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Tarot and Psychology : Spectrums of Possibility

This book provides an approach for understanding the psychological and spiritual possibilities of human experience, through Tarot divination.

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2 comments on “Tarot and Psychology : Spectrums of Possibility

  1. New insights for both psychologists and Tarotists This is a book that challenges the thinking of both practicing clinical psychologist and practicing Tarot readers. The primary audience is the clinician, but that does not mean that the advanced student and practitioner of Tarot is left out, far from it. There are three main sections of the book: The Tarot of Psychology, The Psychology of Tarot and Empirical Studies, so there is something for both disciplines. The first section, The Tarot of Psychology, introduces the clinician to the world of Tarot’s archetypal images. This is where this book distinguishes itself from other books that seek to connect Tarot and psychology. Most of these other works give a brief introduction to Jung’s theory of Archetypes and then go on to be fairly pedestrian descriptions of the Major Arcana of Tarot. Unlike its rivals, this work is based on solid clinical training and the author’s own extensive research and practical clinical experience. In the second section, The Psychology of Tarot, the clinician is not forgotten, but the emphasis here is more toward exposing the student of Tarot to the deeper psychological meanings in the cards. Dr. Rosengarten does an excellent job here of leading the non-specialist, non-clinician into the often confusing world of psychology. For example, an error often made by dilettantes who attempt to show the psychological meaning of Tarot is to equate it to the TAT or Rorschach tests. Dr. Rosengarten quite correctly states that Tarot is not at all like these tests, which, being extrinsic, that is, being themselves meaningless, are in no way related to the Tarot, with its deep symbolic and archetypal meanings. This second section is also where we see the reason for the subtitle, “Spectrums of Possibility”. The author has developed a Spectrum of Possibility for each card in the Tarot deck. These spectra are not the cut and dried “card meanings” found in the Little White Books that come with decks of Tarot cards, but rich shades of psychological meaning. Appendix A of the book provides the spectra for the entire 78 card Tarot deck. The final section of the book is Empirical Studies. The first chapter of this section alone is almost worth the price of the book. This chapter is entitled simply, “Synchronicity”. In less than a score of pages, the author explains the Jungian Theory of Synchronicity, that is, the notion of acausality. This is the most lucid and uncomplicated exposition of this important and oft misunderstood subject. The main part of these Empirical Studies come from the Tarot Research Project, a rigorously scientific study of the use of Tarot in clinical studies of both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. As both a serious Tarotist and scientist, this reviewer found this section fascinating. Appendix B summarizes composite Tarot spreads from the perpetrator’s and victim’s readings into a “Dialog”. Finally there is an extensive Bibliography to supplement the end-chapter references and a very good index. This is a “must read” for clinicians who are looking for new approaches to old problems and for Tarotists looking for a work with more depth and meaning than yet another description of the archetypal images of the Major Arcana. DISCLAIMER: This reviewer has, for some time, been a student of both Dr. Rosengarten and Forward author Lon Milo DuQuette.

  2. Complex and rewarding…… TAROT AND PSYCHOLOGY: Spectrums of Possibility, by Arthur Rosengarten, is a complex but well-written book. Rosengarten is a Jungian psychologist who has written a book primarily for fellow clinicians. However, Tarot readers of any persuasion will probably find the book informative and interesting.

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