Online Tarot Course
Carl Jung pointed out that our ancestors believed in gods; we believe in vitamins — both invisible.
Speaking about the ego and the grip of the rational mind he went on to say,
“We congratulate ourselves on having reached a pinnacle of clarity, imagining that we have left all these phantasmal gods far behind. But what we have left behind are only verbal specters, not the psychic facts that were responsible for the birth of the gods. We are still as much possessed by autonomous psychic contents as if they were Olympians. Today they are called phobias, obsessions, and so forth; in a word, neurotic symptoms.”
In Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey, the Greek hero Odysseus is returning with his crew from Troy when a north wind drives him to the land of the lotus-eaters. After imbibing the opium plant, duty and mission are abandoned as they are overcome by a blissful forgetfulness. To eat lotus means to forget, or to be unmindful.
The documentary, The Social Dilemma, focuses on how social media companies manipulate users by using algorithms that encourage addiction to their platforms. Other forms of lotus eating are found in Netflix binging or drug addiction. Documentaries such as Oxyana or The City Addicted to Crystal Meth, show entire towns falling to the scourge of Oxycontin and Crystal Meth.
Psychotherapist James Hollis says, “Given Jung’s definition of a neurosis as a neglected or repressed God, we are still at the mercy of those energies that were once embodied in those Bright Presences atop Olympus. Rather than say we are possessed by Aphrodite or abandoned by her, we can purchase a self-help book on love’s disorders and gain five easy steps for her retrieval. Rather than say we are in the grip of mad Ares, we feel inflamed by righteous anger and justify the right to strike our neighbor. And so on. We may believe we have left all those antique personages behind, but we remain gripped by the timeless energies they once personified.”
On the personal level, we suffer these displaced energies as neuroses. In an age of great material access, we suffer dislocations from the energies of our deepest being and, in return, suffer emptiness, anomie, aimlessness—all sicknesses of the soul. While most therapists address behaviors, thought processes, and biology, would it not make more sense to ask where the energy has relocated?
On a collective level, our culture’s treatment plans for the absence of a personal, intimate relationship with the gods are materialism, hedonism, narcissism, and nationalism, as well as a coursing nostalgia for a world that never really existed. Our contemporary Odysseys are redirected to the Apple Store, the palliative pharmacy, or forays along the River Amazon Prime. Guided by Google, whereby all things are knowable, we wonder why we are so absentspirited, so lost, and so adrift. We may say that these secular surrogates, these “isms,” constitute our values, our de facto religions, those in which we most invest our energies. But we have to ask the obvious question, How well are they working for us? And to what zones transcendent do they link us? Is there a more effective, less damaging treatment plan for our malaise?
How many of us have done what we were “supposed to do”? And how well did that work out for us? Although we might have gained parental approval, promotion at work, approval from our self-selecting coterie, what wakes us at three in the morning, stands at the foot of the bed, and terrifies us? What produces those disturbing dreams? Why, having done the “right things,” do we feel bored, listless, depressed even, utterly without spark or animation of the soul? How many of us have then made foolish choices, seeking desperately to reanimate our lives, driven, as Matthew Arnold expressed it in his poem “The Buried Life,” by a “thirst to spend our fire and restless force”?
The tarot is an ancient tool using the universal language of imagery and symbolism to help us connect to a higher source of guidance and discover a path to follow. In the 22 major arcana cards, we go through the soul’s journey, encountering every challenge life presents and a series of polarities to confront and integrate.
The soul’s journey can also be called a passage.
As James Hollis offers:
In all passages, something is exhausted, something is lost and irretrievable, and something to replace it is not apparent. In all passages, there is a death of something—naiveté, the old road map, a plan, an expectation, a strategy, a story, and so on. And what is to come is not yet present, not available, at least not conscious. Sometimes those passages are abrupt and the in-between state short; sometimes this most difficult in-between takes years to play out. There is one clear consistency, however: nature, our nature, evolves by way of death. How else can something within us grow and emerge without clearing away the old? And that same nature is always seeking the next stage in service to its purposes—though certainly not to our comfort or control.
If I am overthrown by something larger than my ego, I am in a developmental versus a static process; I am called to grow despite my preference for ease, predictability, and control. Most of us, when we reflect on it, grow most out of our traumas, our disappointments, our defeats. Yes, we can pile those experiences on top of our troubled self-image and use them to flagellate ourselves, to stay mired in old and familiar places. Alternatively, we can move through—perhaps even beyond—them and toward the life that wants to live through us, rather than the one we planned.
If you’d like to discover the riches of the collective unconscious, expressed through the language of tarot cards, get in touch if you’d like to study one of my tarot courses or have a personal tarot reading. While I'm one of a number of tarot readers in Sydney, I also offer online tarot readings no matter where you reside.