The Intimacy Tarot


Intimate relationships are full of complex dynamics. In our more

superficial interactions and in our solitary pursuits, we can often impose

simplification. We can abstain from tangling ourselves in office politics,

we can sit alone in front of the TV with the comfort of our favorite show.

We can retreat from the chaos of self-doubt and the crisis of self-image,

and settle into a patterned existence where we arrange our expectations to

coincide with our inclinations.


In true intimacy, though, the complexity cannot be avoided. Intimacy means

taking the other seriously . . . every word, every mood, every behavior can

become a potent vector in the relationship. Most unsettling of all, it is

here that we must face ourselves as another sees us. We must respect an

image of ourselves that is not our own.


Intimacy means being comfortable to share feelings, memories, and dreams

with another. It means having a confidant, a lover, a friend, a mate. But

openness and sharing are just the bare beginnings, the prerequisites and

precursors of deep connection. A partner is not a therapist, not a

professional listener and guide. Intimacy goes beyond the personal monolog

into a dialog of needs, expectations, fears, and compassion. In intimacy,

there is a commitment to making all the pieces of two individuals harmonize

and interpenetrate. The Intimacy Tarot is designed to foster this process

by giving symbolic form to the deep forces that shape our interpersonal

needs, to the multitude of ways our lives touch each other and stimulate

growth, and to the different ways we express identity through relationship.


Although the cards are focused on the theme of intimate relationships, they

can give insight in other domains of life as well. This is because the

ancient structure of the tarot is really a blueprint for creation in all

its manifestations. The Intimacy Tarot taps into this archetypal structure.

In all decks that respect the underlying structure of the tarot, the images

serve as windows onto the fundamental themes and processes of the human

condition. Those fundamentals are not confined to the bedroom, the

workplace, the studio, or church, or the daydream. They are everywhere. In

the Intimacy Tarot, they find expression in scenes of vulnerability and

communion between people. For many of us, this is the most intense and

personally meaningful area of life. Our intimate relationships are

demanding, riveting, and profoundly rewarding. We are strongly motivated to

honestly identify the energies at work behind them. The Intimacy Tarot is

thus another way of bringing the tarot archetypes to life and into our

conscious awareness. In the Intimacy Tarot, these ancient archetypes have

been portrayed in an uncompromisingly personal way.


The 22 cards of the Major Arcana represent deeply rooted modes of being

that we may find ourselves caught up in, as we navigate the challenges of

intimacy. They should not be seen as passing situations or simple actions,

but rather as power centers of the psyche, strong enough to attract whole

complexes of moods, behaviors, and thoughts around themselves, and to

resist change or deconstruction. Often, in fact, they are so successful at

determining our perceptions that we fail to recognize them or appreciate

that there are other ways of being we might engage. In this deck, many of

the Major Arcana represent challenges to building intimacy. They are

vortices in the ocean, seeking to pull us in and reduce our problems to fit

the answers they offer. We must, sooner or later, partake of the energies

of each of the Major Arcana, but not become bound to them. Intimacy demands

profound flexibility, a committed openness to radical change.


The Minor Arcana illustrate four basic dimensions of intimacy: sex

(Desires), love (Hearts), communication (Thoughts), and companionship

(Lives). In each suit, the numbers 1-10 depict steps or landmarks in the

progression of a relationship, building from initial contact or impulse

through final satisfaction. In these progressions, earlier stages do not

become obsolete as a relationship grows and deepens, rather it is an

accumulation of possibilities for connection, all of which must be

regularly attended to. Besides the number cards, each suit includes four

face cards, representing the different ways in which we may take on and

express the energy of the suit: Dreamer (sensing one's potential), Reacher

(yearning for satisfaction), Union (bonding with another), and Ruler

(connecting with the eternal). The Minor Arcana thus document the shifting

landscape of our roles and interactions, whereas the Major Arcana probe

into underlying causes and challenges.


Keep in mind, that the Intimacy Tarot, no less than other decks, should be

read with an openness to both literal and metaphorical meaning. Just as

Death, for example, need not mean literal death, but more often refers to

irreversible transitions and how we approach them, so a card like the Union

of Desires may not refer to literal sexual coupling, but rather to passions

shared, and intimacy in its most intense, volatile expressions. The images

are intended to evoke feelings and impressions, and it is these feelings

and impressions that will guide you to an interpretation.



Enter The Intimacy Tarot