as they fuse with regular elements of life of the cards lead to an intuitive understanding flow of life. A flow of life to which we may not, otherwise, be privy.

In his words

“The original cards of the Tarot consist of the ordinary cards, the king, the queen, the knight, the ace, etc. Only the figures are somewhat different. And besides, there are twenty-one cards upon which are symbols, or pictures of symbolical situations. For example, the symbol of the sun, or the symbol of the man hung up by the feet. Or the tower struck by lightning, or the wheel of fortune, and so on. Those are sort of archetypal ideas, of a differentiated nature. They mingle with the ordinary constituents of the flow of the unconscious. And therefore it is applicable for an intuitive method that has the purpose of understanding the flow of life. Possibly even predicting future events, at all events lending itself to the reading of the conditions of the present moment.

It is in that way analogous to the I Ching. I Ching is the Chinese divination method that allows at least a reading of the present condition. You see, man always felt the need of finding an access through the unconscious. Access to the meaning of an actual condition. That’s because there is a sort of correspondence or a likeness between the prevailing condition and the condition of the collective unconscious.”*

Today, Jung’s theories of archetypes, ego functions, anima and animas and others, can help us further our understanding of the Tarot. With that understanding, our readings can be more meaningful, spiritual and profound.

 

*[from Visions: Notes of the Seminar given in 1930-1934 by C. G. Jung, edited by Claire Douglas. Vol. 2. (Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series XCIX, 1997), p. 923.]