Domestic life and family matters are significant areas
of concern to everyone, and they aren't confined only
to married life and love relationships. Sons, daughters,
uncles, in-laws and the dynamics of understanding
and living in harmony with these individuals will be
recurrent questions asked of tarot.
Family issues or issues with specific family members
are as varied as people on the planet, but what I am
drawing attention to in this article is how we as
readers can help querents generally achieve better
relationships and understanding within a family. Family
dynamics in this article refers to a) the structure of
the family unit, b) the interactions between family
members and how they get along, and c) how a spiritual
tradition (e.g. tarot) coupled with education of the
mind and the heart will lend support to soul and/or
One of the interesting things I have observed in my
experience as a reader, is watching a family member
sitting next to a querent during the reading who will
confirm the true behavior of the querent, more than the
querent is willing to admit.
But perhaps the family member is simply "projecting"
in such cases. This made me realize that it was important
to educate myself a bit about the roles individuals play
in family "dramas" and family systems and, to the best
of my ability, correlate them with the archetypal roles
represented in tarot.
This is an area of interest to me that is a "work in
progress." Ultimately, as tarot readers we are best
suited to help reveal inner and spiritual processes
rather than venture into the practice of psychotherapy.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't be informed. A good
reader should be a resource on both the inner and outer
world, an educator of the heart, soul and mind.
How does this apply to tarot readings?
Tarot is already divided into 5 areas that define
spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical and
creative or actualizing capabilities of the human
experience. All cards can be related to real life
experiences of the individual reader that gives a
frame of reference for understanding the querent's
situation and communicating with them.
Let's say your querent, Steve wants to look at an issue
involving conflict about his success. What is and what
isn't being done by the client to contribute to his
success will need to be evaluated, which can be done
through initial interpretation of the cards in the
spread. This gives the querent perspective on his own
process and points to other issues of which he may be
During the reading, if he says something about how his
family relationships are being affected, it may be a
clue that there is some long-standing issue with old
patterns of family dynamics. In such a case, a
subsequent area to address might be the emotional and
cultural drives that have brought him to question his
success or lack of it.
The normal way emotions are expressed in the family,
and expectations from parents, may be the underlying
issues. For instance, Steve may start out with a
reading about how he can be more successful in his job.
He has conflicts around success because his immigrant
father is not happy with Steve's career choice. Steve
deeply feels his father's disapproval, so even if he is
relatively successful in his occupation, his father's
comments or criticism may rob Steve of a sense of
A tarot reading can be beneficial in assessing the
family system. The constraints of space do not allow
for a detailed exploration in this article but I would
like to recommend a few resources:
The Tarot Court Cards: Archetypal Patterns of
Relationship in the Minor Arcana. Kate Warwick-Smith
(Destiny Books, 2003)
Tarot Psychology. Robert Wang (Marcus Aurelius Press,
Journal to the Self: 22 Paths to Personal Growth.
Kathleen Adams,M.A. (Warner Books, 1990)