Queen of Tarot

The ancient wisdom of the cards

Tarot Articles

Archetypes in the Tarot: Maiden

Tags: archetypes, maiden

Carl Jung described a number of archetypes that we use to depict our experiences in story, art, and dream. These archetypes are recurring figures we can recognize and learn from, and they can easily be found in the Tarot.

Among the archetypes proposed by Carl Jung was the Maiden. She represents innocence and our desire to be near someone. She has the power of youth about her and an inner strength that others find irresistable. When the Maiden appears in a tarot reading, she is a sign of youth and femininity, as well as the gentle grace those qualities bring.


Archetypes in the Tarot: Persona

Tags: archetypes, persona

Carl Jung proposed the theory that human beings share a set of mental models he called the Collective Unconscious. One quality of the Collective Unconscious as he proposed it was that it was populated by characters called archetypes; figures such as the Hero or the Wise Old Man who frequently occur in fiction, myth, and dreams as common character patterns that we can instantly relate to.

One such archetype was the Persona. The persona represents our identity as it is presented to others. The persona bears all the masks we wear when we interact with others. It is on this figure...


Archetypes in the Tarot: Hero

Tags: archetypes, hero

Carl Jung described a model for understanding why humans think along certain patterns; the Collective Unconscious, he held, contains a number of patterns according to which humans organize their understanding of the world. The Collective Unconscious is populated with characters who stand in many people's lives and in story as symbols of various aspects of the human experience. These characters are called archetypes.

Among the archetypes proposed by Carl Jung is the Hero. The hero's job is to vanquish the monster, find the [treasure/ring/maiden] and come out victorious. He represents the qualities we admire and revere in ourselves and those around...


Archetypes in the Tarot: Father / Mother

Tags: archetypes, parents, father, mother

Carl Jung proposed a model for understanding why humans tend to group ideas about other people in certain recognizable patterns. These patterns, he explained, occur in the Collective Unconscious as Archetypes. 

One such archetype is the Father or Mother. They represent our literal parents, but they also represent anyone who served in a parental role in our lives.

In a tarot reading, a card picturing parents may represent our actual mother and father, but it may also be a reference to the qualities we associate with parental figures. For example, the Mother may represent a nurturing, warm, comforting figure. The...


Archetypes in the Tarot: Shadow

Tags: archetypes, shadow

Carl Jung's archetype of the Shadow represents all the aspects of the human nature that we devalue. Hatred, greed, wrath, selfishness, excessive lust, and jealousy are all examples of the behaviors attributed to the Shadow.

In a tarot reading, the Shadow appears to show us someone who is not acting with their better self, but rather with a negative intent and effect. It is often a warning, because when dealing with a person acting as the Shadow things are often not as they seem and caution is advisable.


Archetypes in the Tarot: Wise Old Man / Senex

Tags: archetypes, wise-old-man, senex

One of the archetypes that Carl Jung identified as being present within the collective unconscious is the Senex. Also called "The Wise Old Man," the Senex is a figure who appears in tarot readings to remind us of prudence, guidance, and wisdom. Depending where he appears in a reading, his presence may indicate a person who acts as a guide in your life, or he may represent wisdom and its appearance in your life.

The most obvious example of the Senex in the tarot is The Hermit, but The Emporer may also represent the more power-oriented aspect...


Archetypes in the Tarot: Anima / Animus

Tags: anima-animus, anima, animus, archetypes

Carl Jung proposed a number of psychological archetypes he deemed to be present in the collective unconscious, and one of these was the Anima or Animus. The anima is the female representation of the self in the male psyche, and the animus is the male representation of the self in the female psyche. These opposites of the self are often seen as a shadowy not-self figure, an other within oneself who seems to act against one's own agency.

For others, this umbral figure, while still cloaked in shadow, is a friend and guide to mysteries beyond what is normally within...


Archetypes in the Tarot

Tags: archetypes, tarot-analysis, anima, animus, child, trickster, spirit, senex, shadow, father, mother, hero, persona, maiden

Carl Jung proposed the concept that much of human experience originates in what he calls the "Collective Unconscious." He described the collective unconscious as functioning much like a part of the human mind. One of the features of the collective unconscious is its tendency to organize people and situations in familiar terms — so much so that it forms well-formed character-like figures that the human mind associates with a set similar qualities. These figures are called "Archetypes," and they appear frequently in art, fiction, film, and dreams. They also appear in the tarot.

The following is a selection of archetypes that...


Archetypes in the Tarot: Child

Tags: archetypes, child, children, tarot analysis

Personifying playfulness and innocence, children appear in several tarot cards.  They remind us of who we have been, and of a time when we were pure and free of the self-importance of adulthood.  To reconnect with our inner child is to return to a simpler form of ourselves, one not weighed down by burdens or tangled up in concerns.


Archetypes in the Tarot: Spirit

Tags: archetypes, tarot analysis, spirit

Spirit is the fifth element, coming after Earth, Water, Fire, and Air.  It resides within each of us, and at its highest level is that which we call God.  At its lowest level, it takes the form of a ghost or apparition.

It often takes the form of a winged creature such as an angel.

Spirit uplifts us, makes us more than we are, and provides relief when things are at their worst.


Archetypes in the Tarot: Trickster

Tags: archetypes, trickster, tarot analysis

The trickster is an important figure in folklore.  Taking such forms as the Joker or Coyote, he embodies cleverness and wit, but also deceit and irresponsibility.  He appears to provide comic relief as a jester or clown, but also to humble us, never allowing us to become too full of ourselves.  Like a zen koan he makes us think in new ways about ourselves and our motivations. His mischief is most harmful when we take ourselves too seriously, but is neutralized when we learn to laugh at ourselves with sincere pleasure.


Numerological Tarot Methods

Tags: numerology, techniques, interpretation, tarot card meanings, tarot analysis

Any numerological system is essentially arbitrary. I'm making one up, and I hope it'll be internally consistent. This is how I plan to assign divinatory meanings to the cards, in the hope of someday making my own deck. The general idea is that you combine the suit significance with the numerological significance in order to obtain a more specific meaning. If you are using a pictorial deck, you should also combine this with the impressions left by the card itself. If you look at the various schools of thought on divinatory meanings of cards, it is evident that many of those people used this same method. Please note that this is a work in progress, so your comments are triply appreciated!

Newly updated with additional numerological suggestions as of 5/22/13!


Madame Le Normand

Tags: france, occultists, cartomancy, fortune telling

Excerpt from E. S. Taylor's "The history of playing cards, with anecdotes of their use in conjuring, fortune-telling, and card-sharping":

The stormy period of the first Consulship of Napoleon and that of the Empire which followed it, was especially characterized by cartomantic practices in France. At this time, there lived in Paris a famous woman, whose renown as a prophetess will probably not soon pass away. This person was Mlle. Lenormand, whose influence with the empress Josephine, and even Napoleon himself, was said to be considerable.


Consider the Source

Tags: paranormal, basic concepts

In various places around this site, you will hear me throw around the words divination and cartomancy as if they were interchangeable. They aren't. In my opinion, before you trust any advice you receive from the cards, you should be very careful to decide where you think that information is coming from.


Consider the Querent

Tags: intuition, perception, basic concepts

It's a very interesting question whether one should cold-read one's querent when performing a reading. Some might say that it's a little like cheating, because the cards themselves ought to tell the whole story. To me, there is a very fine line between cold reading and second sight; perhaps it is simply a matter of degrees.

Personally, I disagree. I think that as fortune tellers, we should bring all of our minds to bear on what we are doing, and make use of all of the talents god gave us, including the ability to read people or any other form...


Framing the Question

Tags: questions, techniques, basic concepts

I remember teachers in school insisting that there was no such thing as a bad question. I disagree wholeheartedly with that idea. I can think of many examples of bad questions, starting with those that trap the listener: "When did you stop beating your wife?" When it comes to reading tarot cards, asking the right question is crucial. Let's start with bad examples, and move up to good examples.



Tags: basic concepts, techniques, prayer, meditation, focus, centering

There are several different methods of centering oneself before performing a tarot card reading, each of them valid: meditation, a moment of silence, prayer, or even taking a moment to focus on the breath can help to provide the ambience you want when delving into the secrets of the cards.

The function of this behavior differs greatly depending on what you believe. For materialists, it can help to achieve a state of heightened awareness, remove the influence of negative thoughts, connect with the collective consciousness, and allow the mind to focus on what is directly in front of it; the reading.



How to make your own tarot deck

Tags: card production techniques

I've been thinking about how to make my own tarot deck, and I figure it can't be too terribly hard to do via collage, although it would be incredibly time consuming. That doesn't scare me off because most of the crafts that I do are designed to be time consuming, and this activity seems like it would be deeply cathartic on a spiritual and creative level.

A gorgeous deck of this type was produced by LittleDeadGirl and released free to the public: Cool Tarot by LittleDeadGirl. It can be printed from her website but is also included here for...


Arthur Edward Waite

Tags: england, occultists, rider waite tarot deck

Before the Rider-Waite deck was published in 1911, there was no modern deck that featured pictures for each of the 78 cards in the deck. Most decks had illustrations only for the Major Arcana, while the rest of the cards featured simply a pattern of easily recognizable pips. Arthur Edward Waite (1857-1942) wanted to publish a complete, modern version of the tarot that featured pictures for each card in the deck, including the minor arcana.


Taking Tricks, Making Books

Tags: techniques, tarot analysis

In the original games played with a tarot deck, taking tricks of cards was often the entire point of the game. It is appropriate, then, that we should look for the same tendency to form sets that the cards possess through their nature. In some readings, you may find that you received a large number of one suit, or a large number of one designation. There are varying viewpoints on what this might mean.


First Use of the Codex

100s CE, Rome: The codex format is used for the first time. A codex is the very earliest form of book that we had that looks like a book. Before the invention of the codex, all knowledge was written in scrolls or on tablets, or the walls of monuments. This was the first time we could leaf through information in such a convenient manner.


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