By Arthur Rosengarten, Ph.D.
If you are a tarot reader and have often considered what a
brilliant study in psychology the Tarot provides, then this book is for
you. If you are a practicing
psychotherapist who has been eying a Tarot deck for a tool to add to your
therapy kit, this book is for you too. Dr.
Rosengarten has written this book with humour, wisdom and enticement. An easy read with only a few complex
psychological references to throw the novice psychology buff off kilter. But if you are a tarotist interested in
psychology (really what tarotist is not interested in psychology?) you will
thoroughly enjoy reading a psychologist’s perspective on not only the process
of reading the tarot, but it’s inherent, instructive psychological meanings as
Psychotherapist to Full Time Tarot Reader
When I discovered this book I was ecstatic. I am a psychotherapist who has become a full
time tarot reader. I don’t call myself a
psychotherapist now. There was a time
when I saw clients during the day for therapy and taught the tarot in the
evening. Although I would teach psychology
to my tarot students, I never spoke of the tarot to my psychotherapy
clients. Sad but true. I became a full
time tarot reader for the freedom and openness possible in working with
clients. I wanted to be free to say what
I think and feel while drawing upon a brilliant synchronicity tool to open a
sacred space untethered by convention. Although best practice overlaps in both
realms (confidentiality, honour and respect) the arena, culture and underlying
assumptions are vastly different.
Dr. Rosengarten describes a study he launched in California
whereby volunteer, high-risk couples were invited to participate, using tarot
readings as the centre, therapeutic modality. This is not something that would
fly in Canada (unfortunately!) but in California, not only was it permitted but
it also received some government funding!
Dr. Rosengarten does some statistical analysis about what cards tended
to show up the most often in certain positions for both men and women. For example, the Knight of Wands shows up in
the warning position of most women who have suffered abuse at the hands of
their partner! This study in its
entirety makes for a fascinating and unique read.
This is only one the many, many examples Dr. Rosengarten
shares in his experience as a therapist using the Tarot to enrich, enliven and
deepen his connection to clients in therapy.
He describes working with a client named David, who is dying of
aids. Creative, explorative and joyful, you
are carried right into the heart of these sessions which end just prior to
David’s passing on to spirit. You won’t
soon forget the extraordinary and rare glimpse into this profound work done by
the author with a grace that is truly awe-inspiring.
Offers New Ground for Tarotists
He describes being invited to do a reading for a group of
women who had been meeting for years and had hit a bump in their process. I laughed out loud reading, “Up to that
moment, I must say, the energy in the room had been genuinely quite friendly,
supportive, accepting, and welcoming (that is, remarkably Empress-like), as one
might expect from a group of warm and bright women who had been meeting
together in this way for years. Now,
after two measly Tarot cards, hot steam and dragon fire began erupting like Mt.
Saint Helens. Tarot, it seems, had
presented an opportunity to air certain grievances, apparently quite atypical
of this group’s normal functioning (I was later to learn).”
The Tarot as usual brings both light and shadow to any
situation. The atmosphere of play,
anticipation and curiosity associated with doing a “reading” opened the women
to a whole new perspective on their group and ultimately saved the group from
Dr. Rosengarten introduces this book by saying, “Finally, I
wanted to offer some new ground to those seasoned tarotists, hermeticists,
artists, mystics, magicians, and sundry esoteric thinkers who were interested
to learn more of Tarot’s psychological and therapeutic properties and
possibilities. Psychology, I would show
them, is intrinsic to both the structure and the method of Tarot itself.” Dr. Rosengarten meets this goal brilliantly
in this book which has been on my highly recommended list for Tarot students
for many years. You will quite simply
love this book.
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