-Call Moonlight Counseling for free initial phone evaluation with Dr. Rosengarten (760) 944-6710

-To order the classic Tarot and Psychology: Spectrums of Possibility (312 pg. text) by Arthur Rosengarten or view Dr. Rosengarten’s outstanding new deck published by Paragon House (2009) and based on Jungian miniatures collected on Art’s travels, see  Tarot of the Nine Paths:  http://tarot9paths.wordpress.com/

-To join Tarotpsych, an international online discussion group owned and moderated by Dr. Art Rosengarten, go to: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/tarotpsych/

-For The Divination Circle Meetup at Moonlight Counseling Center alternate Tuesday nights (Jungian Psychology, oracles, and nonduality) taught by Dr. Art Rosengarten, see http://www.meetup.com/The-Divination-Circle-Moonlight-Counseling-Encinitas/


This cosmograph encompasses the central ideas in my new deck and system, Tarot of the Nine Paths (or TNP). It describes a radical approach to tarot that utilizes the press of encoded, metaphysical symbols (based on the magical properties of number 9, i.e. “The Hermit Effect”) as tools for nondual inquiry much as discussed in Mahayana Buddhism, Zen, and other nondual teachings that utilize paradoxical entry. In TNP, this is called “natural divination.” The actual diagram size  is 4 feet X 8 feet, and will be presented in a poster session at the upcoming Science And Nonduality Conference in Marin County, California, October 22-25, 2009. For more information about this cutting-edge conference, to preview the deck freely, or to order an autographed  copy from its author ($39.95), see links below. Note, Tarot of the Nine Paths can also be ordered through Paragon House and on Amazon.com





April [22] 2009

A Review by Dr. Art Rosengarten based on a Lecture by Paranormal Researcher, Dr. Julie Beischel

San Diego, March 20, 2009

Recently I was invited to review a lecture by Dr. Julie Beischel, a premier investigator in the fields of survival of consciousness and mediumship research.  Dr. Beischel initially requested a show of hands in the audience of those who believed that consciousness survives death, and not surprisingly, 90% of the attendees raised their hands though I was not among them. This owing to my agnosticism on the topic, despite a first impulse to lift my own hand to the auditorium’s rafters.

“Survival after death,” reported Dr. Beischel, “has a body of data at least one hundred years old.” She described three established types of after-life research, namely: 1). proof-focused (validity studies); 2). process-focused (the phenomenology of the medium herself); and 3). applied (field work). Beischel’s approach was clearly proof-focused. She is well-schooled in laboratory science having earned her doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Arizona—an impressive prelude to her present career as researcher/bridge-maker to the other side.

According to Beischel, researchers generally agree that “the perception is real” (regarding contact with the dead), though what actually is occuring in such cases is less conclusive. The implication here was curious and interesting, I thought, particularly as irrefutable scientific proof of an afterlife and observable communication with “discarnate” entities must qualify as a true “gold ticket” in the annals of scientific research, on a par with evidential proof of alien contact, the cure and eradication of cancer, or even an affordable treatment for male-pattern baldness that actually worked. Moving from perception to causation in this controversial territory is like moving from the belief in faeries to having one sing with the band at your daughter’s wedding.

Dr. Beishal, however, reviewed her fairly rigorous eight-step process at The Windbridge Institute to screen and train competent mediums as subjects (often on the phone) for controlled experiments. In these both mental mediums and “trance mediums” (who remain dissociated during transmissions) are utilized. Training includes grief counseling skills to help mediums better relate to their bereaved “sitters” during contact sessions. Curiously, the words “ghost,” “apparition,” or “spirit”  are not used in this vocabulary, and Beischel freely admits a double-edged sword of pop culture fascination with mediums, spirit possession, ghost hunters, and so forth, which, at once, trivializes her research as a kind of thrill-ride for hormonally-ravaged teenagers, but also raises public awareness for much-needed funding in this universally relevant area.

I found especially interesting Dr. Beischel’s discussion of the three most likely mechanisms that researchers today best use to explain ‘anomalous information receptions’ (A.I.R.), namely: 1). consciousness survives death. 2). a super psi effect is triggered in such cases (in which case, what’s actually occurring is psi, not survival). 3). A ‘psychic reservoir’ or universal data bank (ala the Akashic records, etc.) is tapped.

The first option feels circular to me, and not mutually exclusive of the others. Receptions occur “because consciousness survives” seems like saying “we float in the water because the ocean is wet.” There must be a second half to this explanation. Option 2–the super psi effect theory–seems to be the confounding factor that ambiguously follows this work to its conclusion (or stalemate) without ever being ruled out, or adequately control for. What may appear like valid contact between medium and discarnate may actually be some telepathic snatching up of the sitter’s memories (with, or without, anyone realizing it). In that case, the after-life has not been unwrapped so much as hijacked by super-psychics!

Option 3, however, the ‘psychic reservoir hypothesis’, despite its Aquarian acoustic, resonates most with my own sympathies as a Jungian psychologist and tarot expert. I can easily visualize The High Priestess channeling subtle, subliminal, collective memories accessed from her deeply intuitive predisposition. Option 3 also suggests a transpersonal and innate level of “absolute knowledge” (Jung) within the human personality that under the right conditions may arise synchronistically in the space between medium, sitter, (and possibly discarnate as well).

This connectedness, however, is “acausal” in nature, i.e. emitting no energy exchange between senders and receivers (the holy mantra of synchronicity theorists!). Like in divination procedures with tarot or I Ching, an intuitive intelligence or “awareness” seems simply to open up (or is recognized as having always been there) under the proper conditions. Whereas super psi posits that something is happening here (albeit subtle)— an energy is exchanged in the process (and sought after for measurement by scientists). Thus the causal v. acausal sourcing question remains a familiar point of divergence between parapsychologists and Jungians.  In any event, Dr. Beischel admitted without hesitation that the question itself remains open.

The psychology of abundance seems another relevant piece to the life-after-death puzzle. Unlimited amounts of anything—cash, phone minutes, refills, or lifetimes—make sudden ceasing to be seem so less pressured and irredeemable. Could survivability, and its implied endlessness, have such a paradoxical effect? Might surviving into the afterlife take some of the umph out of “now or never?” Beischel reports that grief-stricken family members feel better after consulting a medium than after consulting a mental health worker. (Why am I not surprised?).

Could this artifact be merely some opiate effect in the service of denial? Or could something far less predictable be going on here– the foreshadowing of a vast paradigm shift with respect to consciousness surviving after death. As Dr. Julie Beischel noted at the end, perhaps the greatest effect of her findings for the medical community is simply that: “Death is then viewed more as a transition, than a failure.” Perhaps this be the larger hypothesis that we are looking for?

Art Rosengarten

Please Send Your Comments Below

Dr. Art Rosengarten is a Jungian psychologist in Encinitas, California, Director of Moonlight Counseling, author of Tarot and Psychology: Spectrums of Possibility (2000), and creator of Tarot of the Nine Paths: Advanced Tarot for the Spiritual Traveler (Paragon, 2009).  As a researcher, he wrote the first scientific study of tarot divination for his doctoral dissertation at the California Institute Of Integral Studies (1985) and has since researched domestic violence, political and historical events, as well as nondual inquiry and various Buddhist practices through the synchronisitic lens of tarot readings.

Dr. Rosengarten is owner/moderator of tarotpsych: an online discussion group for tarot experimentation and community. His articles, services, books and TNP deck can be found (and ordered below) on this website.


Dear Coast Listeners (on March 5, 2009):

It is NOW about one hour before I will go on the show with George Noory. I have just divined the eleven card spread (below) using my new deck TNP (Tarot Of The Nine Paths)–consisting of the higher keys only–regarding the significance of Trump XVI–THE TOWER–during these troubled times?

Here are the cards by position that I got: 


(1) Present Situation: XXV The Dragon/Initiation


(2) Obstacle: XXIV The Ring/Wholeness


(3) Foundation: XIX The Sun/Consciousness


(4) Karma: XII The Hanged Man/Surrender (Reversed)


(5) Perfect Pictures: IV The Emperor/Dominion (Reversed)


(6) Coming Soon: VIII Strength/Life Force (Reversed)


(7) Ego: XX Judgment/Awakening


(8) Others: XIV Temperance/Synergy (Reversed)


(9) Hopes/Fears: The Empress/Passion (Reversed)


(10) Outcome: XXIII The River/Flow


(11) Gift/Guide: VII The Chariot/Challenge


Do you think this means anything? Let me hear from you.



Order or view TNP at the new Official Site For Tarot of the Nine Paths. (Click) 

Final TNP Poster copy



Excerpted from:


                By MARK EPSTEIN, MD

1. As psychotherapy has grown in scope and sophistication over the years, its parallels with Buddhist thought have become ever more apparent.  As the emphasis in therapy has moved from conflicts over sexual and aggressive strivings, for instance, to a focus on how patients are uncomfortable with themselves because, in some fundamental way, they do not know who they are, the question of the self has emerged as the common focus of Buddhism and psychoanalysis.

2. While the Western tradition has grown quite adept as describing what has been called the narcissistic dilemma—the sense of falseness or emptiness that propels people either to idealize or to devalue themselves and others—much controversy has arisen over the psychoanalytic method’s applicability for such problems.  In fact, Western therapists are in the position of having identified a potent source of neurotic misery without having developed a foolproof treatment for it.  In reaching this point, many within the field of psychology have finally caught up to William James: they are ready to look at the psychological teachings of the Buddha. 6

3. Buddhist psychology, after all, takes this core sense of identity confusion as its starting point and further claims that all of the usual efforts to achieve solidity, certainty, or security are ultimately doomed.  It not only describes the struggle to find a “true self” in terms that have impressed Western psychologists for decades…but also offers a method of analytic inquiry unavailable in the Western tradition. From the Buddhist perspective, meditation is indispensable to free the individual from neurotic misery.  

4. Psychotherapy can identify the problem, bring it out, point out some of the childhood deficiencies that contributed to its development, and help diminish the ways in which erotic and aggressive strivings become intertwined with the search for a satisfying feeling of self, but it has not been able to deliver freedom from narcissistic craving. 6

5. People are attracted to the Buddhist approach, but it remains enigmatic; they know that it speaks to them, yet they have trouble translating the message into a form applicable to their daily lives. Still approached as something exotic, foreign, and therefore alien, the power of the Buddhist approach has not really been tapped and its message has not yet been integrated.

6. (According to Epstein)—In our culture, it is the language of psychoanalysis, developed by Freud and carefully nurtured by generations of psychotherapists over the past century, that has seeped into general public awareness.  It is in this language that the insights of the Buddha must be presented to Westerners. 

7. According to Buddhism, it is our fear at experiencing ourselves directly that creates suffering.  This has always seemed very much in keeping with Freud’s views. As Freud put it, the patient:  “must find the courage to direct his attention to the phenomena of his illness.  His illness itself must no longer seem to him contemptible, but must become an enemy worthy of his mettle, a piece of his personality, which has solid ground for its existence and out of which things of value for his future life have to be derived. The way is thus paved for the reconciliation with the repressed material which is coming to expression in his symptoms, while at the same time a place is found for a certain tolerance for the state of being ill.

8. In his teachings on suffering, the Buddha made clear that some kind of humiliation awaits us all.  This is the truth that he felt could be apprehended by those with “little dust in their eyes.”  No matter what we do, he taught, we cannot sustain the illusion of our self-sufficiency.  We are all subject to decay, old age, and death, to disappointment, loss, and disease.  We are all engaged in a futile struggle to maintain ourselves in our own image.  The crises in our lives inevitably reveal how impossible our attempts to control our destinies really are. 44

9. The Four Noble Truths take this vulnerability as a starting point, cultivating humility out of the seemingly oppressive and inescapable humiliations of life.  Far from the pessimistic religion that Buddhism has been portrayed to be, it is, in fact, relentlessly optimistic.  All of the insults to our narcissism can be overcome, the Buddha proclaimed, not by escaping from them, but by uprooting the conviction in a “self” that needs protecting.

10. Buddhism promises a kind of relief that is beyond the reach of the psychotherapeutic method, brought about through techniques of self-examination and mental training unknown to the West.  Happiness is a real possibility, taught the Buddha, if we can but penetrate our own narcissism. 45

11. The Buddha sees us all as Narcissus, gazing at and captivated by our own reflections, languishing in our attempted self-sufficiency, desperately struggling against all that would remind us of our own fleeting and relative natures. His message is a wake-up call.  He seeks to rouse us from our Narcissus-like reverie, to redirect our attention from a preoccupation with shoring up an inevitably flawed sense of self to knowledge of what he calls “the Noble Truth.” 45

12. Because of our craving, The Buddha is saying, we want things to be understandable.  We reduce, concretize, or substantialize experiences or feelings, which are, in their very nature, fleeting or evanescent.  In so doing, we define ourselves by our moods and by our thoughts.  We do not just let ourselves be happy or sad, for instance; we must become a happy person or a sad one.  This is the chronic tendency of the ignorant or deluded mind, to make “things” out of that which is no thing.  Seeing craving shatters this predisposition; it becomes preposterous to try to see substance where there is none. 77

13. The Buddha is suggesting something very radical here: that it is possible to isolate the forces of craving in one’s own mind and become both liberated from them and unattached to them merely from seeing that craving for what it is.  The contrast with Western psychoanalysis seems at first glance to be particularly stark.  One of the fundamental concepts in psychoanalytic theory, after all, is that instinctual drives or forces (erotic, aggressive, or narcissistic strivings) are inborn, inherent, and inescapable.  

14. The vision of the Buddha is that the neurotic aspects of mind—as personified by the pig, the snake, and the rooster of ignorance, hatred, and greed—are not essential to the mental continuum.  They may be inborn or even instinctual, but they are not intrinsic to the nature of mind.  They can be eliminated, or, in psychoanalytic parlance, sublimated to the point of cessation.  Most of Buddhist psychology, in fact, is concerned with demonstrating how the narcissistic impulses to identify with or distance oneself from experience can be transformed into wisdom about the true nature of self.  This is sublimation of an order that Freud did not often consider, and as we shall see, it is brought about not only through analysis but also through methods of mental training explicitly taught by the Buddha. 79

Compiled by Art Rosengarten, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor, California Institute For Human Studies.


February [13] 2009



      Depth Psychology

–       THE I AND THE NOT I: A study in the development of consciousness, M. Esther Harding (Princeton University Press, 1965).

–       THE DISCOVERY OF THE UNCONSCIOUS: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry, Henri Ellenberger (Basic Books, 1970).

–       JUNG: A Biography, Deirdre Bair (Little, Brown and Company, 2003).

–       MEMORIES, DREAMS. REFLECTIONS, C. G. Jung (Vintage, 1961).

–       THE COLLECTED WORKS OF C.G. JUNG, (Bollingen Series, 1959), including: THE ARCHETYPES AND THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS, VOL. PART 1, C.G. Jung, (Princeton University Press, 1959).

–       HAGS AND HEROES: A Feminist Approach to Jungian Psychotherapy with Couples, Polly Young-Eisendrath (Inner City, 1984).

–       SELF AND LIBERATION The Jung/Buddhism Dialogue, Edited by Daniel J. Meckel and Robert L. Moore (Paulist Press, 1992).

–       UP FROM EDEN: A Transpersonal View of Human Evolution, Ken Wilber (Anchor/Doubleday, 1981).

–       KEN WILBER IN DIALOGUE Conversations with Leading Transpersonal Thinkers, Edited by Donald Rothberg and Sean Kelly, Quest 1998).

–       LECTURES ON JUNG’S TYPOLOGY, Marie-Louise von Franz and James Hillman, (Spring, 1971).

–       WE’VE HAD A HUNDRED YEARS OF PSYCHOTHERAPY AND THE WORLD’S GETTING WORSE, James Hillman and Michael Ventura (Harper San Francisco, 1992).

–       POWER IN THE HELPING PROFESSIONS, Adolf Guggenbuhl-Craig (Spring, 1971).

–       CULTURAL ATTITUDES In Psychological Perspective, Joseph L. Henderson, M.D. (Inner City Books, 1984).



–       AN EXPERIMENT WITH TIME, J.W. Dunne (Humanities Press, 1927)

–       SYNCHRONICITY, SCIENCE, AND SOUL-MAKING, Victor Mansfield (Open Court, 1995).

–       ON DIVINATION AND SYNCHRONICITY: The Psychology of Meaningful Chance, Marie-Louise Von Franz, (Bollingen, 1980).

–       CHOOSING REALITY: A Buddhist View of Physics and the Mind, B. Alan Wallace, (Snow Lion Publications, 1996).

–       CHAOS: Making A New Science, James Gleick (Penguin, 1987)

–       TAROT AND PSYCHOLOGY Spectrums of Possibility, Arthur Rosengarten, (Paragon, 2000).

–       ARCHETYPES & STRANGE ATTRACTORS The Chaotic World of Symbols, John R. Van Eenwyk (Inner City, 1997).

–       THE BLACK SWAN The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Random House, 2007).

–       C.G. Jung’s Psychology of Religion and Synchronicity, Robert Aziz (Suny Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology, 1996).


            Myth & Symbol

–       ARIADNE’S CLUE, A guide to the symbols of humankind, Anthony Stevens (Princeton University Press, 1998).

–       A DICTIONARY OF SYMBOLS, J. E. Cirlot (Philosophical Library, New York, 1962).

–       A CRITICAL DICTIONARY OF JUNGIAN ANALYSES, Andrew Samuels, Bani Shorter, Fred Plant (Routledge, 1986).

–       THE KING & THE CORPSE Tales of the soul’s conquest of evil, Heinrich Zimmer (Princeton University Press, 1948).

–       WOMAN’S DICTIONARY OF SYMBOLS AND SACRED OBJECTS, Barbara G. Walker (Harper San Francisco, 1988).

–       THE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF WORLD RELIGIONS, Edited by John Bowker (Oxford University Press, 1997).


–       Eastern Religion

–       HOW TO MEDITATE A Practical Guide, Kathleen McDonald (Wisdom, 1984).

–       THE I CHING OR BOOK OF CHANGES, Richard Wilhelm Translation with Foreword by C.G. Jung (Princeton University Press, 1950).


–       THOUGHTS WITHOUT A THINKER: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective (Foreword by the Dalai Lama, Mark Epstein, M.D. (Basic Books, 1995).

–       THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING, Sogyal Rinpoche, (Rider & Co,1992).

–       ZEN MIND, BEGINNER’S MIND, Shunryu Suzuki, (Weatherhill, 1970)

–       TAO THE WATERCOURSE WAY, Alan Watts (Pantheon, 1975)

–       MOTHER OF THE BUDDHAS Meditations on the Prajnaparamita Sutra, Lex Hixon (Quest, 1993)

–       AS IT IS, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, (Rangjung Yeshe Books, 2000).

–       THE EDGE OF CERTAINTY Dilemmas on the Buddhist Path, Peter Fenner (Nicholas-Hays, 2002).



–       THE POWER OF NOW A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle (New World, 1999).

–       HE Understanding Masculine Psychology; Robert A. Johnson (Harper & Row, 1983); SHE Understanding Feminine Psychology (ibid); WE Understanding The Psychology Of Romantic Love (ibid).           

–       WHO DIES? An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying, Stephen Levine, (Doubleday, 1982).

–       CHALLENGE OF THE HEART Love, Sex, and Intimacy in Changing Times, Edited by John Welwood, (Shambhala, 1985).

–       SEARCH FOR THE REAL SELF, James Masterson (Routledge, 1993).

–       LOVE’S EXECUTIONER & Other Tales of Psychotherapy, Irvin Yalom, M.D. (Basic, 1989).

–       A WHACK ON THE SIDE OF THE HEAD: How You Can Be More Creative, Roger von Oech (Creative Think, 1983).

–       THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional and Spiritual Growth, M. Scott Peck, M.D. (Simon & Shuster 1978).

–       THE GOOD MARRIAGE, Judith S. Wallerstein & Sandra Blakeslee (Houghton Mifflin, 1995).

–       LOVE IS NEVER ENOUGH How Couples Can Overcome Misunderstanings, Resolve conflicts, and Solve Relationship Problems Through Cognitive Therapy, Aaron T. Beck, M. D. Harper & Row, 1988).

–       FEELING GOOD The New Mood Therapy, David D. Burns, M.D.


            Tarot/Western Spirituality

–       SEVENTY-EIGHT DEGREES OF FREEDOM, A Book Of Tarot, Rachel Pollack, (Aquarian Peress, 1980).

–       MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism, Anonymous (Element, 1985).

–       TAROT SYMBOLISM, Robert V. O’Neil, (Fairway Press, 1986).

–       TAROT REVELATIONS, Joseph Campbell and Richard Roberts, Vernal Equinox, 1979.

–       THE TAROT History, Mystery, and Lore, Cynthia Giles, (Fireside, 1992).

–       THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAROT (VOLUMES 1 THRU 4), Stuart R. Kaplan (US Games, 1978-2006).

–       TAROT OF THE NINE PATHS A Guide For The Spiritual Traveler (Arthur Rosengarten, 2004).

–       THE MYSTICAL QABALAH, Dion Fortune (Samuel Weiser, first in 1935)

–       MY LIFE WITH THE SPIRITS The Adventures of a Modern Magician, Lon Milo DuQuette, (Weiser, 1999).

–       777 AND OTHER QABALISTIC WRITINGS OF ALEISTER CROWLEY, Edited by Israel Regardie, Samuel Weiser, 1955).

–       THE GNOSTIC GOSPELS, Elaine Pagels,(Vintage, 1979).

–       THE FOURTH WAY, P.D. Ouspensky (Vintage, 1957).



–       LABYRINTHE, Jorge Luis Borges (Carl Hanser, 1959)


–       GHENGIS KHAN And The Making Of The Modern World, Jack Weatherford (Three Rivers, 2005).

–       PALE FIRE, Vladimir Nabokov (Penguin Books,1962).

–       LOVE’S EXECUTIONER & Other Tales of Psychotherapy, Irvin Yalom, M.D. (Basic, 1989).

–       A FIRE IN THE MIND The Life of Joseph Campbell, Steven and Robin Larsen, Doubleday, 1991).

–       PREY, Michael Crichton (Amazon, 2002).

–       BRAVE NEW WORLD REVISITED, Aldous Huxley, (Perennial, 1958).

–       THE NAME OF THE ROSE, Umberto Eco (Warner, 1983).

–       GOD IS NOT GREAT How Religion Poisons Everything, Christopher Hitchens,(Hachette Book, 2007).

–       THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN, Carlos Castenada, (Ballantine, 1970).


–       ANGELS & DEMONS, Dan Brown (Pocket,2006).

–       THE COMPLETE WORKS OF HENRY MILLER, including: THE BOOKS IN MY LIFE, Henry Miller (New Directions, 1969).

–       The NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN POETERY (Second Edition), Edited by Richard Ellman and Robert O’Clair (W.W. Norton, 1973).

Past Life Tarot Readings

 Part 3

Designed  by Dr. Art Rosengarten For TAROTPSYCH Jan/Feb. 2009

Click to expand windows below:

X8 Part 3 PAST LIFE Spread (Rev)

X8 Part 3 PAST LIFE Spread only


By Art Rosengarten, Ph.D. 

The intuitive and spiritual vision gained from tarot divination, I Ching, numerology, and other such methods remains, even to this day, outright suspect to the spiritual establishment. Established religion asks: Why is there need for these methods when we have already spelled out everything so clearly? Who can be sure that people channeling their own spiritual insight won’t go their own way? As Brother David Steindl-Rast, author, Ph.D., and monk of the Mount Savior Monastery observes:

One way or the other, the same plot is acted out repeatedly on the stage of history: every religion seems to begin with mysticism and end up in politics… Fortunately, I have not yet come across a religion where the system didn’t work at all. Unfortunately, however, deterioration begins on the day the system is installed…. Our social structures have a tendency to perpetuate themselves. Religious institutions are less likely than seed pods to yield to the new life stirring within. And although life (over and over again) creates structures, structures do not create life. (The Mystical Core of Organized Religion, p. 2, 1989)

While the merits of extending good will and warm regard for individuals of differing faiths have evolved to a “hopeful dialogue” at this juncture of planetary change, such progress in the religious and spiritual sectors is usually constrained and offset by the perennially insular practical needs that a particular organization carries for its own survival.

Spreading (or at least keeping) its own faith is a simple matter of endurance, though often and unfortunately it bleeds away energies which might otherwise enliven the creative furthering of an organization’s own vision. Yes charity begins at home, and sure adherence to one’s tradition bears an important function, but a tradition needs to continually renew and develop if it wishes to remain fully alive.  The same self-cherishing tendencies, of course, apply to most psychological movements and consciousness-raising programs as well. For all their intelligence and good works, they too tend  to calcify within the business of their businesses, and the doctrine of their doctrines. One should not be surprised, therefore, by an almost universal undercurrent of stodgy, “ear wax” sermonettes all in the service of self-preservation and tradition.

Truth be told,  most spiritual entities and wisdom enterprises entertain unspoken desires for dominance (hush!) – that is, for becoming the preferred “superbridge” to the world’s great spiritual superhighway – it thus follows, quite logically, that each group in practice would be at best “hesitant,” if not a tad snarly, in its support of the hypothetical “top honor” were it given to any rival group (“OK boys and girls, pack your things — Quakerism is now the universal world practice”), especially if in so doing it meant cementing the quick and painful surcease of their own orders, schools, and doctrines. (Someone has to pay the bills, no?). Human nature being what it is, the politics of organized spirituality as seen on the “world stage” during the 21st century “transition” decade of the 90s was indeed a curious display to behold.  The “dirty little secrets” (then and Now) behind ‘The Secret’, I sometimes call it.


The Penultimate Lovefest

As case in point, a number of years ago I had the good fortune to travel to Chicago, Illinois,  to attend the auspicious five-day Parliament of World Religions. This by all measures was to be an extraordinary spiritual bonanza, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the great Indian saint, Swami Vivekananda, and his epic journey to America in August of 1893 for the express purpose of initiating the first major “interfaith conference” in recorded history.

The centennial celebration was truly a marvelous event to behold, with every emanation of guru, spiritual ambassador, captain of consciousness, priest and priestess imaginable. The colorful opening ceremony was a procession of Hindus, Buddhists, Native Americans, Sikhs, Jains, Moslems, Rastafarians, B’hais, Yorubans, and Zoroastrians, with women participating on a par with men, and, all in all, creating a truly overwhelming joyous feeling of global spiritual diversity and community.

With more than five thousand attendees filling the luxurious ballrooms of the Palmer Hotel in downtown Chicago, we all were free to pick and choose various talks and instructions given by a virtual smorgasbord of “spiritual bridgemakers” at any given hour (it was worth surrendering your lunch ticket).  At this crest of the  Clinton Administration, the senior icons of higher spirit and consciousness, many avowed heroes and “rock stars” of the 1960’s Human Potentials Movement, now gathered for the  triumphal occasion.

Sublime vision was offered up from the renowned Korean Zen taskmaster Seung Sahn to the gentle Vietnamese Zen poet Thich Nat Hanh.  Moral high ground was transmitted from the elegant leader of European Jewry in Sir Sigmund Sternberg to the feisty and controversial leader of African-American Muslims– Reverend Louis Farrakhan (replete with his small army of bodyguards). There were outstanding Christian monks, mystics, and clergy, as well as delegations from three of the largest Pagan organizations in North America. The Joseph Campbell Society was represented, Dr. Jean Houston was there, Arlo Guthrie (and his Brooklyn-born guru) were there, and Harvard professor John Mack, M.D. gave a chilling discussion of his UFO abduction research and theories regarding the interdependence of all beings, earthborn or otherwise.

Yet for so impressive a mandala of spiritual diversity, I don’t believe any speaker throughout the entire affair once mentioned (with the possible exception of the Joseph Campbell group) the incomparable deck of human spiritual possibility itself, that is, the Tarot.  As a practical map and instrument of The Great Work itself,  I believe there is an important reason for its notable absence in this body: Tarot is not a religion, but a sacred tool. Nor is the Tarot a spiritual movement or a school of consciousness, but a catalyst of imagination and a creator (some may prefer inventor) of consciousness. As such, unfortunately, it carries no traction in the official (outer) world dialogue of spirit or consciousness.


A Metaphysical Thermometer


Perhaps some “infusion medicine” might have re-vitalized the competing enterprises of wisdom here? The Tarot, to this end, would be utilized as a gauge of vitality, a transpersonal thermometer of sorts.  With its insertion into one of several small physical openings, the traditional thermometer, as we all know, is a diagnostic instrument designed to measure body temperature.  Its feedback alerts one to a preliminary and non-specific assessment of multiple, simultaneous, and interrelated systems operating within the physical organism either in health or in sickness.

Curiously, the thermometer’s scientific precursors, technical mechanics, components, internal structure, place of manufacture etc. are entirely secondary (if not irrelevant) to its function. Such technicalities are left to the physicians, producers, and distributors of the product. We just stick it in, pull it out, read it, and wash it (What? You didn’t know that?)– WITHOUT concern for these other irrelevancies. The thermometer’s utility nonetheless remains unrivalled in common medical practice.

So too, we might say, is the Tarot.  Its insertion too is placed in one of several small (meta) physical openings—say, a context of exhausted rationality, or perhaps the invocation of a higher power, or a moment of compelling uncertainty that calls out for deeper guidance. Similar to the thermometer, tarot’s feedback alerts one to a non-specific, generalized assessment of structures operating within the whole personality; and interestingly, unlike the thermometer, the Tarot can also be directed to specific systems and subsystems throughout multiple levels of experience, and is comparatively-speaking vastly more versatile. 

Practical Spirituality

In terms of “spiritual” matters and organizations, a user my seek to determine, for instance, “Why am I not making spiritual progress after so many years of meditation?”  Or perhaps “How can our tradition evolve within the emerging issues and insights of the day?” Or “How can this religion become more experiential and relevant to bright individuals?”  Invariably, the cards will point to a unique, multi-layered, set of inter-relationships supplying a complex web of fresh information, ideas, new combinations etc. for introspection as well as corrective action.

As a scion of symbolism, Tarot operates multi-dimensionally from a purely non-affiliated platform in the truest sense. This means anyone can join it, and return to where they are otherwise more traditionally comfortable, yet I believe “improved” by the experience. Tarot is ‘foundationless’ with respect to adherence and fealty to the embedded beliefs of any particular tradition. In the political debates of religion, for instance, liberals and conservatives alike may claim its arcane workings put to the service of their own partisan agendas, but Tarot’s own “vote” always remains within the structure of its apolitical governance. As simply an instrument, or as I prefer, a sacred tool, the Tarot functions as a spiritual thermometer—a measuring stick of psychospiritual health and an early alert signal to The Great Work itself.


Tools Of Imagination

I daresay, once past the psychotheocratic resistance (if such were possible) known to tatter the woven seams of many religious and psycho-spiritual mantles, that Tarot’s tremendous versatility and universality would serve as a natural and creative aid to each and every established school of spirituality, psychology, and consciousness. 

Are tools of imagination and barometers of the perennial philosophy no longer needed by such groups?  I certainly hope not. Unless any spiritual, religious, or psychological school grows irreparably stale or stultified within its own dogma and tradition, it, like all organisms, must continue to adapt and evolve to the changing demands of each age. As a simple matter of common sense, the closer an organization is to the lived heartbeat of its constituents, the more likely its survival. And neither should this fact be lost on Tarot itself; to the contrary, Tarot must continue to creatively use its own wisdom and method upon itself in order to accommodate to the changing demands of this age and the next.

Unlike the movements represented at the Parliament of World Religions, Tarot’s potential utility is equally relevant to the corporate manager, the research scientist, the professional athlete, the abstract artist, the elementary school teacher, the single mother, the politician, and the mental health worker, to name a few. This is because Tarot is an ingenious instrument in many ways like a thermometer: it points us to a direction of inner vision,  a hidden side of events, a timeless wisdom. Extremely handy things, I should think, for all and any who wish to expand and deepen perspective and awareness.

Specific applications are secondary in Tarot, though, personally, I would find no difficulty envisioning at the Parliament’s 200 Year Anniversary (come 2093) a  assemblage of 21st century transformational healers and teachers where the praises of Tarot, and other sacred tools like it, are acknowledged for their creative catalyzing effects which have served their own organization’s development immeasurably.

Dr. Art Rosengarten is the author of TAROT AND PSYCHOLOGY: SPECTRUMS OF POSSIBILITY and owner moderator of the Yahoo discussion group:  taropsych  He is a featured expert/author in the just released metaphysical documentary, THE GREAT WORK produced by Chance Gardner and Vanese McNeill.








Note: Predicting WHO will win is easy. WHAT will happen next? Now that’s interesting.

Divined The Day BEFORE i.e., November 3, 2008 (See spread below, first posted on tarotpsych site*)

My Comments based on the cards below: The phase immediately following Tuesday’s election (i.e. “the day after”) will be one of a stalled Knight of Stability impatient to get his feet planted in the ground (Knight Pentacles reversed). A period of adjustment and patience is required (7 of Pentacles).  He will have high expectations to actualize his powerful agenda (9 Wands) but be hampered at first by the fallow ground left from the overburdened Washington establishment (Page of Pentacles reversed), a system derailed by its bankrupt and oppressive policies of the past (10 Wands reversed). Soon, however, he will take an aggressive, creative stance re: creative change; he will counter political/cultural opposition with a steely resolve and persistence (7 Wands ). Timing, however, will not be favorable for launching major new initiatives during this phase (Wheel of Fortune reversed). The new president will be seen as a bit lost, disconnected from his deeper convictions and depths at first(High Priestess reversed). The hope now for a clear, objective, and judicious decisiveness in the American leadership will be widely felt and anticipated; but also a underlying fear that his ideas are imprecise, over-calculated, or too impersonal (King of Swords). There will require, by the end of this phase, some behind-the-scenes fence-mending and emotional re-integration by the new American leader before his real agenda for change begins (4 Cups–reversed). His gift and guide is a nurturing, crafty, and hands-on woman (Queen of Pentacles).

The Celtic Cross Spread on Nov. 3, 2008 Q–“The Day After” Tuesday’s presidential elections. What will unfold?

(1) Present Situation–how you come to the reading: Knight Pentacles reversed (2) The Obstacle–where you resist or experience difficulty here–7 of Pentacles (3) The Foundation–the ground or basis of this situation–Page of Pentacles reversed (4) The Past–your past karma or significant influences from the past–10 Wands reversed (5) Goals & Ideals–key images, perfect pictures, visions about the situation–9 Wands (6) Coming Soon–in your immediate future, depending on how you deal with your obstacle–7 Wands (7) Ego–how you see yourself in this situation–Wheel of Fortune reversed (8) Others–how others perceive you–High Priestess reversed (9) Hopes & Fears–a two-bladed sword–King of Swords (10) Outcome–long-term resolution of this process; this result will be in your destiny–4 Cups–reversed (11) Gift & Guide–In some way this card will serve you in this process both as serendipity and a source of guidance.–Queen of Pentacles

See comments on this reading at tarotpsych discussion group: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/tarotpsych/

(For quick portal to site:) http://geocities.com/tarotpsych/