We fell in love with the tarot in the early 1980s. Tarot became our profession then, and for decades we did lectures, workshops and seminars on the tarot. We also wrote many tarot books (mainly in Europe, but with increasing interest in the USA and Canada), which have been translated in numerous languages.
In 1989, some years after becoming tarot professionals, we founded the Königsfurt publishing company, which specialized in tarot, dreams, fairy tales, and the interpretations of these topics based on cultural and psychological approaches, being devoted to the human potential movement and a down-to-earth spirituality.
In 2007, we sold the company and merged with AGM Urania. Since 2007, Evelin was the event manager and Johannes was the general manager of both Königsfurt-Urania and AGM Urania. For a long time, we had kind of three occupations: writing tarot books and doing tarot events; running the publishing companies; and living and growing with our two children (who are now long-since adults, living in Hamburg and Paris). We continue to live close to Kiel, a state capital city in Germany, at the Baltic Sea.
The Story of Tarot: The Way of Mindfulness
Since our beginnings, tarot has been a way of mindfulness (and a way to mindfulness) for us. When we retired in 2018, we asked ourselves: Why did we never make a book that had mindfulness as its main focus? So, we conceived and wrote Tarot: The Way of Mindfulness, initially a short and easy-reading introduction of our essentials that was published in German in 2019.
Some Core Content of the New Book
We, the authors, are committed to "emotional intelligence" and "spiritual consciousness" as a valuable and inevitable addition to all the technical know-how and practical routines we must learn for our life. And we know for sure by experience that a mindful practice of tarot card reading will support and train these emotional and spiritual capabilities.
Mindfulness means an astute, open acceptance of the moment. The tarot card read-ing may train the attentive perception and exploration of the moment.
You practice to see each tarot image (and for advanced users: to see each symbol and each detail) very carefully and without prejudice or preconception, to make a difference between the first and further glances of an image, between your spontaneous and your conscious understandings even of very touching motifs. Further, you train and develop your creative use of chance. Finally, you study the meaning of old and new concepts of some major mysteries of life (as birth, love, death, eternity, autonomy, responsibility, freedom, intention, fulfillment of talents, and many more subjects), and you practice the creation of personal questions and answers for these and other mysteries, puzzles and highlights of life.
Why Tarot Pictures May Lead to Mindfulness: Some Examples
1. Pictures are like doors. Waite and Smith conceived and designed symbolic pictures for the 78 cards. This was a visual revolution compared to the traditional tarot imagery, as everybody now could look and see by him/herself, and was not led to merely believe in doctrines anymore.
Waite knew pretty well what they did. In his accompanying books The Key and The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, he noted:
"The pictures are like doors which open into unexpected chambers, or like a turn in the open road with a wide prospect beyond." (London 1911, p. 169).
He knew it and he mentioned it in these remarkable sentences that they started a new chapter in the field of symbolism and of spiritual experience.
2. Mindful perception is required. The pictures of the tarot of Waite and Smith lead to unexpected encounters once and again, if you pay attention to them. They call for a careful perception of the images and a mindful understanding of its meanings and requested actions. Let us look on a few examples.
One of the most typical examples is the Six of Cups. It includes a double-face, which usually is not recognized at the first glance.
A double-face: The small woman looks away from the mannequin/dwarf (the yellow patch is her face, with an orange-red scarf on the left and right). Or she is also looking towards him (now the yellow is her hair, with her face to the left and the scarf to the right). Most people spontaneously only see one of the variants, either the attention or the avoidance. And that is for a reason.
This picture is about a return in the times of our personal childhood. The large dwarf and the little woman depict ourselves. It is a sign of spiritual maturity when as adults we succeed in being children again! And that means taking another look at the experiences that we had in childhood. We return to former crossroads (see the "X" cross within the picture). That gives us the opportunity to encounter now the missing part of the double-face of our personal history.
Those who, at first glance, see the forward facing version of her face first and foremost see and seek a "Yes," i.e. agreement in relationships and matters of feeling. They find it more difficult to say "No."
Those who, at first glance, see the face that is looking away tend more towards a "No;" in other words: setting limits in relationships and matters of feeling. For them, it is saying "Yes" that they find more difficult.
In the end, both of these "points of view" belong to the image. And we need both: setting limits and establishing contacts, sympathy and detachment. Being free always to choose from both options No and Yes, also in emotional and intimate matters!
Sometimes we need this kind of a trip back to the future. This is the only card that shows a cup with flowers in them. So the theme of the card is a blooming spiritual existence. And for this we return to the realms of childhood and the adventure of youth.
Each picture of the Waite-Smith-Tarot tells umpteen stories. Here, the little woman's double face includes also the reference to a well-known ancient trick image showing a person that is a young woman on the front-side and on the back-side an old hag—or death. The old name for that kind of image, which dates from the Middle Ages, is Vanitas (emptiness, vanity).
3. Access to unexpected chambers. Another example of the symbolic richness of the Waite-Smith pictures: The foot of the woman on The Star is placed on the water surface. In the language of symbols, "water" means psyche, soul, and feelings. The "foot on the water" again provides a double meaning: Positive—the water supports (it is carrying), i.e. psyche and faith provide a basis and a "standpoint." Negative meaning—there is no access to feelings. One is not able to enter the water. As if the soul were frozen, unable to "take the plunge."
4. "You real-eyes what you in-habit" (T.L.): The tarot cards support mindfulness, as the images need to be regarded mindfully. This is the only way to respect and recognize the richness of their existing visual content.
Then, you experience what and how you see. In your personal kind of view there is your personal uniqueness included, too, your difference, your specific understanding of the world, your personal access to it. This experience, this understanding is a core issue for any way to spiritual fulfillment. By the mindful tarot card use, you ease and enjoy to test and train this.