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Exploration of Tarot Images in a Dream

Dreamed 1998 by Roswila [aka: Patricia Kelly]

Two of Swords from The Thoth Tarot

I've posted here [on her blog] about using the Tarot to explore night dreams. In this post I will talk about an experience I had many years ago of Tarot card images within a dream. All the Tarot numbers, names and meanings that the dream attributes to the cards are those actually assigned to The Tarot cards mentioned.


I see a black and white line drawing Tarot Major, quite oversized. It is a female figure. She is facing me, seated on a throne, wearing a crown. I am sure she is III, The Empress. I very briefly note that her crown is shaped like the roman numeral two: II.

I note with great interest the many groups of three objects on the card. Three clouds, three flowers, and so on. I become excited as I note 4, then 5, and then 6 triplicities. It becomes important to find 9 triplicities in all. I briefly assume that this is because it will mean "wisdom," i.e. IX, The Hermit card. I am delighted when I count my ninth triplicity.

Then I look at the bottom of the card and am shocked to see "II, The High Priestess." I remember the roman numeral two I had taken brief note of in Her crown. But how can She be II with all these threes? Then I am aware of a dynamic relationship between the Seven of Swords and this II/III. I realize that what the figure on the Rider/ Waite/ Smith deck Seven of Swords is carrying away are two (II) plus three (III), equaling five swords, leaving the Two of Swords. [On the actual card a figure is tip-toeing away with five swords, leaving two behind in a tent.] Which means that when the confusion of II and III is taken away I am left with a "balance of mind and emotion" a traditional meaning for the Two of Swords, and "Peace" the name of the Two of Swords in The Thoth deck.


I promptly think of the III/Empress as "imagination" Creative Imagination is attributed to III, and II/High Priestess as "memory" a traditional meaning for II/High Priestess. So there is much fear that imagination and memory have been conflated or confused with each other. It is this fear and confusion causing the many negative thoughts I have about myself Seven of Swords, for which one meaning is enervating negativity. When I clear up these fears and confusion, I will find peace and balance at least for a time. :-)


It would take a book to fully explain the issues toward which this dream directed my attention. It will have to suffice here that at the time of this dream, I was in psychotherapy for abuse in childhood. I had just realized that the therapist was manipulating my memories within light trance work i.e., guided visualizations used for "memory recovery." (Or what became known at the time in the psychotherapy community as inculcating "false memories.") What these Tarot images did at that time by showing up in a dream was to clearly identify an important area of inquiry for me. I needed to be concerned with the relationship between imagination and memory.

These Tarot dream images also pointed to a much yearned for outcome: the last image in the dream was a feeling of gentle, pale blue peace the color of the central flower on The Thoth deck's Two of Swords (graphic at top of post).


This dream work has proven to be more accurate than I thought at the time. I hasten to admit that though the feeling of peace at the end of the dream still eludes me for the most part, having untangled imagination and memory made a huge difference in my life.

'til next time, keep dreaming,


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