If you think Tarot cards are just for fortune telling, think again! In her book, The Tarot Advantage, Justine Alexander demonstrates quickly and efficiently how powerful the Tarot is as a tool for self-empowerment and personal development. Justine is a Registered Professional Clinical Hypnotherapist and Counsellor with 18 years experience, so she’s coming to the Tarot from a completely different angle.
LINDA: How would you describe your Tarot-based life coaching work?
JUSTINE: It’s a process of personal development which combines the wisdom and structure of the Major Arcana with specific life coaching techniques such as reflection, enquiry, and action. The aim is to help clients create and enjoy a more meaningful, balanced and higher-quality life.
LINDA: What led you to start using Tarot cards as part of your life coaching sessions?
JUSTINE: After years of working as a life coach I was becoming dissatisfied and wanted a more holistic approach – something with more depth that mirrored the mystery and complexity of life. I’d been fascinated with the Rider Waite Tarot for many years because it’s such a fantastic tool for self-empowerment and personal growth. It’s sheer genius the way it crystallises life’s patterns, the psyche, and the entire human condition. I literally woke up one morning with the idea of using Tarot in life coaching sessions for clients who were open to it.
JUSTINE: From my perspective it helps you access your higher wisdom which is like tapping into your own personal self-empowerment system. Accessing this dimension for guidance and insight helps you make choices that align with your higher purpose. I’ve found that this is often the major reason people come to life coaching – they want to create a life of meaning and purpose which reflects their highest values.
A wonderful thing about Tarot is how the imagery and story in each card sparks creative ideas, memories, life experiences and intuitive insights. The images and symbols resonate with both the conscious and subconscious minds so you can gain a more complete knowledge of the essence of situations and challenges, and have access to a greater array of choices and options.
Another great thing about Tarot is that you selectively strengthen different aspects of yourself as you work your way through the cards. This process builds character, self-knowledge and inner resources. Once you get to know these various aspects of yourself you can access them whenever you wish. For instance, you can connect with your inner Empress to cultivate generosity, passion, and an appreciation of pleasure and beauty.
LINDA: How do you use the cards in sessions?
JUSTINE: I use one of the Major Arcana cards as a focus for each session – starting with The Fool and working sequentially through the cards. Alternatively you can choose, either consciously (card face up) or subconsciously (face down) which card to focus on. What follows is a conversation about how to use the energy of the card to enhance the specific sphere of life it represents. For instance in the Magician session the conversation would focus on your intentions and desires and how you can use your personal power and inner resources to manifest your vision.
Another way of using the cards is to ask yourself a question and answer it using your conscious intellect. Then ask your subconscious/higher self the same question and select (face down) a card from the full pack to gain more insight. This works particularly well for help/hindrance questions. It’s very interesting how similar or different the responses from the conscious intellect and subconscious minds can be.
LINDA: What sort of questions do you get clients to ask?
JUSTINE: There’s a whole range of questions – anything from ‘What will help me bounce back’, ‘What am I missing or not seeing’ to ‘What is the main obstacle or barrier’ , ‘What is the lesson this situation is teaching me?’ There’s no end to the questions that can be asked and naturally, the questions come from each person’s individual circumstances. I’ve put a list together for you here.
LINDA: Could you give us an example of how you have used the cards with a client?
JUSTINE: Yes, certainly. One of my clients, a professional woman in her thirties, presented as anxious, driven and edgy. She was married with two children under 10 years of age and came from a high-achieving family. Her goal was to fast-track her career and she was obsessed with becoming a senior partner in the firm. She wanted to learn mind-focusing techniques which she felt would help her achieve her goal more quickly.
When she asked herself consciously the question ‘What would be helpful’ – her rational-mind answer was that she needed to work very hard, network strategically, be totally focused and determined in order to succeed. When she asked her subconscious mind the same question the answer was The High Priestess. Obviously the conscious and subconscious had very different points of view. She then asked her subconscious the question ‘What does the High Priestess want me to know’ and the card she selected was Temperance.
This led to a discussion about her work/life balance, health, self-care, her highest values, how she defined success, and what it would mean to live a balanced life. Her intuition was clearly telling her to explore these questions and not be so fixated on getting to the top at the expense of other areas of her life. By the end of the session, she had a deeper understanding about what she really needed. She still wanted to be a senior partner and would continue to work towards that, but would approach it in a more balanced way.
LINDA: Are there any cards which are more relevant to life coaching than others?
JUSTINE: Each card has its unique contribution to make. However there are some which correspond really well to fundamental aspects of life coaching. For example, I associate the energy of The Fool with Shoshin, a Zen Buddhism concept which means ‘beginner’s mind’ and also a more recent Western term ‘blue sky thinking’. Bringing in this boundless, open-minded energy can stimulate completely new awareness and perspectives, especially when you feel stuck.
The Magician is all about how important it is to build a positive, confident, can-do attitude if you want to make changes in your life and manifest your desires and intentions. The Emperor tells you to be the leader in your own life, strengthen boundaries, eliminate energy-drainers and clutter, and create a structure that works for you.
The Hierophant’s message is to clarify the values, traditions, beliefs and principles which help define you. Develop independent thinking, expand your learning, and know what really matters to you. The Chariot is about motivation, strategic goal setting, staying on track, being focused – but not overly. And I can’t leave out Temperance, which beautifully represents the continual balancing act of creating a life of inner and outer harmony.
LINDA: What sort of response have you had from clients about the use of Tarot as part of their sessions?
JUSTINE: They love it and it’s fun! I don’t do ordinary life coaching any more so the clients who are attracted to my services are keen to try my Tarot based approach.
LINDA: Who do you see as the target market for your book The Tarot Advantage?
JUSTINE: Anyone who has an interest in personal development. They don’t need to know anything about Tarot before reading the book. And I’m sure Tarot enthusiasts will be interested in my life coaching perspective on the cards
About Justine Alexander
Justine is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Counsellor, Life Coach and Tarot Practitioner, who has been in private practice for 18 years in Canberra, Australia. She knows from personal experience just how inspiring and helpful a Tarot reading can be. Many years ago she was going through a difficult time in her life and one day, on the spur of the moment, decided to have a reading at a market. “It was one of the best decisions I have ever made! ” says Justine. “Even though the reading was short, it was an emotionally healing experience and gave me a new outlook and hope for the future. The positive impact of that reading stayed with me as I studied to become a Therapist and Life Coach and set up my private practice. More information at Justine’s website.
Over to you!
Do your own life coaching with this spread designed by Justine. She uses it as a way of helping clients to gain clarity and determine a positive direction.
Did you find it helpful? Did it give you a different perspective on an issue? We’d love to hear from you.