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tarot

The Spread

Lets use tarot as a tool not a game.

Intuition, instinct, and archetypes

Let’s approach a process of using the tarot as a device for meditation. A tool to help focus on different parts of oneself and adjust those parts so that one will find themselves functioning and in better harmony. Let’s stop playing games with the tarot trying to find out what’s going to happen tomorrow and use the tarot for what it was designed for, to explore the inner space.

Here is the the skinny version of what an archetype is before we begin. We’re going to skip things, we’re going to generalize things we’re going to use words to describe things that could mean other things because those are the words that people actually understand and won’t leave them running for dictionaries.

An archetype is; in human thought, a tendency towards certain underlying thoughts that all people share. The archetypes are those things which are shared that all people possess. Just as instincts are shared between all animals of a species, archetypes would be considered instincts of the psyche. Where as instincts give form and order to the nature of an animal, archetypes order and form human nature.

When someone creates an image that is archetypical, the tendency to create that image was driven by the archetype. Looking at a tarot deck we are not actually looking at the archetypes. These cards have images that are an artist’s rendition of their archetype functioning… the archetype is the complex of thoughts that creates the archetype image. There is a gigantic amount of variation in images that represents archetypes.

Instinctual tarot of the psyche

Carl Jung’s list of archetypes don’t fit neatly into a deck of cards. Later thinkers in the pursuit of archetypes discovered or delineated more archetypes of various types. The depth one could dive into the archetypes could be called infinite, for all intents and purposes. Each archetype is functioning as a kind of complex of thoughts, urges, desires. The thoughts that take place automatically organize themselves together into groups, or as it is described, “thought complexes.”

To solve the problem of how to delineate these different archetypes, we will tear a page or two from the books of Gurdjieff. George Gurdjieff referred to these groups of thoughts as “centers” of thought. Thought regions from which certain thoughts arise. There are three main groupings of these centers of thoughts according to their functions, and there is a hierarchy of centers contained with each. The novel part of this is these are not just labels that Gurdjieff is creating, such as the psychoanalysts like Jung created. Gurdjieff is not just labeling thought complexes, he is organizing them by functions.

The Spread is an experiment that will give us a schematic of our thought process, and provide a manner to manipulate those flows of consciousness that we typically ignore and are unaware of. The Spread is not a tarot spread of the normal configuration. The Spread is how one must begin so as to understand the value of the cards in relation with one’s self so the tarot cards can later be arranged in diagrams describing relationships between the archetypes. The Spread will represent a blueprint of what we are, it is meant to give us an understanding of how we operate and function in our inner space.

The Spread

Before we start reading let’s take our tarot deck remove the major cards and lay them out in numerical order. Leave them out in three rows of seven. The top row 1 through 7 the second row 8 through 14 the third row 15 through 21. The 22nd card the choice card at the bottom somewhere maybe in the middle.

For the time being forget everything you’ve learned about what these major cards mean. So each card will receive a number and a name. For the time being let the old meaning of that card wash away. What you were looking right now is what we call The Spread. The cards in this fashion will represent mind, body, and emotion as you go through those three rows.

The first row of cards represents the archetypes that are thought driven. They are of our mind and they come through as thoughts typically in words of the language we speak, these thoughts originate by and large in the cortex of our brain.

The second row are archetypes that involve our body, Gurdjieff called these the moving center. This row corresponds to our brain that controls our complex movements.

The third row represents the archetypes or thoughts of the emotions and corresponds with the gut brain, these instincts will look like pictures or thought bubbles when they bubble up or they are are felt as a pain in the gut, butterflies, an itch, a ringing in the ear, and when they’re more powerful it’s an overwhelming sensation that carries the whole mind and body away.

The choice card represents a new archetype that is as yet forming in the consciousness of human kind. While the three rows of cards represents archetypes that can and will function automatically with out any conscious thought. The choice card represents the power of reason, the ability to step outside and observe one’s self and make a Choice that does not automatically take place. No one ever becomes conscious unconsciously.

Everyone on earth has the first three rows working night and day in one manner or another without any awareness or thought of their own. Almost nobody has this choice card activated for any more than the briefest of moments at any one time.

Until next time

The spread has been described, and it is our suggestion to lay one of those extra decks of tarot cards you own out in such a manner and leave them there. Let this pattern burn into your soul. Drink your tea and meditate upon their order and relationships. See the cards that are meaningful to you and how and where they sit in relation to one another. If you are so bold, grab a sharpie marker and write the titles we assigned to our cards on that extra deck.

Next week we shall inspect The Spread and describe; why the naming conventions and numbering of the cards are so important while the images are not, how the cards interact with one another, how to find the parts of yourself that are represented by each card, and maybe more. Lets wait and see how long that post gets, we hate to ramble on too long.

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