(Originally appearing in Kaleidoscope.)

The pictures in the Tarot deck are not just pictures. They are real. They are living energy. They represent the archetypal forces in our collective unconsciousness. They appear in our dreams, our religions and our vision quests. They are points on a journey. And each has a lesson or message. The archetypes come to us as we go to them.
Each deck expresses these images differently, but the Tarot records the journey of our spirit through many worlds. When a reader uses the Tarot to tell you information, you are looking at the scenes and forces working in your life now. For those choosing to work deeply with the Tarot, sometimes the best teachers are the archetypes themselves. Through the cards, you can contact the unconscious powers directly. Use the card as a door way to this new reality.
You can start this exercise with your favorite card, or the one you need the most at this time. I’m starting with the High Priestess. She has many lessons for us all, no matter where we are on the path. You can pattern your own meditative journey after this one if you choose not to start with the High Priestess.
Start by looking at the symbols of the card. Reflect on their meanings. I’m using the traditional Rider-Waite deck, but use your own deck. Look for your own personal messages. The High Priestess is the strong feminine force, the charge of the Goddess. She sits on her throne, a foundation of wisdom and strength. Her crescent crown marks wisdom and power. In her hands she holds the scroll of ancient wisdom. She stands between the pillars of duality, of light and darkness, of creation and reflection. She lifts the veils to otherworlds as priestess of the Moon, magic and psychic powers. She holds the crescent Moon under her foot, reflecting control over emotions, but her heart is opened and balanced with the equal armed cross.
Now close your eyes, relax and visualize the card before you. Effortlessly use your imagination and invite the experience. Feel as if you are day dreaming. Take deep, relaxing breaths to clear your mind. Expand the image with each breath out, until the picture in your mind’s eye is the size of a door. The card is a portal, inviting you to step though. Walk through the door and stand in the temple of the High Priestess. Play pretend, noticing all the details that would be in such a place. You can feel the stone floor beneath you and the incense burning. She is before you, looking at you benevolently bathed in a soft moonlight glow. Speak with her. Introduce yourself. What questions do you have for this being? She can explain your own personal relationship to the card and how it appears in your life. The two of you may have an involved conversation, or you may get vague impressions. You may be invited to tea with the High Priestess. Don’t judge, just go with your experience. Be open to any messages, emotions, thoughts or intuitions you may have. They are your key to understanding.
The High Priestess may invite you to sit on her throne, so you can feel what it is like to be between the light and dark pillars, so you can be the keeper of the veil. Or better yet, you may find your consciousness, merging with the High Priestess, so you can feel what it is like to be her.
When done, thank the priestess for the experience and return back through the portal. Even though you used the vehicles of visualization and imagination, these archetypal forces are real. And you did have a very real inner experience. Take some deep breaths, and with each breath in, you shrink the image of the card down to its normal size. Relax a few moments before opening your eyes. Before going to bed, place this card under your pillow and see what dreams you have. They are other keys to understanding. Use them to unlock your inner understanding, both for yourself, and if you choose to use the cards to help others.