It seems pretty obvious that the Tarot was designed as an alchemical map. Its origins cloaked by the mists of time, it has been used for divinatory purposes by people who either had no idea of its real purpose, or chose to hide their knowledge in the pictures on the cards; images that Carl Jung, many centuries later, would define as universal archetypes.
Alchemical symbolism has been used by psychologists such as Carl Jung who reexamined alchemical symbolism and theory and presented the inner meaning of alchemical work as a spiritual path. Jung began writing his views on alchemy from the 1920s and continued until the end of his life. His interpretation of Chinese alchemical texts in terms of his analytical psychology also served the function of comparing Eastern and Western alchemical imagery and core concepts and hence its possible inner sources (archetypes).
Jung saw alchemy as a Western proto-psychology dedicated to the achievement of individuation. In his interpretation, alchemy was the vessel by which Gnosticism survived its various purges into the Renaissance. Jung viewed alchemy as comparable to a Yoga of the East, and more adequate to the Western mind than Eastern religions and philosophies. The practice of Alchemy seemed to change the mind and spirit of the Alchemist; spontaneous changes in the minds of Western people undergoing any important stage in individuation seems to produce, on occasion, imagery known to Alchemy and relevant to the person’s situation. Jung [wrote] that the transmutation was performed in the mind of the alchemist. He claimed that material substances and procedures were only a projection of the alchemists’ internal state, while the real substance to be transformed was the mind itself. ~ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alchemy
Many people believe even today that the goal of the alchemist was to turn base metal into gold. This was a ruse to throw profane opportunists off the trail. The alchemists sought to transform themselves: they sought to turn the “base metal” of lower consciousness into the “gold” of higher consciousness. They used obscure terms to define and mask their process. These terms are preserved in the traditional keywords of each card in the Tarot. These keywords are known only to those who seriously study the Tarot; they are not to be confused with the titles on the cards.
~ Excerpt from The Tarot Key: Unlock the Secrets of Your Soul
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