Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tales of the Occult - My Obsession with Tarot Cards and Psychology!

To break from the happy happy joyful funtime that is this blog, I have decided to spend a week telling stories of the deranged and disturbed. That’s right, this week is Tales of the Occult here on this blog. Each story of the occult will SHOCK and TERRORIZE if it doesn’t totally BLOW YOUR MIND!

Today’s story – Adventures with Carl Jung and Tarot cards!

Long before I found the current state of wedded bliss which I live in now, I was a mess. I was in a relationship I considered a loving one, and opened my heart to another person. The downside about opening your heart completely to love is that you also open your heart completely to pain.

And much like a high-pressure hose forcefully disconnected from a socket, a completely flowing love tends to twist and wither the moment it separates, gushing gush gush as it does so. It is difficult to shut off this flow, so what most people do is just reconnect it somewhere else as quickly as possible. Hence, the rebound relationship or, in my case, the compulsive hobby.

During a breakup, you reach out and cling to anything that seems stable and supportive. In my case, I reached out to Carl Jung. Jung is great for break-ups, and I heartily recommend reading his work discussing way people relate to each other. You know that line from Jerry McGuire, that “You complete me” line? Totally stolen from Jung.

If you allow me to digress for a second, both Freud and Jung developed theories that were in no way scientific. They may be interesting hypotheses, but they cannot be tested in laboratory conditions to prove their validity. I assume someone could do a focus group or a mall survey to see if people do really want to kill their fathers and marry their mothers, but surveys and statistics have dubious scientific merit, too.

Most serious psychologists and psychiatrists who like to think the study of the mind should be a scientific study treat Freud and Jung as a pair of wacky old uncles who lived in an apartment filled with newspapers and cat pee. Yes, they did great things but they essentially they were kooks with no real bearing on the serious world of science.

Professors in English departments, however, are not put off by this lack of scientific integrity and dance around both Freud and Jung and consider what they have to say very insightful, even if it can never be scientifically proven.

But that is totally beside the point. The point is that Jung was into some really wacked-out stuff. He believed in UFOs and the occult. He followed astrology and talked at length about the dawning of the Age of Aquarius (that song also totally ripped off Jung). And, after reading his essays about archetypal images and dream interpretation, I decided to invest in about three different sets of Tarot cards. You know, to help me understand archetypal images and interpret my dreams.

Tarot cards do not predict the future. They present a set of archetypal images to the person who then adds meaning to the mix. Much like the Rorschach inkblot test, it can be a diverting parlor game, but the scientific methods behind it are just as dubious as those of Jungian psychology proper. But this does not change the fact that they are pretty neat and some of the artwork on them is really compelling.

So for a few months I would read the works of Carl Jung and then play with Tarot cards. I would ask the cards such deep and ponderous questions like, “Should I order my pizza with sausage and pepperoni?” and the cards would give me images like The Fool and Death – images I interpreted as “No. You should stick with the Veggie Lover’s. It will be kinder to your digestive tract.”

This fooling around with the occult all came to a head one evening when I was playing a little game of Spider Solitaire with my Tarot cards. I shuffled the deck, cut it and then played the first card. The first card is supposed to represent you and how you see yourself. In this case the card that came up first was The Hanged Man.

Anyone who knows me very well knows that if I don’t like how things are going in a game, I will try to do whatever possible to start over. My favorite word when losing in poker is “misdeal.” And I felt the same thing here with the Tarot cards.

“I am not the Hanged Man,” I said, “Misdeal!” And then I promptly reshuffled, recut, and redealt the cards. I flipped up the first card.

It was The Hanged Man.

I scooped it up, reshuffled, recut, and redealt the cards one more time.

It was The Hanged Man again!

Frustrated, I scooped up the cards and reshuffled them once more. I looked at the deck from the side and noticed that one of the cards was bent and that whenever I cut the cards, this card in particular would always come out on top.

To my horror...

I discovered...

The bent card was...

The Hanged Man!


Your mind is blown. Your nerves are shocked and all of your senses are now terrorized! Join us next time for more Tales of the Occult!


Tera said...

I had my cards read once a long time ago, but when it was revealed that I would not end up being with the man I thought I was in love with at the time, I vowed to never do it again!

NoRegrets said...

Ok, if I ask you a question will you read your tarot cards and answer it for me?

As for the action doll, I assume that every well dressed English professor has one?

Susan said...

They make action dolls of these guys?? Please excuse my soon to be absence as I ebay these for a few days.

M. Robert Turnage said...

Tera, most people who do card readings are con artists. They read your body language and change their story based on the reaction you give. More on them in an upcoming story.

NoR, I sold all my cards to help fund my wedding (detailed in an upcoming post). Some of them turned out to be "collectible" and I made a pretty penny. So, no, I cannot do a reading, just dole out the sassy advice. One day I aspire to have an action doll with a kung fu grip.

NoRegrets said...

I"m sure Carl Jung has a kung fu grip!
Yeah, teaser. always in an upcoming post!
I'm selling off more postcards that I had bought for a dollar - one's now at $28! Woo hoo.

M. Robert Turnage said...

Susan, I believe everyone needs an action doll these days.

M. Robert Turnage said...

NoR, if I wasn't so much of a tease, everyone would quit reading.

Courtney said...

Hee! I love these tales of occult. My mind is definitely BLOWN. I like Jung and tarot cards. I tend to make up my own symbols and read into them. It's fun! When I first went to my beau's house and walked in the front door and saw his mask collection from his world travels, I seriously considered hoofing it out again. Masks are SYMBOL! Of someone hiding their true self! RUN! However, I had sense enough not to listen to myself--always wise--and he turned out to be the most honest person I've ever met. I guess I just read the symbol wrong. Yeah, that's definitely it. However, if we were to break up down the road, I would totally cite the mask collection and my folly at not heeding the SYMBOLISM.