wanted

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           ARCHIVIO INTERNAZIONALE MAIL ART
  SOME REMARKS ABOUT THE TAROT
by Henning Mittendorf
 
                                                                 I am sure, ali will become scientific psychology
                                                                 some day.
                                                                 Wolfgang Pauli
 
 
Preliminary remark
As I don't know the rules of any method playing the tarot exactly, therefore in the following I only make some more general considerations.
 
The search far the knowledge about the future
(Man in the following means woman too.)
Today in the western civilisations there exists a chaos of events combined with a flood of chaotic flowing pictures and information. Man more and more feels the unforeseeability, chaos, of pictures and the defeat of the senses without making sense, and he searches far the comprehensive and ali explaining signs, symbols, giving stability far his eye and sense, especially as to future times. He looks everywhere in science, in religion and in the other spheres of life. And as today's knowledge is too complex for him, he turns to simple models of thinking and of solving problems, models partly working with other than the usual information and information's' channels and that even shall penetrate space and time as well as lead to clear solutions. They cause astonishing interest as wonders of the psyche, as expression of its sixth sense. When they become substitute religion, then they stay incomprehensible for men and let them swaying between trust and tremble.
 
The tarot
Here fortune-telling is of special importance. The consultation of fortune-tellers by among other millions of Americans and Europeans happens ali the time. Especially the tarot far many men seems to be a simple method to cause the revelation of their fate in a simple way at every time to get ready far it.
 
The tarot seems to have come from Asia to Europe and from there to America. In Europe the use of playing cards is known since the 14th century. If one looks at the tarot as a special kind of the generai method to predict the future, i.e. of the symbols' magic, with that fortune-tellers try to interpret an arbitrary spread of signs being attached to different objects, then it already existed under this name before playing cards carne into being, far the psychological processes of the interpretation of symbols by the cards are not changed essentially. Fortune-telling through the tarot far its devout disciples means causing the revelation by manipulating the cards' system of symbols, far they are considered by them to be the living essence of the shown, as a symbol of its nature.
 
Playing tarot means that its cards are mixed more or less at random, arranged and interpreted by the fortune-teller. He has to understand the drawn symbols, their arrangement as well as the meaning of their relations. There exist universally applicable principles of the tarot, but specifically the appearance of the cards, the methods of bringing them into play, of arranging and of interpreting them as well as the psychological situation uniting the advisers and their customers vary considerably. Therefore there exist many different opinions and attitudes towards the tarot, namely especially also as to fortune-tellers and as to their clients.
 
Decisive far the interpretation especially is the group of the 22 trump cards, of the greater secrets, of the arcana, called "the man”. These 22 cards deal with his wishes and anxieties, with his knowledge and conduct, his virtues, vices and with his bodily condition as well as with ignorance and enlightenment. By their linking up with each other one can express many, possibly all, experiences and expectations, insights and imaginations of human lite. The whole world shrivels up to man, the subject of the events, of that what is going on.
 
There are different methods how one can play the tarot. The most essential methods of the European and American tarot are the ones of the old symbolic, the Italian, the French and the divinatory tarot. Often the cards are also handled without following special theories or doctrines, to maintain the openness of the game. They then on the contrary are interpreted by a natural ability of clairvoyance. The fortune-tellers who act this way turn against the declaring basic qualities of man that he owns from lime immemorial to be raised secrets being handed down to them from the sages of antiquity. They oppose to the prophetic seriousness of systems that exclude every contradiction. In this connection they refer to human talents being also described on some tarot cards, namely the humour and the irony.
 
The fortune-teller has to find out the interpretation's result in relation to his client, the person seeking advice, i.e. to that what he is, what he wants, by what he is hindered as well as to that what favours him. An exact knowledge of the circumstances improves the result according to the opinion of the fortune-tellers. But the person seeking advice wants to know ali without saying anything. Therefore the clairvoyant has to gain his information discreetly during the conversation with his client. It is no doubt that by this his chances improve to interpret the cards in a way that will be confirmed by the future. But it is also no doubt that the serious fortune-teller always will endeavour to take as a basis far his clairvoyance the pictures of his unconsciousness becoming accessible during his interpretation. If he, however, jeans his interpretation exclusively on the information he asked far, then one can accuse him of deception.
 
The participation of the unconsciousness
Ali fortune-telling, also the one by the tarot, shows how man being fascinated by empirical symbolic material that he collects and perceives by his senes is lead into a room, where he faces his soul as a whole, his self.
His soul processes through its consciousness and especially its unconsciousness the relevant supplied material and constructs reality. Till today human soul as a whole is comprehensive and paradoxical, i.e. uniting contrasts (complementary), namely at the same lime rational and irrational, including interstages, and the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
The physical sight "trom outside" and the psychological sight "trom inside" are related one to the other. Consciousness and unconsciousness have the ability to orientate in the reality by own rational and at the same lime irrational creative ways of conduct to survive, namely through a labile difficult equilibrium that integrates - feeling and thinking - the differentiations, comparisons, interpretations, recollections etc. Consciousness and unconsciousness thus contribute to the creation of arder as to the individuai soul as a whole, the self, within world.
It is the unconsciousness that takes care of the interconnection of ali men according to its inherited collective experiences, namely by the collective unconsciousness. And it is the unconsciousness too that at the same time effects the separation of ali men as to its individuai subjective experiences, as to every man's personal unconsciousness. The collective unconsciousness unfolds thanks to the power of certain associations of pictures and of ideas forming universal and accepted analogies. In this connection one can assume that it is the well of mythological, ancient allegorica I and other archaic symbols and facts one is unable to recollect. These psychological centres of the collective unconsciousness form nuclei of energy circled round by the personality with its personal unconsciousness and its consciousness thus forming itself, its self. Within the-personality come into being in reference to collective and personal symbols individuai substitute images of the incomprehensive reality, a totally own world, always anew. If "inside" and "outside" tally with each other, then the subject experiences this fact as enlightening recognition and if it is joined by well-being and the feeling of happiness, then this is interpreted as understanding, always anew. And within the holistic magical relation of consciousness and unconsciousness to reality is made possible steady differentiation, Le. the complete openness of the own person, of the world views, and thus is laid the foundation of ali development, including that of culture.
 
According to some followers of the tarot's fortune-telling its result is dependent on the respective clairvoyant talent of the fortune-teller (hyperaesthesia). But regardless whether one says yes to the existence of a clairvoyant talent of man, like the school of Rhine and some Russian scientists, or no, it is indisputable facMhat a fortune­teller of the tarot, who concentrates with the necessary seriousness upon the problem of his client and meditates, possibly can have successo For it is quite clear that the final result of fortune-telling is influenced by the fact, if one plays the tarot during an evening's party far entertainment, or if one pursues it far instance to help a person believing that the arising arrangement of the cards as well as the herein encoded message is no outcome by chance, but a revelation of fate being bound in a magical manner to the fortune-teller and the future of the person seeking far advice, and believing possibly that tarot is a system of a holy origino Definitely the fortune-teller can reach through a strong concentration a deep contemplation, yes auto-hypnosis, during that he can recognise in his unconsciousness communicating with that of the also concentrated advice seeking person through an "adjustment of the souls" elements, symbols, that can be helpful.
 
The role of the archetypes and of the symbols
The interpretation of the arranged tarot cards is the essential starting point far the fortune-telling. The persons, objects, numbers, colours and other "ornaments" depicted on the playing cards as' well as the process and the result of their arrangement fascinate meno The pictures and signs of the tarot's cards on th'č one hand are familiar to them, but on the other hand they have beyond'their conventional obvious sense stili special meanings, something vague, unknown, unfathomable, their unconscious, rational reason transgressing enigmatic aspect that one never can define exactly, with that they speak to the men mysteriously. They are symbols and as such products, constructions, substitute viable images of the soul as a whole concerning the at least incomprehensible reality. They are timeless models of the collective unconsciousness and have come out of nothingness. And exactly ali this causes their appeal and their fascination. They are cultural symbols as they are generally used, far instance to enable mental aid far those seeking advice.
 
Within the fortune-teller are roused pictures of the unconsciousness, when he studies the arranged cards considering the rules.
 
Because one is not able to re-enact unconsciousness and to influence il, therefore it has a creative, yes subversive, quality that really "does not go" (Jacques Lacan). But to reach the goal that reality "goes", the subject "paints" within its unconsciousness
considering the collective and his individuai experiences images and signs as symbols tram the world and the I with that it has to tackle continuously during its whole lite.
 
The frame-work far the production of the symbols are the archaic universal models of imagination and arder, holistic patterns of conduct, prototypes of holistic wisdom, the so-called archetypes of the collective unconsciousness. They are orientated to the whole and regulating (dynamic), Le. they have an effect that strengthens, compensates or interprets the processo
 
The symbols are no hidden or dreamed-of secret models, but the unknown within the known through that the collective network of the unconsciousness of men "dreams by painting" sense within the as absurdity experienced lite, expression of the magic of human life's network. Symbols are magical intermediary means between the two worlds, the obvious visible outside world and the veiled invisible inside world. They are mediators to the whole that are created with participation of li>ody and soul within man's inner being, but are perceived in such a way as if they are images, reflections, of reality coming - should the occasion arise - from outside.
They connect their respective symbolic message by an own initiative, i.e. by spontaneity, and by an own energy, Le. emotion, so by direct power, with the onlooker's lite. It is the emotion that charges the image, the sign, and gets it mental energy, magic, spell, nouminosity, Le. dynamic and effects, makes it an embodiment of an archetype. An imagination without emotion only is an conventional iIIustration of words. Only spontaneous emotions connect as bridge the images, signs, with the lite of the concerned person. The creation of symbols is a auto-activity of the soul being able to produce spontaneously something objective mental charged with emotions that cannot be explained by material causes (Pauli). The ability to put into concrete items refers to the categorisation of the human world of phenomena in units separable from each other, to the demarcation, distinction and to the;definition of "things" in space and lime.
 
Recognising starts with the emotional images and signs, with the symbols, spontaneously arising within soul as soon as they become the centre of a contemplative viewing, contemplation of consciousness. This way the archetypes enable men to connect through the creation of symbols the empirical material they collect and perceive by their senses with the notions or ideas they finally use to formulate their insights and to pass them to the outside.
With other words, ali conscious images and ideas of men are already arranged, before they become conscious. For the archetypes inherited in every man cause him - considering his individuai experiences of his unconsciousness - to seek and to find symbols that fit to him in his situation as well as to make them may the occasion arise conscious. The content of the symbols arising in the soul of the concerned person is of great importance far it, far instance far the fortune-teller. The same symbols don't have the same compelling sense at ali times and at ali circumstances. It is true that generai keys far their decoding can be helpful, but the symbols evoked in the single case can only be decoded actually by an individuai key. For the symbols always have an individuai experience's value and emotional tane, emotional value, that originates from the cognitive autonomy, personal unconsciousness, of the concerned people. Every onlooker of his symbols has his own relation to reality. Here the individuai unconscious emotion's value lies far away in the dark. Careful search mostly doesn't help, but waiting with patience until the sense becomes clear or explained by an external event.
And if the men who are not accustomed to the contact with their irrationallook through the symbols onta its bottom, then they are frightened, particularly as they become conscious that the symbols and with that their recognising and understanding spring from their, yes nature's, night side.
 
Here also consciousness is imperative, not only as counterweight against the chaotic subversive quality of the unconsciousness, as only consciousness has the possibility to experience sense, but it also has a strong social impact: Only the conscious man recognises the evil he experiences within world as part of his fellow human also as content of his own soul. And this self-knowledge is imperative presupposition far a tolerant relation from man to mano
If in so far natural symbols are used generally from the society, then they become cultural symbols. The archetypes thus can cause myths, religions; philosophical systems, sciences, secret sciences, like the tarot, and many things more. The archetypes in ancient times and partly stili today are experienced as gods as well as demons and are integrated by cult into life's flowing.
 
The tarot interferes by its symbols in these mental processes being in a steady flowing. It so is generator as well as preserver; it evokes within the man through the senses mental experiences and nourishes them also. Especially through the cards the tarot causes the symbols and the symbols' creating processes of the onlooker, here: of the fortune-teller. By them the concerned man is stimulated, to perceive his arising soul's images, to decode, to recognise and to understand their meaning. The tarot sets free within the men the abilities that are suppressed by habit and daily grind, convention. It wakes up the creative power turning to the creator, artist, within man what can have a psychotherapeutic and also a pioneer effect. }
 
The contribution of the communication
It is true that the construction of reality is - as explained above - always ŕn individuai phenomenon being blind as to the mental experiences and conducts of the fellow­man, his cognitions. But by conscious and unconscious soci al interactions and co­operation, social co-ordination, communication between the communicating partners, far instance within the concentrated dialogue between fortune-teller and the person seeking advice, there come into existence through so called operational consensi adjustments of the states of their souls - comprehending the unconscious as well as the conscious parts - combined with recognition and understanding, so the creation of social reality, the idea and opinion that the symbolic mental experiences are of a reality - being separated from one's self - that they are "things" being real and true, objective. That means that through adjustments of the souls' states of the person seeking adviee and of the clairvoyant there ean arise and ean be interpreted within the soul of the fortune-teller symbols of the eolleetive and individuai uneonsciousness as to the respeetive situation that ean be helpful.
Commonly the arising symbols and individuai sights are examined, eo-ordinated, and it is determined what is real and binding, what is true and makes sense, has value, is helpful far the problem's solving. There eomes into existenee a labile knowledge's strueture wherein is developed by dialogues that what is needed, to salve the problem, to preserve and develop lite. Here striving doesn't aim anymore at the failure of "eorreet" eonduet, as this eannot be experieneed, but it aims at pragmatie viabilities and eommonly eo-ordinated sueeessfui outeome, at quality improving self­organisation, through peaeeful and helpfulliving together within one's self and with the other, always anew.
 
The fortune-teller of the tarot searehes, to reeognise the eharaeter of the man seeking adviee and to find out by intuition the future events being determined far him, by prophetie and symbolie images arising from the deep darkness of uneonseiousness. Here the tarot is a means of mutually eommunieation, of understanding between meno
The fortune-teller deals in partieular with the sorrows and needs of the person seeking adviee and, bound up with nature as he is, he wants to know what is happening on earth and how the supernatural, surreal, has an effeet on mano
 
Here far the person seeking adviee besides the danger to be eheated also exists the risk that fortune-tellers being talented para psyehologieal give baek as objeetive massages exelusively telepathieally the expeetations and fears of their clients.
 
The artistic creations
Exaetly as false as the installation, setting up, of an infallible handling of the eards is the ehange of the eards' images, figures. To ehange their outfit means, to deprive them of their initial, originai, and own inalienable values.
It is, however, legitimate, if artists try to fix in their own manner, ineluding own sense, the images arising in their soul eaused by the tarot, espeeially by the symbols and signs of its eards.
 
The scienze and the magic
Tarot is from the perspeetive of many seientists a magie in the sense pf a superstitious system, if it is used far fortune-telling. For then it is aeeording to their opinion a elosed system of eonventionalised eoneepts and eonduets aiming at purposes using methods of analogy, of eompassion and physieal eontaet, a system that eannot be proven by seience. Every event or eonduet is exclusively judged by the faet, if it is fitting to the unseientifie system, Le. if it eorresponds to the unity of the magie system. Otherwise it is banned. As a result magie world view, reality, and magie eonduet, inclusive banning, eonfirm eaeh other within the magie system by a kind of eireular feed-baek. So the men ean always be sure that the magie funetions, is eorreet: As only the magie and its rules are aeeepted and both seem to rule lite and reality, therefore they seem to be a eonfirmation of the magie.
 
But what ean one say about this opinion, about the very seientists that in so far eondemn the tarot? Isn't their system of seientifie eonduet that exelusively depends
on the scientific provability, Le. on the causality and on the rationality, also a magie system - only on another more complex level?
This is the case, if their system acknowledges the recognition of objective reality, the exclusive validity of the one-dimensionallaws of nature and their usa far the solution of ali problems. Namely it then only allows the belief in itself, Le. in world's reality as rational and determinedly functioning machine. It insists in its one-dimensional sight and doesn't see the extravagant multidimensionality, fullness, mystery, yes madness, of life's and cosmos' creativity.
 
Only the new science knows the limitation of science so far. It recognises that one cannot experience actual reality. Ali reality is only labile viability, arder, always anew being constructed by subjective cognitions, i.e. self-observations of mental experiences, and inter-subjective communication, Le. co-ordination of the experiences between the men through learning by observations of the others, namely observation of the reactions of the communication partners in respect to own actions. The new science overwhelms the linear mono-causallogic and leads to the eco-Iogic, to the interconnected logic, that comprehends besides reason, the consciousness, also vagueness, the unconsciousness.
 
This way magical systems ara not rejected from the beginning. Magie practices, like far instance the tarot, at best can serve the finding of solutions far problems, whatever they do, to have successo But always their results have to become examined by normal reason, before one can give them any value.
 
In respect to today's danger of total devastation of our planet it is unimportant at least, if the means that ara used far its effective protection ara scientific or magie, as both of them ara human, Le. natural, means to deal with world and its creatures, to make possible living together - hopefully also in future. At least ali systems ara magie, far man always finds within them finally a confirmation of reality, because he has constructed them the way how he experiences reality.
 
 
 
 

 

 
HeMi 17.10.1999/Reproduction of this text - complete or in parts - is allowed provided that the text is not changed, source is mentioned and a copy of the writing, publication etc., where the text or the extraction of it is included in, is sent to: HeMi / Postfach 500365 / D-60393 Frankfurt am Main / Germany

                      

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