Queen of Tarot

The ancient wisdom of the cards

archetypes Tag

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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.