One of the most popular decks today, after Ryder-Waite and Tarot Thoth, is the Osho Zen Tarot. These are very unusual cards, associated primarily with the work of the subconscious. The deck does not have the usual structure, and only a few Arcana intersect with the classical meaning. And, nevertheless, the deck won the hearts of many tarologists, who were able to find a “common language” with it. Let’s talk in more detail about who was involved in the creation of these cards, when the deck first saw the light of day, how to work with it correctly.
History of Deck Creation
For the first time these incredible, mesmerizing maps were published back in 1995 – they were published by the St Martins Press (USA). The development of his own tarot system came to mind of the greatest Indian mystic and philosopher named Chandra Mohan Jayin, better known as Osho. However, during the life of the Master, it was not possible to realize it, so one of his students – Susan Morgan – Ma Deva Padva, as she is called in spiritual circles, became the successor of this work. She herself also worked on the creation of illustrations of the Osho Zen Tarot Arcana. What happened in the end can be called a real masterpiece. This is not just a Tarot, it is a whole philosophical system based on the teachings of the great mystic. The cards are very different from all tarot decks in existence today. Bright, colorful illustrations addictive, immerse a person in the world of his subconscious, where in fact there are already answers to all the questions. Osho Zen cards are ideal not only for solving pressing problems, but also for meditation, self-knowledge.
After the release of the first version of the cards in the United States of America, the deck was reprinted several more times: in 2003 by the publishing houses AGM (Switzerland) and US Games Systems, and in 2010 by the famous Italians Lo Scarabeo. The Russian version was published in 2006 (publishing house “Ves”), in 2008 (AST) and in 2012 (Veligor).
Deck Key Features
If working with traditional decks allows us to look into the future, then the Osho Zen Tarot cards urge us to pay attention to what is happening in our souls here and now. Only by realizing the true meaning of the events taking place and working with your own subconscious, you can get deep, philosophical answers to all questions. Osho urged to perceive life as a game and to be aware of every action, phenomenon – only with this approach can one comprehend the true meaning of being. That is why the deck can in no way be attributed to the classic.
The deck contains not 78, but 79 cards – the Arkan Master has been added, which depicts Osho himself. We can say that this is a kind of empty card, saying that the person himself knows the answers to the questions asked. The names of the Arcana are also far from the classics. If, for example, the Priestess is called the Inner Voice, the Lovers are called Lovers, the Hermit is called Loneliness, then the fifth Arcanum called Nothing and the eleventh is a Breakthrough, make us understand that there is no need to talk about the traditional structure.
The suits are also named differently: instead of Wands we see Fire, instead of Cups – Water, instead of Swords – Clouds, and instead of Pentacles – Rainbow. The suits themselves are not spelled out on the cards – the Minor Arcana can be distinguished from each other only by the color of the diamond-shaped crystal located in the center of the lower part. For Fire, these diamonds are red, for Water – blue, for Clouds – gray, and for Rainbow – respectively, rainbow. All the Minor Arcana and figured cards of the Osho Zen Tarot are drawn.
Symbolism of the deck
Unlike Tarot Thoth and other decks filled with many different esoteric symbols, Indian mystic cards seem much simpler. You will not find on them any kabbalistic, astrological and numerological references, hidden clues and confusing details. The meaning and interpretation of the Osho Zen Tarot cards is revealed exclusively through the illustration itself and your personal perception of it. The images are so deep and interesting that the subconscious mind begins to actively work even with a cursory glance at the Arcana. All this makes working with the deck simple and intuitive. Absolutely nothing superfluous and distracting – just look at the drawing and listen to our inner voice!
As I mentioned earlier, there are not 22, but 23 Major Arcana in the deck, however, many perceive the card called Master simply as an additional one – as an analogue of an empty rune or white / black card . The meanings of the cards of the Osho Zen Tarot deck, in particular the Major Arcana, do not repeat the traditional ones, although some of them remain quite recognizable. Let’s see what the names of the Trump cards of the great Indian mystic are.
The deck opens with an almost classic Fool, and already starting with the first Arcana, we see obvious changes. Instead of the Magician – Existence, instead of the High Priestess – the Inner Voice. The meaning of the card Creativity of Osho Zen Tarot (3rd Arcanum) is somewhat reminiscent of the Empress – most likely the idea of giving birth to something new, but the words of the Master himself in the book-guide to the deck will make you look differently at the creative process and its essence.
Now let’s see the sequence of the following Arcana: Rebel (Emperor), Nothing (Hierophant), Lovers (Lovers), Awareness (Chariot), Courage (Strength). The Osho Zen Tarot Loneliness card resembles a traditional Hermit, but its meaning is much deeper – here, it seems to me, it is worth inserting a quote from the Master: “There are several things that are possible only in solitude. Love, prayer, life, death, aesthetic experience, blissful moments – all this happens when you are alone. ” Wonderful words, aren’t they?
We continue our path through the Major Arcana: Loneliness is followed by Change (Wheel of Fortune), Breakthrough (Justice), New Vision (Hanged Man), Transformation (Death), Integration (Moderation), Conditioning (Devil), Lightning (Tower), Silence or Silence ( Star), Past Lives (Moon), Innocence (Sun), Beyond Illusion (Judgment), Completion (Peace). This is followed by the same twenty-third card of the Master, but it is not numbered.
Personally, from the Major Arcana, I really like Completeness, Silence and Conditionality. Completeness is illustrated by an almost completed puzzle depicting a person – there is only one small detail left to put in place, and the picture will become complete. Awesome metaphor! Looking at the image of Silence, one really wants to stop the internal dialogue right away – this card is so beautiful. Conditioning refers to the ancient parable of how a lion, while still very young, fell into a flock of sheep. The sheep raised him in their own image, but one day he met a real lion, and he showed him his reflection in the water – at that moment a transformation took place. The card encourages us to turn to our true inner “I”, which is often hidden under masks and stereotypes imposed on us by others.
As you can see, the meaning of the Osho Zen Tarot cards cannot be compared to classics like Waite. This is a completely different slice of understanding that will open up to you as you work with the deck.
As I said above, the Minor Arcana are represented by four non-classical suits: Fire, Water, Clouds and Rainbow. Fire cards are made in orange-red-yellow tones, Water cards are in blue-blue, Cloud cards are in gray-brown, and Rainbow cards, as you might guess, are represented by all colors of the rainbow.
Let’s take a closer look at a few number Arcana from the Osho Zen Tarot gallery. Let’s start with the element of Fire. Fire is associated with energy and action. The Ten Fire is called Suppression. In her image, we see a human figure, which is oppressed from all sides: ropes, a heavy load pressing from above, blackness shrinking from all sides. Little pleasant, isn’t it? Arkan encourages us to think about suppressed emotions that pollute our soul, make it “heavy”.
Another “fiery” example is the Five of Fire – Wholeness or Totality. It reminds us that a person is free to do whatever he wants, but at the same time you need to surrender to what you are doing, completely and completely, otherwise the action has no meaning.
Now let’s move on to the Water Arcana. The suit of Water is associated with feelings, emotions, what is in a person’s heart. I personally really like the image of the Water Five – Clinging to the past. The meaning of the card Clinging to the Past Osho Zen Tarot lies in the fact that you need to be able to leave the past in the past: what has already happened, we cannot change, and while our heart is sticking out in the already “dead”, the present passes by.
Let’s look at the Ten of Water. The meaning of the Harmony card of the Osho Zen Tarot can be expressed by a quote from the Master himself: “You are right in the middle between death and life – you are neither one nor the other. Therefore, do not cling to life and do not be afraid of death. ” The key point of Arcana is that you don’t have to choose one thing – just stay in harmony with one and the other.
Each numerical card of Water literally “sings” about our emotions and feelings. The quintessence of the suit is, perhaps, the Ace. The meaning of the card Movement with the Flow in Osho Zen Tarot is complete trust in our life, the emotions that we experience, it is the need to sail along the river of earthly existence without struggle and resistance.
The suit of the Clouds is associated with thoughts, mind, knowledge. Take a look, for example, at the Arcana of Wine (8 Clouds) and Comparison (5 Clouds) – and you will see that these two feelings actually live inside our mind. These are not feelings, these are precisely the products of our mind!
The rainbow is the suit of reality in all its manifestations. She shows us some ordinary earthly things and phenomena that are not associated with internal energy, manifestations of the soul or mind. See how clearly and clearly the meaning of the card is traced in the illustrations of the Arcana Ripeness (9 Rainbows), Patience (7 Rainbows), From Instant to Instant (2 Rainbows).
In a word, all the Minor Arcana of Osho Zen Tarot are intuitive – and at the same time, very deep. Each of them can be viewed for hours, as if immersed in the map itself.
Court cards also reflect the key qualities and manifestations of their suits. For Fire, these are Creator (King), Playfulness (Page), Generosity (Queen) and Intensity (Knight).
For Water – Healing (King), Understanding (Page), Receptivity (Queen), Trust (Knight).
Court Cards of the Clouds – Control (King), Mind (Page), Morale (Queen), Struggle (Knight).
Someone may not understand the meaning of the card Osho Zen Tarot Struggle – in fact, it is more likely associated with an internal struggle, the struggle of the mind, reason, and not with physical confrontation.
Peculiarities of card interpretation
You probably noticed that there are practically no cards describing any physical events in the deck – each Arcanum relies on internal, spiritual phenomena, from which the tarologist can deduce more “earthly” mantic interpretations at will. It is necessary to conduct fortune-telling on the Osho Zen Tarot cards in a free style – that is, relying solely on your intuition. By the way, this is exactly what is mentioned in the accompanying book. If, when working with classic tarot decks, we can name at least a few keywords that will correspond to the same Arcana from different authors, then with Osho Zen this practice is simply impossible. Only your personal feelings should work here.
It is best to start practical work with these cards with the Osho Zen Tarot “Instant” spread. Just pull out one single Arcanum – it will most accurately describe the situation in which you are at the moment, or the prevailing energy of the day. Not all layouts, especially multi-card ones, are applicable to this deck. Some tarologists generally do not recommend getting attached to certain schemes and suggest pulling out as many cards for each question as your intuition tells you, and then reading them in random order – the way it seems to you right now.
What questions is the deck suitable for?
On the one hand, the deck is universal, but on the other, it is important to understand that we cannot consider on it exclusively the event plan of reality, since all the phenomena described by the cards occur at the subconscious level. So, for example, if we want to know whether Petya will meet with Masha, and the Arcana Isolation and Grasping for the Past fall out to us, we can say that now in his thoughts is the desire to be alone and to rethink his past experience. Can this be considered a direct answer to the question? I think yes. If we ask what awaits a person in the next month at work, and Exhaustion, Intensity and Burden fall out, we can assume that he will have to work very hard and at an active pace, which will lead to severe fatigue, loss of vitality. In a word, fortune telling on the Osho Zen Tarot cards is an occupation for thinking people,
Who are the cards for?
You can buy Osho Zen Tarot for a tarot reader of any level – both a beginner and a professional. In order to work with these wonderful cards, you don’t even need to have any experience at all. Many people choose this deck as their very first and after a few weeks the practice is fully mastered with it.
In general, we can recommend Osho cards to the following people:
- For those who want to learn a fundamentally new, non-classical Tarot system
- For someone who does not want to understand the jumble of various symbols, and is looking for a simple, understandable deck to work with
- For those who practice spiritual practices and meditation
- Everyone who prefers to get acquainted with the meaning of cards not from books, but from their own feelings
- Osho Book Lovers
Recommended reading for familiarizing yourself with the deck
If you decide to buy Osho Zen Tarot cards, try to purchase them at the same time as the accompanying book “Tarot in the spirit of Zen”, which contains excerpts from Osho texts about each Arcana. This is perhaps the most worthwhile deck literature to date.
I also saw on sale a book by Anna Novikova “Interpretation of the Osho Zen Tarot”, and for the sake of interest I found it in electronic form. However, the book seemed to me not a very necessary acquisition. On the one hand, the author tried to deduce rather short but informative meanings of each card in different life areas, but on the other, as mentioned earlier, you need to look for your own individual approach to the deck, and not use other people’s interpretations. So, for example, Novikova interprets the card Lovers in the professional sphere as inspiration and respect for work duties, bosses, and colleagues. I see in it a completely different meaning – it seems to me that Arkan can speak of the need to gain self-confidence, because we let another person into an intimate area only when we are sure that we are worthy of what we are offered.
In general, for everyone interested in this deck, I strongly recommend reading the full books of Osho himself at their leisure – then a lot will become clear and you will definitely not need additional literature. On this note, I conclude my review of the Osho Zen Tarot. Thank you for the attention!