Scholarly-oriented readers will appreciate a paper on Tarot by Inna Semetsky called “Simplifying Complexity: Know Thyself…and Others” in Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education, 2008, Vol. 5, No. 1 (click on the title and it will download as a pdf). Dr. Semetsky is a Research Academic with the Institute of Advanced Study for Humanity, University of Newcastle, Australia who has been writing scholarly papers on tarot for many years. Drawing on semiotics, systems theory, and ideas about meaning and synchronicity (among others), she posits that Tarot “can be considered an education tool contributing to our learning and, respectively, the evolution of the human mind situation in the larger, both cultural and natural, context.”

In relation to my earlier post on Arcana in the Adytum, I found Semetsky’s description of arcanum to be especially interesting:

Arcanum (or arcana, plural) . . . is the ever present potential catalyst . . . that, when actualized and brought to consciousness, elicits transformations at the levels of thoughts, affects, and actions so that an individual becomes fruitful and creative in his/her possible endeavours. If and when discovered – that is, made manifest at the level of conscious awareness – it becomes a powerful motivational force to facilitate a change for the better at the emotional, cognitive, and/or behavioral levels and thus to accomplish important educational and ethical objectives.

Semetsky also talks about reading tarot as pattern-recognition and the identifying of probabilities of what is likely to happen rather than making fixed predictions. You can read her academic profile here, find more of her publications here and listen to her talk about tarot on La Trobe Philosophy Radio show here.

The discerning reader will want to compare this paper with a response by James Anthony Whitson (same link above) who appeals to Wittgenstein to determine whether it is even seemly to be “effing . . . the ineffable.” (Love that technical jargon!)

Thanks to Jean-Michel David and the latest issue of the Association for Tarot Studies (ATS) Journal for drawing attention this article.

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