Curiosity killed the ape
Nothing is as enticing to a human being as a secret. The moment we see a locked door, our imagination immediately latches onto it with awe and wonder: something amazing and really cool must be behind that door. Why else would there be a lock? There’s got to be something mysterious, dangerous and exciting behind that door or else there wouldn’t be a lock, now, would there?
This urge to know what is behind locked doors drives the human species to continually expand, explore and experiment. There’s an endorphin rush when we learn something — a moment of indescribable euphoria at the moment the unknown becomes known. This has been clinically shown. Learning involves a whole bunch of processes, one of which is the forming of new neural pathways. When a new pathway is forged it is accompanied by a flood of the neurochemical called seratonin — the same chemical responsible for the feeling of being “in love.” In other words, figuring out something new feels gooooooooood. This endorphin rush not only makes evolution possible, it makes evolution addictive.
Conventional Development – Differentiation
Human beings are pack animals. We thrive in communities. Communities are interdependent groups. In order for an indivudual to fully take part in an interdependent group they must develop the skills to operate independently, which is the point at which an individual becomes a functioning adult.
Before a person can take part as a fully functional interdependent member of a community they must learn a set of basic skills that every person needs to learn in order to survive. Ideally, when a person grows up the community teaches them these skills. Once you have learned these skills, you can then specialize in a way that benefits the community. The process of learning these basic skills has been called Conventional Development.
The conventional phase often referred to as “Differentiation” because in it an indivudual develops the skills and awareness that allow them to operate as an independent individual.
Post-Conventional Development – Integration
Once an invidual has reached a point of independent functioning, they begin to combine the basic conventional skills in new and exciting ways, often continuing to develop additional basic skills to add to their “bag of tricks.” Often individuals will continue to extend their basic conventional skillset, exponentially increasing the potential for innovation.
Developing a unique skillset through integrating the basics, an individual “specializes,” developing a unique place in the community.
This post-conventional phase is referred to as “Integration” because of the innovative ways each individual combines the conventional skills.
Okay, Jonathan, get out of the fricken pulpit and tell us why you’re going on forever about social theory and brain chemicals when all we want to know is the real true meanings of the Tarot cards.
Bringing it home
Tarot is not a basic skillset, it is post-conventional framework made up by integrating several conventional building blocks of knowledge. This means that in order to really understand Tarot you will need to understand several other areas of knowledge: primarily Kabbalah, Astrology and the classical Elements. Other areas such as Alchemy and Geomancy also enrich your understanding. Tarot is a pretty complex area of study. Because of its complexity, if you talk with two different people about the meaning of a particular card, you are likely to hear two different meanings. The more you learn about the basics, the deeper and richer your understanding of the cards will become.
The Hidden Meanings
Hidden meanings are like locked doors. They are enticing, tantalizing and frustrating. They are more frustrating than locked doors. It takes time and patience to develop the basic knowledge that will allow you to arrive at deeper levels of understanding. The more you learn, the greater the number of insights you will gain, and the more you will understand about the Tarot.
So, is there a Real True Meaning of the Tarot?
It’s a Secret.