The Tarot and Quantum Physics

Tarot On Line 5 Comments »

Mankind and Oracles

Mankind has probably been using oracles of one sort or another for as long as we have been recognisably human. We’ve used bones, entrails, yarrow stalks, coins, water, stones, the stars, dreams, cards, tea-leaves, handwriting. The Delphic Oracle functioned for hundreds of years, with eminent kings consulting it regularly and even fighting wars based on its predictions. The Bible is full of references to prophets and prophetic dreams. Contemporary Chinese still make a point of ensuring that any action they are planning takes place on an auspicious day, and even here in the sceptical West, every newspaper carries astrological predictions. Unfortunately these, and other predictive tools, are currently considered either highly suspect, or solely for the simple-minded. The reason for this is primarily our reliance on reductive logic and scientific empiricism (and our tendency to think that we have all the answers).

It’s ironic, then, that the explanation for how oracles work will almost certainly come through the latest scientific research – specifically through quantum physics. However, don’t worry – there’ll be no equations here, just the bare bones of the latest concepts.

The Quantum World

Physicists consider that as we move ever smaller from our usual world of matter, past the level of the most powerful electron microscopes, down into the world of subatomic particles, we reach a world with laws that seem fundamentally different to our own: filled with probabilities and organized chaos, where matter may and not exist simultaneously, where our perception of phenomena can bring them into existence, or alter them. Underlying all this apparent chaos, however, there is an underlying unity: an energy or ‘field’ that exists throughout the universe, a constant ‘particle exchange’ that is never completely static. They call this zero-point energy (the nearest that subatomic matter ever gets to zero motion) and for a long while ignored it, subtracting its effects from their calculations. But then one physicist, Hal Puthoff, realised that this zero-point field (ZPF) could be a vast unharnessed energy source – and started what may well prove to be the breakthrough of the third millennium. The more Puthoff studied the ZPF, the more possibilities he saw in this vast underlying sea of energy. All matter in the universe could now be seen as interconnected by waves of energy. Matter itself is part of the same energy field – in other words there is no division between the material and the immaterial. Nor is there any longer a disconnect between the quantum and the macro worlds. Even gravity – the sticking-point of scientific theories for centuries – can be explained by taking the ZPF into account.

The implications of this, and other new discoveries based on this energy, are mind-blowing; the wonder is that it is taking so long to filter through to general consciousness. Lynne Taggart’s book ‘The Field’ discusses the different aspects of the research and its tantalising possibilities: for example the ability to ‘turn off’ gravity (the long-term applications of which are world-shattering); produce new WARP drives for space exploration; or even travel through wormholes to distant parts of the universe. We could extract energy from The Field as a solution for the looming energy crisis; produce new digital medicine-applications; even kill dangerous bugs with electromagnetic signals.

More relevant to this article is the discovery that the ZPF implies information exchange, as well as energy exchange, and could therefore provide instantaneous communication. The phenomena we call the occult or paranormal, such as telepathy, telekinesis, the Tarot and other oracular devices, foresight, intuition, and dreams, would just be part of this exchange, as we are part of The Field. As mystics have said for millennia, there is no separation. Equally important, this also corroborates the metaphysical tenet – that we create our own reality.

Virtual Tarot

Virtual Tarot 2 Comments »

According to one site on the web, ‘virtual tarot’ is a gag. But tarot has the strange habit of surprising us, and on one site, the comment

‘the virtual tarot thing is just a gag, what you do is put a . (period) in the petition and write the answer, then actually ask it and it will say your answer’

is followed by a rather sweet reply –
‘realy it is believeable.
realy it answered correct.’ [sic]

After working with the cards since 1973, very little about the tarot would surprise me now. The sceptics of the world always doubt the cards, and cite instances similar to the above, where there seems absolutely no way the cards we choose can make sense. Often they will suggest that it’s because the meanings are so wide that they could apply to anyone or anything, and there is no doubt that the cards are archetypal and therefore do apply to many different situations. However, I have seen many instances where the cards chosen – virtual or real – have been so apt that I have been amazed, once more, by their accuracy.

The fact that a virtual reading can work with no physical contact between the client and the cards seems to refute any suggestion that the reader engages in some sort of chicanery. However, to my mind it corroborates my view of the tarot – that it works on the quantum levels of consciousness. I am no scientist, but – just as the physicists say that perception and intention can change reality – with the tarot the intention behind the reading is key. We, as conscious beings, are interacting with the quantum levels of awareness, the smallest particles of reality which, in my view, are consciousness. This theory – that everything is a form of consciousness, and that the physical world is not only affected by consciousness, but is consciousness – is gradually gaining credence among physicists and mathematicians (see, for instance, Roger Penrose’s Shadows of the Mind, and The Emperor’s New Mind).

Thus a virtual reading – where you choose the ‘cards’ electronically – will be as valid as a face-to-face reading with a tarot counsellor.

I have also read for fictional characters. Authors, wanting to know the motivations of – and outcomes for – their characters, can find tarot readings exceptionally useful. The cards read as seriously for fictional characters as for real clients, probably because the archetypal imagery of the tarot derives from the same mythic, imaginal levels as our dreams and imagination. To the tarot that layer of consciousness is as real as any other, so a character – whether real or imaginary – comprises complex hopes and fears, background issues, unconscious motivations, and hopes and fears.

Painting the Bones: an Artist’s Guide to the Death card

Tarot Card Meanings No Comments »

With the first crocuses out in the garden, it’s a little odd to find my thoughts centering on death – and the tarot Death card. The latter is often depicted as a skeleton wielding a scythe and cutting down King and commoner alike. Given that the first tarot decks appeared shortly after the Black Death raged through Europe, this view of Death is not surprising. Today, however, most tarot readers would read the card not as death, but as change and transformation.

From the point of view of an artist ‘painting the bones’ [which I paraphrased from The Llewellyn Journal ‘Writing Down the Bones‘ of February 16th 2009 by Corrine Kenner], I take a slightly different view. For me the Death card in the Intuitive Tarot is an initiatory figure, challenging me to strip my thoughts to the bone, to discover what I am really about, and to rid myself of all the dross in my life. After the Hanged Man’s lessons, where we’ve had to reverse all our set views – everything we’ve been taught – we are ready for a more profound rethink. Thus we arrive at the Death card, Major Arcana number XIII.

When I painted this image I wanted it to be quite confrontational. So Death is fearful indeed, an imposing black figure with red eyes burning in its white skull. Behind this figure is a wall of fire – which I saw as cold, not hot. To complete the image, I softened its impact with the opened cocoon, the diamond, and butterfly to indicate rebirth. Later I discovered that in shamanic lore, the initiators are often experienced as putting the dismembered body of the initiate into fire (after which the successful trainee is re-membered, emerging as a fully-fledged shaman). This gives yet another dimension to the card, which, at least for the layman, is probably the most feared of all tarot cards.

For me, then, the image of Death, and thus Death itself, is the next step towards a greater life. For those who have moved into his realm, I salute you, and honour your advance along the path. As the crocuses open their delicate petals after what seems like a very long winter, I acknowledge Death as a necessary part of that rebirth.