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by author


The Boiardo 15th c Poem
Tarot history in brief

quotations from various people

Functions of Readings
What is Tarot?


Med. on XVIIII

Emily E. Auger

Tarot and Other Meditation Decks

L. Atkinson

Orphalese Software review

S. Arwen

Memory & Instinct

Kathy Berkowitz

Waite's Mystical Tradition (Pt 1)
Waite's Mystical Tradition (Pt 2)
Waite's Mystical Tradition (Pt 3)
Waite's Mystical Tradition (Pt 4)

Nina L. Braden

Tarot in Literature

David Brice

Birth of Tarot

Colin Browne

Square & Compasses Tarot

Lee A. Bursten

Journeys in Tarot Creation
Vachetta review


Review: The Lo Scarabeo Story

Ross G. Caldwell

Tarot History

Bonnie Cehovet

Tarology - Poetics of Tarot
Review: Secret of Tarot
The Mystereum Tarot

N. Chishty-Mujahid

Concerning Ghisi’s Laberinto

Craig Conley

A House of Tarot Cards

A.B. Crowther

Rachel Pollack interview

Jean-Michel David

On Paneurythmy and Tarot
Tarot's expression of the numinous
Yarker, Tarot & Arcane Schools
Waite-Smith Sun card
The Fool as Wandering Jew
Tarot as Christian Art
Education through Tarot
Tarot: the vatical & the sacral
Fortuna, Ass & Monkey
Steiner and Tarot
1701 Dodal restored!
Enc. Tarot vol I-IV: review
Christ, World & Sin
Caveat Emptor:
       Visual Tarot

Tarot & AlefBeit
Review: Jean Payen Tarot
Tarot and Freemasonry
I-Ching and Pip Cards
Whither directing your course?
Tarot & the Tree of Life
Ovid, Egypt and Tarot
When the Devil isn't the Devil
Four elements and the suits
Court Cards & MBTI
Certification & Codes
Jean Dodal Marseille
Conference FAQs
Golden Dawn
Kabalah & Tarot
Golden Tarot review
Annual spread
Iraqi Museum
Two Brief TdM reviews
Meditations on the Tarot

Enrique Enriquez

The Joy of Wordplay
J-C. Flornoy interview
Embodied Tarot
Indirect Suggestions
Whispering to the Eye

Mark Filipas

History of Egyptian Decks
Lexicon Theory

Jean-Claude Flornoy

in memorium
from Oral Tradition

Roxanne Flornoy

Children and Tarot
from Oral Tradition

Mary Greer

Killing the Thoth Deck
On the Tarot of the Four Worlds
Egypt, Tarot and Mystery School Initiations

William Haigwood

The Sixties: Counterculture Tarot

Alissa Hall

Parlour Tricks

Kris Hadar

The Tarot

Claas Hoffmann

Crowley-Harris 'Thoth' deck

Michael J. Hurst

Tarot Symbolism review

K. Frank Jensen

Century with the Waite-Smith

Shane Kendal

A Poetry of Tarot

Ken J. Killeen

The Metaphysical Bible

Barbara Klaser

Language of Tarot

E. Koretaka

Cardinal Virtues

Dovid Krafchow

Kabbalistic Tarot

Lisa Larson

Perceptions of Spirituality

Suzan E. Lemont

Therapeutic Tarot Work

Eric K. Lerner

Diloggun and Tarot

N. Levine

Tarot of Prague review

C. Liknaitzky

Journey in Ceramics

Joep van Loon

Tarot Wheel

Karen Mahony


S.J. Mangan

Fool, Alef & Orion

Robert Mealing

Petrarch’s Triumphs
Jean Noblet Tarot
Hunting the "true" Marseille Tarot
Cary Sheet

Fern Mercier

Playing the Fool

C. de Mellet

Inquiries into Tarot

Sophie Nusslé

Fantastic Menagerie

Robert V. O'Neill

Tarot Symbolism
Tower Iconology

Michael Owen

Xultun Tarot

Dan Pelletier

Magic Manga Tarot
the Blank Spot

Robert M. Place

The Fool's Journey

Debra Rosenthal

Looking at the Jacques Vieville

Mjr Tom Schick

Tarot Lovers Calendar

Inna Semetsky

Counseling Reading for Spouses
Learning the language of images
Re-Symbolization of Self
Tarot (dis)contents

Diana Sobolewska

'Bateleur's tale'

Russell Sturgess

Jesus's New Testament

N. Swift

Sufism & Tarot

Arthur E. Waite

Symbols of Tarot

Memorization VS. Instinct

text by Stephanie Arwen

images from the Fairytale Tarot

Fairytale Tarot - Knight of Cups

How do you memorize the cards? It’s a common question with a simple surface issue. However, if you dip below that surface, you will find a darkness lurking there in the waters. What are we really asking when we say, "How do I memorize the cards"? Is that truly the question or is the actual thought "How do I trust myself "?

I believe that it is more of a self trust issue than it is an actual learning problem. Our challenge is to understand that "gut instinct" can and should be listened to. The Tarot is a tool of opening. See the cards as 78 keys to your own subconscious. Each one opens a door to our own inner guide who will help us see what we need to see. That voice in our heads that we have all been told makes us crazy if we listen to it is actually what many people refer to as "psychic power".

I firmly believe that each of us is psychic. It is how we approach that idea that individualizes us. Perhaps you were raised to think of psychics as that crazy old lady down the street with too many cats who reads cards and burns candles. Or you see a willowy woman wrapped in scarves wearing enough bracelets to start up her own jewelry kiosk in the mall. But when you look in the mirror, do you see yourself as psychic? I didn’t think so. It is rare that any of us do.

We’ve been taught that it’s "just a fluke" when we know who is calling when we pick up the phone. It’s coincidence that you brake going over a hill in case something is there and you narrowly miss a deer. It’s luck when you choose one lottery card over another and win $5. It’s cheating when you know what card someone just picked up in the poker game. Ok, so that IS cheating even if you can do it.

Fairytale Tarot - nine of Swords

But when you look at a piece of stiff paper brightly colored depicting a young man with a dog at his heels and a smile on his face stepping out over a cliff, you probably think "Good gods, man! Look where you are going"! Then you might imagine that he is so happy, so full of joy that anywhere he goes will be a good place for him. Just look at him with his clothes on his back. He must be heading somewhere! He’s so young though. Does he know all the problems that may face him?

Now imagine that you are sitting across a table from a young woman who has told you that she is having problems in her job. She doesn’t know if she should move on or try to fix where she is. What does your gut tell you when you see the card above?

Fairytale Tarot - Two of Cups

Synthesizing the information in the cards with the question is hard enough. But to then layer that with what your own instincts are telling you confuses even the best of us at times. But learn to listen to that small shouting voice. Remember that the cards are a tool. They are keys, but you have to pick them up and turn them. You still have to open the door that they have unlocked. If you stand outside wondering if you should go in, then you are giving in to that self-doubt. That question "do I trust myself " is the one you must defeat.

But how do you defeat it? There are several methods I would like to share with you. My personal favorite is a game I play with myself. I will ask a friend to pull one card. Then I interpret it for them as rapidly as I can. I don’t stop to think what it "should" be. I tell them what it looks like to me as it might apply to them.

Fairytale Tarot - Two of Coins

For instance if I see the Ace of Swords, I might tell them that it looks like they are being called to pick something up. That there is a project that they need to apply themselves too. This is because my deck shows the Ace of Swords as a hand rising up out of a lake with a sword in it. It is very reminiscent of the Lady of the Lake handing Arthur Excalibur.

Another exercise I use is to pull a card before I go into a meeting. I do the same rapid-fire interpretation just trying to grab symbols and write them down. Then I pay attention in the meeting (a bonus side-effect for my manager!) and compare what happened with what I saw.

Fairytale Tarot - Four of Swords

You should also utilize the daily card method. Pull a card in the morning and write down what it looks like to you. Imagine you are in the card and try to put down smells and sounds and textures if you can. Write what you get from the card. Do NOT look at the LWB (Little White Book). Do NOT read the interpretation of the card. Just let your mind go free. At the end of the day, go back to this card and journal about your day. See what your morning interpretations picked up on. NOW and only now go to the book interpretation and jot down key phrases from the book. What was accurate from the book that you missed? What was accurate from your interpretation that the book missed?

Learn to believe in yourself. Learn that trusting your own inner voice is the most significant step you can take to opening yourself up on a psychic level.

Originally published on Stephanie’s website: musings_memory_vs_instinct.html

Cards from the recent Fairytale Tarot by Alex Ukolov & Karen Mahony, artwork by Irena Triskova.

Fairytale Tarot - Four of Wands

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