In order to enhance my dreamwork, I often employ the major arcana of the Tarot deck (I use the Raider/Waite deck). The deck can be used in many different ways and is not limited to use solely as a means of divination. The archetypes represented by the Tarot, such as the Magician, the Emperor, the Tower are often found in our dreams, although in of disguised or subtle and allusive forms. Dreams of lightning striking can allude to the Tower, for example. Appearing before a judge could hint that the Justice archetype is active in the psyche.
Using the Tarot in dreamwork assists in not only deepening our understanding of our dreams but also helps us become aware of just how multi-dimensional they are and how we can use them to speed up our spiritual evolution.
In the late Timothy Leary's book, The Game of Life, he explicates, in his often humorous, psychedelic way, how each of the major arcana of the Tarot can activate our neurocircuits, i.e. those pathways within our central nervous system that become imprinted with information at various stages of our evolutionary development. We have everything from a bio-survival neurocircuit which is imprinted at birth up to a non-local quantum neurocircuit which is dormant in most humans but is beginning to become activated in those of us doing transformational work (and those sincerely studying quantum physics on a heart chakra level). In dreams many of the characters and places that appear often are symbolic representations of the neurocircuits themselves and are beckoning for integration and activation. When we quit fretting over what will happen to us in the future, this often takes place. Weaving the Tarot symbols into our dreams will help us gain an understanding of these elements in an intuitive way where we can bypass the usual anxieties and shortcomings associated with analysis and interpretation, the very things that often block the neurocircuits.
What follows is an example of using the Tarot in dreamwork. I once had the following dream:
I find myself in this semi-deserted, very old factory on the bottom floor where all these machines are. I feel compelled to leave, but the only way to do so is to take an elevator. I discover a floor that has not seen human activity for years judging from the dust on the floor, at least three to five inches thick. I'm afraid I'll get trapped on this floor, so I maneuver the elevator and the doors part and I'm faced with a solid brick wall. It seems that I cannot get out of the elevator. I do not panic. Finally on the fifth floor, I pry the doors open and escape.
I decided to use the number five that appeared in the dream to select the appropriate card from the Tarot deck: the Hierophant, since I ended up on the fifth floor of the factory. Traditionally this card represents: "establishements, groups, organizations or structures (including the family structure), key or critical figures you align yourself with, the search for truth or understanding, new thinking and new opportunities" (definition taken from Tarot Made Easy by Nancy Garen).
Enhancing this interpretation is Leary's unorthodox approach to this card which for him represents the collective neurogenetic neurocircuit, i.e. the circuit responsible for our awareness of collectives, from the collectives of our family to the collective unconscious. According to Leary, the Hierophant archetype when meditated upon will activate circuit five, which also contains and has "access to the whole evolutionary 'script' past and future" according to Robert Anton Wilson in his book, Prometheus Rising, an excellent introduction to the eight neurocircuits.
I drew the Hierophant card out of the deck, held it in my hands and closed my eyes, tuning into the energies associated with it. I could feel my throat chakra start to vibrate (which, incidentally, is the fifth chakra). I then reentered the dream:
Finally on the fifth floor I pry the doors open and escape. I walk down a hallway and at the end of the hallway I discover the Hierophant sitting on his throne.
"What do you want of me?" said the Hierophant.
"How do I get out of here?" I said.
"The way you got in," the Hierophant said.
I could hear the elevator doors opening behind me. In the elevator I could see many people in my life, family and friends all waiting for me to return. I then tuned into my own collective neurogenetic neurocircuit to see how I was being imprinted. I could see my education from grade school on up, a system based on the Prussian system of education where true, independent learning is discouraged. I could see how others were blocked in terms of activating this circuit.
I turned around and asked if I could have one of the keys at the feet of the Hierophant and he allowed me to take one. I went into the elevator and inserted the key in the panel and the elevator rose up one floor and the doors opened upon a beautiful vista.
I exited the dream and then tuned back into my body and felt my heart chakra warm up as well as my throat chakra. I made sure to thank the Hierophant for encouraging me to develop this kind of subtle awareness.
It is best to be well grounded before trying this technique as the archetypes themselves are very powerful. I also suggest reading The Inner Guide Meditation by Edwin Steinbrecher for further inspiration.
Copyright 1998, Jaye C. Beldo
Jaye C. Beldo is a writer who has been published in Magical Blend, Green Egg, Dream Network, On-Line Noetic Network, Mythos Journal, FATE and others. He is an intuitive counselor and spiritual anarchist who lives in Minneapolis and can be reached at Netnous@aol.com or 1-612-827-6835.
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