Introduction of Osho Zen Tarot

Origin of the Osho Zen Tarot deck

The Osho Zen Tarot deck, illustrated by Ma Deva Padma (1947), is one of the decks considered quite challenging to perceive and interpret. However, Tarot readers will feel somewhat answered if they carefully study the accompanying manual. The Osho Zen Tarot deck is based on the teachings of the late Zen master Osho (December 11, 1931 – January 19, 1990), whose real name is Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh from the 1960s, after the which he called himself Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in the 1970s and 1980s, and eventually took on the name Osho in 1989. Throughout his life, he was seen as a mystical teacher, guru, and spiritual master. Osho left a huge number of works with hundreds of books and countless lectures, helping people to clearly understand the truth, clarifying things that no one has ever touched before.

Osho argued that meditation is not just a practice, but a state of consciousness maintained in each moment – a general awareness that awakens individuals from sleep from the mechanical response controlled by belief and expectation. He applied Western psychotherapy in the stages of meditation preparation to make people aware of their own mental and emotional patterns.

Therefore, the meaning of the cards gives you the feeling of being taught and often the profound statements about specific concepts or actions. But not everyone agrees with these concepts.

Structure and meaning of the Osho Zen Tarot deck

This deck is designed in a liberal style to achieve enlightenment through meditation. While the traditional Tarot deck, which is Rider-Waite, aims to satisfy the desire to seek the past and the future and answer questions like “What will happen in the future?”, “What will my health and my children be like?”, or “What if I choose one option over the other?” etc., Osho Zen Tarot focuses on the task of helping readers and querents improve their perception of the present. The similarity between Osho Zen Tarot and Rider-Waite Tarot is that it is not intended to make predictions. It is a system based on Zen enlightenment, which helps us to examine external events to clarify what is happening within us. Also, stunning images help you blend in with your sensitivity, intuition, compassion, creativity, acceptance, and personality.

The Osho Zen Tarot consists of 79 cards: 78 cards as usual and the Master card added, each containing an image of the card and an accompanying reading. This section includes a quote from Osho’s works and an author paraphrase that illustrates this deck.

Overall, it represents the ultimate transcendence of the individual ego in enlightenment and the 176-page illustrated manual. In addition, each card in the Osho Zen Tarot has an explanation of the illustration, as well as an insight into its meaning. The manual also provides some worksheets and a glossary of symbols.

Somewhat helpful to Tarot readers, the accompanying manual describes the cards in great detail as well as their common sense meaning. These descriptions lead Tarot readers to delve into the card and interpret the images on the card with feeling and reflection. This approach can be a big help when reading cards and figuring out what the card images are trying to convey. Usually in the manual you will find a story about Buddha, describing more perfectly the meaning of the card, and leaving some information about Osho Zen culture and the life of Buddha.

The Major Arcana of Osho Zen Tarot

The Osho Zen Tarot deck itself is a brilliant work of art, combined with 79 cards. It is also one of the few Tarot decks purchased primarily because of its high art. Still, the art used in the deck is quite strange, from the use of watercolors to the featured geometric designs.

The Major Arcana cards are still in the traditional order and meaning with zen-themed visual representation. However, the card name has been changed as follows:

  • Fool: Fool;
  • Magician: Existence;
  • High Priestess: Inner Voice;
  • Empress: Creativity;
  • Emperor: Rebel;
  • High Priest: No-Thingness;
  • Lovers: Lovers;
  • Chariot: Awareness;
  • Strength: Courage;
  • Hermit: Aloneness;
  • Wheel: Change;
  • Justice: Breakthrough;
  • Hanged Man: New Vision;
  • Death: Transformation;
  • Devil: Conditioning;
  • Tower: Thunderbolt;
  • Star: Silence;
  • Moon: Past Lives;
  • Sun: Innocence;
  • Judgment: Beyond Illusion;
  • World: Completion.

The additional card in the Major Arcana of Osho Zen Tarot – the Master – shows what people can become when they escape the eternal cycle of birth and death (the journey from Fool to Completion) and find the Enlightenment. It is not surprising that the Master card is depicted with a portrait of Zen master Osho. Besides, this Master card, based on the meaning shared by the author, is not the master above others but the image of a master of himself, who mastered his own mind and is unaffected or enslaved by the outside world. The master does not teach us anything but only a reflection for us to look into it and realize ourselves. Only when understanding, one can fully comprehend Osho Zen Tarot. If intentionally eliminated this card, this deck would immediately lose part of its meaning.

The new name of the main card will be quite unusual if you don’t look through the picture. It is the images on this card that convey the meaning and complement the name of the cards in an excellent way. The images used are very sacred and express their meanings anecdotally. For example, the Innocence (Sun) card shows a silver-haired man smiling wittily with a deep look at the green praying mantis perched on his index finger. This image is like touching the soul, and people often meet through such cards.

The Minor Arcana of Osho Zen Tarot

The Osho Zen Tarot Minor Arcana cards have been changed significantly. The name of the card, for example the Five of Swords, is not shown on the card, but rather a keyword that conveys meaning on it.

The four suits: Fire, Water, Clouds and Rainbow, are equivalent to Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. On the smaller cards, you can see the card number according to the color of the suit in a small diamond shape: Gray – Clouds, Red – Fire, Blue – Water and Seven Colors – Rainbow. Like the Major cards, the images on the Minor cards are excellently conveyed, both anecdotally and symbolically. But you will only contemplate very little if it is not associated with the keyword on the card.

For example, the Eight of Waters, with the keyword “Letting go – Giving” – describing water droplets that remain on the foliage are falling into the lake.

Court cards are also unnamed. Instead, within the colored diamond shape representing the suit, there is an arrow pointing in one of four main directions: North (◄) is King, East (▲) is Knight, South (►) is Queen, and West (▼) ) is Page. It will be a little difficult to get used to at first, but court letters are quite supplemented with keywords. Unexpectedly, in the Osho Zen Tarot deck, court cards are depicted without actual human figures as they are more about conveying concepts than talking about people. For more information, the back of the cards is impressive in a very mundane and oriental way. With the back design, tarot readers can easily tell if the card is inverted or upright.

Meanings of four suits in Osho Zen Tarot

  • Fire represents an intuitive, outward-looking action. In a sense, intuition is something completely independent of ourselves. It is not intelligence or knowledge, but it is simultaneously intelligence or knowledge, only in the deeper opposite direction, towards itself.
  • Water represents emotions and introverted nature. Sensation is a perception of the world through six “consciousnesses”: eyes (visual), nose (olfactory), ears (auditory), tongue (gustatory), body (tactile) and mind.
  • Cloud represents the mind, which distinguishes selfishness and does not recognize the reality of everything. In a more understandable way, our minds can only see and understand the language of phenomena, but they cannot understand the language of being. So this costume is as gray as a cloud of illusion that envelops our minds. Therefore, Cloud is also the Air element in 4 suits.
  • Rainbows represent the appearance of the phenomenal world, the path that connects earth and heaven; the mind and the body. It is also the Earth element in 4 suits.

Based on the above analysis, it is clear that Water represents the first 6th Consciousness exposed to the phenomenal world, Cloud represents the 7th Consciousness, Fire represents the 8th Consciousness, and Rainbow represents the outer phenomenal world, which is also called Name and Form. . The form, connected with the 6 inner senses, led to the thirst, through which the 7th Consciousness silently captured the ego. Eventually all are brought together in the subconscious mind, thus generating cause and effect, ignorance, samsara and birth, old age, illness, death.

Which readers will Osho Zen Tarot be suitable for?

The Osho Zen Tarot deck focuses on the task of helping Tarot readers improve their current understanding. It suggests that events that occur in the outside world only reflect our thoughts and feelings, even if we do not truly understand our own feelings and thoughts. So what we need to do is not pay attention to what’s going on out there, but seek to clarify our perceptions and thoughts from the depths of our hearts.

The conditions and states of mind depicted on modern non-traditional visual cards are also the clearest descriptions of transformation and transition. These images are also the life experiences people approach in life, from the beautiful to the ridiculous and the mundane.

In short, Osho Zen Tarot is not a Tarot deck for beginners or those who feel just a little philosophical value from Osho or Zen Buddhism. However, this is a very attractive deck of cards and is for enthusiasts who collect Tarot decks at a high level. Reading these cards can be a challenge at first, especially to purify, heal, and strengthen the spirit with your standard Tarot spreads.

And finally, if you are a person who has struggled and confused with standard Tarot decks, and felt that they are too scary or negative, you are more concerned with the present than the future, love topics related to meditation, either have an enlightened Zen teacher to guide wise things, choose Osho Zen Tarot.

The typical Tarot spread of Osho Zen Tarot

The most common and simple Osho Zen Tarot spread is the Diamond spread, which also seems to reflect the intent of this deck. This spread requires the querent to draw 5 cards and place them in a diamond shape (at first glance it is easily related to a cross).

  • The first card reveals the basic problem – the cause (the seed) that leads to the effect of everything that happens;
  • The second and third cards, in turn, show the internal predestination that is not known and the external condition that is avoided to recognize, thus leading the cause to become the effect;
  • Finally, the fourth and fifth cards help us identify what conditions the effect requires and specify what the cause itself will look like.

If digging a little deeper, applying Buddhist knowledge to interpret, it can be said that from the first to the fourth card are the four types of conditions according to the Collection of Long Discourses: causal condition (the condition of causes and also includes all the causes of mutual dependence), immediately preceding condition (speaking about the impermanent consciousness that follows each other), objective condition (the conditions of the treaties, the conditions outside of us), fundamental condition (it is a condition to help the previous conditions to develop), while the fifth card is the possible result of these conditions, require using the mind to reflect and then realizing what needed to be done.

There are many reasons to say that Osho Zen Tarot is not a traditional Tarot deck, it is more like a non-standard, or rather like an oracle deck, except that when scattering cards, the Major Arcana cards still have an important role to play. paper than the cards in the Minor Arcana. Interestingly, there are some people who are engaged in approaching this Tarot deck according to this aspect. Most people who own this deck want to interpret their cards more intuitively. The reason for this is probably because the Osho Zen Tarot deck cards are highly intuitive and straighten things out as they are, and so it is more positive, considers everything wisely and compassionately, does not accept the limit and does not admit to fiction. This is precisely the spirit of the Middle Way.

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