Today marks the 140th birthday of C.G. Jung, and in honor of the day I decided to compose an impromptu Tarot spread based—admittedly in shorthand—on principles of Jungian psychology: Specifically, on the aspects of the conscious, unconscious, and archetypal minds, and how they shape and influence the identity of the Self.
The cards are laid out in the following order and pattern:
3 5 4
Meanings of the cards are, roughly:
1. Unconscious influences.
2. Conscious influences.
3. Archetypal influences.
4. Spiritual aspirations.
5. The actualized Self.
For the sake of experimentation, I laid out a sample spread. This time, I’m not looking to analyze myself—I need a break from the couch already!—but to explore the personality type of someone who might be governed by these aspects of the psyche. The cards that appeared today were these:
First, we can see that the vertical column contains a great deal of masculine energy, not all of it productively applied, while the “cross” of the spread—and The Moon in particular—suggests strong archetypal influences. The Moon is, in reality, the “gateway” card to interpreting this spread; the card signifies the most ancient and primitive archetypal influences—the “million-year-old man” stirring around in the back of our heads that Jung referred to as the collective unconscious: The primeval element of psyche that is utterly uninformed of, and unaffected by, the foundational principles of cognition and conscience and which is hence most capable of scrambling the whole of human consciousness. (The most vivid example of the damage that this impulse can wreak on the collective psyche of man is, arguably, to be found in the German Nazism that swept across Europe in the previous century, though certain strains of Islamic fundamentalism in our own time bear a strong resemblance as well.) It is, as Jung wrote, the elemental “building block” upon which our psyches have evolved over millennia, and understanding its function is crucial if we are to become fully individuated adults. But it has the power to unleash great evils in the world, and the utmost care is required when confronting it.
The subject of this spread, who is actualized by the Knight of Cups—the “poet” of the Tarot court, a dreamer, romantic and visionary by nature who is prone to getting lost in fantasies and even hallucinations—is to be cautioned when it comes to giving in to unconscious impulses or “gut instincts”; he (or she) is more susceptible than most people to these negative energies, which can manifest themselves outwardly as belligerent and hostile expressions of ego (King of Swords reversed). Such a personality needs to be reminded of the importance of exercising self-discipline in his or her everyday life (Strength), and one simple way to effect this change is to refrain from unconscious, knee-jerk expressions of profanity such as invoking the name of a Creator in vain (The Hierophant reversed). Fortunately for the subject of this spread, s/he is fairly well adjusted and “on the right track” in life since s/he has instinctually turned away from the magnetic pull of the lunar “dark side” and turned his/her attention toward the bright light of day; even though it poses daunting challenges of its own—with savage beasts, within and without, to bring surely to heel—our subject knows that s/he is capable of handling the task. S/he’s a lover, not a fighter, after all, and since love is the most powerful weapon in our “emotional arsenal”, how can s/he ever possibly fail?