Psychology, tarot

X is for Xenagogy: A visitor’s guide to the psyche

Xenogogy is a guidebook for tourists or visitors. Since I am definitely in an exploring-the-mind place, I decided to talk about a guidebook to the psyche. After all, it can definitely feel like you are a tourist when you delve into your own, but that’s what makes it fascinating.

You probably aren’t surprised that I’m going to talk about tarot. I wouldn’t espouse it as the only guidebook to the psyche, but it is one of many tools that can be helpful for accessing your best guidebook to the psyche—your own intuition.

There are many ways you can use tarot for this purpose, including:

  1. Formulating questions to ask the deck: It is an art to ask open-ended questions that are meaningful to you. It in itself is an exercise in listening to your intuition.
  2.  Noticing your reaction to the cards, both visually and based on their meaning: Tarot deck images tend to be ripe with symbolism and metaphor. Sometimes just looking at a card can evoke thoughts, memories, etc. Pay attention to this before you even think about the card meaning. If someone is doing an intuitive reading for you, they may ask you to look at the card and see what comes to mind.

    Next, the proscribed meanings are given. Take these with a grain of salt. Sometimes the reversed meaning may make more sense than the upright. Feel free to turn cards around. Or maybe what you got from your visual perusal makes more sense than the given card meaning. Use what works best for you. This is your intuitive practice.

  3. Noticing what topic the cards bring to mind: Don’t get attached to the topic you asked your question about. Your cards may speak to you about a different subject entirely or more than one subject. Stay open. If you start to do regular readings, you’ll notice that tarot has a way of hitting you over a head with issues you are avoiding or aren’t fully dealing with. Your psyche may get stuck on repeat no matter how much your conscious mind is sick of hearing about how you need to move on from a current relationship or face your fears about the future or learn to accept some perceived flaw about yourself.
  4. For multi-card draws, try to weave a story based on the order of the cards: The most common draws are three-card draws. This is enough to give some nice interplay between cards but not terribly overwhelming or time consuming to read. Popular layouts are past, present, future; mind, body, spirit; theme for day, things to avoid, things to embrace. There are dozens more out there and you can always make your own or just lay out three cards and see how they speak to you and each other. Often if you view them as building on each other, you can see a story or theme emerging.

Intuitive tarot is an art and a science. Make the practice your own, and who knows what you might find hanging out in your psyche.

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