Jungian intuition and Tarot symbolism

Jungian intuition and the Magician Tarot card

This article is dedicated to jungian intuition and Tarot symbolism, in relation to the Magician or Bateleur Tarot card. I want to deepen in particular the Jungian theory of psychological types applied to Tarot.

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The Magician Tarot card and the Jungian psychological functions

In my approach to dream interpretation based on the Tarot symbolism I refer largely to Jung’s teachings. In particular to his theory of psychological types based on the 4 functions: thinking, feeling, intuition, sensation. For those who do not know what I mean I refer to an article I wrote about the subject: click here!

I really enjoy associating each Tarot character to a particular psychological type. For example, I perceive the High Priestess as a “Feeling” type, while I would call the Hermit a “Thinking” type, and so on.

We could also throw in the picture the additional nuance of introvert or extrovert attitudes. I have always associated the idea of “Intuition type” with the Magician Tarot card. In fact his magic stick recalls the suit of wands, therefore recalling the fire element. In fact, intuition is like an irrational spark that burns and transforms the existent. Being myself an “Intuitive” type I really feel wrapped in a flame when I catch a glimpse of a new chance, an unexplored opportunity: it’s the magic of discovering or giving life to something new.

The development of psychological functions

I have often questioned how the psychological functions have evolved hand in hand with the evolution of the brain apparatus, wondering why for example: which psychological function was born first? Surely there will be tons of texts in this matter, but the evolutionary, biological or neuronal aspect is not really my field of competence.

Let’s try to put ourselves in the shoes of a primitive man in a hostile environment. As in a videogame, we imagine that we are given the choice of which function to “activate” first. I believe I would opt with no doubt for sensation, or the function connected to the ability to perceive the environment through the sense organs. Sensation is essential to survive! If I feel cold I have to warm up. I must feel the pain of stepping on a sharp rock, and I should realize that if I eat that particular brightly colored plant I risk poisoning myself.

The ape of “2001: A Space Odyssey”

OK, what’s next? Which other function would be good to “unlock”? I like to imagine that it went more or less like in the famous ape scene in “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

The hirsute protagonist begins to “play” with a voluminous bone and then realizes that it can turn into a weapon, an instrument with which to hunt or defend against enemy tribes. I spoke of his “realizing”, but this verb refers to the function of thinking. I’m pretty sure our ape friend didn’t think about it in this terms: “well, look at this beautiful bone. If I grab it in this way, its blunt end could cause horrible wounds on my enemies “. No, I don’t think so. Simply because his brain was not yet “equipped” to think. The function that acted in him irrationally, as inspired by a superior entity (symbolized by the “monolith”) was that of intuition.

The importance of junghian intuition

Intuition, together with sensation, is the most primitive function. Not by chance did Jung define this function as “irrational”.

But it is also the most effective function for human progress, at least in the early stages of its existence. Intuition, the ability to see new opportunities and possibilities beyond the existing, travels faster than thinking. Often we don’t understand where intuition comes from and how we came to guess something. It is an irrational, magical phenomenon that grabs us as if coming from an energy external to us.

Jungian intuition and Tarot: the Magician and the ape of Stanley Kubrick

To conclude, all this brings me back to the Magician Tarot card. I see many similarities between the gestures of the ape of Kubrick’s film, with his bone raised in the air, and the Magician with his magic wand, ready to transform common objects placed on his table in gold, or simply in the act of playing, to experiment with new possibilities!

Jungian intuition and Tarot: the Bateleur
The Intuition of the Magician
Jungian intuition and Tarot: the Ape
The Ape as a primitive Magician

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