Skill Level: General (All)
How might you use your tarot deck for dream interpretation? Julie Gillentine shows us in her book Tarot and Dream Interpretation (Llewellyn Books, 2003). In this video, I share how I use two of the dream interpretation tarot spreads designed by Gillentine.
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It’s also uncanny how improving your own ability to interpret dreams will in turn improve your tarot readings in general.
Both rely on successfully identifying whether the symbolism being presented are universal symbols, cultural, or personal, and then whether the messages coming through are intended to be a processing of your experiences so you can make better sense of them (corresponding with mental dreams), a signal or alert to something going on with your physical body or physical environment that needs your attention (corresponding with physical dreams), or something prophetic, or even a spirit contact (corresponding with spiritual dreams).
File away these techniques and tips in your tarot journal or tarot reference library and the next time you need to make sense of a dream, pull up Gillentine’s work and give her approach a try!
Types of Dreams, Types of Tarot Readings
In Tarot and Dream Interpretation, Gillentine discusses three main types of dreams: the Mental Dream, Physical Dream, and Spiritual Dream, which we summarized in the video. I see this as a great way of framing tarot readings as well.
A Mental tarot reading might be one used to help the querent process all available information and facilitate decision-making. This is when a querent just needs some support in the decision-making process.
A Physical tarot reading is one that directly addresses a specific issue, namely some sort of conflict, challenge, obstacle, pain, or difficulty that the querent is facing. This is when a querent needs to be alerted to unseen or subconscious forces, so that the querent can be aware of the difficulties, the underlying shadows, or to face the querent’s own pain, so that the pain can be resolved.
A Spiritual tarot reading would be the, shall we say, paranormal ones. I don’t personally like that word, but we’re using it for lack of a better one. This is when perhaps those who’ve crossed over will appear to relay a message, or just to have their presence and their love known. These are the prophetic readings, or when spirit guides show up. These are the channeled readings, Akashic Records readings, etc.
Types of Symbolism, Types of Reading Interpretation
We also talked about the forms that symbolism and take in a dream: Universal Symbols, Cultural Symbols, and Personal Symbols. I love how Gillentine has presented and categorized the types of symbolism in dreams, because it applies to tarot card interpretation as well.
A universal symbol is one that transcends culture and society, like a smile or a frown. As applied to the tarot, I would define a “universal symbol” as the classic objective textbook indication for the tarot card, or the author and artist intention for a particular symbol in tarot card imagery.
A cultural symbol as applied to tarot is when your personal culture differs from the cultural context the tarot deck or card imagery came out of, and so your intuitive hits and interpretation of a symbol will diverge from what’s defined as universal. When your cultural influence is that strong, lean in to that cultural influence and re-interpret the card imagery based on your cultural influence, and go beyond the textbook meaning.
A personal symbol is when there is a meaning to a sign or symbol specific to you, because of your experiences. For example, generally a dog might symbol loyalty and fidelity, but if your very personal and specific experiences with dogs have been traumatizing, so traumatizing that there is no way in your mind a dog can symbolize loyalty and fidelity, then override the general indications to go with your personalized interpretation.
This is an unlisted video and supplement that I’ve produced based on one of Gillentine’s instructed methods for increasing the likelihood of retaining your dream upon waking.
Before you go to bed, take a moment of stillness for yourself, play the video, feel yourself encoding the mantra recitation and affirmation into your mind, and intentionally place a dream journal and writing instrument on your nightstand as if to let yourself know that you will be waking up and recording the dream you remember.
This video integrates esoteric Buddhist mantra recitation techniques to help facilitate personal increase in dream retention. Hope it helps! ❤
You can click on the hyperlinked title “Remember Your Dreams” to go directly to the unlisted video on YouTube.
There’s a lot of cross-over between how you approach dream interpretation and tarot card interpretation. Learning how to use your tarot deck as a tool for dream interpretation broadens your capabilities and skills with the cards, so I encourage every reader at all levels to dedicate some time to learning methods of dream interpretation with the tarot.
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