When Images Create Phenomenological Impressions: An Inquiry into What Intuition Might Be


I know that I shouldn’t be presenting or painting characterizations of the presidential candidates (ahem…), but this one is in the name of our tarot studies and visual impressions…


So I have been known to lurk at a local university library… because, you know… my mind needs to be entertained and fed with a lot of academic inquiry knowledge (…’cause I’m a smartypants, don’t’ch’a know…). And, let me tell you: it is ASTONISHING how much information—how many newly published books and periodicals—can be relevant or related to the topic of human psychology and visual stimulus and visual pedagogy. I mean, I think psychology is one of those areas of study that—obviously—can be related to virtually every human function. But I think the other reason I find so much material relevant and inter-relational to my personal research is because of my tarot and ocular-interpretive training. It’s what tarot readers DO… make connections between seemingly disparate and obtusely various images and ideas. This is part of what Carl Jung was expressing with his theory of synchronicity.


So when I saw the latest cover illustration for The Nation magazine…


The Nation magazine Jan/Feb 2016 cover illustration


I somehow immediately thought of a metamorphosis of the court cards and envisioned something like this…


Queen of Hearts-Queen of Spades MASH-UP


I won’t go into any personal interpretation of what that phenomenological image might mean… I’ll leave that up to you…


But it’s also interesting to think about whether the artist… or the publisher… or the marketing firm… intended to generate such a mental image in the minds of people at the magazine rack. Manipulation by the marketing world is increasingly a scientifically-influnced profession, and delves deep into human psychology. If you’ve ever purchased something you realized later that you have no need for… congratulation; you were likely subconsciously manipulated by product marketing… Capitalist markets do it; product manufacturers do it; even political candidates do it…


Sample political marketing image manipulation

An extremely simplified example of political visual manipulation marketing. (Frankly, I wouldn’t “Trust” this particular political candidate if he was floating off the ground in front of my eyes and crepuscular rays from heaven were streaming down on him…)


It’s why you should open up the magazine to read what’s inside—both points of view. And why you should read many more opinions and listen to candidates before being swayed by polls or by mass hysteria. It’s why you should follow up on candidates’ claims and their history instead of just taking their word as gospel and deciding on your candidate based on their “vibe” and how confidently they assert their platforms. Time to be an investigative warrior.


It’s also why, when you are doing a card reading for someone else, you should be creating a dialogue with the client. It’s not that the client is necessarily trying to manipulate you. (Often the point is that the client has manipulated themselves into forgetting core values or believing something that isn’t true.) Rather, the point is that visual impressions can be deceiving, and that our first impressions aren’t always our most valuable impressions. A rushed reading session influenced by your own initial prejudices is not as valuable as allowing the client the time to reveal—to themselves and to you—what the core issue at hand might be…


Timing seems to be the concern on most readers’ minds. There’s a fine line to be had between pushing the client to spend more money in order to spend more time allowing you to find answers… and the care and grace that the reader must find in allowing answers to be revealed in a timely manner. What if there’s not enough time for barriers to be broken down? Wht if my client hasn’t hit her stride during the session? What if it took him the entire 45-minutes to calm his nerves before we started talking about substantive things and then… the session was over??


These are all concerns and issues you’ll have as a professional tarot reader. You’ll have to make decisions constantly based on your feelings at the time. You can’t be in control of everything during every session. Just as in politics, you have to work with the information you have at the time of voting day. Sometimes the battle for our issues and prerogatives rages on well past an elected official taking office. And sometimes the struggle that our clients are going through will continue even after you’ve provided them with the best advocacy that you and the cards have to offer. Just like how we hope that a politician will maintain the vibrancy and initiative of his platform after he or she is in office, we also have to keep a positive outlook that our clients will continue on after our tarot session with the seeds of reflection and insight we’ve planted for the journey.


Intuition can often be a help. Perhaps that’s what my Queen-of-Hearts-and-Spades vision is offering me—an intuitive insight of some sort. But should we ever rely on intuition alone? Hardly. You can bet your bottom dollar that I opened that magazine and spent the time to read the articles that the cover illustration referred to. Was I more enlightened afterwards? More than if I hadn’t read them, for sure… And I’ll use that information to make a more educated decision when the time comes.





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Posted in Discovering Meaning in Imagery, Psychology of Tarot, Tarot Reading and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

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