Great Abide: Introducing the Arcana in Balance series

Introduction to the Great Abide posts

As you know, my world & life perception lens is kind of yin/yang colored. That’s why Diane Morgans “Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao” is one of my favorite Tarot references, because, well, it’s like me. (Aren’t we all fond of echo chambers?)

I know it is unconventional, but I really do think Tarot readings can have a natural, medication-free stress abating effect, at least in the short term. I haven’t quantified it, like Reiki in my dissertation, but anecdotally, I’ve seen it happen time and time again. It happens all the time in Tarot readings. A person who is worried about something will be visibly more relaxed by the end of the reading. You can hear it in their voice…and in a real world way. You don’t have to be a psychic to see their shoulders come down ever so slightly, or hear their voice slow and soften just the tiniest bit. If you were a psychologist, wouldn’t you be pleased to see/hear that at the end of a session? If you were a mainstream counselor, and the client said they felt better at the end of an hour session, wouldn’t you count that as a positive? Tarot does that for people all the time…and at a fraction of the cost. Modern readings that eschew predictions, outlandish promises, exaggerated outcomes, and superstitious behavior are entertaining and harmless, but can also have real stress management benefits.

Combining Tarot, Taoism and Natural Stress Reduction makes perfect logical and intuitive sense to me. In real-world application, it has made a difference in the quality of my life, and I’ve seen it offer at least a little respite to others as well. Time and again, for years upon years now. The idea has proven itself to me. I don’t have the motivation or resources to “prove” it to those who are close-mindededly biased against Natural Health or Intuitive personal development. The best I can do is offer it here, and help whomever feels it is right for them.

In that vein, I’m bringing my “Arcana in Balance” series from here. It isn’t directed at Holistic Health or Stress Management per se, but it does showcase the Tarot in a modern, logical, holistic way…with my usual Taoist colored spin on things. This is for the “spirit” part of the mind-body-spirit holistic health paradigm.

For those not familiar with the Tarot Deck:

Tarot started out as a game in the middle ages. Some sources say it came about as early as the 13th century, but it is much more common to think of it as a 15th century or later phenomenon. As I understand it, many versions involved bets and gambling, plus it was portable & popular with soldiers. Because of that rowdy reputation, Tarot was quickly frowned upon by the religious authorities. It was, in a way, the Texas Hold ’em of its day.

No one is quite sure when or how Tarot cards went from being a bridge or rummy kind of game to being able to “tell fortunes” or “predict the future”…but appearantly this concerned the authorities even more. Now there was even stronger opposition that seems to give rise to the occult reputation that was exaggerated by movies and TV in the 20th century.

If you can look past the hype, drama and money scams…look back to the root of the thing…you see people looking for comfort. People who may have, by choice, circumstance or opportunity, been outside of the religious mainstream. It was a means of comfort and support outside of that power structure. That is the point of view that I take with Tarot. It is a means of comfort, personal enrichment, and personal growth independent from either the religious or mainstream medical power structures of our day as well. It is a folk art of emotional comfort from centuries before the advent of modern psychotherapy.

Tarot is a useful tool despite it’s reputation and a centuries old smear campaign.

The deck itself is larger than our well-known, modern gaming deck. It has four suites, ace through 10, but most decks have four court cards instead of just three: page, knight , queen and king. Plus there is a whole other suite or category that the modern deck doesn’t have. The four suites are the “minor arcana” the other 22 cards are the “major arcana”. Different readers take a different approach to the arcana. The legend is that the major arcana represents the progression of a human life, from birth to death and beyond. I see it more as a selection of the major life lessons we all commonly experience…major arcana are the major crossroads we encounter, not in any specific order. The minor arcana is generally regarded as more mundane, day-to-day guidance and advice.

In this series we’ll look beyond the typical card meanings are representations and look for one more lesson. Rather than looking at the crossroads / decision aspect of the cards, we’ll look at ways the Major arcana teaches us the balanced way of life that is so revered from a Taoist point of view.

Welcome to “Modern Oracle: Arcana in Balance”. Next week: “The Fool” (Card 0 in the classic RWS deck)